Getting that 2020 vision
Gian Nicdao (The Philippine Star) - July 10, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — This year’s graduation looks a little different. Gone are halls and Pomp and Circumstance on loop in their place are online ceremonies with at-home graduation parties, where the Class of 2020, rightfully and remotely, celebrates this milestone. At the same time, the future’s looking different, too. While we’re acclimating to the new reality brought by the pandemic, the world’s also asking loudly for change: against discrimination, impunity, and corruption in all its forms. Suddenly, the usual new grad’s question of “What’s next?” asks so much more.

With the future we’re stepping into still being made, Young STAR asks this year’s graduates about how they feel graduating in such a time of change, their fears about what’s next, and what’s keeping their eyes set on what’s ahead.

“It feels like I have unfinished business, and that experiences I could’ve had in my last semester were taken from me. However, it really put everything into perspective — sometimes we get so caught up with getting to the finish line that we forget to appreciate the road leading to it. It reminded me to cherish every moment, because you’ll never know if that’ll be the last. This isn’t the ending I hoped for, but I’m still so grateful for the experiences I did have throughout my college life.” — Joan Tabiang, BS in Business Administration, Major in Marketing Management, University of Santo Tomas

“Graduation was supposed to be the cherry on top, a sweet farewell to high school, but we weren’t able to get it so it feels kind of unfulfilling. But I’m hoping for the best, as we all are, and that the pandemic will finally come to an end. I’m also hoping the government will have more concrete plans, because the lack thereof impacts our education system — our future. In times like these, when things seem hopeless, I always tell myself that God is in control. When you have faith, you just know that everything’s going to be okay.” — Yani Villarosa, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of the East Manila (@yanihatesu)

“I felt conflicted. While I want to celebrate my graduation, I felt it was irresponsible to think that way, with the pandemic ravaging everything. To become a full-fledged doctor, I still have a long way to go — graduating med school is just the first step to realizing my dream. The next step is my post-graduate internship, a prerequisite to the Physician Licensure Exam. And just like everything else in medicine, this exam’s just a prerequisite to the next step. Looking ahead, I know there will be hurdles along the way. I’m hoping that if I stumble, I’ll get back up and continue forward until I get what I’ve been working for.” — Spencer Tan, OTRP, M.D, Doctor of Medicine, University of the East Ramon Magsaysay (@speeeencertan)

“I feel relieved dahil nakatapos ako, but I have my regrets. If I knew that was my last day in SHS, sana binigay ko na yung best ko. Sana ginawa ko na yung gusto kong gawin: confess kay crush na crush ko siya, sumigaw sa hallway habang nag kla-klase yung ibang students… Kidding aside, I’m still thankful na nagawa ko naman ng maayos yung mga dapat kong gawin. Everything’s quite uncertain, kasi hindi ko pa alam kung ready na ako for the new normal, and hindi ko pa nga alam kung anong kukunin ko for college — I hope na malaman ko na kung ano talaga yung gusto ko.” — Sam Eraña, Accountancy, Business, and Management, San Beda College

“Gumuho ang mundo namin noong nagkaroon ng pandemya, iisang sitwasyong hindi namin kontrolado at biglaang nangyari. Hindi mo masisisi kaming mga estudyante ngayon na maguluhan, magalit, at malungkot, na nawala sa amin ang mga bagay na matagal naming inaasahan. Ngunit sa panahon ng krisis, mas naging malinaw na mayroon pa tayong mga problema sa lipunan na matagal nang umiiral. At bilang mga estudyante, mahalagang pinagtutuunan namin ng pansin ang mga ito, na pagkatapos nitong pandemya, hindi lang tayo bumalik sa dati nating kalagayan.” — Reenon Cabilzo, General Academic Strand, OB Montessori Center Sta. Ana (@notatakenhandle)

“I’m not gonna downplay anything: it does feel painful and I do feel deprived somehow. But with everything that’s happening, I feel that this is a turning point for us. Our ability to bounce back is what we need to combat this. I’ve shifted my attention to causes and people in need — what I feel about being deprived of graduation is nothing compared to what the most vulnerable have been going through.” — Vinz San Juan, Humanities and Social Sciences, De La Salle University (@vinzsanonlyjuan)

“As a fresh college graduate in the middle of a pandemic, I have limited options for work and probably graduate school. For the past two years, I’d been planning on going to graduate school right after graduation. With everything that’s been happening, I don’t think it’ll be the best move right now. Some days I feel like I’m stuck and it horrifies me to think that it might be this way for much longer. But I will not give up on my dreams, especially the career that I aspire to have.” — Nicole Palo, BA Applied Psychology, University of the Philippines Pampanga (@nicoleashleypalo)

“Graduating as valedictorian in the middle of a pandemic is kind of frightening — I’m far from having things all figured out. But in the face of uncertainty, I keep two things in mind: first, ‘Always be learning,’ and second, ‘Do what you can.’ I think of the future as the result of how much we learn about our present and what we do in response. At the risk of sounding naïve, I place all my hope in a response of goodness and love. Though the world seems to be spinning the other way right now, there’s value in the pushback.” — Yumi Briones, BS Chemistry, Ateneo de Manila University (@yumibrio)

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