2017: A Year of Endings and Beginnings

As 2017 comes to an end, our bodies are bursting with anxiety from the pressure of leaving 2017 in the way we imagined it would have been at the beginning. Christmas music starts playing at every cafe we walk into and no longer does it bring joy, but becomes the sound of a ticking clock, winding its way closer to this huge deadline known as New Year’s Day. In a matter of hours, champagne bottles will be popped, and we’ll get all dressed up to celebrate the changing of the calendar—-the start of something new.

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Wishing one another “Happy New Year,” we usher in the new year with joyous celebration and nothing but optimism for what is to come. At this point in time, we will be surrounded by people–by family and friends, who have made everyday feel like home. Those that helped you get through yet another year. Some faces will be new, yet familiar. Some may be old, but we will be forever grateful to have them near. Before I bid my personal farewell to 2017, it is only right to reflect on all the things that happened, and remember the people who have made every minute of 2017 worthwhile.

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January started off with the last leg of US-Canada trip; my family and I spent New Year’s Eve and the New Year stopping by San Francisco on our way back to LA, after visiting Vancouver and Seattle. Since I didn’t get to finish blogging about our entire trip partly because my mom kept my flash drive with all our photos but mostly because I was lazy (HEHEHEH), IMMA JUST DUMP SOME PHOTOS HERE:

 

 

 

Also, my parents are just the cutest (anyone who dares to object…fite meee!)

 

 January 21st: STEM Exclusive Field Trip to Hidden Valley

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I still remember our class’s field trip to Hidden Valley….and remember how our “spring water analysis” turned out?—Ooops HAHAH. Even through the freezing cold water and I had forgotten to bring a change of spare clothes, I waded deeper into the water where everyone else was in a caught in a fit of laughter.

 

 

After all the batch activities I didn’t get to be a part of, fun became something that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find again.

But I did.

Fun was the bus rides filled with jokes, taking stolen pictures of sleeping seatmates, your own arms stretched out wide to reach for a bag of chips that somehow made it way past 8 aisles to the front, courtesy of some generous classmate who obviously had more food stuffed in that over sized bag bag of theirs (to share, of course).

Fun was the pink table.  Fun was Sir Mike.  Fun was Sir Agu. Making fun of Sir Agu, to be exact.

Fun was trying to drown one another in the springs until it was only our laughter and screams drowning out the noise of the outside world. Underneath that little waterfall, time seemed to slow and everything felt perfect. Our face ached, our clothes drenched in water, and our eyes danced with joy. And I realized, high school was so full of life; it was exhilarating.

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But fun wasn’t merely just that; fun was every moment spent with you, all of you because we were making the most out of our time together.

January 21st-22nd: Filming of Our Times Parody

 

 

 

Now this wasn’t exactly a huge milestone in my 2017, it’s just something I’m proud of. The Our Times (THE MOVIE IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) Parody we starred under the direction of Jill and Pei-Hsuan was filmed over the span of roughly two weeks, just in time for the Chinese New Year program where the short clip was featured. For the sake of Andre, Bry, Melds and Jarrett’s pride, I will (sadly) not be sharing the parody, but instead I’ll be sharing some stills (Guys, pls. don’t kill me)

 

 

 

 

Maybe the reason why I was so attached to this project was because I could relate to it to a certain extent (jk, baka sentimental lang talaga ako???).

vintage-border-png-31The months of February and March continued uneventfully, as most of my time was dedicated to finishing all our academic requirements for the last quarter and weeks of graduation rehearsals. It was only a month or two until graduation.

Damn, if there’s one thing 2017 taught me, it’s that nostalgia is one powerhouse of a human emotion that can make us miss things we never thought we would. All these years I wanted the time to go by faster so that I could start my college life and be free of this small, suffocating high school and of all the tests, homework, petty drama and stress that goes along with it. But instead of rushing off to class, I sometimes find myself reminiscing on my walks to class and I’m not in such a rush for time to go by, even going to such lengths such as telling my parents I had to stay in school a little longer for group projects or whatever reason I would think of on the fly.  I spent my recess and lunch breaks revisiting old hallways and classrooms, arm in arm with my best friends, exchanging stories from our earlier years in high school about the stupid things that we or our classmates did. Some of which were forgotten, but most were ones that we would look back and laugh at just like how we did at the time. As the weeks turned into months, it was not long until April had arrived; which meant graduation was nearing. I dreaded the thought of high school ending. In fact, I hated it. admonished it. loathed it. detested it. whatever. Oh, how desperately did I cling onto these last moments of high school before it ended the way I latched on the arms of my best friends, willing things to stay that way and that nothing would ever change.

April 4th: Graduation 

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The Stef back in High 1 would never have fathomed that this batch would grow to be my second family. Now, the thought of being apart from you lot makes me freaking miserable. Little did I know that the name “Vikings” would be something that I would eventually embrace wholeheartedly.  Despite our many unavoidable high school dramas,  there are so many people I had to thank, to say sorry and goodbye to; and for some, it was not a goodbye but a brief “see you,” knowing our paths would cross again soon. I ask forgiveness for the people I’ve hurt and maybe some day we can look back at the past and realize that it wasn’t such a big deal after all. I’m thankful for the teachers and mentors who have guided me throughout my high school journey and still continue to check up on me from time to time as I journey through my college life as well.

Aggghhh…it’s hard to squeeze everything you want to say in a 2 by 3 picture to someone who has given you countless of priceless memories, but it’s even harder to stomach the idea that graduation might have been the last day we’d be together in the same room (gym). Nonetheless, I’m excited for what the future has in store for each and every one of us. After graduation, some of us are chasing after their dreams, while others are still trying to figure out what they want to do in life. Whichever you may be, I wish you nothing but the best, that you continue to search for what it is that fills you with a sense of purpose and fulfillment; something that shakes you down to your very core, and lastly, I hope you’ll be able to find happiness and success no matter what path you choose to take. (Also, I miss y’all. K wala lang hehe)

 

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July-December: All the debuts and birthday lakwas!!

 

Attending 4 debuts, giving 3 debut speeches (2 of which were delivered by a not-so-sober Stef), celebrating 1 birthday lakwa (OUR FIRST BIRTHDAY LAKWA, MIND YOU!! #GrowingUpWithStrictParents :<) and a despedida later, I realized that true friendship isn’t measured by the amount of time you spend together but it’s about being able to pick up where you left off no matter how much time and distance you spend apart.

My dearest and best friends: thank you. Thank you for accepting my weird, crazy-ass self. Thank you for you have been the quiet voice encouraging me on the days when I feel like everything I touch turns bad. Whenever I felt like giving up, ESPECIALLY THESE PAST FEW MONTHS, whenever I begin to question every decision I have ever made, it was you who convinced me not to worry about it, and that eventually things will work itself out. You never fail to make me feel like I matter, despite my being selfish at time, despite the silly drama; you have made me feel like all these emotions I’m feeling are valid.

It’s silly how our friendship started, but within a matter of days of knowing each other, we knew each other’s histories like the back of our hand, developed our own inside jokes and we were already throwing insults at each other. I would never trade our friendship for anything else in the world.  I am so proud of all of you for going after your dreams, never lose sight of yourself, however, as you pursue your dreams. You deserve all the best things in life, please do not think less of yourselves. Finally, I’m sorry that I’ve been busy, but I promise that I will always always always be here for you as you have been for me. I promise I won’t leave you in 2017, but carry you all with me in my heart wherever I go, even when we’re cities apart, heck…we’re going to be oceans apart. Despite all the crazy changes that have been happening this past year, thank you for being my constants.

-ber Months onwards: Frosh Year (College/CoolAge)

September 6: LPEP

The weekend prior to LPEP was probably one of the shittiest that I had to go through because reasons. Despite the many other awful things that were happening at the time, I was part nervous part excited to meet my blockmates and other friends I had made prior to the start of classes (yay, Safe Place!). Overly excited, even. We had spent the week before LPEP already getting to know one another through newly formed group chats. Come LPEP day, my blockmates were nothing like I expected.

 

To my 32 wonderful cheMENG’s and little lEChE’s (it was the best I could think of, give me some credit, guys.), thank you for making my first and last 3 months in DLSU beyond unforgettable. I think it’s safe to say that you are my plot twist this 2017. 22448234_182486132313011_1859307826612805277_n22366808_182013615693596_8994042229578567583_nIMG_3960IMG_3550Snapchat-224247640Snapchat-1300107902IMG_4519Snapchat-212056094Snapchat-62389673Snapchat-15477700Snapchat-1039525613IMG_3961

After a few days of classes, we quickly fell into the practice of having block lunches together before heading to the library at Henry to book a discussion room where we would spend hours poring over problem sets and lecture notes, arguing over how to solve them until one of us would figure it out and explain everything to everyone else, while the rest of us would be making fun of Sameng. Rodic’s became our go-to place for sisig and we would always sit in that same bench at ENG Walk in between breaks. We would go from place to place as an entire block, blocking stairways and pathways, earning annoyed looks from upperclassmen. An accusing finger would be directed at us every time we lost a basketball game, because *sigh* a rite of passage is a rite of passage. As things began to settle down, we would eventually form our own cliques whom we spend most of our time with in DLSU. For a while, everything felt normal.

Although our time spent together was short, we’ve proven ourselves to be the #bEastblock. Never would I have ever imagined to be blockmates with three extremely dancers who would help me dance my way to my first kwatro in FITWELL. Nor would I have ever imagined to be blockmates with the the Prince of Crinkles and Macarons, or two future cheerleaders. And I am probably the luckiest guinea pig alive to have such kind-hearted and patient teachers *blinks at Sam, Jamie, Gill, Marc, and Diego* who tolerate my questions, no matter how stupid they may be. I’m very much grateful also to my uber generous blockmates who allow me to tambay in their condos, you guys are great when you’re not trying to get me play beer pong (yes, Juan Mig, I’m referring to you -.-).  And thank you, most especially for bringing happiness in ENG, even if there’s no H in engineering ;^)

I may not be able to join you as you continue your journey to be a Lasallian Engineer, but I believe with every fiber of my being that you are all capable of achieving great things and you will be able to accomplish, be it inside or outside of ENG, as long as you put your heart to it. BELIB IN THE BIBO-NESS THAT IS BLOCK EA!!!

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While we’re still trying to navigate our way through our first months in college, it was nice to have some familiar faces that kept me anchored and guided. To my Taft-based Vikings, you are my home away from home. A little piece of the past that managed to sneak its way to the present. And for that, I am thankful. For the never ending support  and countless of advice, you were all there for me through every step of the way. Whether it was a quick lunch or a coffee date, high school friends were always down for anything (if our schedules allowed it). *insert Alex and Bryce, hi sorry I appreciate you two as well but we don’t have pictures ok :<* 

 

Lunch dates would go like this; we would squeeze ourselves in a booth, waiting for our orders as we start to exchange stories of our lives, now beyond the hallways of high school. The presence of copious amounts of alcohol (jk, iced tea only.) is a commonality in all of us when we are outside the walls of DLSU. So is a dash of stupidity leading to questionable decisions. It isn’t long before we begin rehashing old school stories along with some ridiculous things a blockmate did in class.  In the midst of adjusting to college life, not much has changed on that front, but at the same time, everything has.

According to so many people that felt necessary to bestow their wisdom upon their senior year, I am now supposedly living the best years of my life now that I am in college. I am technically “adulting” and I have already found my forever friends. Oh, and I know exactly what I want to do with my life, right? For a while, everything seemed okay…but honestly, if college is so “perfect,” why the hell did I miss high school so much?

Maybe you’ve experienced this already a little while or back, but there be moments were you lay in your bed, overwhelmed with how far behind you are in a class or how you are going to meet the deadline for a project and begin to think “I don’t belong here,” as I have. I want to tell you right now that is wrong. You might have also been under the impression that everyone around you has it all together, and for whatever reason you just can’t get it together…you can’t seem to adjust…I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. I’ll tell you a secret: they don’t. It may seem like they do, but regardless of how much more (or less, time they spend in the library they are struggling too. Talk about it, it’ll help.

You may find yourself two terms in, realizing the school you chose isn’t fulfilling your needs, maybe your course choice changed or you just realized your learning style doesn’t quite mesh with that of the school you are at, regardless of the reason it is more than okay to change schools or to take a short break altogether. You only have one life on this earth and to waste any bit of time at a place you don’t feel you belong at for any reason is unnecessary and preposterous.  Allow yourself to explore your options, do not fear change, do not stop yourself from starting anew.  You could attempt to predict what the new year will entail, but it’s better to leave your mind open for all of its potential possibilities because life unravels in ways that you have no control over and that is the beauty of it all.

The new year is about knowing that some things won’t change, but encouraging yourself to face those things with a positive mindset. It’s about celebrating a beautiful past year, but looking forward about what’s to come. I have grown used to living inside a bubble, doing things that give me a sense of familiarity, and sticking to the same script that it has become hard for me to accept change. Once high school ended, I warily struggled staying afloat in the uncharted waters of college life, but the truth is all good things come to an end.

Fun times, kalokohans, high school— you name it. But we mustn’t despair over this, because it also means that all bad things will eventually come to an end as well. The pain, the hurt and the failures. The end of one thing also signals the start of something else. New Year’s is about the promise of new beginnings, new starts, new chances. It is about shedding the past year, past pain, and looking ahead with our heads held high.

The new year becomes a new beginning and we become free of last year’s binds.

2017, you have taken so much from me, yet you have given back to me in ways I could not even imagine. You tore me down, in the most painful and brutal ways possible, but also built me up to become a stronger and wiser person. Thank you for allowing me to see the beauty in endings. Here’s too seeking out new beginnings in 2018!

“Maybe endings aren’t so bad. After all, beautiful endings lead to new beginnings.”

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