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Young Blood

Where dreams take off

As our plane prepared to fly, I observed others land, take off and wait for their turn.

No matter how mundane the scene seemed, I did not want to miss the sight. This was a flight I am to remember, forever.

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For the first time in my life, I was traveling to a distant land, with no one else but myself. I would be thousands of miles away from my loved ones, further separated by time zones. In the next two weeks, I would walk among people from myriads of races and depend on those whom I have never met before. I would feed on flavors foreign to my taste, go to places I never imagined visiting, ride trains underground and wear layers of clothes to endure the cold.

In other words, I was to build and test a completely new reality — even just for a brief stay.

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After nearly four years of working, I have grown too familiar with my small comfortable world. Every day, for the past years, I would deal with the same people and do the same things. I needed to see what else lay outside of my confines. I had to know whether there was something else out there for me.

This is why this trip represented a radical yet welcome change in my environment. I had all the reasons to be excited in experiencing a different world and culture, and a renewed perspective of myself.

But, equally, I had reasons to be circumspect. To explore possibilities and reimagine oneself do not always come cheap. They seldom do. In my case, it cost me all I got, or had yet to receive from my previous year’s hard work. It entailed deferring more permanent and possibly fulfilling transitions. It meant choosing to spend for insight and inspiration over saving the money and remaining within my comfort zone.

Against all doubts and odds, I pushed through. That was perhaps the bravest decision I ever made for myself. The coming days would be among the best in my life.

I must admit, though, that my time in the United States was not all fun. Even before I arrived, pangs of sadness already struck me as the distance sunk in. The act of braving the world turned out to be more daring than I had initially thought.

Still, however unsettling, these feelings proved to validate my purpose there: not to be comfortable, but to be stretched. Not just to lose my convenience, but also to rediscover my strength. Not to romanticize life there, but to realize how it actually is. After all, the prospect of two or more years of studies in another country was a huge investment.

Bearing all these in mind, I attended the school events I came all the way there for. My tour focused on learning about the schools’ master in business courses, but what I gained from my exposure went beyond it. While I expected a heavy focus on the management industry, what was rather emphasized was the sense of flexibility the program affords in order to lead in and contribute to the world — from different perspectives and through diverse practices.

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More so, while the field of business traditionally revolved around profits and winning competition, the experience let me see the shift toward creating value and delivering impact to society. Interacting with students, seeing the human side of them, hearing both their hesitations and aspirations, also fortified for me the fact that being clear with and true to what one cares about, and serving for the greater good, are mostly what one needs to make a difference.

With these, I felt I was brought back to my core.

As our plane prepared to fly, I observed others land, take off and wait for their turn.

In many ways, this scene resembles the course of dreaming—  and the pace with which people go through the process. For years, I have witnessed peers go far in their career and life, and would land titles in no time. I am just about to start, my pursuits only about to take off. But I have come to appreciate the waiting.

I now believe that more than in distant lands, it is in our own minds, hearts and consciousness where dreams truly fly and, more importantly, gain ground.

As the undying lines of a very dear song go: “Malayong lupain, amin mang marating, ’di rin magbabago ang damdamin. ’Di rin magbabago ang damdamin.”

* * *

Faye B. Zipagan, 24, a junior manager for operations at a local bank, is excited to teach psychology as an incoming part-time faculty member at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

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TAGS: Faye B. Zipagan, traveling abroad, Young Blood
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