Young Blood

Plan B is not a bad plan

/ 05:02 AM October 06, 2019

Whenever I heard the word “college,” only four universities came to mind. Nothing else but the colors of maroon, blue, green and yellow. All the alumni that graduated from my high school ended up studying in these schools, so all I ever dreamt of as a high school student was to enter them, too.

My father would always joke whenever we passed by Katipunan that he was already getting used to driving around the area, because that’s where all of his children would be studying. Our family friends would always call us by the school mascot of our dream universities, and I must admit, being called a Blue Eagle was music to my ears.


Senior year came, and so did the season of applying for entry into the “Big Four” universities. My parents spent money on my review center and review materials. During the summer vacation, I was left behind in Manila to study while the rest of my family went to the province.

Instead of listening to the teacher during class, I would bring out my College Entrance Test reviewer. Instead of studying the elective classes under my strand, I studied chemistry and physics.


The dream of passing four universities suddenly became just passing two: I prayed more than ever to be officially identified either as an Iskolar ng Bayan or a Blue Eagle the following year. I eventually printed the university logos of the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University and taped them on my wall.

I cried after the ACET (Ateneo College Entrance Test). I cried harder after the UPCAT (University of the Philippines College Admission Test). I had no tears left to cry when my name was not found on the list of passers in either.

My whole being would become weak whenever I got reminded of those schools. During the Sunday of the week that I found out I did not pass the ACET, I sobbed during the praise and worship service, and had to leave in order to breathe properly.

I was working during the summer when I found out I did not pass the UPCAT, and my workmates felt bad for me that they kept insisting on buying me pizza, hoping I would stop crying.

I had always imagined myself being part of the audience during a UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines) competition, probably cheering “OBF!” or walking around the Sunken Garden during vacant periods. But no.

I am now studying at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. No, it’s not a school that participates in the UAAP, or the National Collegiate Athletic Association. No, it’s not as huge as Ateneo or UP Diliman. No, my desired course is not available in the university.

My dreams have been compromised with the sudden change. But, if it weren’t for my previous failures, I wouldn’t have come to know of my current university. I suddenly became tired of being sad and regretful. After numerous nights of heartache wondering what I could have done to be in another  institution, I finally let everything go. I finally allowed my heart and mind to rest.


I found happiness in the “scramble” being sold in front of my dormitory and the people in my bloc. I found hope in my professors, and I bloomed in more ways I had thought possible. I found love in my Plan B.

The saying “Bloom where you are planted” finally made sense to me. It probably was God’s will for me to be studying at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. A year and a half have passed, and now I realize the contentment I had longed for was with me all along. It’s true what they say: “Wala sa university ’yan, nasa tao ’yan!”

* * *

Ja Camacho, 19, is a second year communication arts student at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

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TAGS: Big Four universities, choosing schools, Ja Camacho, Young Blood
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