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Let’s March!

/ 12:16 AM March 31, 2016

By this time, I have spent almost one year out of school and in the working life. Here’s to painting a picture of what happens after the ups and downs, burning the midnight oil, and lively times in school.

March is known as the time of the year for the once-in-a-lifetime experience called graduation, which jump-starts another chapter in a young person’s life. To “march in March” has always been a student’s goal, especially in the past when schools in the Philippines were not yet slowly changing their academic years from June-March to August-May.

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In the course of a student’s life, a lot can be learned and discovered in the information overload from classes; a lot can be read from books as well as the life-changing moments outside the classroom. By looking at how much has changed in one’s personality from years of making studying a part of one’s system, it is obvious that education is not just a mere preparation: It is like life in itself.

Now that I am a working person, a perspective has become clear to me: that although schooling is an amazing phase, I just felt the presence of the rigid walls in my classrooms even more now. By this, I mean that school felt like a crib that hinders a toddler from going out or satisfying his/her curiosity by exploring the things outside, but at the same time, protects him/her from possible dangers in the environment. Thus, school also serves as protection for the youth. When I was still studying (and I am not discarding the possibility of me studying again), I made sure that amid the pressure, I had time for the things I wanted  to accomplish and for the duties I had to fulfill to equip me with enough knowledge and discipline once I reach employment.

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Almost 366 days ago, I was really curious and excited in finally being able to work and start a career. Now, I have learned that just like in other professions, from medicine, education, law, politics and business to art and the sciences, the working life makes one more connected to the earth and all living things. A doctor can usually empathize with the plight of patients. A teacher devotes his/her life to young minds that thirst for something new every day. A lawyer or a politician can be part of looking for (and executing) solutions to society’s issues and long-standing problems. Business people always put themselves in the shoes of consumers to try and find a way to know what they want and what is worth selling. Artists can constantly connect with different individuals and learn from different life stories to gain inspiration for whatever masterpiece he/she wishes to make. The world just became more interconnected.

So far, working in the media—in my case, in the Inquirer—has made me feel like a listener to disparate voices and a bringer of information and stories to the public. Being a part of a team that belongs to the fourth estate has made me feel like Professor X, the character in the movie “X-Men” who hears, visualizes and empathizes with different people across the world and eventually becomes a good leader for mutants. Being in the media has been like looking through varying windows to see what is happening to the lives of other people near and far away from me.

I now feel more connected to the many faces of the country. I feel the pain in every tragic story about illness, crime and death. I feel the stress that many Filipinos experience because of poverty and injustice. I feel joy and light from stories of how Filipinos tend to be hopeful romantics and how some persons do not give up on helping, giving and taking part in easing the lives of the less fortunate in their own ways. I feel proud about the successes that Filipinos achieve and still plan to achieve, like how Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach showed the real meaning of being dedicated to one’s dream by not giving up on it.

So life has basically become bigger and more challenging. I feel more independent, free, and, of course, mature.

Talking about what to expect after graduation, I think students should just expect an unpredictable, diverse and ever-changing society. As long as one loves and knows what one is doing, things in the working life can really get more fun.  Indeed, one’s passion is a force that can keep one going in every busy day.

It is also important that the lessons learned and the discipline and hard work exerted in school should not be forgotten and should be present in the workplace.  Every day in between graduation day and the first day of being employed should be enjoyed and spent wisely, as the working life really demands discipline, hard work and time.

“Saving for a rainy day” should be kept in mind. It is wise to save for future sudden expenses or emergencies, and even future vacations or purchases of dream items and gadgets.

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Planning a career path or preparing for the adult life is indeed a serious thing. In the meantime, just march your way to this special occasion and celebrate the happiness of acquiring your hard-earned degree.

Yara Lukman, 20, is a communication graduate of Ateneo de Zamboanga University. She is an editorial administration assistant at the Inquirer.

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