Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Adventures and Misadventures of an Iskolar ng Bayan

"Time's up! Please pass your booklet followed by your answer sheet".

UPCAT was indeed hard. The exam literally squeezed my brain up to the last drop of wisdom and knowledge. Several hundred hopefuls, including me, made their way to the atrium of UP Mindanao after the entrance exam. Mom saw me and excitedly waved her hand to me. I honestly do not know what to say to her. I was afraid that I might fail her. I didn't finish the math subtest because, holy kabaw the number-letter combination went complicated after number 21 (there were 60 questions). But she just smiled, knowing that I will make it.

Five months after the exam, I passed UPCAT... and I didn't expect it! From that moment, I knew that the next four years of my life would be more exciting. It took me days before it finally dawned on me that I'm going to brand myself as an Iskolar ng Bayan.

First Day High... not.

New environment. New faces. New teachers.

My first day at UP Mindanao was pretty much awkward. My upperclassmen were all hospitable and warm in welcoming us during the first bloc encounter but I still felt alone.

Everyone was shy back then including me, believe it or not.

As weeks went by, I started to talk to some of my blocmates. Questions like, "Where did you spend your high school" and "Is UP Mindanao your first choice" were always raised just to avoid the awkward kroo-kroo moment. Awkward silence is... yeah, awkward.

Regardless of our homework and extra curricular activities, we eventually got along and hung out at SM almost every Friday! Yes, UP Mindanao and SM is just one jeepney ride away... well an hour worth of jeepney ride. Ganoon ka lapit ang UP Min sa downtown Davao!

Four years ago... when I was still 'young'. HAHAHA Yagit!

McDo and SM Davao!

Funny Thing Was...

We always have a fair share of funny stories back in college. 

On the second semester of my freshmen year, my CHEM 17 lab professor lectured us about quantum mechanics. She was 8 months pregnant that time. Blah blah blah. I listened to her lecture attentively whilst writing some important notes on my notebook when all of the sudden, she burped. It was so loud that even people outside the laboratory can hear it! She just said, "Pasensya na class, buntis eh." I can still remember how hard I tried to make pigil (ew conyo) with my laugh. I was on the verge of literally laughing and rolling on the floor. Good thing, I managed to calm down.

I almost kissed a frog... and I didn't like it! Blecchhh.

Another funny incident. During our BIO 3 lecture, someone farted inside the airconditioned room. I sat at the front row (we were arranged alphabetically) and unfortunately those who were seated at the front row were the first one to smell the oh-so yummy scent. We covered our noses and laughed.

"What's funny, Mr. Bulseco?"

"Ma'am, may umutot po", I quipped.

Everybody laughed, including my professor. IDK WHAT'S WITH THAT MYSTERIOUS FART. A normal person wouldn't laugh whenever he smells something obnoxious!

"Get out, Mr. Bulseco!"

My professors scold me sometimes due to various reasons: Either I was talking to my classmates or I was sleeping in the middle of the lecture. There was one time in my Visual Communication class when my professor scolded me right in front of her class. I was so dead tired that time after completing numerous lab reports the night before (talking about cramming, but I am very efficient whenever I'm under pressure, elle-oh-elle). And because it was an 11:30AM-1PM schedule... yeah you figured it out. Mind you, the lecture was as boring as pak. But right after the class, she called me to apologize. Hay dapat lang! (JOKE LANG).

WAKE UP SLEEPYHEAD!!! (Photo by: July Crumb)

There was one time when I was busy talking with my seatmate when my Cell Biology professor called my attention and asked, "Renz, abnormal ka ba? Ba't ang daldal mo?!"

From that moment, I promised to keep my mouth shut.

But it wasn't so easy! I just can't help it! Dadadadadadadadadadada!

Opportunity to Travel

As a Biology student, we were always on the field, especially in our Ecology subjects. I think this is one of the things that really motivated me to travel more!

Here are some of the photos taken from trips:

From highlands to islands.

Hard to please!

What I loved about UP is its diversity. I have encountered people from different walks of life. But there are times that there are people who are hard to get along with aka ze traditional professors. I had one professor who did nothing but to conduct numerous research studies in the field of marine biology. I became interested in one of her studies (Sea cucumbers) and eventually became my thesis adviser.

Meet my thesis, Holothuria scabra aka Sandfish/Sea Cucumber

But, some members of the faculty of our department as well as some my adviser's former students warned me about her attitude. I ignored it knowing that I can endure it. After all, I'm just after with acquiring new knowledge and skills.

I became pretty much exhausted with my thesis because no matter how hard I try, my adviser would just criticize my work. Kulang nalang ulitin ko lahat. I was on the verge of giving up but because of the encouragement from my family, my closest professors and my close friends, I continued and finished it on time. Some of my classmates and members of the faculty wouldn't believe that I finished my degree on time under the tutelage of my oh-so perfectionist adviser! One of my teachers told me na ako lang ang grumaduate on time under sa kanya. Her last advisee took five years to finish her degree... and that was seven years ago! After that, no one dared to become her thesis adviser until I came in 2009.

Now that's something that I could be proud off. I gambled my future for this. But it was all worth it. Everything is possible as long you are determined.

Don't be takot, let's make baka!

Before I entered UP, I told myself not to join protest rallies. My dad even made a joke that if he saw me doing that on national television, he will disown me. Of course biro niya lang yun no, but I got his point. 

I can't help it. There was this particular period of my university life when I became more aware with what's happening to my country and to my dear university. Maybe because I was influenced by some of my friends from other courses. I even became an officer of the student council! It was such a nice experience to serve the people though, but for me, there are better ways to serve my country other than that. ;-)

So you think I can dance?

I am not a talented dancer. It's actually one of my frustrations in life! I easily get jealous to people who can easily pull off that move or step whereas it will look awkward when I try that particular step. But despite this disability (lol I sounded like a pilay or some sort), I bravely volunteered to become one of the dancers for the annual cheerdance competition of our school back in 2009. We carry this reputation of being one of the unbeatable courses in cheerdance competitions. We always give our best shot. BS Bio Cheering Squad won 7 championship titles already, except in 2006.

The group welcomed me, but the practices were really tiring! It came to a point that balancing my academics and my cheerdance practices became difficult. But I had no regrets!

The Final March

April 18, 2011 was the happiest day of my 2011. It was the day when I finally bid farewell to my beloved university. Indeed, all of my sacrifices and sleepless nights have finally paid off. I won't forget how I felt during that day. I was happy because I finally reached the finish line but got really sad because all of us were about to embark on a new journey. Mixed emotions. :,)

Hari ng sablay! (Photo by: Sam Sanchez)

My four-year stay in UP had been a fruitful one. It had molded me into a better person. Back in high school I don't have the guts to stand up and speak what was on my mind. But UP taught me how to be brave. It had also given me an opportunity to become a leader. Hindi man ako grumaduate as cum laude pero at least I enjoyed my life being an Iskolar ng Bayan.

To quote my previous blog entry:

I will definitely miss UPMin. I will miss those good old days with my classmates. I will surely miss those days when I was still writing my manuscript and had a 'walay klaro' arguments with my thesis adviser. I will definitely miss those epic fail moments with my classmates and professors. I will miss those days when we were still practicing for our cheerdance on wee hours of the morning and sleep inside the Wildlife Laboratory. I will miss those videoke-slash-drinking sessions with my friends. I will miss those days when we were cramming for our lab reports and pass it in the middle of night. I will miss those days when we got stranded inside the CSM because the creek had just overflowed (the road wasn't paved until the first quarter of 2010). 
To my professors, mentors, TORMENTORS, friends and classmates, thank you. Studying at UP Mindanao was one of the best experiences of my life.

And now I'm crying again. I miss UP Mindanao! It's my second home!

UPMin will always have a special place in my heart.

Mabuhay ang mga Iskolar ng Bayan!


  1. Hahahaha. Badtrip. Naiiyak din ako while reading you post. Haha!

  2. This kinda encourages me to face my thesis na. Lalala, my adviser also has that image of being terror and yes, kulang na lang din umulit ulit ako. Oh no, it's almost defense time.

    Thanks for the post!

  3. I wish to write something like this real soon! :D

  4. Favourite tambayan ko ang UP kahit na UST alum ako. Hehe. Wala lang.

  5. reminiscing student life brings back happy memories, mapa-bumagsak sa quiz, naging top ng class or napahiya ka ng teacher everything is good...hehehe

    cheers renz!

  6. @Krista: HAHA! Gang, hilak jud ug lansang pag graduate nimo ha!

    @Arlet: Tapusin mo na yaaaaan! Face your fears! :P

    @Mark: Dapat after graduation mo na kasi marami pang darating na fun experiences in the near future.

    @Drew: For sure Diliman yan, not UP Manila (wala ka namang matambayan doon). wow, ang layo ah! From Dapitan St. to QC!

    @Jerome: I slept in front of my teacher... AND I REGRET NOTHING. HAHAHAHA

  7. FUN??? Like thesis? lol.
    That doesn't sound so fun. Hahahaha

  8. reading through ur post makes me wish i'm back in college. wish my son would also end up as an 'iskolar ng bayan' and choose a course that will allow him to travel. ^_^ happy new year

  9. Hello Gladys! Pero laging tandaan, wag pilitin 'pag ayaw ni Junior. Hehe. Happy new year din sa 'yo!

  10. ang kulit naman ng adventures nyo po! hahaha

  11. KUYA RENZ! Hahaha! Kilala ko ang bawat prof na tinutukoy mo dito. :)) I hope I can restore my blog so that I can post some of my sentiments.

  12. keisha10:13 PM

    Coming from UP Diliman years ago, before the STF (socialized tuition fees) made us look and more proud to be the true "iskolar ng bayan." UP, since in the early 90's implemented the STF program which made it imperative for most of UP'ans to pay for their tuition fees from their own family incomes, rather from the state/nation.
    By the way, you've got a great blog.

  13. wow! BSBIo ka rin pala?

  14. Indeed it was a nice and motivating blog thanks for sharing your thoughts and experienced. :)