I’ve gushed countless times about how Gesu has been my base (recap here) so during my recent trip to Manila, I knew I had to pop by and show Luke around.
Being back in Ateneo felt different. I guess my expectations were too high. To give you a bit of background, I cried when I passed the ACET. First time in my life to ever cry tears of joy, haha. And it didn’t end there – I still remember the time I went to campus to get my ID photo taken before the beginning of the semester, my heart was literally jumping. Then came the “normal” school days in which I fell in love with Ateneo – the campus, the people, what it stood for – even more. Simply put, I’m your quintessential Ateneo fan girl. During this visit though, I didn’t quite feel like ♫this is the place where we belong♫.
For one thing, the campus has changed. The faces were no longer familiar (not that I’ve seen a lot because it was the holiday season). And I guess it also doesn’t help that with me was someone who I never associated with my school. I’ve realized it time and again that it is never a place that we long for, or in this case – glorify, it’s the moments (or even periods) wherein the who, what, where, and when were aligned. I’m not the same girl that my university had nurtured, and it’s not the same Katipunan campus that I have put on a pedestal.
Don’t get me wrong, I still identify myself as blue blooded. Being the fan girl that I am, I embraced my 4 years of education as well as my co-curricular activities with great enthusiasm. I learned to be critical, not just in academics, but in religion and social issues as well. Ateneo/Jesuit values like magis and kura personalis are still strongly ingrained in my system. This is what binds me to my alma mater. These values have and will always be constant. I mean think of Jose Rizal and his batchmates. I don’t think they’d be able to relate with the current Atenistas (what the heck is Instagram?), but I am certain that in a magical grand reunion with all generations in it, everyone will be in agreement about how Ateneo has encouraged them in being, or at least trying to be, men and women for others. Our training has been geared towards us eventually spreading our wings and finding our place in the sun. We learned to belong anywhere, but ultimately, we were taught that everyone –
including especially the outsiders – deserves to belong and it is our responsibility to make each and every one feel that they do.
Just a friendly reminder to myself, and hopefully, to you.