my ateneo

In true ~sentimental senior~ fashion, I walked around campus armed with a (disposable film) camera, wanting to capture and to remember what Ateneo looked like “when I was there.” I was excited for whatever the future holds, but a part of me wanted to clutch onto my four-year Familiar.

Familiar wasn’t always familiar. It started with Change. It started with bug-eyed, 1D fangirl, freshman Nadine, who was obsessed with ducks, who would wear funky printed socks every day. It started with her feeling intimidated by it all. She wasn’t used to the size of the campus. She wasn’t used to seeing so many people she didn’t know. She wanted to cry during the first day of class because she hadn’t memorized the way around Ateneo. It scared her. But facing the unfamiliar, reaps great results. She would know after four years.

Driving change, are Firsts. First college bud, first org project, first oral examination, first 100, first college party. Going through firsts gives you knowledge and experience, allowing you to decide on how to go about the Second, or whether there will even be a second. You grow stronger and hopefully wiser by the end of a First.

The problem with Familiar is that it may lead to comfort. Ateneo was familiar because Ateneo is Ateneo, but Ateneo will never be amounted to being just “comfortable” because there are still bountiful challenges to overcome there if you ask for it. However, the ticking time bomb of a four-year course has long exploded, and Ateneo had already said “Come back to soon” to me even before I can process what was happening.

And so I’m here again. Currently. Wide-eyed, fresh graduate from the Ateneo Nadine feeling intimidated by what the world outside Familiar would mean. I know that the unfamiliar would force firsts and change to me and if at sixteen I could do it, then who’s stopping me at twenty?





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