Davao City— Filipinos are curious on the reasons of the Oblation as one of the symbols of the University of the Philippines. UP students, alumni, professors, staff and even the Filipino sculptor Guillermo Tolentino have different notions about Oble.
As a fresh graduate who journeyed the in and outs of UP, my perception of the Oblation has been cultivated through the years.
Before entering the University, I have views I believed were true coming from the air of confidence after graduating high school with honors. However, the premiere state university has its means of slowly ripping my beliefs and ideologies covered in thick layers dubbed as privileges for many years.
The University eagerly scrapped the threads of intellect and principles for me to grasp the idea of continuous learning whether in the classroom or beyond the bounds of the University. I was able to drove deeper to question and seek for the truth.
UP painstakingly broke me into millions of pieces for a time being that existential queries piled up as I question my relevance in this world. Ironically, the University also trained me to pick up the pieces and to allocate precious energy creating myself, as I have envisioned. And from those fragments of memories, I understood the essence of the Oblation- to stand still amidst the changing conditions.
A month ago, all University of the Philippines campuses conducted its Commencement exercises for the batch 2018 graduates. The symbolic Sablay is initially worn on our right shoulder then to be moved to the left shoulder indicating that we have graduated. I recalled the exact moment when I felt an adrenaline rushed in my body as I transferred the Sablay to my left shoulder.
To note, I also remembered the question painted on the faces of fellow graduates—What’s next after UP?
Some graduates will pursue immediately in medical or law school. Some might take a gap year to deliberately decide whether to continue studying or not.
Some are secured of their family businesses. Some are willing to set aside their passion to help their family. Some are willing to pay the price of pursuing their passion even with the perception of a lower income. And there are some in the pool of graduates who are lost in the shift of life with no manuals and guidelines to offer like in the University.
And that is when the core foundation of UP takes in. It is the freedom to choose the new clothes of ideologies and principles we want to wear outside the University. It lies on our own hands, the stitches of strategies to move forward chasing opportunities and living our ideas of changing the world.
One month has passed and I am still in the pursuit of life’s surprises as I savor my own timeline and pace. Currently, I am into challenges in line with my passion that I intend on winning alongside the community.
As an Iskolar ng Bayan, my fate is embedded on the fate of the Filipino people. It is a responsibility and freedom honed by the University to critically seek for the truth and to serve the people. Standing still like the Oblation, Sablay now worn on the left shoulder, UP has deeply rooted these three words in my soul.
‘Tuloy ang Laban.’
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