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An Open Letter to UA&P Students (Especially My Batchmates)

By Bianca Marañon                                                                                                                                 



I really hope you didn’t spend this long weekend running from meeting to meeting, or buried in papers and readings. Because then these days will have been no different from the rest of the sem so far. Gapang mode, all day, every day, until the last day of the sem, until the last day of the year.

You might ask me, annoyed: How could this break have been anything else than that? The end of the sem is here again, and with it, all-nighters, presentations for majors, unexpected requirements and deadlines, and running on caffeine to get through all of it. And I answer with a question: Do things really have to be this way?

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I’ve tried everything:

Maybe I can drink Kopiko 78 and then take a short nap so that when the coffee kicks in, I’ll be awake enough to work.

Maybe I can try sleeping first then waking up early in the morning to finish studying for my midterms.

Maybe I can finish this sandwich in 5 minutes before my lunch class, or I can just drink milk tea now and eat lunch at 4:30.

No matter what I do, I can’t seem to get ahead. No matter what I do, the 24 hours of a day aren’t enough to finish everything on my to do list, and when (or if) I go to sleep it seems as if it’s just as long and full as when I started out.

I’m not going to pretend that I have the answer – that I have the key to finally finishing off every last deadline you wrote in your planner, or that I know the best strategies for optimizing your time. But I guess what I can give you is an answer: More than figuring out how we’re gonna get through all of this, maybe we should find out why.

So perhaps we can try thinking about these things instead:

Maybe “What do I want to achieve?” isn’t as important as “Who do I want to become?”

Maybe I’m stressing myself out because the standards I’m spending myself to reach don’t objectively exist outside of me.

Maybe I don’t have to feel guilty about resting or sleeping.

I don’t think university education has to be something imposed on us against our will – it could be something we actually want to do. I do think that you can find a greater motivation than the deadline. You can discover something stronger than caffeine to keep you going. Purpose? Realizing your dreams and ambitions? Loving someone (or loving Someone)? Whatever it may be, I’m pretty sure our edge as dragons, our UA&P work ethic, is a matter of knowing why we work more than knowing how to work.

(And it doesn’t mean, by the way, that finding your “why” will make your difficulties nonexistent. But it’ll make them easier to deal with, or even embrace.)

I wish you the kind of happiness that comes with the certainty that you’ve found what you’re looking for and that you’re doing what you want to do.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

See you at PICC,