Tuesday, March 2, 2010

EXPLOSIVE ENCOUNTER: (Post) Postgraduate Blues

Going back to school again was a love and hate relationship for me. I love the fact that I will once again sharpen my mind with new ideas. However, I didn't foresee the load of assignments and projects I have to fulfill as I complete my everyday office work. And that's the hating part came in. My social life was robbed out of me. But I didn't regret it. It was temporary. And I know, at the end of the journey, growth awaits.

I was overjoyed when I started my postgraduate studies. I was ecstatic. I even once posted in Facebook that "school makes me sane." Well, that's true. School makes me sane because it veers me away from feeling homesick. However, as I plunged into the pile of school stuffs, I started to feel harassed and almost drowned. I felt, did I really say "school makes me sane." I should had said, it made me almost insane.

That time, there's no more backing out. It was a fight I had to face and win over. But did I have the complete armor to topple it down? Yes. No. Maybe was not an option. I affirmed, YES.

It was challenging for me to be under UP Open University. I was not ready to embrace the 'unorthodox' class set up. Instead of facing my classmates and a professor, I was glued in front of my office PC and on my laptop just to participate in class discussions, digest some subject readings, do and submit assignments, and answer examinations. And seriously, long hours of exposure to the computer added strain to my eyes which led to chronic attack of migraine. In a way, the bizarre world of Online study slapped my view on the learning process.

UP Open University taught me to be independent to the highest level. Although there were deadlines to meet, everything was programmed for a student to study all by oneself according to one's time frame. I was given some modules and some CDs to digest. I had the option not to read or watch it. But I was not that kind of person. After plotting out my school time line, I opened the modules, watched the CDs and did my assignments.

I met some friends in OU. I met all of them via online. Some of them are already in my Facebook. Frankly, meeting and communicating with my classmates online was odd yet enjoyable. I really do hope I can meet some of them in person in the near future, probably in our graduation.

I am not a newbie to postgraduate studies. In fact, I was taking up Masters in Media Studies (Broadcasting) in the Philippines before I went to Brunei. With the advice and recommendation of some of my closest professors in UP Diliman, I shifted to UP Open University so I can finish my masters. From being a Media Studies enthusiast, I became a Development Communication Scholar. Currently, I'm taking up Master of Development Communication which I find more practical and fulfilling.

On a more positive note, the three subjects which I took under my Masteral in Media studies were credited to my new degree at OU. With that, I only have 7 subjects left before I graduate.

I took two subjects this semester. I had DEVC 206: Design and Production of Print and Radio Development Communication Materials, and DEVC207: Design and Production of Audio Visual Development Communication Materials. Thankfully, I was able to deliver. I even nailed most of my assignments with gorgeous grades.

Studying far from my family was just emotional for me. Compared with I was studying in the Philippines, a small talk or some goofing around with any family member can take away all the stress in my mind. Unfortunately, none of that was visible in foreign land. Thankfully, there's the digital world which allows me to vent out my emotions through chatting or endless shout outs in social networks.

As i juggle school and work, stress built up. And it ate me on different levels and at unexpected times. There were nights that I keep on saying to my dad that "school is tiring." There were days I hunger for rest that I daydreamed of killing time in Neverland without doing anything. And most of all, I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs that I despise paper works. These are realities that I never posted on my Facebook. These are realities I never thought will sink in a driven person like me. I just kept it inside me. However, I realized that I am just a human being. I can just contain the emotion in certain level. And so here it is, well blurted out.

Reality: School + Work = Not a good Combo!

My mood was horrifying. I had a lot of those grumpy look. However, despite the impact of sleeplessness, I was able to control my emotions. I never shouted to anyone. I tried to smile if the situation calls. And on top of that, I took time and effort to share a minute to reconnect with my family via chatting.

For the past months, I was busy shooting my documentary. I had to do it discreetly. I was like a undercover agent doing a super tight investigation. My documentary's topic was sensitive that it can put me in danger. With this reality, I can't show my documentary to everyone.

Shooting while writing tons of paper works were just overwhelming. I began to suffer severe headaches because of sleeplessness. And I can't deny I gained weight because of stress. I ate a lot of sweets to liven up my spirit on long hellish nights. Literally, I just wanted to vomit the restlessness.

I don't blame anyone for the obstacles I had in the past months. It was my choice to study. It was I who pushed myself, to come out more of my comfort zone. Positively, I learned a lot. Not only I believed more on my capabilities, I also found the kind of people who will stand by me in good or bad times. And this is very important.

I know some people may thought that I'm just exaggerating with what I have to do and submit that I can't go to the gym anymore or I can't even have a time to watch a movie. I felt that. I am not numb to not feel the undertones on a joking remark or one liners. However, I still respect their views on me. If they think that I'm a nerdy boy who would rather drown himself reading, and so be it. What's important is I'm able to do what I want without hurting others and I know that one day my hardship will bear fruits which my family and I can harvest.

On a positive note, I am thankful to those people who boosted my morale in anyway. For those who messaged me "goodluck" and "kaya mo yan" on my Facebook, mobile phone or face-to-face, my biggest thanks to you all!

Postgraduate studies was a bittersweet experience as well as a humbling one. I had my ups and downs. I had my smiles and my grins. I had my joys and my tears. I had myself and lose myself. In the end, here I am stronger and shaped up.

Last Saturday, 27 February, everything was put to an end. I had my six hours final examination on both subjects. Seriously, I wanted to cry after. I said to myself, finally I'm done.

Now that school is over and there will be another three months to wait before the school starts, I am purely overjoyed. By just looking at how I survive the whole semester is so unbelievably fulfilling. Of course, I won't be able to do that without the continuous support from my family and friends. Thank you very much. Also, to our dear God who gave me strength, thank you very much.

Now, I'm ready to enjoy my upcoming vacation in the Philippines. I will surely enjoy every time of it.I thank the Lord for all the blessings and guidance! Mabuhay! =)

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