[ Notes from YLB : We mentioned before that after five minutes in polite conversation, carrying on about your kids becomes insufferable, and we still believe in that. However, since we all agree that graduating year is the most important year in HS, we prepared a pep talk style of letter for Bunso, who as an unsupervised teenager the last couple of years, has excelled above and beyond the call of duty. Please help us by sending us your two cents’ worth, should you have any, after reading our letter. Thanks for all the additional birthday greetings on Yahoo!, Facebook and SMS text ! ]
Dear Brent :
Thanks for the chat last night just before I left for night shift.
Let me first tell you how proud I am that you’ve acquired access to reviewers for UPCAT, CSAT, the Ateneo entrance exam and the DLSU equivalent. Nothing would’ve been better than the actual review classes, but you and I both know that you’ve got the next best thing.
Let me tell you too that I’m quite impressed by the number of options re degree programs you’ve presented for consideration, and without any help too. All your top choices are strong on the science disciplines so I’ve heard, but that was decades ago. If you need a degree that’s preparatory for either law or medicine, you can’t go wrong with a business degree. In the end, it’s your decision to make.
And I’m glad you’re considering living with Nana if ever you choose and get admitted to a school in Manila, because the travel time will be dramatically cut short, and you will enjoy a home away from home.
You’re a young teen making adult choices, and yet you display poise remarkable for someone double your age, something I sadly didn’t have much of in my wasted youth. But you are definitely making up for it, anak.
The redemption of work overseas has eased somewhat the awkwardness that never fails to emerge when I consider the squandered talents and jettisoned time that I’ve been guilty of, especially when you think of the missed days, weeks and years we could’ve spent together with you, your bro and sis.
You’re too smart and mature for me to deny that I could’ve built a career supporting family and a comfortable life, both for you guys and me. Instead, I’m toiling overseas just to be able to help for your expenses while finishing school. If not for rellies who’ve joined hands and chipped in for you, Nigel and Nicole, I don’t know how we could’ve filled in the gaps.
** ** ** ** **
Going back to your preparations for university, which as mentioned earlier I’m quite impressed with, I want to likewise impress upon you that there’s something in the sidelines that’s equally important awaiting, and that of course is your senior year.
This is the time when you progress from nerds and dweebs to campus heroes and big men (and women) on the quadrangle, when you evolve from bottom of the food chain to leader of the pack, and when you and your peers are the undisputed and acknowledged head of your high school family.
Definitely it’s a long way from your first day at secondary level, when you stepped into an unfamiliar world that would be the bridge between childhood and young adulthood, when a million and one memories would be forged, and where you would create friendships and beliefs that would last a lifetime.
But the best is yet to come. Because most of what makes up 4th year is a culminating activity, all your efforts are rewarded, your triumphs celebrated, and your relationships strengthened. For me at least, that’s what being a senior was all about.
** ** ** ** **
Because you’ve managed to be in the running for honors with good grades across the board, you need just a little extra effort to be recognized by your entire batch. Don’t get me wrong, I am one proud father no matter how you finish. But an extra feather on your cap never hurt anybody. To be in the magic five (or even top 10) is something no one can take away from you for life. Grades may or may not be an ultimate measure of success, but it definitely gives you a head start.
I can imagine you smirking : look who’s talking, did you practice what you preach Papa? I’m glad to say that I was too smart for my own good but was blessed to finish school by the skin of my teeth. Like they say, no one is entirely useless and can still serve as a bad example. I didn’t do too badly, managed to graduate, and still get enrolled in a good school. The choice to succeed, really was mine to make or break. God knows I got all the breaks.
Returning to your senior season, it sounds corny now, but every day of the schoolyear will be a rich source of memories for you, mostly good, a few not so good, but all durable.
There is simply too much emotion, too much excitement, too much empathy for each other and the great adventure ahead of you to not make high school a continuous highlight reel that you usually see on ESPN SportsCenter. Only, instead of athletic plays, you have classrooms bursting at the seams with noise and laughs, unending bondings in and out of numerous groups and barkada that you form and break every week ; outings that build impressions, character and confidence not only about your mates but most importantly about yourself, and how you will face the world outside.
Ironic, but the Junior – Senior Prom, the final intramurals, the Graduation Ball, and finally Recognition Day and Commencement Exercises, momentous though they are, are merely icing on the cake of your unforgettable high school memories. They will be a pretty sight, most of them, to be saved on your Facebook page and hard copy album, but don’t place too much importance on them. Palamuti lang sya ng iyong tunay na tagumpay.
You have a busy year ahead of you son. Unbelievably, I cannot recall a time when I have asked you to do your duty as a student, you are such a responsible student. Therefore, I am reminding you to HAVE FUN.
Because your Senior Year will never happen again. Ever.
I should know, because I think I had too much of everything, that remarkable time of my life.
I love you and miss you terribly. Kaawaan ka lagi ng Diyos.