I spent my Eid Al Fitr holiday in Ateneo, with two of my closest friends, Allan and JP. I don’t know what came into me but I just had that urge to go back there — to think, probably, and perhaps to see for myself how much things have changed.
The first thing I wanted to see was the Balete exhibit, which was this huge piece that attached itself to the facade of the Rizal Library. I saw it before in pictures, and I have to say.. I like it. 🙂 It was quirky and scary at the same time and it looked alive from meters away.
True, Ateneo now has a lot of new buildings/structures. Add to the fact that now that it has been almost 3 years since I graduated, it would be understandable for anyone of my age/batch to feel like an alien, with no sense of belonging. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel like that. While I was walking around, it felt like anytime, the bell would ring, and I would have to hurry to my next class.
It felt like a homecoming, like I’m seeing the campus through the eyes of someone who has seen/experienced more of the world, but still is the same person who once walked the halls two and a half years ago. Weird, I know. I’m still grasping for words as of this writing, to explain how it felt being there at that exact moment.
I went back there to think, and to try to feel again the carefree life of a college student. Logic behind that was, I needed to remember who I was at the happiest point in my life, when I was most content with my life. If I remember how I was then, maybe I would now have an idea of how I could get her back. Thankfully, I think it worked.
I’ve narrowed down the source of my happiness and contentment to these three factors:
- I’m happiest when I’m with my friends who have the same interests that I do. May it be showbiz, pop culture, eating habits, causes in life.. well, I’ve found people in Ateneo who satisfy my craving for all my interests.
- Now I realize the value of learning. In college, since my classes were very varied (from music production, Philippine cinema, to sociological theories.. I took them all!), everyday I had an epiphany. Everyday I got to learn about things that I wouldn’t have known; things that are worthy to share to Allan (because he was the friend who was most receptive to useless information), and things that are interesting enough to remember even now.
- Inasmuch as my mind was filled, my heart was too, and not in a romantic way. I guess the biggest difference of the Leigh today to the Leigh of college was that the Leigh of college had something she was fighting for. She had a cause.
I’m happy I didn’t have to work last Friday, or else it would’ve taken a couple of months before I would have realized these things. I still miss being in college. I really do. But one thing I’ve learned is that it will never be exactly the same again. To quote from Avenue Q, “But if I were to go back to college, think what a loser I’d be. I’d sit in the quad, and think Oh my God, these kids are so much younger than me.” I’ll be happy enough to get back the old me, the college Leigh, even if I’m now already working.