The School Year That Was

After my brief comeback on this blog two months ago, I’ve learned a new word, thanks to John Cochran of Survivor, which is by the way now my favorite reality show of all time. If you are familiar with Survivor, you will know that the show presents a 39-day game-slash-social experiment that requires contestants to “outplay, outwit and outlast” in order to take home one million dollars. Cochran is an unathletic nerd and a self-proclaimed “superfan” of the game. He is an anti-thesis of the game that requires defining physical strength to win majority of challenges and be proclaimed “Sole Survivor”. Cochran is awkward, insecure and almost annoying, and in one of his confessionals in the game, he described himself “self-deprecating”.

That’s the word, and I learned it from my Survivor underdog hero whom I can relate to, except that I do not have his fascinating sense of humor. My first year in the university has almost been over, and only recently did I put “self-deprecating/self-deprecation” in my plethora of words. But the thing is, for a long time now, my weaknesses have been consuming me inside.

As much as I hate to admit it, I cannot deny that I have not totally prepared for college life like I initially thought. I had many doubts before entering the university—things that bothered me if I would be able to surpass.

First, I thought that I would be a complete sucker in academics, one who seats in the backrow and the professor does not even recall because a student like him is on the verge of tres or singko. Fortunately enough, that happened not to be the case. In fact, I got quite amazing grades for the first semester that I probably had one of the highest general weighted average (GWAs) in my batch. I lost balance on my second semester, though, and got noticeably lower grades (but still relatively high to make it to dean’s list). But you see, that does not even matter for me now. For one, aside from my incosistent diligence in participating in class, I do not know if I deserve those grades at all. In fact, I’m not sure if I can still verbalize the lessons discussed in my subjects. The point is that I just can’t help but compare myself to the more courageous students rallying inside and outside the campus, unfazed by the limitations of the four walls of the classroom. I love how they fight for students’ welfare and the rights of the masses, and I admire their capability to substantiate their arguments. I used to argue too, but college made me doubt what I was fighting for, if I ever really had a legitimate one to begin with. I plan to join them soon, see the way they look at issues. I just need to be brave and eager enough to at least give opportunities a shot.

Second, I’ve been struggling with my social life in the university. Don’t get me wrong; I have gained close friends since my first day in college. In fact, I now belong to three student organizations in a university infamous for its challenging application process and final rites. It’s just that when I visualize myself in this sea full of fishes, I see myself as a tuyo to a bunch of salmons; an outcast, in short. My height, my physique and my unsatisfying communication skills (how ironic for a mass communication major like me) lose me self-steem. I don’t go to parties, I find it more difficult to start a conversation with my seatmate in a new class, and sometimes, I don’t ride the jeepneys in school because I might be stuck with an acquaintance inside the vehicle and I will just find it very awkward to sustain a decent interaction. It’s just plainly difficult to make things normal when what’s stopping me is the lack of confidence, and for a long time, I don’t know how to regain it (because I didn’t know when I lost it).

Lastly, well yeah, maybe I keep losing confidence because the times I try redeeming it again, all I get are closed doors. Since I entered college, I have been rejected a couple of times and ignored many times that I lost count. In high school, I thought I, at least, knew a way to make it to people’s admiration. But now, it seems that, I misplaced even that. I just feel sad—depressed, maybe—that possibly, I will not get the chance to find fulfillment in my heart. I’m holding on to the hopes that even if I’m out of many people’s leagues, maybe I can still be a part of some other people’s leagues.

I’m writing this—another terribly long article—because the school year that passed has been tough for me. I had ups and downs for sure, but right now, I just don’t see the point of sugarcoating the less successful attempts throughout the year. I’m writing this, maybe to remind me of what I’ve been, what I should stop doing and what I should be from now on. I’m writing this, probably because in the moment I’m taking down notes of my weaknesses, there’s this platform—this blog—where I can find my remaining strength.

I can write. I may not be convincing and engaging in doing so, but I still believe I have potential. Perhaps, I’ll spend the two-month vacation that I have in the province by writing and writing, and maybe before the start of classes, I have already reassured myself my capacity to write about life, or lack thereof.

Self-deprecating is difficult, especially when you are aware in yourself that society knows there is something to self-deprecate about. But I love how my Survivor favorite John Cochran figured it out in himself. He said in the Survivor finale, “Instead of the eccentricities and perks being the source of embarrassment or anxiety, I have just accepted it as a reality of my existence.”

 And if case I forgot to mention, on his second attempt, Cochran outlasted everyone else and won the game.

He won last year. I just watched the whole thing very recently.

He won last year. I just watched the whole thing very recently.

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