#Throwback: Weird Fifth Grade

1-throwback

I don’t know why I call my fifth-grade weird, but I’m pretty sure it is. At least, it’s not as depressing as fourth-grade, but I still have bad luck when it comes to making friends.

##########

It happened seventeen years ago, in 2001. That was the time when Detective Conan (Case Closed) and After War Gundam X started airing on Philippine TV every weekday afternoons. It is also the time when my mom just had her very first cell phone, a Nokia 3210, where I often play Snake, compose a ringtone, or compose a text message and saved it in the phone’s outbox. Well, regarding my fifth-grade memories, I always had this weird feeling whenever I explore the school, especially during a light to heavy rainfall. This weird feeling would soon become a weird make-believe fantasy, and it gives me an awkward feeling every time I think about it.

Now, what is that weird feeling I’m experiencing? It’s kind of unexplainable at the moment, but I believe it has anything to do with the area near the restrooms, as well as the view of the houses from the school grounds. I always tend to imagine a make-believe character getting sick or waking up from a nightmare and playing these scenes over and over in my mind. These weird feelings I’m experiencing are partly due to these anime shows I’ve watched at the moment. It really triggers my ability to create characters and scenes in my head, and that might serve as a basis for a planned story I’ve been trying to write about. Some sort of imagination I had back then…

September 2001. I participated at the Palarong Pinoy as a sungka player during that time, and these weird thoughts keep coming to my head. Somehow, the thought of waking up on a Saturday morning and meeting up with the rest of the participants at the school grounds before daybreak seems kind of weird. Oh well, it’s just me as a first-timer to join inter-school events (and the only time I did). It happened during the first and second day of the event (the three-day event is only held every Saturdays). And for the next two Sundays, I always request for a sumptuous feast of scrambled egg, fried rice, and [instant] chicken noodles for breakfast. Since I got eliminated on the second day of the event, everything goes back to normal… at least for a moment.

On the day of the school intramurals, everything gets a little boring since I’m not involved in any of the sports events, probably except for cheering on my schoolmates. Anyway, my boredom sure does get intense midway through the event so I tend to roam around the school campus, check some of the classrooms and books lying around, and think of weird thoughts about the classrooms near the covered court/stage and the storage area behind the classrooms.

Of course, there were some scary (supernatural) threats from some of my classmates, and I think it’s considered a form of bullying rather than a case of simple weirdness, as it involves intimidation from fellow students. I guess this is where my anxiety intensified, and that’s how my academic performance suffered and I was already off the list of top students. I don’t know if I should panic about the threats, my poor academic performance, or both. To be honest, there’s nothing weird about this part, just some supernatural-influenced scare tactics.

##########

I still have mixed feelings about that school year. Yes, I may have met a lot of new classmates in that combined class, but it’s basically the same as fourth-grade… sort of. But this is where my weird thoughts blossomed (and later incorporated) into my not-so-normal life.

The main campus of that school looked like an appropriate setting for a young adult novel, the one where the main character experienced the horrors of dealing with bullies and terror school teachers. But then, I don’t always look at it the same way as what I’ve just mentioned. Besides, that’s where I graduated from elementary and it’s already a part of my school life. Of course, the weird thoughts from that time will always remain in my mind.

Well, fifth-grade is much better than fourth-grade for as long as my emotional well-being is concerned.

Advertisements

School Days: My Thoughts About School And The Importance Of Education

How I Feel About School

To be honest, I was lucky that I get to finish school and had a brief stint at a call center company in Makati, in addition to the on-the-job training in college at a government office and a state-owned TV station. But of course, I can always recall the ups and downs of my student life.

##########

Back when I was a kid, going to school every day sure is a struggle, especially when you have to wake up early to a cold, sunny morning. My breakfast is ready, my uniform is ready… but in my mind, I’m not ready for another boring school day. I am like that whenever I don’t feel like going to school. But of course, there are times when I feel like I’m gonna cry if I miss school. I even recall that moment back when I was in third grade when I was actually begging my mom to let me go to school even though there is a typhoon and classes are suspended. Sometimes, I just don’t understand myself.

To be honest, school is actually a great place to learn and make friends. Yeah, why am I even thinking of ditching the thought of going to school when there is fun in learning? Also, I get to have a lot of fun with my classmates too, at least for the first three years in elementary. And I can’t wait for my favorite part of a school day, recess. Well, there’s no playground in my school, that’s the sad part. But still, we get to have fun by chasing one another or draw a lot of things in sheets of paper.

Come fourth grade, and everything changed. I’m beginning to see the dark side of friendship and the thought of rejection is making me feel depressed. I was being left out, and it’s kind of sad. Even the brief fame I got for representing our class in Mr. and Mrs. [name of school] didn’t help. I can’t even focus on my studies. I know I wasn’t doing very well at school since I’m preoccupied with my depressing thoughts.

And then there’s bullying. At first, the kind of bullying I experienced back in sixth grade (at a private school) was just a bunch of insults. Reaching high school, upon transferring to a public school, the kind of bullying I experienced is more than just a bunch of insults, but that also includes [slight] physical abuse. I feel endangered at the thought of being surrounded by a bunch of bad guys, at times I got hit in the head by means of a bully’s fist. Bullying remains a big problem in most schools, private or public. I know it’s a guidance counselor’s job to reprimand a bully for their actions, but only if the victims or the witnesses are willing to report the incident. In my experience, however, I only got to do this once.

When the school year ends, it spells relief for us as we’re off to a lengthy school break that coincides with the warm and sunny weather. As we look forward to another school year, we get to enjoy ourselves with spending the summer vacation at the beach or at home. School graduation, however, is a ceremony filled with lots of memories and proud moments.

I always thought of elementary graduation as insignificant, as it is just a simple ceremony to signify the transition to high school. Yes, your classmates from elementary may still be your classmates in high school. But it’s not the same for high school graduation, as this is the last time that you and your classmates will be together. Afterwards, you guys will go on separate ways. To be honest, I don’t feel emotional in all these school graduations after all.

##########

So what did I learn in the first ten (pre-K-12) years of my student life?

  • Studying hard is okay, but you don’t always have to devote all your time to studying. It’s the same thing for your hobbies, make sure that these don’t interfere with your studies. Oh well, it’s a matter of a work-play balance, it’s just that I don’t always do this.
  • Responsibility is done through doing your homework, projects, and reports, as well as studying your lessons at home not just in preparation for your quizzes or tests. Yup, I failed in this one, so that explains why I become an underachiever.
  • Being lazy with your studies leads to failure in quizzes and exams. Since I tend to procrastinate at times, this is where I lead. But then, I did well in some subjects, such as English and TLE-Computer. As for the rest, I only managed to pass. But at least I didn’t fail in any of the subjects, so much for my procrastination.
  • Academics aside, maintaining good relationships with your classmates bring you closer to them. I think I made a lot of friends but in the end, only your closest friends matter. No matter how terrible they are, if they’re being nice to you in the end, then you shouldn’t strain ties with them by means of a retaliation. But in my case, this is something I don’t follow as I had just severed ties with my fourth-year high school classmates, despite the fact that some of them are actually being nice to me.
  • Never let anybody bring you down. Yes, bullying is pretty common in schools, but this shouldn’t be the sole reason for you to quit school. Remember to keep your head up and ignore those who taunt you. Yup, this is also a lesson for myself too…

The Importance Of Education

School is a great place for learning a lot of things and making friends. It can help shape the children’s minds and lead them to a brighter future. But there are some children who never had a chance to go to school and experience formal education, so be grateful to your parents for this wonderful opportunity.

We all go to school not just to learn how to read and write, but to have a better and brighter future. Although we learn from our textbooks, it is actually through paying attention to the teacher’s lectures and participating in class activities that we actually learn a lot of stuff. And it gives you the chance to ask questions.

While you enjoy the privilege of going to school by means of riding various kinds of transportation or a school service, others have to walk a great deal of distance to school, even if it takes them a few hours just to get there one way. In rural areas, the path going to school involves crossing a river, passing by an overgrown forest in the mountains, and at times passing through slippery, grassy slopes and/or rocks along the way. You had your allowance given by your parents, originally intended for snacks and other important expenses, some of which went to gaming expenses. Others go to school with little or no allowance at all, some of them had to endure a long school day without food, and some of them have to dig through the trash for some recyclables or experience a great deal of labor just for their school allowance. And while you look forward to a brand new set of school uniform, a new pair of shoes, a new bag, and a new set of school supplies, others had to make do with their old school uniform (usually hand me downs), an old pair of shoes, incomplete set of school supplies, and sometimes plastic bags for storing their things. But it’s not through material things or comfort that a student can succeed in their studies, it’s through hard work.

Sometimes, money played a huge role in the child’s schooling. Just imagine how much would a tuition fee in a prestigious [private] school cost… and yet the child would end up begging for material things instead of studying hard. Besides, what your child learns in a private school is virtually the same as in a public school. Perhaps, a plus factor for studying in a private school is that they were able to provide some necessary equipment needed (such as laboratory apparatus for science activities, or musical instruments for music lessons), something that some public schools may lack. Still, private schools give an impression that they cater to those who can afford.

Some of the students are forced to stop schooling due to a variety of reasons, mostly related to poverty. It’s understandable that they’re striving to help their families by means of labor, but if they didn’t finish their studies, then they’re going to have a hard time finding a decent job and support themselves.

But there are some students who managed to finish studies, despite the hardships they’re facing. Even though they wanted to stop schooling just to help their parents, they were urged by their families to finish studies as this is their key to success. There are notable success stories by people who managed to finish their studies despite the hardships caused by poverty, this should serve as an inspiration to many. Remember, poverty should not be a reason to skip or stop studying.

In the end, it doesn’t whether you came from a private or a public school, for as long as you passed with flying colors. What we learned in school can still be applied to certain things in our daily lives, such as a simple computation or a simple experiment. And yes, education is not limited to a certain age group, for as long as you have the will to study and fulfill your dreams of becoming a successful person and living a better life.

All right, so why is education important for everyone? The answer is simple, it is where we learn a lot of information, and it is essentially vital for better employment and a better future. We all have our dreams in life, and we can achieve it through studying. The knowledge we gained from our studies can aid us in achieving our goals in life, and not just our occupational field of interest. Again, there’s no age limit when it comes to education so everybody will be given a chance to fulfill their dreams and become a successful being.

Postscript

School memories… they keep coming back to me. Despite the fact that I’m an underachiever, there are great memories that are worth looking back.

Yes, we may never bring back the past, but we can always remember the good and bad things we experienced at school. The people you meet and befriended, the events and experiences that matter, all the hardships that every student endured… and the sweet moment of achievement. Isn’t it nice to remember these kinds of school memories?

Of course, I learn a lot of things, both academically and non-academically. Being a student is all about knowledge and experience, and garnering enough achievements to make it all meaningful. Well, you can say that my student life isn’t meaningful at all but that doesn’t mean that I’m not good at anything. At least I still passed all my subjects and I graduated, but that was that. Still, I enjoy the moment of being inside the campus listening to the teacher’s lectures, roaming the halls during breaks, and spending time with some of my friends… off-campus. And the moment of meeting your awesome classmates as well.

Now that it’s all over, I guess it’s time to move on. It was really fun, despite some unpleasant moments that happened to me during that period.

 

School Days: Achievements, Activities, Moments, And Experiences

Note: There are some additions to this post, all of which happened back in elementary. The newly-added parts are highlighted.


Twenty years ago, in 1997, I started elementary school. Around that time, I was kind of rowdy and mischievous, and I find that experience hilarious. It’s as if we’re still in a kindergarten class, but we’re on our way to serious learning. The next few years turn out to be a turning point as I was starting to behave properly, but it was during fourth grade when I start experiencing rejections from my peers.

So this two-part article covers my experiences in elementary and high school, as well as my thoughts about going to school, and the importance of education. I’m sure some of these experiences are covered in previous posts, but this is the compiled version of my student life.

Elementary

Elementary. That’s the time when the more difficult math problems (like the three/four digit problem solving and fractions) become my biggest headache. Math is one of my two weakest subjects in school, the other one being science. Meanwhile, I enjoy literary and language based subjects the best.

As a first grade student, I tend to get into trouble just like any other kid in class. I tend to get noisy during class and I rarely do my homework. I did get into trouble for crawling under my female classmates’ skirts, and it was kind of perverted. I had no idea what made me do it.

The most hilarious thing I did that time was mimicking a school teacher (with my classmates as students) on a toothpaste commercial that was airing on TV that time. Yes, it was a teacher asking kindergartners asking what is the color of the teacher’s sweater, and the color of her teeth (if I recall correctly). Of course, one of my teachers doesn’t seem to be amused by what I did and we rushed back to our seats as soon as she comes in. It was kind of funny.

I also remember that time when I actually begged my Filipino teacher to let me join my classmates for the Linggo Ng Wika presentation, partly because my best friend is among my classmates who are selected to represent our class. Of course, she let me join my classmates for the presentation. Later that year, I was Mr. Israel for the United Nation Day, although my costume looked like an Arab’s. Yup, it’s the same for the following year’s United Nation Day at our school.

In second grade, we had our field demonstration. It’s basically a bunch of dance steps with simple props (such as a ring and a stick) and a dance music track.

During third grade, we did another field demo for the UN Day at our school, and this time our class will represent Mexico, with the song “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin. It was raining that time, but of course, the show must go on.

On the first half of elementary, I managed to take home some awards. These include the award for being “Most Friendly” (first grade), “Best in Reading” (second grade), and “3rd Honor[able Mention]” (third grade). By the way, there’s the Top 5 (or the cream of the crop) at the end of each school quarter to honor the students with excellent grades.

##########

Fourth grade comes, and we finally have our Home Economics and Livelihood Education classes. This is where we learn how to sew, cook, and work in the school garden. I had a hard time with the sewing activity, but I managed to do it. With some assistance, that is. Also, that’s the time where we get to have Computer class, focusing on BASIC programming. You know, the PRINT “Hi!” = Hi! thing.

For that year’s Linggo Ng Wika, we are grouped according to what region (in the country) where we came from. We represent our group by dressing up in our specific traditional (and religious) costumes, as well as to make an introduction in our dialect. For our group, two of us are in religious costumes, the two others are in traditional costumes.

During that time, there’s a lyre band lesson, with the help of a lyre band instructor (I think). Most of our classmates had bought their lyre bands, but I was unable to have one since my family couldn’t afford it. I was eventually assigned to playing the snare drum, with some my classmates playing other instruments as well. That continued until the following school year (with our music teacher in fifth grade as an instructor). There’s a speech lesson as well, courtesy of our friendly speech instructor. We had a lot of fun with our speech lessons, which is one of the few good moments during my fourth grade.

In November that year, I wrote an essay about computers for the Computer Month. I won third place for that.

And guess what, I was chosen as a candidate (along with the female transfer student, who became my best friend until the end of that school year) to represent our class for Mr. & Ms. [name of school], as part of the school’s Foundation Day. To be honest, I was quite uncomfortable being selected to represent our class, but I went on with it… only I didn’t tell my parents about it until the school trip. There’s the competition for formal wear, casual wear and sportswear, and of course the talent portion. On the presentation of the candidates, however, my female partner didn’t show up since she wasn’t feeling well. The winners are determined by the number of tickets sold, and I didn’t mind winning the title at all. Regardless, I become popular with my female classmates for a while, and that was that.

It was during that time when my classmates started ignoring me and they didn’t let me join in their games. So I’m stuck with two of my classmates, and I don’t know if they’re really fun to be with. But one thing is for sure, it was a depressing school year for me.

Fifth grade comes, and I feel weirder and weirder each day. I’m starting to become a misfit, but at least I made some new friends, the ones from the main campus. Yes, I’m from the satellite campus (along with some of my classmates), but the satellite campus can only accommodate classes up to fourth grade so we were transferred to the main campus the moment we finished fourth grade. Anyway, we are a large class comprising two sections, the main campus’ section A and satellite campus’ section B. Of course, not all of them are friendly to me in the end.

Our school is also competing in the Palarong Pinoy, held at the Nayong Pilipino in Pasay City. I’m competing in Sungka’s mixed junior division, but I never made it to the finals.

January the following year, our school had the annual Intramurals. The intermediate students and the high school students are the ones participating in the school’s yearly sports fest, and we are divided into four groups, namely the green team, red team, yellow team, and blue team. I belong to the green team, and I’m on the team’s cheering squad. I was immensely bored throughout the event, and I can’t recall if our team had [actually] won anything.

Sixth grade comes and it gets even more interesting. At least, since I met a cool guy wearing glasses and I started enjoying watching anime shows and playing games on the newly-bought surplus PC. About the guy, he was actually not in my class yet we somehow managed to hang out on occasion. He was a very nice person.

For that year’s Linggo Ng Wika, we are to re-enact the scenes from the 1986 People Power Revolution, as well as perform the patriotic theme song “Magkaisa”. I play the role of a cameraman, with a video camera made of styrofoam. We did well in our presentation, I think.

And there’s an entire class recital of Prince Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, “To Be, Or Not To Be”. Yup, it is part of our speech class, with our friendly speech instructor from a few years back. Aside from that, some of us have to produce our own voice recording of the poem “Little Bo Beep”, with proper pronunciation. I didn’t get to do this anyway so I’m fine with listening to some of their voice recordings, some with a hilarious twist.

We have our Christmas-themed presentation/competition, where we perform Christmas songs as a group. It’s a school inter-class competition, but I don’t really recall much of it. I don’t feel like joining the class in the performance since I’m not in the mood to do this. Well, at least I’m not the only one who’s not performing with the rest of the class anyway.

It’s the school’s Intramurals once again. Previously, all games are held inside the school’s parking (that doubles as the playground and basketball/volleyball court) and the school quadrangle. However, for this year’s Intramurals, some of the games had to transfer to the basketball court inside the private subdivision, a walking distance from the school’s satellite campus. Anyway, I’m now on the yellow team, and they’re asking me to compete in the sports event. I give in, and I’ll compete in Sungka for the second time. I won the competition, but then it will take a while before the sports event ends. I didn’t bother to go watch the other sports events, which took place on my favorite day, Saturday.

So here comes the graduation, but I have mixed feelings about it. First of all, it’s my female classmates who keep telling me that I will never graduate and that I don’t deserve the “Loyalty Award” for staying at school for six years. Of course, I got mad but I couldn’t control my emotions too.

Six years at [name of school]… it’s a mix of fun, remarkable, and lonely moments of being an elementary student. Without a proper farewell, I decided to move on and move to a public school the following school year. I doubt I’m gonna miss my soon-to-be former classmates (and I don’t think they’ll miss me anyway).

High School

High school life sure is fun, but I didn’t get to enjoy every part of it.

Well, I’ve had enough of my troubled past in my former school, maybe this will change by the time I transfer to another school, the one where my brother finished high school. Besides, I had a feeling that I’m gonna meet a lot of nice people in my new school, some of them become my closest friends.

So I’m a high school freshman who is still acting like an elementary student? It’s a challenging transition, but that’s something I can live with. To begin with, my new school is in Lagro, Quezon City, about more or less 8 kilometers (calculated using Google Maps) from my house. And since I’m no longer in private school, I think it’s a good idea for me to experience how to commute, having used to being taken to and from school on a tricycle as a school service (though I did it with my classmate a few times back in elementary). I still find it scary to cross the street (thanks to the overspeeding vehicles on the highway), but at least it’s safe to cross the street near my school.

And here comes algebra, biology, geometry, chemistry, trigonometry, physics, economics, Asian and world history, and technology and livelihood education (TLE). In addition, we also study four notable literary works from Filipino authors: Ibong Adarna, Francisco Baltazar’s Florante At Laura, and Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, as well as watching their stage play adaptations at the UP Theater.

We were introduced to different school clubs, but I don’t know if any of us are really interested in joining one. There’s the math club, the English club, the science club… all of the school clubs are dedicated to a particular school subject.

The school cafeteria is impressive and had wider choices than my former school. At the time, the cafeteria implemented the chit system wherein I had to fall in line just to exchange my cash for the plastic stub of equivalent value so I can buy something in the cafeteria. It was eventually scrapped more than a year later, replaced by cash register specifically for cafeteria meals.  During the first few weeks, I bought some chocolates and candies at the cafeteria and ate it inside the classroom during breaks. Of course, some of my classmates ask for a portion of a chocolate bar when they saw me eating one. In addition to the cafeteria, there’s also the co-op store where we bought pieces of pad paper, ball pens, notebooks… even our PE uniform, workbooks, and other knick knacks.

And yeah, I started wearing my glasses a few weeks before I start high school, so they thought that I was a genius. One of my teachers refers to me affectionately as Boy Genius. But at least I’m not alone since one of my female classmates also wear glasses as well.

During this time, I was actively copying what is written on the board, but at times I had a hard time catching up since I tend to make some mistakes and my hands are tired from all the writing. Also, some of the activities, particularly the ones on the TLE class, proved to be challenging as I need to make a lampshade, a letter holder (something I managed to finish myself), a gel candle (probably the easiest one to make myself), and a few others.

During my first year in high school, we only have our classes three whole days a week, from 6:30 AM to 5:30 PM, with flag ceremonies held on Mondays. That changed during my second year in high school and with a new school principal and some changes, classes are now divided into two shifts. So it’s five half-days a week instead of the three whole days a week classes, which is quite a relief for some of us. For the rest of my high school years, I’m always placed in the afternoon classes.

I also recall back in first-year when I had to buy a recorder flute for our music class. It was an ivory Hohner recorder flute, which I really liked, yet I’m not good at playing that kind of instrument. It was an effort trying to play a few notes, what more for an entire piece of music? At times, we’re practicing a few songs our MAPEH teacher taught us. In the end, the flute was stored in the study table for a long time and I rarely played that thing.

I used to bring packed lunch during my freshman year but since it’s gonna be a half-day the following school year, I decided to eat lunch at home and just ask for the same allowance as last year. At least, 20 percent of my allowance goes to transportation, the rest goes to various expenses from snacks to school supplies. Of course, my allowance is larger than some of my classmates, and I don’t spend it all on snacks alone. Sometimes, I need to save some for myself.

I didn’t get to attend the school’s founding anniversary during my freshman year. It was during my sophomore year that I get to attend and have fun in the annual event, and I always look forward to it until my senior year. Around this time, I also attended some notable events, such as the “Pasikat Ni Sir At Mam” and a couple of stage plays inside the covered court.

##########

It’s sophomore year and I’m in the afternoon class. But since some of my friends are in the morning classes, I ended up going home by myself. Well, I’m getting used to it since I’m starting to feel like a loner again, aside from being excluded by my seatmates. In addition to that, I experienced bullying from my two classmates, and I was extorted money by another. My sophomore year is sort of okay, but not really that okay.

The following school year (junior year), I’m having a great time with some of my classmates. I was elected as the president of the Handicrafts class (one of TLE’s electives) and I’m doing well in Geometry. I started hanging out with some of my friends again, and I was bending the rules a bit by wearing rubber shoes instead of my black shoes.

And here comes senior year, where I’m about to experience a great deal of trouble. At first, my classmates are very nice but that changed in the next few months. They tend to annoy me a lot of times and did something terrible to me. That aside, I was often nominated as a class officer for each of the subjects, some of which I did become a class officer. I’m not comfortable with being nominated, but… there’s nothing I can do about it. They’re being nice to me that time so I can’t tell them that.

I’m in the Computer class as part of the elective, it’s all about the internet with some MS Office activities in between. We are to create our own website as a project, and we made a video slideshow using our baby pictures (transferred to the computer by means of a scanner). Well, in our class, we (IV-Chromium) were down to just four as some of our classmates had transferred to other electives due to the monthly fee. I made friends with some of the students from IV-Gold and the lone student from IV-Lead.

We had our National Achievement Test, as well as our National Career Assessment Examination during our senior year. I think I did well in these tests. Regarding the National Career Assessment Examination, I think that helped me figure out my occupational field of interest… that is, the artistic field (or simply the arts).

There are a few more events I never attended. First is the Christmas party, the other one is the senior prom. I don’t care if I didn’t attend the Christmas party and have fun with some of my annoying classmates, but I don’t know if I feel the same with not attending the Prom. Something tells me that I should have attended the latter, but I didn’t. Not only I didn’t get to see my friends and classmates in their formal attire, but I’m missing a part of my life as well. Oh, but that didn’t matter now.

And here comes the emotional high school graduation ceremony. As usual (and just like any other high school graduations), students use this as a chance to spend the last hours of their high school life with picture taking, sharing stories of their high school memories, and wishing each other luck in their chosen field of interest. While some of my classmates are teary eyed by this memorable high school graduation, I didn’t feel emotional about it. Why some of them are hugging me and wishing me luck, I don’t know. They are planning a post-graduation outing and they’re inviting me, but I declined.

For some reason, I never got my high school yearbook and I didn’t bother to get my class picture. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever ask for a soft copy of the class picture, as I already severed ties with most of them.

##########

High school officially ends, and I decided to take a year off from studying before heading for college as an English major student. And after ten years of finishing primary and secondary education, I only had very little achievements and I managed to pass my grades. Of course, I feel disappointed and guilty with myself for failing to keep up with my studies and I never got to my dream university, but that doesn’t matter now. Anyway, there’s the second part of this article featuring my thoughts about school and the importance of education.

The Year 2005: One Remarkable Year (The 150th Post Special)

1-150

150th post, coming up! Along with the arrival of the year 2017, there comes my assumption that this year will be similar to the year 2005. Why is that? And what makes the year 2005 a special year… for me?

##########

January

Nothing special yet for this month, probably except for some post-holiday feels. I truly missed this kind of holiday, with all the holiday feast and everything. And yes, the TV ads made specifically for Christmas. Oh well, I’m expecting the worst thing in my student life… getting bullied. Something worth forgetting, I suppose.

February

Oh well, I feel like riding my bicycle and spending an entire afternoon with my feet on the pedals. That’s a perfect way to engage me in a workout, right? But it’s kind of unfortunate that I have to spend two weeks at home because of chicken pox. How awful.

Regarding the latter, well… I did spend an afternoon at school feeling sick, but I can still move around without trembling or wobbling my way back to my seat. Going home, I lose my balance and stumbled on the ground, but I managed to get up and made it back home safely… only to discover that I had that dreaded disease. That surely added to the worst chapter of my student life.

My high school teachers are having a presentation and some of us watched the show. I enjoyed the performance by the English teachers. The rest of the performances are equally good as well.

March

Hello, warm and sunny weather… Cheers to the most wonderful time ever! I was thinking of playing that RPG game, but I hold off the thought as I’m kind of stressed complying with the requirements for the clearance. Sometimes, my classmates wouldn’t cease to annoy me, and I did push one of my classmates to the asphalted ground. I thought he might retaliate (since he got a bleeding arm and he looked a little mad), but he just wiped his arm on my shirt and that was that. Lucky for me, I had a change of clothes. I did just that and moved on. And lucky for me (again) that he never did retaliate in spite of what happened yesterday.

Around this time, I started going to the nearby mall by myself, something I couldn’t do on my own without the feeling of intimidation and getting lost. It’s basically due to an errand, but at times I wanted to go there so I can spend some of my saved allowance on such novelty items, like notebooks, art materials, and other useless stuff. So much for shopping by myself at such a young age…

A prelude for the much-awaited summer break: my uncle and his family and relatives are having an outing. I was invited, and I gladly join them since I wanted to spend a hot day at the pool. And that’s what I exactly did, swimming under the scorching heat of the sun. My mom was surprised that I got a little darker, possibly due to sunburn.

April

Here it is, the summer vacation… the one I’ve been looking forward to! There goes the usual habit of watching anime and Asian dramas on TV, playing video games (especially RPGs) while listening to various audio CDs and riding my bike on the street. It’s an entire summer break filled with lots of fun and excitement but in a less extreme way. Still, I really enjoy my summer vacation a lot, thanks to the great sunny weather.

Our desktop PC (a.k.a. the Pentium 1 PC) had a problem, and we need to backup some of the files on the hard drive. My brother has to go to his classmate in college who’s exceptionally good at computers just to reinstall the operating system into the hard drive, as well as to back up the content. It was on the same day that there’s a prediction of a possible earthquake, which came from an SMS message. I was then planning to go to the mall just to buy some back issues of a PC magazine. I did just that, and right after I got home, my mom and I went somewhere. I don’t know if it’s a miracle or anything, but there was no [reported] earthquake that afternoon. A big sigh of relief for me, even though the prediction itself appears to be a hoax. Still, we must prepare for something unpredictable and unexpected, such as an earthquake.

I don’t know if this happened around April or May, but we visited the La Mesa Eco Park. I brought my bike with me, and I spent the afternoon pedaling on the oval track, which gives a great view of the Orchidarium. It was quite a picnic, we even had a whole chicken just for the three of us.

May

And my summer vacation continued with playing RPGs while listening to a mix of classic and recent songs on the PC’s CD player. And then there’s the fascination with an anime (Naruto) and an Asian drama (Meteor Garden)… a fairly good reason to watch TV, I suppose.

Near the end of the summer vacation, I did help my mom and my relatives clear the vacant lot and fence the area. At first, I thought I might be getting in the way since I’m not used to holding such dangerous objects such as the itak (bolo knife) or the rake. Months later, I’m pretty used to such intensive labor, but at times I opted to stay at home and play games on my PC. It was such a good experience, even though my hands felt sore from handling and using the tools for too long. On our way home, however, the AUV had a battery problem and that’s not a good thing. My brother and I were told to head home, leaving the rest behind. Upon reaching home, I asked a neighbor for help and went back, only to face another problem since it was raining hard that night and the owner type jeep stalled on a flooded road. I then decided to head home feeling wet and cold. They finally reached home as soon as I finished taking a shower.

My summer ended with a shocking and sad news. My brother’s classmate and best friend took his own life and we were saddened by his death. My brother was informed of the news through text, and later that night, my mom and my brother visited his funeral. A few weeks prior, he came for a visit, and my brother noticed that something’s not right. Even I kind of noticed it as well, but I was busy taking care of my three toddler cousins so I didn’t know exactly what they talked about and what happened after that. It is nearly twelve years since his death and until now, I still recall that shocking day. That made me rethink about threatening to kill myself whenever my classmates did something terrible to me. Whatever happens, I hope he’s doing fine up in the blue yonder.

June

School starts, and I’m excited to meet my new classmates, as well as our class advisor. There’s also a reunion with a couple of my classmates from freshman year, and some of my teachers from my freshman and sophomore years become my teachers for this school year. It’s unfortunate that my classes are still in the afternoons, just like last year. So there goes the habit of watching afternoon anime shows…

There’s a big advantage for being in the afternoon class: my annoying classmate from my sophomore year is in the morning classes, as well as his so-called accomplice. But my awesome classmate from freshman and sophomore year is also in the morning classes as well, so that made me think of him even more. Don’t get me wrong on this one, it’s the friendship that counts… sort of.

Some of the BFFs had their classes in the afternoons as well, so they ask me to join them on the way home after every class. I’m really looking forward to going home with some of the BFFs, considering that it’s kind of boring going home by myself.

For our Technological and Livelihood Education, we have to choose an elective, namely Computer Education, Handicrafts, Dressmaking and Simple Accounting. I decided on Handicrafts as my chosen elective. I was even made the president of this school year’s officers for the said elective. An interesting note about this elective is that it is supposed to be an all-boys elective (as was Dressmaking for girls), yet there are a few girls who also signed up for the elective as well. They were eventually transferred to the other electives. There were also some boys (who originally chosen Computer Education as their elective) joining Handicrafts as well since they couldn’t afford the monthly computer fees.

July

Things are going pretty well until the surprise announcement about our new Math teacher. For the first few weeks of the school year, it was a middle-aged male teacher who’s in charge for this subject. He then made the announcement and upon mentioning that it’s a young female teacher in her mid-20’s (I assume) who’ll be taking over, our excitement grew. And she was a nice teacher as well. Too bad that I’m often late for the first period, which happens to be my least favorite subject (and my favorite for this school year), Math. This school year’s Math (Geometry) happens to be an exception, as I suddenly had an interest in Geometry and this is the only time I’m getting higher grades on this subject.

August

Things get pretty normal for this time of the year. I seem to have an interest in Chemistry as well, though not as much as Geometry. Still, I manage to keep up with my studies and I seem to be having fun.

Remember the machine that changed my life? Well, there’s another one coming and it’s slightly powerful than the one we’re currently using. A decade old PC, running Pentium Pro, serves as an alternative to the slower PC (Pentium 1) we bought a few years ago. Eventually, the Pentium 1 PC was sold and we keep on using the recently arrived PC that my uncle donated to us.

As the month comes to a close, we are looking forward to our annual school’s founding anniversary on the first day of September. Now, on to the next part…

September

Two events happened in a single day. Of course, there’s the school’s founding anniversary and my cousins’ birthdays.

That morning, we had our school’s founding anniversary with a parade, a program, and lots of booths from marriage booth to jail booth… in fact, my annoying classmate from sophomore even tried to have me arrested (yup, that makes the jail booth even more fun) but I outsmarted him. In the end, he failed. Also, I run into my awesome classmate and we had a small chat. And yes, I did hang out with the BFFs before heading home. That afternoon, we celebrated my cousins’ birthdays, and it was a lot of fun too.

The following day, I was listening to the compilation of tracks from my cousin’s CD while playing an RPG game on the desktop PC. A mix of love songs and current hits, the playlist is quite okay. As for the love songs, I have some favorites though some of them are hard rock.

Later that month, there’s another PC coming aside from the Pentium Pro PC. Yes, it’s a laptop computer that’s twice as fast as the aforementioned PC and it’s perfect for gaming… sort of. Anyways, I assumed ownership of the laptop, and I’m more excited to personalize everything on this laptop. I installed some programs and games, as well as setting up the laptop’s wallpaper and sounds. The Pentium Pro PC was ignored for the time being, but…

October

There are times that the laptop would simply not open, even without its battery (and plugged into the outlet, just like a desktop PC). I knew that there might be a problem with my laptop, but it’s still functioning. I did get that thing powered and running perfectly fine… for now.

We had our school tour early this month, and we visited a few places. Strange that it was held on a Sunday, so some places on the itinerary are closed. Well, starting the trip, there’s the Baywalk (where we had a nice view of the Manila Bay even though it’s morning), then the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani (we only toured the area inside the bus), and Rizal’s house in Calamba, Laguna (which is closed on Sundays, unfortunately, but I’ve been there countless of times in my previous school tours). The last two itineraries are leisure oriented… there’s hiking at UP Los Baños Botanical Garden, and swimming at a resort somewhere in Laguna.

It was on the way home that I accidentally had my pocket radio tuned into a smooth jazz station, Joey 92.3 (it’s actually 923 Joey by the time I first tuned in that station) and listened to it during the entire trip along South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). Afterwards, for the next few days, I keep tuning in that station until I got hooked on the smooth sound that I’ve become an avid listener for almost two years. Most of the songs played in that station become my favorites, and the favorite songs are eventually downloaded and are now stored and played on my PC and my music player.

And then the worst thing happened… the laptop finally gave up on me. Well, it happened due to an improper shutdown and the hard drive needs to be scanned. Unfortunately, the hard drive’s got lots of bad sectors in it, and right after the scan the laptop simply failed to boot. Is it the hard drive, or is it the laptop’s motherboard? Either way, that’s just too bad. So it’s back to the Pentium Pro PC, and it finally got some attention again after a few weeks of being unused.

October (Semestral Break)

The last week of October means a semestral break for us students. But without the laptop, how am I gonna enjoy the almost two-week long vacation? Also, it was raining hard that time so I can’t even ride my bike outside. I don’t have a choice but to stay home and either watch TV or play games on the Pentium Pro PC.

The scent of coconut incense makes this rainy October memorable. Now, I’m gonna content myself with watching Naruto, flicking through my PC magazines, and playing Super Mario Kart on the desktop PC while waiting for the classes to resume. Anyway, from a previous post, here’s a description of that [memorable] semestral break:

October 2005. Rainfall, coconut incense, Naruto, Super Mario Kart, and the coffee commercial featuring the song “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green. I was feeling disappointed that time since I couldn’t use the laptop to play Golden Sun (through a GBA emulator) and do anything random, so I content myself with the slower desktop PC just to play games… it was kind of ridiculous and immature how I reacted to that possibility. And there are some cheap collectible cards, the ones featuring Gon and Killua (of Hunter x Hunter). Then there’s the sudden urge to watch anime on TV, Naruto in particular. And there’s an upcoming channel on test broadcast, plus some upcoming Korean drama series on prime time.

November

It’s back to reality, but there’s no stopping the excitement as there’s an upcoming new channel to watch out for. And some great Korean dramas and anime shows.

I know I can be restless sometimes, it just can’t be helped. I tend to roam around the school halls like it is a park or something. And since I was trying to look cool just like everybody, I tend to bend the rules a bit. Yup, wearing sneakers with my school uniform is not allowed, but a lot of students do this, so…

November is English month, and some of my classmates (as a group) are among the participants representing our class in the interpretative dance, as part of the program. The song “Reflections” by Christina Aguilera was the chosen song for this performance. I’m not one of the performers, but we’re proud of our representative’s achievements… I don’t know if our class won the competition. The thing is, our class advisor, who is our beloved English teacher, is the one hosting the said competition and there’s a little controversy involved. But we proved them how good my classmates performed by repeating the performance in front of our P.E. teacher, and she was impressed with the performance.

You know how I tend to be careless sometimes. Well, I accidentally dropped my glasses to the floor so one of the lenses is broken. And there comes an even bigger problem–both the lens of my glasses ARE broken. How am I suppose to get home without wearing my glasses? More importantly, will I be able to see clearly without it? Luckily, my parents had my old pair of glasses repaired so I no longer need to worry about it.

December

And then December comes in.

For the last few months, I simply opted to stay at home instead of helping out with such intensive labor since I had a hard time with digging the hard soil and cutting the grass. But some of my cousins are helping out, so I decided to join in. Well, it’s fun to be out of the house sometimes, on a weekend where the desktop PC is my companion.

I don’t recall when we first installed this game. But it was around this time when I’m starting to enjoy playing this card game on PC. Yup, it’s Yu-Gi-Oh! Power Of Chaos: Yugi The Destiny. I think it’s the coolest PC game I ever played. And then there’s Joey The Passion and Kaiba The Revenge. This completes the Power Of Chaos games series installed on the desktop PC, and I tend to spend more time on these games hoping to win some powerful monster cards, or useful trap and spell cards.

Another terrible thing happened… someone tried to steal something from my bag. Since I padlocked my backpack to deter those kleptomaniacs who would try to get their hands on my valuables, the unidentified suspect sure had another way to do it… by means of using a scissor. I didn’t immediately report this incident, but my mom found out anyway, so she’s off to the school to see my class advisor. To make the long story short, my classmate (who probably took the blame, since no one wanted to confess to the incident) apologized to me. He eventually revealed who did the scissor thing, and to be honest I don’t want to confront the actual person who’s behind this.

I was starting to have a little fun as the BFFs and I decided to go to the mall after class. I just happen to see something interesting in a bazaar just outside the mall, so I bought it immediately. There were other interesting items as well, but I’m not into shopping just yet. Besides, I don’t have much money.

It’s Christmas party, and I was wearing all red. Before that, I was thinking of a perfect Christmas gift to my female classmate… and all of a sudden, one of my classmates was giving me a wonderful item, more of an ornament. I decided to take the offer and bought the item and decided on a pretty paper bag as a gift wrap. Problem solved. Now, back to the Christmas party, my female classmate was delighted to receive such a nice gift. I did receive a teapot (the plastic one with a strainer, more like a coffee pot due to its appearance) as a Christmas gift by another classmate. Until now, the said teapot remains unused and the strainer shows signs of rust. It’s been sitting in the cupboard for many years before it was taken out.

After the Christmas party, I meet with the BFFs and we all head to the mall and have some fun. I decided to stay at the mall a little longer after some of my friends headed for home. Reaching the house past 8:00 PM, the wind was blowing hard but there’s no rain. I guess it’s pretty normal during the cold season.

It’s Christmas season and we celebrate it with a feast. My mom, my cousin and I head to the supermarket to buy food for our Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) and Media Noche (New Year’s Eve), and then we celebrated the Christmas and New Year’s Eves at our cousin’s place, along with some of our relatives. What makes it even more special, is when we celebrate the holidays with a great amount of happiness.

Post-2005

It’s the year 2006, and it’s time to cherish every single good thing that happened. As I was staring at the cleared area (where the makeshift classrooms and the garden used to be), I was wondering… what happened in the past twelve months? Am I having a great time?

There are a lot of things happened past this point. Of course, there are only a few months left before another summer break. There’s discovering my artistic talent, and a few more anime shows to enjoy. Of course, there’s my pocket radio and the smooth jazz station I listen to on that school trip.

##########

Well, here’s the summary of my life twelve years ago:

  • For a fourteen-year-old student [going fifteen] like me, it’s just a typical life dominated by studies, video games, music, anime… and a little bonding/hanging out with friends.
  • Since I don’t have a cell phone that time (wishing I have one back then), there’s no texting… and mobile photography. Well, I’m not into text messaging anyway, so I’ll leave that one out.
  • I don’t even have a Friendster account as well, so there’s no online experience.
  • I may not have the fastest PC that time, but I had lots of fun with some of the RPG games and the PC game Yu-Gi-Oh! Power Of Chaos series.
  • I’m not into pop and rock music, and I’m lured into listening to smooth jazz and easy listening music with a touch of smooth foreign language (Brazilian and French) songs.
  • My growing interest in anime has become apparent since I’m fascinated with Sasuke of Naruto and Yugi of Yu-Gi-Oh!, as well as Keitaro Urashima of Love Hina and Rumina Asagi of Tokyo Underground. Oh, how I miss those days!
  • Math suddenly becomes an interesting subject for me, and Geometry is much easier than Algebra and Trigonometry. It is the only time I’m getting high grades with this subject.
  • There’s still bullying, but not as much as the rest of my high school years. There’s also a few unpleasant incidents (such as the scissor thing), but at least I didn’t see that annoying classmate from my sophomore year.
  • I get to meet some of the new BFFs, and we always wait around after school to have fun or to have a small chat before going home. We would take a short jeepney ride up to the mall, and then we head home on our own.

For me, I find the year 2005 to be the most remarkable year due to a lot of fun experiences. I happen to be in such a great mood for most of the year, and for a lot of reasons. So, will I be able to replicate it this year? Hopefully. I predicted that this year will be the same as the year 2005 so I’ve yet to see if I can make this year remarkable too.