Lifestyle

Dear Tita, Hindi Pa Po Ako Ga-graduate This Year

"But, tita, please know that I'm trying my best and continually striving to achieve my goals."
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From Oh, TYG its the holidays,” to “Oh no, it’s the holidays,” real quick! Along with the cheerful greetings, relaxing ambiance, and jolly crowds comes a pinch of tension between you and your relatives when the topic of school—particularly graduation—has been dug up from the peaceful corner of everyone's minds. And all that holiday spirit of yours will be replaced, once again, by pressure. Now every year, instead of thinking about how much aguinaldo you can get from your titas and titos, the only thing on your mind is the fear of having to answer when they ask you about graduation or future plans. Talk about a relaxing bakasyon, eh?

"So anak, kailan ka ga-graduate?" "Anong plans mo after grad?" "Ano trabaho puwede sa course mo?" "Sure ka na ba sa course mo?" 

If you haven't mastered the art of being kebs yet, here are some points to remember to make for a less awkward and respectful conversation with your relatives during these kinds of encounters:

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Always be honest.

No matter how disapproving your relatives' remarks may be, always remember to tell the truth. It is already hard for you to cope with the pressure of school, the last thing you want to do right now is to stress yourself even further by coming up with a scenario that isn't true. Start by telling them short stories of what it’s like for you in school to make them understand what you are going through. Tell them that it is normal for college students to have slight delays every semester, but you are doing your best and still aiming for the end result—graduation.

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Go with straight-to-the-point answers.

If you are the type of person who doesn't do well with long conversations, make sure to answer them in full and clear thoughts right away. The more you avoid their questions with vague answers, the longer the dreadful moment will run (trust me). Instead of saying, "I don't know when I'll graduate," try saying, "I'm still working on my thesis defense because I had to make minor changes, hopefully, this year okay na." It's always better to tell them specific details about your plansthis way, it will satisfy your relatives' curiosity and will lessen the amount of time you have to spend having the ~big~ talk.

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Don't take it personally.

Not all questions about your future are an attack on your personal life. Some relatives are actually genuinely concerned about how you are doing in college. The best thing to do is to reassure them that you are doing your best to achieve your dreams, slowly but surely.

Lastly, be proud of how far you've come.

Don't doubt yourself the minute they doubt you. I know it can be hard when you are constantly reminded that you are behind schedule rather than being offered support and understanding, but keep in mind that this kind of dilemma is normal for college students. It's not an indication of your future failure or success. Be proud of yourself that every day you still get up, ready to fighteven if life doesn't make sense at times. You have come this far! No matter what comments you hear from your relativespositive or negativeuse it as your inspiration to continue fighting until the big day (aka graduation) finally comes. Grow at your own pace, don't let anyone's pressure get the best of you.

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Katrina Golamco
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Katherine Go A day ago

Cold Food

The most thrilling and delightful moment of any school day is opening up your baon during breaks. There is always so much excitement in unveiling your homemade meal and snacks housed inside matching heat-insulating containers. Because preparing packed meals is an age-old tradition of showing parental love, loved ones pour effort into curating a nutritious meal accompanied by a selection of side dishes, desserts, and beverages daily; it reminds us that we are being taken care of, even from far away.

Baon plays a significant role in a Filipino childhood. Almost every Filipino child comes to school with baon made especially for them by their parents or household helpers. Even Filipinos in the labor force continue to bring baon for varying reasons: to save money, recycle leftovers, cater to personal taste, or attend to special needs. Nonetheless, eating your baon is a heart-warming experience that allows Filipinos to bring a piece of home along with them wherever they go.

Even other cultures practice making packed lunch. In Japan, mothers create bento--Japanese meals in partitioned boxes. Because of the popularity of bento, trends have emerged, such as the Kyaraben, or character-themed bento. Naturally, Japanese parents and students began competing for who had the cutest and tastiest bento, and this is similar to what I have witnessed in my own childhood. I remember seeing my classmates sharing their snacks and lunches. They would compare and boast about their parents' or yayas’ cooking. In my case, I never had the chance to join in the competition or indulge in homemade cooking. Up until this day, I have never brought any baon to school.

For a long time, I envied others. As trivial or petty as it may seem, not having baon became a problem for my grade school self. During that time, I had to sit in a separate cafeteria away from my friends because the kids who bought food were assigned to sit elsewhere. You could consider me spoiled, but I wanted to experience something most kids did. I had food at home, so what made it so hard to bring some with me to school?

Now that I am on my final year in high school I have come to realize the benefits of purchasing my own food. Since I spent on food everyday, I learned to budget my allowance at a young age. Over the years, I learned to practice self-control whenever I wanted to eat more greasy fries and drink sweetened beverages. I have tasted the strangest viands at the school cafeterias, and I have repeatedly satiated myself over my latest delicious discoveries. Despite the struggles, I am thankful that I have never had baon because of what I have learned. Not to mention, I never had to experience eating cold food.

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