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Words: Darryl Banay Peñaredondo

Allowing students to cope up with the changes brought by the coronavirus disease, several schools and professors opt to cancel requirements and pass their students. As an act of compassion, top performing universities including Ateneo de Manila University, University of the Philippines, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila gave out passing mark to all their students with proper directives and guidelines that brought questions to other universities that can’t do the same.

Students and teachers, admit it or not, are the soul of any institutions (schools, universities or colleges). The development and growth of the students reflected to the quality of education they offer. Hence, quality education only grows if universities can give proper care to their learners specifically a help to ask students’ concerns about their struggles during this time of crisis. It is worth listening and involving the students, also non-regular employees we wish to help because their views and discernment is the tool to accurately respond to what the institution need in this time of quarantine.

Over the past few days, students’ sentiments and perceptions became an important determinant to show how a Higher Education Industry (HEI) imbibes the values of progressive leadership — whether they acknowledge the need to open their ears and hearts to self-awareness or not. Emotionally coping with this strange invisible enemy named COVID-19 was a challenge for all. Online classes is done in normal situations, we’re in the middle of a crisis. It is impossible for ‘all’ students to fulfill their requirements, communication and learning-wise. It is so unfair to not take considerations, especially in state universities, where over half of the population is living in a life of “one scratch, one peck.”

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According to the Philippine Constitution, higher education institutions are mandated, whether public or private, to operate within an environment of laws and policies that aim to guarantee and protect the right to education of all citizens by ensuring that institutions of learning promote access, equity.... Going back, I believe that giving bunch of works and requirements in this outbreak doesn’t promote enough access and equity.

Another option is providing learning materials for students who don’t have enough resources such as gadgets, internet etc… But what if they lend it as future investment for facilities, laboratories and equipment that they lack of? Another reason to think. Still, we cannot deny the fact that we are not yet ready for this situation, and so, flexible learning.

According to Commission on Higher Education Commissioner Prospero de Vera, months of May to July should be used to ‘prepare’ for the flexible learning system, which will be implemented for the coming academic year. Needless to say, rolling out flexible learning at this moment is unnecessary ?again, we are not yet prepared. But in an unfortunate instance, everyone is not just physically dealing with their health, but also mentally. In this unexpected time in history, we might develop feelings of fear, anxiety and stress in that plays and overwhelms their overall welfare. According to The University of British Columbia, to understand stress and the stress response, one needs to recognize someone else’s stress.

Students’ mental health is one major problem, as they grapple between prioritizing their welfare and their academic requirements. In a published article of Anjali Hazari, a research conducted over the past 30 years has shown that students learn better when they perceive the learning environment ? refers to the social, psychological context in whixh learning occurs ?positively. In that, I believe schools need to adhere this problem Generation Z and Alpha (which we call millennial) facing right now. What doesn’t seem a problem for a person might be a major problem for another. If a student from a university has infected with the virus, I hope none, how is he gonna fulfill his academic requirements? Is he gonna fail his subjects? With all the privacy and discrimination to the victims of the deadly virus, I’m crossing my fingers that you won’t leave them behind.

Student-driven solutions to educational inequity is all we want. Involving students’ sentiments into the process of decision making is vital in the light of COVID-19, because they can give clues on how effective a university is, especially their feedbacks about the institution’s present condition. Their comments can reveal the institutions’ weakest points, and if enough of them share the same discernment, maybe it’s time to re-calibrate and reassess. Students’ criticism should be taken constructively. It’s not yet late to change the imposed guidelines and policies for new normal. I believe that change isn’t just a diversion, but a proper way of learning. Dropping some ego will not make an HEI less competent during this crisis. If HEI still pursue to give boatload of academic works, in a life where the main reason to study is to afford a ticket to our dreams, we have nothing to do but follow and be a slave of our dreams in this uncertain time.

To understand the students on a deeper level, higher education institution must learn how to listen without judgement. We are locked in a cell that has no bars and we became prisoners of the threat that is beyond our control. This is not a crusade of the slaves, but it’s the perfect time to listen to the collective voices of the people ? we are your learners, not your slaves.

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Nicole Caluag 20 hours ago

5 Mystery-Thriller Novels to Read

If you’re stuck at home and out of Netflix shows to binge-watch, then you might want to try and read these mystery-thriller books to match your homemade Dalgona Coffee.

1. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The debut novel, and Goodreads Choice Awards Best Mystery & Thriller of 2019, follows Alicia Berenson, a well-known painter married to an esteemed fashion photographer. Life seemed perfect for Alicia, until one evening when she shot her husband five times, and… never spoke again.

2. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

From the author of Final Girls comes this page turning novel about an infamous building in Manhattan called the Bartholomew. After stumbling upon an ad to become an apartment sitter, Jules Larsen has set out to look after apartment 12A under strict and somewhat odd conditions. Not long after stepping foot in the building, Jules has been met with unfriendly tenants, eerie noises in the apartment unit, and an abrupt departure of a fellow sitter named Ingrid.

3. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

If you loved Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho or David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, then this book is for you. After the disappearance of her Aunt Vivian while working as a night-shift clerk at the Sun Down Motel in 1982, Carly has set off to Fell NY, to work the same job at the same place as her Aunt had 35 years ago – with hopes of uncovering the truth lurking behind the Motel walls.

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4. Verity by Colleen Hoover

While known for Young-Adult Novels such as Slammed and Maybe Someday, Colleen Hoover offers readers a romantic thriller about Lowen Ashleigh, a struggling author who was given the opportunity to finish the three remaining novels of a successful series after its original author, Verity Crawford, suffered an accident and has become immobile. After receiving an invite at the Crawford manor to sort through Verity’s notes, Lowen discovers an unpublished autobiography revealing the truth about Verity. With the eerie atmosphere of having Verity confined in her own home, and who is seemingly aware of her surroundings, Lowen is certain Verity is not what she appears to be.

5. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

A mind-bending science fiction thriller from the best-selling author of Wayward Pines – Dark Matter is packed with the concept of the Multiverse and the philosophy of existentialism. The novel follows an ordinary Physics professor, Jason Dessen, who was looking forward to dinner with his family while walking the streets of Chicago. The next thing he knew, he was being held at gunpoint – by a man wearing a mask – and injected with an unknown drug and blacks out. When he regains consciousness, he learns that the world he woke up to was different from the world he knew.

Here's a poem I wrote a while back reflecting on what it's like over-rationalize a simple thing like crushing on a dude -- hence, the title "Scientific Method"

Scientific Method

You were a phenomenon I cannot wrap my head around

When I first met you, my heart forgot to make its signature sound

And it's overwhelming, your presence;

And underwhelming, so science will be the only language I'll hide in-- For now.


At first glance, I notice your top button unbuttoned,

and your shirt fully cotton

Complete with a smile as nervous as me

And a swagger in your step only I can see

Further on, I find your wit to be at a pace

That doesn't leave any space for tension to rise

and it's all too nice

And ridiculous and a bit too suspicious

That this isn't another (well,) circus.


Now, let's take a wild guess,

Oh, but it has to be smart, yes,

That this could lead to something with potential

That this isn't another differential easily solved

With a formula, tried and tested but never evolved


For so long, we've both been independent of any dependent

Keeping our variables fixed and ourselves distracted

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With anything, everything,

But not a single thing

Could stop me from pushing this blindly to find its threshold,

Hoping that it's a quantity my hands could still hold

Over hours, days, and weeks

Through minor revisions and tweaks

Then comes the analysis -- that these weren't accidents

So, now I find myself in a conundrum

With the anomaly in a blue shirt right in front of me,

That this had to be processed logically,

But the findings are as follows:

None of which were shallow, so I therefore conclude that it's true,

I therefore conclude that it's you.

Ancilla Diamante 21 hours ago

Mi Luna: The Light in My Dark Soul Locked in… Alone…

Why do I feel comforted by darkness? Oh cause maybe because… I am a jolly and very enthusiast kid back then. All I know is to have fun, laugh and play. But as I grow older, everything has changed, a lot. I can feel the changes. I know the more I get older, I’m turning to something I’m not. You know what, I just realized I like it even more. And that’s how I turned a monster. A monster to my own self. Always questioning life and even God about the things that are happening with my life. “Do I deserve this?”. Every day was a struggle. “Which mask should I wear now?”. And every night is my judgement time. “Should I still continue with my miserable life?”. This certainly sum up my whole life. I have this mindset since I was young. I can say that my experiences made me like this. I always want to escape, but every time I tried to pick up myself up, there is always shits that pulls me down. And there, I get tired. Hoping that no one would ever see this. As I despise myself as well. What I can do now is to just embraced everything, I just embraced darkness- reflecting my own self.

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“Look at the moon, it can shine alone and it can give us light at night.” A line I was keeping in my mind that a friend of mine helps me realize things and been there to fix my path. And there I started seeking for my moon but I do not know which part should I start. As days passed, I started to open up myself. I started to act as what truly inside me. It is very hard at first and there is this time that even the situation got worst. But as I continue exploring with my life, a question pop out on my head “Why did I still get this far?”, I can say that maybe I should do this, maybe I really can do this but it is myself who is holding me back because I’m afraid.

Now as far as I am trying to revive my soul, there I know that many people care. Yes, I learned to open up but not to all, on different situations there are people who can understand me because they have the same situation as I am. I learn to open up as long as they did not force me. I learned to navigate and open up for whom I trusted and at the same time when I am ready. The light that I am seeking is my own understanding and acceptance about myself. My light is myself and I am Mi Luna. So it is not too late to save myself. I have thought that, I should be a survivor and winner. That I should also be the ruler of my own mind and soul. Eliminate the room for darkness and let the light shine through you, that I can say how I earned myself again. Mi Luna’s darkness have turned to spotlight.

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