‘DO YOU HEAR YOUR PEOPLE SING?’: WHY STUDENTS DESERVE TO GET A PASSING MARK DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Words: Darryl Banay Peñaredondo
While President Rodrigo Duterte is in the middle of making decision whether to lift, extend or modify the Enhanced Community Quarantine, universities and colleges should also make an apparent statement regarding their academic decision for the remaining days of the semester during COVID-19 pandemic. Every university and college should provide directives and guidelines upon the resumption of classes as soon as possible. I think that the further the announcement gets late, the further the panic and fear give its students.
With the vision to produce innovative and globally competitive graduates, they should focus more on producing lifelong learners at this moment -- a form of self initiated education focusing more on personal and mental development that occurs outside of a formal educational institute. Online classes is one option to fulfill the requirements which I believe is good, but not fair. I believe that we aren’t prepared for this kind of education, not everyone has the same resources.
We all know that Philippines has among the slowest in internet connection speed worldwide. According to Akamai Technologies’ Global State of the Internet Report, our country across Asia Pacific falls short with its average connection speed of 5.5 Mbps. Most importantly, it isn’t fair because some people don’t have good internet connection, and unfortunately, some can’t afford to have it at all-- first, it cost too much.
Second, it’s risky to go outside and find a loading station or computer shop. Especially, online classes has multiple drawback in comparison to traditional face-to-face education. In an ultimate yes, given a grade of P (Pass) would likely to be the most effective plan of action, but I also suggest that beside of giving a mark P, institutions must provide all learning materials in order to serve enough excellency, competency, and compassion. For graduating students, let them graduate. Especially those board programs, offer them review programs and free workshops to bridge the gap they’ve missed during the quarantine. Who wants to fail the board exam? Obviously, none.
Trust me, as a graduating student of a board program, we will be doing our best part. It’s just that we’re still afraid of getting outside our house knowing that the threat to our dreams is still there. In this unexpected frightening time in history, we are not only handling the fatal effect of this pandemic virus, but also the uncertainty of how bad this deadly virus will impact us that makes us jump into a catastrophic thinking resulting to anxiety, fear and panic. In this crisis situation where action is required, I believe that every institutions can contribute in giving students a life in the coronavirus disease crisis with less fear and anxiety. Institutions should never compromise the health and safety of its constituents. There are more pressing concerns at this moment than fulfilling every students’ academic requirements. A passing mark ‘P’ is just a small price to pay in exchange to the precious life of their learners. In addition, students cannot focus on their academic life while coronavirus disease is still alive, universities and colleges should prioritize their well-being. True -- schools, universities or colleges should consider giving a passing mark to its students in order for them to not get to school anymore in the midst of the pandemic -- or better give them requirements like ‘Stay at home, be safe and healthy.’
A passing remark is just a passing remark which is incomparable to a life that must protected. I believe that it would also be a great contribution for our government in the battle to contain COVID-19. In the end, it might sound cliche, but health will always be wealth. Let’s stay at home for such time until vaccine is available in the market. It’s more important to focus on our overall health before anything else. A little compassion goes a long way. We fought hard enough to get through this unexpected struggle, emotionally and mentally. In this time where everyone is fighting against an invisible enemy, a small act of kindness can help no matter what. I know that every institutions are being mindful enough in decision making and open enough to see what’s happening around. I hope that they will here the sound of their people sing -- we need to pass.
CHAOS OF COLORS
by: Charlize Cecille Carrera
The universe is wrestling with an obscure lethal enemy; we are now trying to live with an intimidation posed by a virus and as we go on with our quarantined life, can we really look for ourselves? I wonder how a college student and an only child like me copes up with this situation we’re in? Is it possible to intricately do your house chores and online classes at the same time? Can I really withstand time and muddle through my own chaos of colors?
The sudden cascading of humanity is a wake up call, what happens now makes us reflect of what we did badly. A confinement at a small space in my room makes me suffer, the first three weeks of being locked up in our house were straight delusion. I forgot who I was at the moment; the noises I was used to coming to class, the long awkward jeepney rides, students scattered at every stores, loud bell by the chapel and even praying Angelus at 12 noon and 6 pm. I fail to recall how my life turns out if I’ll be stocked at home for weeks..., or maybe months. I kept on asking my block mates and friends from afar asking them if they were alive and okay but it surprised me as it turns out that I should be asking myself if it’s okay for me to be alone left with my thoughts drowning me with regrets of the value of life and decisions I’ve done.
It is a top priority to watch for yourself; you may keep on helping others endure their problems but remember yourself; Explore the depths of your heart, pumping and beating your yearning of love for others. I never thought of it until I realized that I also need to express and vent my emotions. In my eighteen years of existence I realized three things. One, life is unfair and we can do nothing about it if we’re not everyone’s favorite. Two, in a snap everything can be taken back from you and three, you can never go wrong for seeking help.
That is why, university students have raised their concerns to the school admin, asking for considerations and help during this tough time. It is challenging enough for an almost nineteen-year-old, only child like me that has slow internet access from our neighbor and a freshman student, how much tougher for the students with a family of five that has no means of living because their parents had a “No work, no pay policy?” How much harder for those students who thrives hard for their scholarships yet had no equipment to use? Thus, why do we have to battle with the pandemic, mental health, scarcity, and humanity all at the same time? There have been different memorandums that have been released by schools and universities on how they would cope up the time and the days that have lost because of class and work suspension; Some schools decided to continue their online classes, I prefer to call it online requirements because I strongly believe that the students don’t acquire knowledge efficiently online and that they are doing it so for the sake of complying and passing.
At a crisis like this we cannot really assure the people can surpass this semester even if everyone is fighting for their safety and belongingness. We cannot also guarantee the fact that everyone has the privilege of having internet access or data connections. You can never declare the circumstances that everyone is at their houses safe and sound; watching Netflix all day or eating meals three-times-a-day nor all the students has no responsibilities at home; House chores, errands to pay bills, buy groceries and even think of the academic obligations left at the dorm. Hence, we cannot assure how some the students are coping up with these online requirements and the pandemic itself.
On this moment, I felt the need to question my existence, our presence and how hard it is to keep on withstanding time. We are cruel enough for the world to pay us back on what we deserve. The progress we are making are good enough for us to live at ease however at what cost should our world be maltreated? The world would continue to prosper even without the human race. How long should we endure time? If we do not reflect on what’s happening now and we do not make a step to revive the planet we’re living in, we could never endure time. How much more for the future ahead of us? Amidst this chaos of colors, let’s be sighted with the rainbow of the world has to offer.
"Today, I Won"
I always caught feelings for someone, and hoped so much that one day there could a thing between the two of us. I'm usually the one that makes the effort to buy and/or make cute gifts, chats them every other day, and stays up all night with him.
When I was 16, my childhood crush suddenly came back into my life. We'd constantly send updates to each other, recommend favorite songs and talk even the most random things. He'd even text me as early as 6 to just greet me good morning almost everyday. I hoped so much that when I confessed, he suddenly stopped talking to me.
For short, he ghosted me. Those 6 months I spent talking to him, allotting my time for him, and staying up until 3 am for him - all gone in a simple confession. Although I had a few crushes before him, he's the only one that got me in real pain. It was the kind of pain that I never thought I'd experience. It was the kind of pain that I couldn't believe.
After 7 years (it happened back in 2017), I thought he came back into my life to stay, but I guess he's just one of the guys who distanced. I felt a complete loser that time. But during this quarantine, everything was different. I caught feelings for someone else, but he treated me with the best kindness yet.
It happened at 2 am, May 30, 2020, when I impulsively confessed my feelings through messaging him. After saying my feelings, he responded with genuine and kind words. We both even complimented each other. Although the feelings didn't reciprocate, I still found a connection that can't be replaced with any guy.
To my 16 year old self, here I am, 18 and happy. You may have felt that time was the biggest regret and loss, but I'm here to tell you, we won. Today, I won.
Why our high school barkada is the best?
Remembering our high school years entails quite a lot reminiscing of the things we all been through when we were younger. You’ve experience a lot of new things during those 4 wonderful years and did most of them with the few people you consider your barkada. And through a series of all the lunch breaks you had together, the walks you took on the way home, and taking the same classes, you never thought you’d survive, you have made your life’s greatest friends.
Here are some of the reasons why your high school barkada is the best:
1. You figured out early teenage life together. The transition one have undergone from being a kid to a teenager wasn’t easy. For a moment you are not sure whether you should have played with your friends during recess or you should have just sat down and ate your food because you were too old for games. But whatever it is you chose to do, having friends who were as clueless as you make everything feel easier because you know, deep down, you’d figure things out eventually. You just need good company.
2. They were with you during your “jeje“ days. I bet you have pictures taken with Camera360 and Retrica. You also have pictures edited using Pizap with embarrassing captions and you somehow kept some of them so you could have something to post online during their birthdays.
3. They know all your exes. They will never EVER forget the name of an ex-boyfriend, an ex-fling, an ex-crush, and an almost you had. They will remind you of your every questionable love decision but you’ll just laugh anyway while saying “Past is past”.
4. They never judge you. They have welcomed you to their lives when you thought jelly shoes and checkered polos were the bomb! They were quick to have told your teachers that you were not feeling well so you could go home when you really just needed to poop. You tell them every embarrassing story you have and were fine with it.
5. You can always count on them. From the moment you first fell in love and the moment you first had your heart broken, they were with you. They were with you the moment you lost a parent and at moments when you thought you had nothing. Through every break-up and breakthrough, they were there to be your support system.
6. They are your family. Your high school friend’s family is your own family’s extension. Their parents are like your own. Don’t you feel a little kilig whenever your friend’s parents call you “anak”? And then eventually calling them mama and papa became so natural? I felt that, all the time.
7. They will always be your home. They are your place of refuge and security, the place who offers you their hands when you feel lost and the place you run to when you need saving. No matter how much time and distance separate you, they will be the one’s that you always long for and they are the one’s that you will always return to.
You're gonna bend and break and then at some point in your life, you feel like you don't want to fall in love again.
Not because you're no longer capable of loving but because you're so afraid to get hurt again that you don't want to take a risk anymore. And you're gonna wake up one day and realize that you're not the same person as you were yesterday. The heart aches, heartbreaks, frustration, you'll see, those will transform your whole being into something better.
Honey, move forward. Let go off all the things that are not meant for you. Let go of all the people who hurt you and take you for granted. Don't be stuck feeling miserable.
And don't turn that love into hate when you resent someone for hurting you or for breaking your heart. Just wish them well and let them go. Welcome the possibility of a beautiful love that will come your way. You're worthy of love that you keep on giving to other people. Keep that in mind.
I wish you well and all the happiness. You deserve it.
Here we are — with rough hands entwined, damned hearts at peace, broken souls resting with ease —savoring each passing moment before we part ways...hoping things will turn out to be okay. Here we are — standing still, keeping our earnest desire and ardent passion for each other at bay — hoping the Universe will finally grant us of the day that we no longer have to pretend... that things will no longer have to end.
Here we are — with crooked smiles, lingering touch that will last for a while -- gathering all the remaining courage to set each other free. Wishing for the day that our hearts will no longer have to worry. Here we are letting each other go. Even though we both know that the future is uncertain. Even though we're unsure if our paths will cross once again.