As you know, my life sorta hit a pause button for three and a half years as I went back to university, but I am happy to report that Finally, Things Have Happened: In a span of (literally) three weeks and five days, I passed my thesis (together with my thesis partner), officially graduated on paper and obtained my second bachelor’s degree, applied for work, took an assessment exam and job interview, and started working. Right now I’m heading into my fourth week working as a software developer in a private company.
Life is peachy. For the most part.
I hadn’t really been telling anyone my plans, except for close fam and friends (because Filipino culture is other people meddling with your affairs as if they have a say in things) (they don’t) (don’t tell ’em your plans, just believe in ’em and go) so it always feels like a chore for me to have to explain stuff for everyone else. “You graduated already? You’re working already?!” Yup. That shouldn’t be a shock, though? I started studying again not for the student/university experience (I didn’t care for that at all, perhaps maybe to the extreme) but for one thing and one thing alone: the computer science degree. So that I’d be qualified to work as a programmer. And now I am, and that’s that. The simplest thing in the world.
Another question I get asked often is if I am going to march at the graduation ceremonies in April. I was told that my name would be called regardless of my presence or absence, and truthfully I don’t really feel any want or need to go. That sounds so entitled lol but yeah. I don’t place the value of my accomplishment in the unnecessary formalities. I didn’t even subscribe to a yearbook, so now there’s no formal photographic evidence of me finishing my second degree (more so if I don’t attend graduation) cus like … all that shit is for everyone else, for them to see my accomplishment, but I didn’t do this for them—I did it for me. In a twisted way, I relish being selfish and quiet and private about it. If my tuition fee financiers are up for going I’d go, but otherwise, nope. Besides, I remember my BMLS graduation with much fondness, still, and I already have an airbrushed toga photo hanging on my parents’ living room wall (next to my siblings’ photos; it would ruin the whole aesthetic to have two photos of me there, while my other siblings have only one each). Funnily enough, my hood was golden yellow back then, which is the same color I’d be donning if I decide to march this time around (what a remarkable coincidence, no?). Been there, done that.
In other news, the thing I’m most excited about at the moment is settling into healthy routines—since I work a “nine to five” now, I’m free to be able to meticulously schedule my daily life activities in a way I couldn’t before. (Cus like, a college student’s schedule varies from day to day, sem to sem, and obviously back when I worked at a hospital, our shifts and days off always changed, round the clock, with no concept of weekends or holidays.) I admittedly have not found a balance yet but I am working towards it.
I’d like to get back to reading non-academic literature again, something I completely dropped during the past year of working on our thesis, cus every time I tried to start reading anything unrelated to academics, my anxiety shot up like fireworks. As in, WHATCHU DOING THERE GIRL YOU SHOULD BE DOING YOUR THESIS INSTEAD OF THIS WHAT IF KARMA COMES TO BITE YOU IN THE ASS AND YOU FAIL? So eventually I had to give up reading altogether. But I have time again now! And I wanna challenge myself to write reviews again. Esp. since I have like a hundred books on my to-read list and I am SUPER excited to devour words once more.
I also want to post here more frequently. My ambitious goal is weekly, starting from this post, but like … obviously I know myself and that may be too much lmao but I’ll work on it! I’m motivated! We’ll see. At least now I have time because HALLELUJAH NO HOMEWORK!!! And obvs now that I’m done with College 2.0 I am more comfortable dissecting the experience in writing, so at least that’s plenty of possible content. Before/During/After chapters are lined up. Also as a working girl again for some reason I have this euphoric sensation of my life being mine again, that I’m allowed to be myself again, and act my age again, and this makes me want to document everything again.
Hm, what else? I think I’m also gonna be changing this domain soon. I had to update my CV while applying for a job and I could not bring myself to add hermioninny.com there haha. I don’t think I’ll drop the ‘hermioninny’ for this blog but most likely it’s gonna move to a new domain. I might wait it out til this domain expires in February but just in case this blog suddenly disappears off the map, the new website link will be on my Twitter profile, which is the only place I can promise I will link it. Haha.
If you’re a reader who has followed my mess since forever and you’re still here checking updates on my life that is INSANE and thank you? I don’t think you exist, but just in case, thanks for caring even just a little bit. I’ll write here more, like I said, but one last thing—I should probably answer what I guess is the prevailing important question.
Was it all worth it?
I knew that before I even finished. In hindsight I might have known it before I even started, and that’s why I started in the first place. But obviously at the time I had a lot of doubts, because who could predict the future? It’s jarring to hear other people describe what I did, though, because it always looks way aggrandized in others’ eyes, I think. A guidance counselor I recently talked to compared my decision to jumping off a cliff. I think she was trying to make me feel good about how brave I was to do it but man that sounds overdramatic. One of my aunts, two weeks ago, also said this in reference to me: “Lahat ng tao gusto na mag-Medicine siya pero kinalaban niya ang mundo!” And again. That’s way too dramatic. There was no moment that I can identify as a moment I jumped off a cliff; it has always been a series of quiet decisions, of small steps, one foot in front of the other. I also understand the me-against-the-world narrative and there were certainly times that I felt like that, like the only one who believed in me was me, but that was just the beginning, honestly. I was surrounded by people who loved me and respected me and it wasn’t long before I was met with quiet acceptance. Even vocal support, later on. Not from everyone, but still. (The world will change to match you. The quote on my letter board right now.)
If you’re currently in that place, of wanting to jump but being unsure if you should—what I can say from my experience is, it’s really just the fear that makes it seem like a cliff. In reality it’s still a path you can walk on, albeit with a little more difficulty. If you take it a step at a time it’s not gonna seem so overwhelming. And the important thing is if you do start, you commit to it. You don’t look at the other paths and dwell on what could have been. I can honestly look at Medicine now and never feel any regret because while I know that I could have conquered that had I chosen it, maybe could have been happy too, in a way, and made more people happy, that possibility did not belong to this reality. It was simply not meant to be, and that isn’t anyone’s fault. My closest cousin is now a licensed physician, and my best friend is nearly done studying to become one. Medicine remains so close to me, and I have all the admiration and respect and awe for it, but it’s not mine, and I have accepted that with gladness.
It helps that I can be pretty damn good at what I am now currently doing. 😛
My very first post about studying again had a title that was an obvious reference to a popular poem. I guess now that I am posting about the end of the schooling journey, it would make sense to refer to the same poem.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
My sigh is of contentment.