School here in New York will be starting after the Labor Day Weekend of September 4. Most schools open on September 5, so we are being flooded with advertisements for school supplies and the latest school fasion. This was always one of my favorite parts of the year while I was growing up. I loved to see the piles and piles of notebooks in different brands and of various types in National Bookstore. I couldn’t wait to see what the new binders would look like. I personally preferred Corona for the notebooks and Merit for the binders. (I did catch Mead, but not until much, much later.) I so enjoyed looking at the ballpen displays and and then I would decide whether or not I would stick with Pilot or try something new. In my childhood, there was always the big decision about schoolbags. When Sanrio invaded Manila back in the late 70s, it was whether it would be Hello Kitty or Little Twin Stars. And what about the new pencil case? Would it be double sided? Metal? And the lunchbox? Were you one of those who used to bring lunch in that fully insulated black lunch case which truly kept the food warm?
I am still at least 2 years away from going the school supply route here with Angel. But I remember those days like it was yesterday. I still get a different thrill walking past the school supply rows of Target these days. (Yan ang kababawan ko.. )
I managed pretty well in school although I was never really an honor student. I did manage to land in the honor class every year until the end of high school. There was the challenge posed by the sciences but I hurdled them after giving it my best effort. All throughout my academic sojourn, I was never really pressured by my parents to excel. All they asked for was that I do good and pass (which I sometimes didn’t fulfill in Math) — and I sometimes heard a thing or two about my extra-curricular activities in school where I was a major player.
In college, I had a slight problem choosing my university. I wanted to go to De La Salle University in Taft Avenue (primarily because the trimester approach, then newly introduced, appealed to me, plus my crush and other friends from the opposite sex were all going there, being La Sallites themselves). That idea, though, was quickly shot down by my Dad, who, unbenknownst to me, had always harbored this hidden dream to have me go to UP. So even if I didn’t get into UP Diliman, I managed to land in UP Manila (my second campus choice), blocks away from DLSU where he said it would be too difficult to have me brought to school everyday due to the traffic brought on by the LRT construction.
My oveprotective parents, though, made sure I kept a schedule to their liking, so I couldn’t take summer classes or schedule subjects too late at night. This eventually led to my undoing because there were subjects in the latter part of the course which were taught by professors who had other dayjobs. And so after extending, I eventually found myself on the brink of law school. Law school was my choice. I always said I was in college only because I couldn’t go straight to law school.
My parents were supportive of my decision to keep studying, and as my previous post about taking the Bar stated, they have always been behind me through to the end.
While they never really pressured me into anything I wasn’t keen on doing, they were there breathing down my neck when my grades dipped or didn’t quite meet the mark. They kept a watchful eye on me as I ran for the student council and engaged in other extra-curricular activities. I basically decided the route I would take, although I arrived at that decision with their guidance.
Even while in law school, I started supporting myself partially by working part time for an 100.3 RJFM, a job I sought out because it was literally walking distance to the Ateneo campus on HV De La Costa during the pre-Rockwell years. After leaving RJ, I landed a job based on a colleague’s recommendation in DWRR, then an all-female DJ station under the banner “Radio Romance”, but the only hitch was they wanted me to do the graveyard shift. While I was thrilled to be jumping to a major radio station, my mom sternly reminded me I was trying to get through law school. So that fizzled out.
I never thought that I would be studying and working at the same time. But certain life-changing events in my life forced me to seek ways and means to help me survive the financial and academic demands of law school. I have no regrets or bitterness about it — I think this personal challenge helped me to become a stronger and better person. I was fortunate enough to have been to the better schools which enabled me to get good jobs. Still, if you ask me, I would’ve preferred to concentrate on studying without the distraction of work.
These days I am hoping my own son will have that fervor about making something of himself as he trudges through school. It’s an altogether different school system — and there are even more choices than were available to me. My parents were simple people — I didn’t have a father who was a doctor, or a Mom who had her own career. I was literally what you would call an anak ng jueteng. Yet they shaped my ambition by giving me all the opportunities to make something of myself. I will be forever grateful that they gave me a good education that saw me advance through life in better ways than most.
Now that I am a parent myself and raising a son in a totally different system alien to me, I have so many qualms and fears about how I will do in guiding my boy through this formative stage in his life. I am doing my research, I am trying to study my options. All throughout, I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will not be too controlling to the point of hindering his personal growth. At the same time, I want to be there for him to help him through the demands of growing up in this very demanding world he will be living in. I want to be able to nurture his talents to help him find his strengths and help him cope with his weaknesses.
It’s twice as tough being that I grew up in a totally different environment from the one he and I are living in now. I have taken a chance on my future casting my lot on a big gamble — uprooting myself from family, career and home to start one of my own. For some reason, it’s not as easy for me to gamble on my son’s future. I’m not over-worrying, I’m just thinking out loud. After all, the answers will not come if you do not ask the right questions.
That’s just the Mommy part of me — grappling with the apprehensions of the intellectual side of my personality.