back to school

Geek that I am (and proud of it), I trekked back to the University of the Philippines’ Diliman Campus last Tuesday to enroll in the PhD Communication program at my alma mater, the College of Mass Communication.

The tree-lined avenue leading to Palma Hall is as beautiful as ever. This was what struck me about UP-Diliman the first time I stepped on campus 24 years ago, to take the undergrad admission exam. Being a born-and-bred Manila girl, I had never seen anything like it before.


Also familiar from two decades ago is this enrollment scene – dozens of students waiting in line to pay. In fairness, it took much faster this time. Back then, you needed an entire day to enroll. With the system now partly, if not entirely, computerized, it took me only three hours this time.

At the Ateneo Graduate School of Business? Forty-five minutes, when I was taking my MBA three years ago. De La Salle University, where my eldest, Alex, is a freshman? An hour. But then again, AGSB and DLSU are private schools with top-class facilities; UP is a state-run university on a perpetually tight budget. It makes up for the long lines and bureaucratic procedures by possessing a keen intellectual edge that it imparts to its students.

Since my master’s degree was in a different field, I have to take two remedial masteral courses in communication theory and research.

Our class in Comm 240 (theory) started yesterday. Afterwards, a helpful classmate, Flor, showed me how to take the MRT home to Makati coming from UP. The trip would be faster, she said, than if I took a cab.

While waiting for the train at Quezon Avenue Station, she pointed out the ABS-CBN Network building. High-tech lighting effects on the facade cycled through the entire rainbow, with occasional white twinkles here and there, as if it were sparkling.


It looked radioactive.

Then the train came, in a whoosh of sound, color, and deep vibrations.


I’m back in school. I’m so happy.

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