Thursday, June 4, 2009

The road to success is under repair...

The other day as I went to check on my email, a friend left several offline messages in my YM account. Unfortunately he told me with much hesitation that the college dean rejected my job application as a Political Science Instructor in the University where he is currently teaching. I was surprised at first but just to satisfy my ego I asked what was the basis for my outright rejection. Initially he riposte that my job application for a teaching item was a bit late. Accordingly the college had already conducted the necessary teaching demos for this coming school year. But having this thinking of never accepting anything as a fact at face value, I decided to probe deeper. Finally my friend admitted that my rejection was due to my transcript of records as a political science graduate. For personal reasons I will dispense with the technical grounds cited by the school for my denial lest I will be accused of ingratiating myself too much. Nonetheless here is the catch. I'm a graduate of BASILAN STATE COLLEGE (BaSC for brevity)a learning institution which even you readers probably have not heard of ever since you were born. But the sad thing is, ask anyone about my beloved hometown and you will definitely get the same answers, “the land of Abu Sayaff” or maybe “the kidnapping capital of the Philippines.” I guess the name Basilan alone is sufficient ground for discrimination in our own country, what more if you are a graduate of BASILAN STATE COLLEGE? Frankly speaking, it would be a prima facie evidence of incompetence and mediocrity for employment in the academe.

Taking up my Bachelors degree at the BaSC was a personal choice and a challenge. My mom gave me the option to study in one of the prestigious Universities in our region on the condition that I will be taking up education as my undergraduate course. In fact my older brother finished his AB degree and law studies at Silliman University while my other sibling finished her degree at UP Dilliman. But given my inclination or should I say my fetish to learn about the rudiments of a government, I took the plunge and decided to pursue my degree at the BaSC. Later after graduation, I pursued my law studies here in Manila and again I was initially discriminated by my classmates whether graduates of prestigious schools and even from the not so reputable schools located in the Metro. The discrimination however ended when no one read the famous case of Roe v. Wade during one of our class recitations, and it so happen that said case was discussed to us back in my college days. So I was called to recite the case and the rest of course is history.

My alma mater taught me so many things in life, lessons which you cannot learn within the four corners of the classroom. I was a late bloomer so to speak in the esoteric of academics. It was during my stay at the BaSC that I came to realize my potential as a student and as a person determined to shape his destiny through education. It was also in that institution where I discovered my passion for the law and politics after joining the debating team and winning the best debater award. These were all small academic achievements but to me these were big ones. Reaping them has to be one of the major turning points of my life. My humble achievements in law school would not have been possible without these preparations. For this. I'm deeply indebted to my alma mater.

Like any other educational institutions in remote areas my school is bereft of the usual well-respected professors and luminaries in the realm of political science. What we have back then were mostly professors and part-time instructors who graduated in the same institution for obvious reasons. Due to lack of funding from the government, our school library had no sufficient updated books and reading materials let alone cyber technology to feed our mediocre minds with adequate knowledge. We were always in a state of educational poverty. But despite of this situation, I never considered this a s a setback to achieve my goals. I managed to buy some books mostly concentrated on political literature and law. I also learned to use the internet to download reading materials which may be utilized for classrooms discussions.

I do not wish to diminish the reputation of my school in any way, but this is a sad reality that we Filipinos must be concerned. Our educational system has been consistently pushed to the sidelines by the government. The prestigious educational institutions which offer the best kind of education are concentrated mostly in the urban areas. Obviously only the rich and the brightest are the only ones qualified to avail to this kind of education. If you are below mediocrity and a denizen of a place known for lawless elements, better settle for a lesser kind of education that the government has to offer. Your philosophy in life must be “learn to be contented with what you have.” This however is not the end of it, after graduating from college you will again experience a more excruciating ordeal in applying for jobs like what happened to me just recently. But I still thank the Lord that somehow my parents supported my law studies here in Manila. But how about my fellow Basilenos? I can only surmise that the only option left for them is to either resort to hard manual toil to earn a decent living or join the ASG to earn pesos more than what their diploma and degree could in reality give them. I myself cannot blame them from this misfortune. By joining the ranks of this lawless group, they could proudly say to themselves, “Hey, my degree makes me way qualified for this job.” At least, at that point, they felt superior- a word that they were deprived of in terms of education, opportunity and chance. Whether we like it or not, it becomes a vicious cycle. And only a few takes to counter the waves. I am proud to say I am one of them.

Unfortunately, while I take on the challenge to counter the waves of hopelessness, society has once again frustrated me. I only wish for a chance to prove my abilities, capabilities and worth,. Perhaps a single job interview to hear my side of the story won't take too much of their precious time. I am still hoping however that the discrimination stigma has not yet overwhelmingly grappled society. I believe that my message could traverse academic membership. I do not wish for empathy. I only hail for equal opportunities from the academic community, society and the government.

I have to admit that with this recent frustration, I am no way in my best element right now. When everything has been stripped away from you (love, self-respect and dignity), somehow you get emotional.I do not deny being in that state right now, I am however hoping that like my feeble emotions, this discrimination too shall pass.

Postscript: The other day I was strolling down the streets of Manila when I noticed a college student wearing a shirt which says “The road to success is under repair.” Suddenly, I felt heavy fist blows. What if my particular road to success is beyond ordinary repair? What if no amount of extraordinary repair can restore my road? I hope this writing can make a small difference so that I can soon update you that the road to my success is slowly undergoing repair.

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