Word count: 518
Written as a requirement. Crap. I am sorry.
My mother had always told me that I was an easier birth than my little sister; that unlike my sister, it didn’t take her twenty-four hours of labor. But that doesn’t change the fact that it was still hard, being her first baby and all. I was born at around 11:45 PM, the 29th of November in a year plagued with plenty of power outages and Fidel V. Ramos. We moved around quite a lot, but finally settled in a small subdivision in a place called Lemery, Batangas. I spent most of my childhood there, making friends with the village children despite being the awkward, clumsy kid that I was. At around first grade, we moved to another house and have stayed there ever since. I don’t see my old friends anymore.
I went to a Catholic school during my elementary days where I learned my ABC’s alongside my Our Fathers. Come high school, I promptly transferred to a science and technology-focused institution. I can’t say that I experienced culture shock—in fact, quite the contrary. The new environment, the new faces that I saw, made me prosper. I experienced a lot of different things that I never knew before. Slowly, I learned to do things on my own, to talk to people, to start grasping at emotions I never once had. Most importantly, I discovered parts of myself that I never knew existed, or perhaps I have denied.
All these lessons were put to the test the moment I stepped into college. Having enough luck to be able to get into the country’s state university—and the flagship campus, for that matter—I felt like a lost lamb amidst the diversity of college. It was overwhelming at first. Everyone seemed so smart, the cream of their respective crops. But then again, when everyone was special, nobody is. After a few weeks, I managed to get my bearings straight with the help of my new found friends. For me, it is in college that one discovers the value of company. Spending prolonged periods of time away from home, you only have yourself and your friends to rely on. So I spent the next four years reading, looking at things with a different eye, both inside and outside the classroom. I managed to graduate on time with a cum laude status, which was already a great success on my part.
Now here I am, in the ‘real world’. I went back to my high school and taught for a year. I quit because all the politics left a bitter taste in my mouth. The sense of family, of being a team, was not there. The companionship seemed so fake. If this is the ‘real world’, then I believe we are screwed. Come to think of it, I don’t understand why they call this the ‘real world’. I don’t think my years in school were some sort of inferior reality. In fact, I think the challenges I faced, the friends and bonds that I made during those years, are more real than anything else in this so called ‘real world’.