**TH141 Immersion Reflection Paper. I’m warning you, boring siya )
It’s surprising to know that a whole day spent on immersion was just what I needed after last Wednesday’s tiring events. Getting the chance to be away from the noisy, busy, polluted city made it a lot easier for me to contemplate about my unconscious mood swings and short-temper-edness recently. Past few weeks have been mainly about worries on the possibilities of not having the future that I want to have and how to deal with the unresolved issues I have with a few important friends. A visit to the CELL made me realize how shallow my problems are when I met people, who can’t even afford proper education, are spending most of their time resolving environmental and socio-economic issues.
My group’s immersion is a lot different compared to the usual three-day Ateneo immersion Theology 141 students have to go through. They have to immerse themselves in urban poor communities by trying to be in the shoes of people who live there. I think its purpose is for the students to realize that they should be grateful for what they have and know their unlimited possibilities when it comes to helping these people in need. Our immersion, on the other hand, took only a total of seven hours of our day and, instead of the urban poor communities, we were more exposed to the real situation when it comes to the environment.
Our group had to do the seven-hour immersion with another group: St. Scho Night Secondary students, who came up with a club that promoted the significance of WISHCRAFT. Basically, WISHCRAFT wishes to send students, who can’t pay for private universities, as scholars, through environment-friendly actions. These night secondary students are poor, young Filipinas who were not able to finish high school, or, at least, didn’t have the money to pay for a decent secondary education. I know a lot about them because I was once a Scholastican. Whenever we were on our way out of school, secondary students were just about to go to their first class.
So, while Ateneans worry about getting the highest-paying jobs in the country, Night Secondary students worry about the education of the youth who can’t pay for their tuition in universities. DISTURBING, right? I’m not bragging at all, but Ateneo opens its graduates to a lot of opportunities even without putting much effort in looking for them. It’s just sad to think that we never get contented with the options presented because we always want more. Yes, we’ve worked hard and we deserve high-paying jobs, although I think we still have a lot to prove when we get out of the grounds of our school.
I am an average-Atenean; average–academically, socially, and economically. On a normal day, I spend most of my time and effort in organizations that I know will give me experiences that are related to marketing and public relations. I do this because I’ll be able to add these in my resume, which means getting a better paying job in the future. Secondary night students from St. Scho, on the other hand, spend their time segregating waste so that they can sell the recyclable ones and then add the money to the fund that sends other students who are in need of it more. Are you finally getting why I felt disturbed? How can someone who has everything can’t even think of helping out others, while those, who are in need of help themselves, can still put their time to aid people who are in a worse situation?
While that issue is left unresolved, another more disturbing issue was presented. Unfortunately, our generation neglected to dwell on where to put our priorities. We worry so much about our new iPhone’s LCD getting scratched that we forget to care for something more important: nature. We failed to remember that cellphones, laptops, and cars can be easily replaced, while nature will be something that God made originally. It is true that mankind made it a better place to live in by developing technologies, but it is also because of us why it’s becoming a difficult place to sustain.During one of the reflection sessions, a member of the other group mentioned inter-connectivity and our generation losing in touch with it. Because of the very advanced technology that we have today, we lost the sensibility of being part of something bigger, which is also probably why we forgot that there are greater responsibilities that we should be preparing for. Immersion has taught me how little the problems we worry about everyday when there’s more to the world than our petty lives. We are not educated simply to contribute more to the corporate world. We are in this university not only to gain academic knowledge, but also to be formed holistically. Although I wanted to share this during the sharing session, I couldn’t really bring it up in front of the other guests because I think it’s only us, the Ateneo group, who have been so selfish about the “save the world” thing.
Given the chance, I’d definitely go back to CELL and spend more time in helping out. I think WISHCRAFT’s mission presents so much good possibilities, which I am very willing to be part of. I have a home where my family waits for me, a good educational background that I could use to find a decent job, a bit of experiences which can serve as a taste of what I’m about to do in the future, and more than enough supply of the basic needs a person should have. WHAT ELSE CAN I ASK FOR? I want to give back by giving others an opportunity to live a life that’s worth living in. Poor people, who work so hard and get so little in return, deserve better. If people who are at the advantage could just be contented with what they have and share their surpluses, gaps between classes will be lesser. If people, who have so little, can be contented enough to overlook their unnecessary wants, then Ateneans should put some of their time in giving back.
I didn’t write this blog because it is what I’m going to pass to my Theology professor as a requirement, I blogged about it because it is what I really feel towards the issues I have encountered in my immersion experience. I’m really proud of those who gave up their glamorous lives in order to take a better role in the world. I’d look up to someone who’s average because they share their excess rather than someone who has so much because they choose to keep all the excess they have. I’m not going to lie. I still want a high-paying job in the future that will help me keep my lifestyle, but I promised myself that I won’t forget the things I learned from immersion. There are far more important things than grades and career. It’s just a matter of perspective in where I should put my heart into.
P.S. I wasn’t able to conquer my fear of worms : ( Sayang!
P.P.S Will blog about the shallow problems next time!