The first half of the first year of the second decade of the third millennium has passed before my eyes at a terribly fast speed. The theme for the recently concluded second quarter: rude awakening. This was the quarter that I embraced total adult-life independence. It was a hard one to the point that I was at the verge of tears (literally and figuratively) before it even started. Some of my closest friends know the exact details — I won’t bother broadcasting it to the general public anymore. But so far, 2011 is going tough for me. It’s for a good “tough” though, something I may need by Fall 2012, when Project 480 is over.
Aside from that a lot of memorable things happened along the way which made me not give up. It turns out that those challenges posed to me by this second quarter opened up to dozens of dozen possibilities that will keep me looking forward brightly for the latter half of 2011.
Bonding April was all about reconnecting with lots of people, starting with my beloved STC Board 0910. Our busy lives can afford us a single night of dinner as get-together only, but we’ll definitely have an outing before the year ends. Summer this year was the shortest (around six weeks?) as well, with the sun going to deadly near-body temperatures. Holy Week came a little late but I was still able to appreciate my faith through simple traditions. April was also a bonding month as my good friend, life mentor, and former instructor Ian Ken arrived from his doctorand school break at Germany. I accompanied him with some of his trips around Metro Manila. Before April ended, he needed to come back however. I promised him (and my other doctorand friends) that by next year, I will visit them (instead of them visiting me), abroad that is. Another good news for this month was my obtaining of a opportunity grant scholarship from the Fulbright Commision (for my doctorand applications). On other points, there was the Pascuallab summer outing at Bataan. And I applied under the MS Environmental Science program at the University of the Philippines — Diliman (UPD).
Break-in May was the month which made me cry. By that time, I said good-bye to Casa Gatmaitan at La Vista as I took on the decision to embark on total adult independent living: housing from me, bills from me, all expenditures from me, all financial and other worries from me. I did not know though that the transition phase would be rough — beginning from the search for a new place to stay in. I was on the brink of tears, looking even at ill-structured houses which, no offense, look like hideouts of thieves. In the end I was able to get a decent condo unit at a pretty inexpensive rate (for a condo unit, that is). Now for the happy events. May was the month my grade school classmate and friend Kevin arrived from USA. Get-together dinner with other classmates Mark, Andreo, Paula, Lucci, and Jackie proceeded afterwards. It’s amazing to talk to my classmates who like me are now professionals in each’s respective field of interest. It was also motivating to hear that Kevin is planning to get a medical doctorate degree. While my target is a PhD (or an ScD), it’s just amazing to hear that other people have the same goals as I have. I cannot and must not give up. Another bonding moment was at Pascuallab’s badminton tournament. I was able to develop a deeper friendship with my fellow employees here, especially with the people from Supply Chain and Purchasing Divisions. Good vibes even though we lost.
Brand-new June marked my officially becoming an Iskong Atenista or Atenistang Isko, whichever sounds cooler. After some long decisions with other people (especially fellow chemists) and some internal struggles with myself, I decided to take MS Environmental Science at UP-Diliman. In essence, I have really no plans to finish my Masters as I am actively (well at certain times haha) applying to be a doctorand in the USA. The opportunity grant scholarship I got from Fulbright indirectly reminds me to be at the United States by Fall 2012, else my rewards will be revoked. Thus finishing my Masters is just a Plan B for me. Other “sensible” reasons for my taking of Masters units include: 1) further experience (given that I have no background of the environmental sciences as well, and the research I want to pursue is the toxicology of nanomaterials at an environmental scale), 2) to prevent my brain cells from entering hibernate mode, and 3) to expand my network. So far so good and my experience at UPD’s somehow providing me with the necessary cultural adjustment I need in the future. June also marked a celebration of Happy NOT a Father’s Day with my TKG Tropa. Cards and ethanol are at perfect mix with good ol’ stories and deep friendship. This June also was the time for me to reconnect with my blockmates –M/M1 0910. I’ve been very busy lately that I rarely see them. I feel so envious that two of my blockmates are leaving the country to study too, but I hope to be included in the next batch next year. I must not really give up. I had a good chemistry seminar this June too (though I am disappointed that I missed the 26th Philippine Chemistry Congress (26PCC) and 31st Annual PAASE (Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering) Meeting and Symposium (31APAMS) this year). Oh and something new too. (Or may be it’s somethings as in with an s?)
In summary, the second quarter of 2011 really slapped, punched, and kicked my face and my balls real hard that I am at the point of falling down in deep pain. With the company of the best of my best friends though, I was able to remain standing in my fighting stance. So more trials for the latter half of the year? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.