I didn’t really go far. It’s one of the few advantages of having a house located so close to EDSA: I had a long stretch of sidewalk where I could pace, as I tried to calm down and reflect on what exactly Tatay was trying to tell me in between the shouting we were doing. I had gotten as far as the intersection before F.B. Harrison, where I sat down beside one of the buildings there, my eyes directed to the busy road in front of me, buses and jeepneys competing over space on that cemented thoroughfare. I saw none of these, however, as my thoughts turned inwards. Tatay was right, it was high time that I stopped feeling sorry for myself, stopped being so useless; I still had the rest of my life ahead of me, and there was still a chance for me to make amends.
There were more than a few awkward apologies that night, when I finally found the guts to return home to face my parents, as well as shed tears, but that marked the end of my period of self-loathing. It wasn’t quite the start of a new day, but as Nanay mentioned in between some crushing hugs, I had already gone past the darkness and was well on my way to seeing the dawn again.
Although I had resolved to begin my schooling again, finding a school that would accept me was a little harder than expected. You see, my epiphany had come quite literally during the middle of the year, and there were few colleges that accepted new transfers during that period. We did some calls, and eventually narrowed the choices down to San Sebastian and Philippine Women’s University; the former was a more likely choice, but when the school’s registrar said in no uncertain means that they were no longer accepting transferees, so we had to go with PWU. I went through the nasty business of collecting my requirements for transfer from the University of the Philippines, completed what was left of the documentation needed by PWU’s registrar, and then took the entrance examination and interview. Things turned out surprisingly well, and in little more than a week I was back in school. This time, I swore not to waste the second chance I was given. I chose a degree in Communication Arts, figuring that it suited me more. It was October 2002.
I have to say, it took some getting used to coming to class in PWU, given the fact that the student population of the school was about ninety percent female, and I was never really good at communicating with girls (outside of writing, of course). It was a little awkward at first interacting with my classmates, but as the days wore on, I grew comfortable with their company. Then there were the classes. Having not touched anything remotely academic in two-odd years, I really paid attention to what the professor was saying, to listen and learn this time; I was back at square one, and definitely had a lot to relearn if I was to get back to where I was before I dropped out of UP.
So, you’ll understand my trepidation when it was time to turn in an essay assignment during one of my General Education subjects. A blank sheet of paper sat in front of me, and after two years of noncreative output, I didn’t know what to write on it. But I returned to school to learn how to do so again.