A Not-So-Valedictory Address

by Jonathan Espejo Sy, Class 2017

When I started out at the University of the Philippines, I did not feel like I had to work hard. I thought that I was smart enough to handle whatever would come my way. In a way, it was good; I never had that much self-esteem before. To be on equal footing with the likes of high school valedictorians and graduates of renowned private and science high schools. But that was just the beginning.

As five years went by and barely met my expectations, it had become clear to me that I did not like the program I had signed up for. I didn’t have the liberty to choose my own sport or foreign language elective. It was an accelerated program into medicine, a British experiment embedded in an American system. I had yet to grasp the notion that it wouldn’t be the college experience I had hoped it would be. The problem was that I let it get in the way of making the most of what little I thought I saw, regardless of the flaws I saw in the system.