January 17th, 2015, 1pm

It was 28°C with few clouds. The breeze was gentle.

The University of the Philippines is fondly (and frustratingly) referred to by its students as the University of Pila, especially during registration. And in my (approximately) decade-long stay here and the dozen or so registrations I had to go through, the moniker never (not even once) disappointed.

Admittedly, registration is a lot tougher for the undergraduate students—if they don’t get all the General Education (GE) units they need via the online pre-enlistment (CRS) they have to queue, wait in line, hope and pray for available slots in whatever GE course that’s still open during the actual enlistment. This economy of GE courses – limited supply versus staggering demand – is the reason behind my taking courses, in my undergraduate years, that I hadn’t originally plan to take: art studies and political science, for instance. Although, looking back, those classes were quite memorable because in the former I got to be college classmates with my friends who were once my classmates in elementary and high school, and in the latter I got to play guitar and sing about the legal process of turning a bill into a law (probably my first ‘gig’).

Graduate students, on the other hand, are ‘luckier’ during registration for three reasons. First, the pool of graduate students in every department tends to be small (in some cases, microscopic) thusly making the competition for slots a lot less rabid. Second, graduate students are given priority status during enlistment. Third, generally, graduate students don’t need to take GE courses.

Despite this ‘luck’, registration period as a graduate student still has some queuing and waiting in line—two things which I expected when I tried to register this semester. I should have known better to expect the unexpected instead. It started when I woke up late dragging my body out of bed. I wasn’t psyched for the activity of the day but I had to since it’s the last day of registration. My temper and patience got tested early when I got stuck in traffic along Shaw Boulevard. I was aware of the MRT fare hike but did not expect (shocked, more like it) an 8-peso fare increase for the Shaw-Quezon Avenue route. 8 pesos in one go?! Is the government aiming to cripple the mobility of the masses?

I got my form 5A printed but missed the adviser for graduate students whose signature is crucial to progress to the next step. An instructor I knew directed me to another professor but when I reached her office there were so many people waiting in line. So I decided to have lunch first, come back at 1pm, and get my form signed—events which, more or less, were in accordance with my expectations. I marched up to the third floor towards the Graduate Studies Office for assessment and my form 5 and was politely escorted to a seat and got told this: “Down po ang CRS ngayon, mamayang 3pm pa daw po babalik. Hintay na lang po tayo mag 3.” This meant a 1.5 hour wait. Okay. This is the third to the last stop until I get officially registered so it’s worth it, I can wait. And wait I did. 5 minutes before 3 the CRS was back online and we were immediately entertained. I felt relieved when it was finally my turn only to be utterly floored a moment later.

“May liability ka sa library. Hindi kita ma-assess. I-clear mo muna ito para ma-assess kita.”

The story was this: I borrowed some books and lent two of them to my classmate as we were writing a paper together (a paper that was not written in time). Before last semester ended, I returned the books I had and asked her to do the same for those in her possession. She didn’t reply to any of my messages and texts and I simply assumed that she did what I asked. I also didn’t press her again because I knew she was probably very busy with work and her family. Apparently, being considerate and optimistic about people’s circumstances and behavior just doesn’t cut it sometimes.

For a few moments, I was too stunned to do anything but stand still, back on the wall, in the hallway. I was angry enough to want to punch something, somebody (which was not a good idea really as I would most likely end up only hurting myself). Then I just felt deflated. I just wanted to go home. To feel better, I reminded myself of the quote posted on the windows of CAL 101:

If you can’t wait, you can’t love.

Fair enough. Thanks.

(P.S. I did get those books and will return them next week and try to register again. Wish me no queues! Hm, but that’s unlikely. On second thought, wish me patience instead!)

Share this moment

Liezl Aileen

A curious girl, etc.

Create a free account

Have an account? Sign in.

Sign up with Facebook