On Learning

You live, you learn.  You love, you learn.
You cry, you learn.  You lose, you learn.
Alanis Morissette

I used to think that high school life was “just another four years of school work.”

I thought medals and trophies were all that matter.  I thought I should never commit mistakes.  I thought one needed to be liked and loved by everybody else.  I thought one had friends simply to have this certain group of people he could call “friends.”  I thought life was bitter, deceitful and unfair.

I was wrong.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

High school made me realize that.

Honorable UPHR President Dr. Antonio Laperal Tamayo, our dynamic high school principal, Dr. Loureli Carreon Siy, members of the high school faculty and administrative staff, parents, guests, my dear co-Perpetualites, good evening.

Learning.  Yes, a word called “learning.”

I have to admit that during my early years of education, I took learning for granted.  Back then, all I had in mind was “I have to submit this and that, so I can pass these and those subjects!  Books have to be read, tests have to be passed, and projects have to be done.”  As simple and as lifeless as that.  After all, this is “school.”

But then I began asking myself, “What’s the point?”  To gain honor and recognition?  To have more friends?  To please others?  I didn’t know.  I didn’t want to know.  I was afraid that if I knew, I’d wake up one day with my entire life hanging on to this “thing.”  That if this one “thing” were taken away, everything would fall apart with it.

It took me 16 years to put things in the right perspective.  Then I realized that high school isn’t simply about solving for x and y, interpreting Shakespeare, or identifying the molecules of life.

While it is true that teachers impart immense knowledge and information to students, a considerably greater kind of learning transpires within the confines of this place we commonly refer to as “our school.”

As we can see, learning isn’t something we do with the mind.  It is something that needs the heart.  What we remember during the test doesn’t matter at all!  It’s what we do remember after the test that counts — the things we know to be true, the beliefs we will hold on to for the rest of our lives.

It is in high school where we learned to sustain friendships that remind us of our need to need others, and their need to need us in return; where we learned that trials and hardships are essential to success; and where we learned that God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good.

High school taught us all these, even more than these.

Our parents, teachers, classmates and friends — they all gave us lessons to learn.  The best thing about it is that we are still learning.  It takes a lot of hard work, persistence, frustration, pain, humiliation and defeat.  But these don’t matter!

After all, life in the long run is actually a series of learning lessons — a continuous process of trial-and-error until we get it right and reach our goals.

In the end, believe me, it will all be worth it.

Be proud, my fellow Perpetualites, for our Alma Mater, the University of Perpetual Help Rizal, has taught us more than what we have expected to learn.

And you don’t need medals to prove that!  Because true learning lies within our hearts.  We may not be aware of it, but it is there.  Our high school learning experiences, steadily beating, an omnipresent spirit that shall guide our value system, molding us into whoever we may become, dictating the future course of our lives.

It is a treacherous journey ahead, but remember, as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said and I quote, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”  We are Junior Perpetualites.  We entered this institution to learn, we shall depart to serve, and we will return with honor.

Thank you and Godspeed.

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