By Rothelia Maria Gaudan-Ugsad
Vol. XCI No. 5
Aug. 28, 2019
“Hello, Ma’am. I’m here to ask for the column. Things happened and the due date is tomorrow. Is it still possible for you to write a column about your time in tWS?”
This message just popped up on my Messenger yesterday, Tuesday, August 27, 2019 at exactly 9:41 am from this year’s tWS EIC Jean Salgados. My reply? “I’ll try my best” with matching smile emoticon.
So, let me begin this column by saying that I have not dreaded writing this because, to be frank, it is going to be so gratifying for me. Even though working as a tWS editor-in-chief in 1989 could be stressful due to the pressure of beating the weekly deadlines without the modern day gadgets, I could boast numerous perks.
First of all, it moulded me to become a creative and critical thinker and an effective communicator. It developed my leadership skills in fulfilling duties, such as assigning tasks to my fellow staffers, editing articles, writing headlines, layouting pages and selecting the right stories, cartoons and photos to be included in an issue. The duty of making business and policy decisions, including budgets and staffers, for the paper also fell squarely on my shoulders.
Another perk was networking. I got to build personal long-lasting relationships with people through interviews like the VIPs of Silliman University, world class guests performing at Luce Auditorium and the like. Developing such a network could be very helpful when seeking better terms of employment in the future in another publication or career like where I am now. For a year as a senior, I made so many friends in and outside of Silliman University. I also had the opportunity to get closer to those I already knew. Thanks to Carmen Mita Roxas-Almero, my competent features editor, who persistently invited me to join the four-hour gruelling comprehensive exams and an hour of arduous panel interview before we got hired as staffers. I quite literally could not have done it without her. Aside from writing exciting feature articles, she always had my back during staff meetings and contributed amazing and innovative things that made the paper the best it could be. In fact, one milestone we had was reviving The Sillimanian magazine featuring the Miss Silliman candidates during the annual Founders Day celebration. But after our tWS stint, we never met each other. As of this writing, I tried looking for her over Facebook. Lo and behold, I was able to find her name so quickly. Thanks to Messenger, I was able to chat with her and asked her to give a short statement about her tWS experience and without hesitation she replied, “We had the best team in Rothelia, Nancy Libres (News Editor) and myself as well as the other staffers that year. We got along so well and editorial meetings were easy and fun. That College of Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) conference in Legaspi was a great experience. That was so much fun.” In a world filled with hatred and hostility, Mita provided altruism and kindness to all of the staffers. I had seldom seen someone who worked as hard as Mita. Although she had only been a part of the paper for one semester, she became an awesome writer and a loyal friend to me. She was also my “letterpress” buddy. Unlike the present-day offset or digital computer printing, the accommodating Silliman press linotypists we called “manongs” had our paper printed in metal slugs. I could never also forget my funny staffers Jemar Patelona and Patrick Guasa. At stressful times, they were there to provide comic relief and remind me that it was going to be all good, no matter what. Indeed, compromising, effective and efficient communication, respect and equal partnerships were extremely important qualities needed in getting along with and working with them. The tWS family also taught me how to love, care and inspire.
The movies that Mita and I watched at Park and Ever cinemas also became our weekly stress relievers. Thanks to the ex-deal complimentary movie passes we enjoyed for a year. However, we all had wonderful memories in our very spacious office at the second floor of the old Silliman Bookstore next to the President’s White House.
In addition to all that, we also benefited from scholarship packages, which differed based on the levels of positions. Praise God, mine was a full scholarship!
Finally, it provided me an opportunity for interesting writing. As I wrote editorials, it taught me to work harder than I ever imagined I could, strengthened my conviction in the importance of responsible campus journalism and connected me to the Silliman community in ways I never would have otherwise. What I have become now as a campus journalism teacher and paper adviser is because of my great tWS writing experience.
Being a tWS EIC was my most unforgettable, fulfilling and favorite college
memory!!! Thanks to you, the Weekly Sillimanian.
Rothelia Maria Gaudan-Ugsad graduated from Silliman in 1989 with a Bachelor
of Mass Communication degree, cum laude. Currently, she is the Station Manager
and spiritual disc jockey of Radyo Kausbawan in Leyte.