To: No one in particular
We’ve been under the ODL system for about a year now. We’ve endured hardships, faced challenges, and suffered defeats during this period. We may have lost touch with our friends– those who had been with us within the campus before the pandemic struck. We might have even forgotten about who we were during the physical classes. We might have changed physically, emotionally, and mentally, yet there is still a semblance of what was in the past that lives on within us.
I would always remember how I spent my afternoons running from Guy Hall to 4th Floor Ausejo, and how I wanted to fly to the 4th floor as it was so exhausting. If I had extra time, I would stop over at AH Nature for either a cold drink or a sweet and spicy pancit canton. I would always buy extra for my friends because I know that we share the same pain in climbing the stairs of AH (legit kapoy).
After class, we then headed back to GH to rest near the Engineering complex. There, we sat in the sea breeze, waiting for the last class to finish. We were lucky to have a teacher that had a very interesting subject (Hello Ma’am Winona) and we would do TikToks with her and the rest of the class. Afterward, most of us were either homebound or would hang out with our friends in Escano or McDo near Lee. In my case, I would go home directly and sleep; sleep was essential and every minute of it was heaven to behold.
We always thought that the coming weeks would still be the same. We all thought wrong.
I remembered the day when the announcement regarding the lockdown was released. I was immediately contacted by my parents, they told me that I should pack for the trip as soon as I could. The next day, I boarded a ship, thinking that I would come back in a week or so, yet it lasted for more than a year.
Now we’re stuck in a pandemic– in our houses, facing our devices– trying to force ourselves to learn the needed lessons. It is hell. Let me get it out there, online class is hell. It is tiring and draining. However, there is still a silver lining to all of this.
Amid the hardships and the isolation, I am thankful to those people, both old and new, who were there to help in my time of need. I would like to mention several names, even if they may never read this column. For my Grade 11 besties, Jan Heart and John Carlo, I am thankful for your constant support and your understanding, even if we only meet a few times nowadays. For my Grade 12 friends, Drei, Trisha, Simon, and Justine, thank you for always encouraging me to keep calm and carry on. You have helped me realize the importance of teamwork and friendship and you’ve made this school year bearable. It is always a pleasure and an honor to work with a team that consists of you four.
To Maika, my newfound friend, you have helped me a lot this year. Through all the rejections, requirements, and mental breakdowns, you have always stood by my side and supported me through it all, especially when I got accepted into the school paper.
My friends, may God guide you towards success, and always remember that if you need someone to help you, remember that you have a friend named Leander that is always there.
P.S. If you read this, don’t forget to thank your friends and the people who stood by your side during these tough times. Take care and keep safe.