They say high school life is the most memorable stage in a student’s life. But, hey, I beg to disagree. Mine was when I first stepped inside the gate of Ateneo de Davao University, that gate near Alemar’s Bookstore. Yes, that’s correct – Alemar’s Bookstore, a bookstore known during the ‘90s.
From then on, my journey continues. I must have enjoyed and loved the campus so much that until now, I am still part of the Ateneo de Davao University – Jacinto Campus.
Life as an Atenean
My love affair with the Ateneo de Davao University can be divided into four parts: as a student; a part-time professor; a student leader; and as a person who I have become.
During the ‘90s, students had the privilege to live at the Dormitory (now the Dotterwich Building, a.k.a. the Law School Building). I was one of them. Learning was fun and exciting because I felt at home with my dormmates’ presence although I was about 60 kilometers away from home.
Life in the dormitory was full of fun indeed. Exchanging notes with fellow freshmen at the dormitory, asking for gems of advice and tips from “Ates and Kuyas”, and sometimes, when the last class ended, ghost hunting inside the Jacinto campus were only few of my happy memories.
The Ateneo Way
With the Ateneo way of treating their students, especially those who stayed in their dormitory, I am very fortunate to experience the best school years in my life. What made me say so? Imagine, your home is just a stone’s throw away from your classroom. And I had a big backyard that sometimes I went to get drinking water from water stations inside the campus while I was still in my pajamas, and students already started to arrive at school. Every time there were school events like Awitenista, Intramurals, College Days, Christmas events, you didn’t need to worry whether you could go home before the curfew hour would strike because you were still inside the school campus.
I was able to balance academic requirements and extra-curricular activities because I had so much fun learning as a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy student while literally and physically living inside the AdDU – Jacinto Campus.
A Wider Horizon
Aside from the necessary academic learnings that I needed in order to conquer my battle for the CPA Board Examinations, it was inculcated in us that we should also not forget to give back to the society and be socially involved and be men and women for others. I attended forums and seminars and participated in different activities. The most memorable experience I had outside of the four corners of the campus was our Class Immersion, not only at a nearby barangay in Davao City, but in Sta. Josefa, Agusan del Sur. Certainly, Ateneo did not only prepare me in my academics. That experience was a personification or realization of what it is to be men and women for others. It made me realize that I needed to learn, not only for myself but for others too.
Thus, when I graduated and passed the CPA Board Examinations, I looked back to my Alma Mater, grateful for everything and proud to be one of its children. I decided to give back and share what I learned. I was fortunate that I was given the privilege to be part of the faculty, teaching Accounting, Auditing and Taxation subjects, of the institution which honed me to become a Certified Public Accountant.
I became a part-time professor of the then Accountancy Division, which is now known as the School of Business and Governance (SBG). Equipped with the Ateneo brand of education, coupled with extreme desire to expand the horizon even wider, while being a part-time professor, I also enrolled at the Ateneo de Davao College of Law. It was as if I took a stone and hit my head with it. But that didn’t hinder me from pursuing a law degree. My teaching hours from 7:40 in the morning to 3:40 in the afternoon became my relaxation time. It may sound queer but yes, that was true. I felt relax and comfortable while I was inside the campus, that even if I needed to hurdle a lot of readings in preparation for my 5:00 o’clock class in law school every single day, it never crossed my mind to stop teaching and concentrate on my law studies. Every tete-a-tete in between five-minute breaks after every class with either a student or a fellow faculty member or a school personnel was a breather. I seldom share this with anybody, but with every person I met in the campus, I felt a connection. This is so because the people inside the campus made me feel that way.
Solidarity and Belongingness
There was this one occasion when after a one and a half hours of lecture, I went straight to the drinking fountain. Before I could make my first sip, somebody tap my shoulder. A fellow faculty member sincerely told me not to drink cold water after every lecture. I felt her concern, I stepped back, and I never dared to drink a single drop of water after holding a lecture ever again.
Afraid that I might fail in my Taxation Class while I was still in law school, I shared my predicament and told a fellow accounting professor, Sir Pol Medina. Without hesitation, he offered several taxation books for my additional reference. I did not only pass all my taxation subjects. I aced all of them.
That was how I felt the love and support of my fellow faculty members. Not only that, even my students would cheer me up every time I had a difficult exam or when I had a lot of readings to muster.
Life Beyond Oneself
Hence, when called upon to step up, and was given the opportunity to serve as a student leader, I humbly obliged. “I can do this”, I said to myself. During my senior year in law school, I was elected as the President of the Ateneo Law School Student Council. My horizon to be of service to the Ateneo Law School community widened. My social skills were further enhanced. What made me more thankful during that stint as a student leader was that I became more involved with different activities and, more importantly, learnings abound not only as a student but as an individual who needed to face the real world after law school. With the help of the faculty and fellow students, all activities became successful. My time management skills were tested and honed several notches higher!
Overall, the Ateneo brand of education did not only equip me with the essentials in order to pass the CPA Board Examinations and the Bar Examinations; equally important at least, it taught me life skills. Life skills that are material in order to survive the real world. Life skills like working with others, analytical skills, work ethic, and confidence.
A Lifetime Journey
At present, I still continue to be part of the Ateneo de Davao University as a part-time faculty member, while managing my own law, accounting and realty firm, and holding positions in various organizations.
A student then and a student still, a part-time professor since year 1999, and an individual continually learning and imparting the Ateneo brand of education while called to teach and serve, I am honored and privileged to be an Atenean.
I spent half of my growing years with the Ateneo de Davao University. These years are the best years of my life, more so that I met my one true love and my forever in Ateneo de Davao University. For all these, I am forever grateful!