I cannot believe how fast my four years in the Ateneo went by. But I can proudly say that it has been the most memorable and significant four years of my life. Ateneo has equipped me with the tools to be successful and granted me the conscience to use these tools to contribute to the greater good to the best of my natural ability.
The Ateneo in its entirety offered me an extraordinary kind of aura that compels me to maximize my potential as a student and exert my best in terms of academic excellence and organizational leadership.
Since freshmen year, the Department of Information Systems and Computer Sciences (DISCS) department has always been like family to me. The faculty, secretary, and staff were always ready to offer their services and guide me as I went through my four years in the Ateneo. DISCS, especially Dr. Didith Rodrigo (DISCS Chair) was always there to grant me never-ending support and opportunities to grow into becoming the best person that I can be. DISCS continuously recognizes my efforts and achievements which as a result makes me feel important and I find myself challenged to do greater things to make my home department proud.
It was in the Ateneo, during freshmen year when I was extremely inspired to win the Proctor and Gamble Student Excellence Awards for Academic Excellence and Organizational Leadership. After listening to her talks and stories, I was very much motivated to set the bar even higher for MIS students. I know deep within that being at the top of the MIS batch for me wouldn’t be possible without the constant support of my fellow batch mates who were always there to help me during challenging times. Aware of the fact that I was being looked up to by fellow Ateneans in terms of academic excellence, I took the initiative to lend a hand to students who needed help.
I am forever grateful to the Ateneo DISCS Department for including me as the top priority to experience a privilege of a lifetime - to study abroad for a semester. Ateneo gave me that opportunity to broaden perspectives, to immerse and interact with different cultures, and to represent the Ateneo. I was challenged to show the students from other countries what it is like to be a Filipino and, more significantly, what it is like to be an Atenean. I remember one of my classmates, Romana Chandra who approached me after my presentation for an e-commerce class. “You’re definitely from the Philippines.” I was surprised how she knew. “I know because Filipinos have extremely good communication and presentation skills.” she told me. I was deeply moved. From there, I realized how a similar scenario applies for all the other Ateneans sent abroad. This dream of mine to study abroad, fulfilled by the Ateneo taught me some lessons about life that cannot be learned just inside the classroom. The experience opened my mind to a reality that there was so much more to discover by going beyond the four walls of the Ateneo.
The Ateneo way of life instilled in me that in whatever I do, I have to give more than a hundred percent. I will never forget those productions for my Literature, Filipino, Philosophy, Theology, and History Classes. It was because of the sheer inspiration coming from the teachers and fellow Ateneans with whom I share the same passion for excellence with, that pushed me to always take things to the next level.
Aside from all these tools that inspired me to aspire for academic excellence, Ateneo developed in me the conscience to use those tools to contribute to the greater good to the best of my natural ability. As early as my sophomore year, I considered myself privileged to be invited by the Ateneo Sanggunian to give talks on academic excellence to my fellow batch mates. I could not forget that afternoon of being in the same level with speakers like Boyet Dy (summa cum laude, Batch Valedictorian AB DS '06) and being considered one of the 10 Whiz Kids in the Philippines along with Patrick Echevarria (magna cum laude, Batch Valedictorian BS ECE BS PS ‘05) It definitely served as a great source of passion and inspiration to keep me going.
Ateneo made me realize that education didn’t have to end with the self. When Dr. JP Vergara asked for my help, it was overwhelming to have someone trust and believe in what I can do. I was more than honored to be of service as a student assistant of the MIS sophomore batch for Computer Science courses this school year. Moreover, I will never forget the faces of the kids I taught in Jose Burgos Elementary School during my NSTP, or the smiles of my students from Alay ni Ignacio (ANI), a program of Pathways offering education to the underprivileged children. Upon discovering that my ANI students (now studying in the Ateneo) still remember me, grants me great pride from within because somehow and someway I was able to leave a mark on these students of mine.
The Ateneo education has challenged me to live out the true spirit of magis – that of doing more, for Christ, and therefore for others, not just in terms of academics but also when it comes to organizational leadership.
I will never forget my one on one Philosophy Classes with Dr. Manny Dy which made me realize that I can never rest content with anything I or history has achieved because there is always greater justice, richer love, deeper truth to be achieved. And even the Theology classes of Ray Aguas and Jim Acevedo which challenged me to do more in order to be more. These people challenged and have instilled within me the importance of what I should and can do for our country today.
To be a student while co-managing a business at the same time was an arduous task. But the Ateneo culture and upbringing has proven to me that it is possible. Inspired by Pathway’s thrust for educating the underprivileged children along with the experience of teaching them, I launched the “Hope for Nerds” Program for Pathways done in collaboration with my business, It’s Cool, a novelty shop. This tie-up permitted Pathways to sell their products in all existing branches. Each time revenue was generated, I remember going to Alingal Hall full of excitement to surrender the amounts to them. As a student entrepreneur, I devised strategies on marketing Pathways’ advocacies through the company’s paper bags, posters, and website so that each person who sees the packaging will be encouraged to take an active role in helping and supporting Pathways. Moreover, I want to be the inspiration for future and existing entrepreneurs in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Furthermore, Ateneo granted me the opportunity to work hand in hand with the Gawad Kalinga (GK) Community through OSCI and my philosophy class. More than the fulfillment achieved from building and painting homes, it was the relationships formed within the community that will stay with me for a lifetime. My GK encounter inspired me to bring hope to these people as I solicited educational computer toys to be incorporated into the educational system of the innocent children of the GK community. “Queenie, yung mga ibinigay mo gagawin nating school property at pipirmahan mo ang bawat isa ng donated by Queen Alandy Dy – ATENEO.” I found it funny and awkward because they didn’t have to do such a generous gesture. I told them that I always wanted to help out in educating these children and knowing that they’ll actually be able to use it, was already more than enough for me. “Ilalagay namin pangalan mo dahil nais naming ma-inspire ang ibang mga volunteers tulad mo, na makatulong rin sa amin.” I was deeply moved for I never realized that even the simplest things we do can mean so much to these people.
Finally, Ateneo has given me the opportunity to meet and work with exceptional student leaders. Ateneo helped me grow and become the best leader that I can be with the guidance of great Atenean leaders such as former Celadon President, Daphne Uy and former MISA President, Bev Almazan, who entrusted to me her “Step-Up” Leadership and Development Project during my second year. Seeing the way Bev conducted training seminars along with Tatot Quiblat empowered me into wanting to develop leaders and even go beyond that.
Ateneans who led the Ateneo Junior Marketing Association (AJMA) certainly served as the ultimate inspiration for me to heed the call to be the leader of the largest and most course diverse organization, AJMA. At the start of my term, I realized that it wasn’t just about implementing projects that had existed ever since but the challenge to innovate projects that will allow AJMAns to master the organization’s strength in marketing and being able to give back to society; thereby contributing to nation building.
Ateneo gave me the privilege to help the development of marketing specialists and future leaders who will be movers and shakers of the Philippine society through AJMA. It was in AJMA where I met the best people whom I share the same passion and drive for service and excellence with. AJMAns have touched my heart in countless ways; more than one can ever imagine. It was through AJMA where the application of being men and women for others was intensified. Projects such as the Marketing Camp which opens up marketing as a possible career option to public high school students, Marketing Week, highlighted by the Marketing the Ateneo Competition, which shares to the Ateneo community what AJMA’s core-competency, Marketing is all about, MarkeTEACH which is an initiative to update the education of college state university professors who in return promise to spread AJMA’s marketing advocacy a hundred fold.
It is Ateneo that has granted me the perspective to view what truly is the Atenean way of Life. It was a privilege to get to work with Dr. Assunta Cuyegkeng, Pia Acevedo, Joy Adolfo, Pindy Mendiola, Rudolfo Ang, Hector Guballa, and Ma’am Sonia Araneta. These people certainly challenged my organization to take a step further and do more.
Moreover, I’m grateful to our manangs of the Ateneo cafeteria, the technical staff of DISCS, the Power Plant Office, the security guards and the manongs who always helped AJMA in terms of event logistics. It gives me a feeling of happiness to hear them greet me by name when I pass by them.
After four whole years, truly, it is the Ateneo culture and values that have definitely prepared me to be the best person that I can be. In the end, I’ve realized that everything I’ve done was never ultimately about self-fulfillment. Instead, I now truly believe that every act was done for the greater glory of God. Without doubt, I wouldn’t have gone this far if it weren’t for the Ateneo.
All about the traveling Queen who wanted to share with the world the little and great discoveries that have brought her joy.