…from my decade-old reading assignments and book collection.
Whenever I try to remember the stories and books that truly got me into my current fascination with the written works, I can’t help but smile and think of the numerous reading assignments I had to complete throughout my high school and university years. There were times I couldn’t even remember the exact date or homework for a particular text, but the story and the characters were all still so familiar to me.
Science and Learning
I didn’t grow up in a family of readers. Television shows, movies, radio series, and only a couple of Komiks kept me pre-occupied during my tender years. I tried to excel academically during my elementary days, and I was only exposed to different textbooks, encyclopedia resources, and the dictionary (synonyms, antonyms, thesaurus, and others).
In 2005, I graduated and finally had the chance to move out of my comfort zone and welcomed changes as I stepped into the world of high schoolers, two jeepney rides away from home. It was the same year when a science high school in our city opened its doors to interested applicants. Many of my elementary batchmates grabbed the opportunity and got in. However, I decided to make a different choice. With this, I received a number of frowns from the people around me.
Anyway, I still learned and even followed a similar science-based curriculum when I chose to attend the school more than four kilometers away from our house. There, I grew up and developed a lot of skills that helped me pursue further education. Even though I had to endure hours of lectures and after school group meetings, I learned to appreciate the experiences. But, being part of the science section got me engulfed in a plethora of routinary discussion. I truly embraced a lot of responsibilities and endured a distinct plunge into the world of physics, chemistry, biology, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, statistics, research, economics, history, and many other advanced subjects related to each one. There were days when I simply jumped into the morning with chest-high school works, projects, and extracurricular activities. (Looking back now, I am so amazed I survived those four years of overtime works)
One of the Few
Throughout those years, I found comfort in listening to the interesting stories from my Filipino and English classes. Book reports, movie reviews, required reading assignments, portfolios, and many other creative outlets of expression helped me. Others thought of these activities as tiring or even boring, but I found them all so unique from the typical ones I used to get from my science classes.
I began a frequent visit to the library to borrow books from Peter Pan, The Little Women, Chinese Cinderella to the Diary of Anne Frank. I started enjoying the company of various characters and traveled to different places in every chapter, even though I had to keep the dictionary near me to clearly understand the passages. I even got the chance to read theater scripts and performed in some of them for the quarterly book presentations. This was the trigger that led me to years of fascination and constant longing to stories of years ago and the present.
However, I was only one of the few students who were included in the science section that appreciated literature and other related forms. I chose an elective in debate (even though we were only six in the class) and journalism (when the debate class was dissolved) while the rest of the class and of the entire pilot section took up advanced mathematics. Then, I was only among a handful of graduates who decided to take up a Bachelor of Arts major instead of any other Bachelor of Sciences courses. I missed the chance to be a DOST scholar and others were even disappointed because “I wasted my four-year science course preparation.”
Now, I learned that I didn’t make a bad choice after all. I simply am not the same with the rest of the class. My university years made me stronger and more critical with the events and people around me. I couldn’t ask for anything better.
Letting Go and Moving On
As I enjoyed the journey with many stories and characters throughout the years, I kept copies of many required readings and even random suggestions by my friends and professors. So, when I see the photocopied stories, article clippings, corrected paperwork, and other memories from the eight years of my high school and college experiences, I couldn’t help but pause and browse through them again. Devouring all the excitement and the same sensation like the first time I read them. However, the copies are now turning dark while others are starting to be indecipherable because of fading.
I am having a hard time looking at them and still sorting through which box to place them in. I try my best to remind myself that I also need to throw some of them away some time, but it just doesn’t seem right. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t grow up in a family of readers, so these copies remained unread by the other members of my family. My younger siblings enjoy some of the books I have (or the new ones that I bought for them as requested: Miss Peregrine…), but most of the time they simply ignore them. I truly want to keep all the copies I have from the photocopied short stories in high school to the printed theater scripts I had to read in my theater history class.
They are taking a lot of space now and I still don’t have a decent bookshelf to keep all of my books, what more for the bond paper printed/photocopied ones. Is it time to move on and let these stories go? I hope I can find the answer soon.