“Good morning world!!! It’s the first day of school and I am truly excited! See you all my dear batchmates!!!,” I tweeted online. “See you Rachel, I’m ecstatic to see you around,” a reply from a dear classmate.
As I take a walkalator from 7th Street to the College of Entrepreneurship and Marketing, I can see newly completed high rise buildings at the commercial center and looking farther is a perfect scenery of a consistently beautiful sleeping lady over the magnificent Lanao Lake. “This sure will be a great day!!!”
Reaching the main entrance of the College of Entrepreneurship and Marketing is an upgraded facility with a microchip reader to make sure that only bona fide students can enter the college premises. Finally, I met my co-majors and after saying hellos in the classroom, everyone got busy updating statuses on facebook and twitter, “First day in school with a hashtag, “HERE WE GO AGAIN :D” Having checked my newsfeed, I replied to their tweets, “Good luck!”
Then a voice said, “Good morning everyone!!! Today is Monday, June 15, 2020, and welcome to the Mind Museum.” The mind museum is actually a creativity room that stimulates both imagination and critical thinking. “Swipe your ID card on the sensor to activate your account in this course”, the voice continued. Then a video presentation was projected on screen. “WELCOME to Marketing 111 which is all about Internet Marketing.” “Log on to www.msuinternetmarketing.com and download a copy of the syllabus, class policies and the grading system.”
Having heard that, our instructor entered the class and stood in front to continue the orientation. With the wide monitor behind his back, he just flipped pages of the presentation by using hand signals that will be detected by the sensor!!! “Wow, that’s fabulous!!! I’m loving the new learning environment! Sophisticated and state-of-the-art facilities are now in place! Internet connection is stable!!! And everything leads to a conducive learning process!” The instructor finally said, “Keep updated on our virtual classroom! See you there!”
On our way to the lobby was an electronic bulletin recognizing the Crème of the Crop of the College. “WOW!!! What a great way to start this semester, I am one of the Dean’s Lister. Thank God!!!” Then, a bigger electronic billboard was placed near the gymnasium featuring the achievements of the students, the news on the various board and bar topnotchers of MSU and the winnings of the faculty and student researchers in international research paper presentations. WOW!!! Mindanao State University is really doing well in its pursuit of academic excellence. In fact, many colleges in MSU have garnered the title of either a Center of Excellence or Center of Development. Indeed, MSU has reaped the hardwork, persistence and commitment to a world class university. These great successes are worth a celebration!!!
Then, someone said, “Rachel, Rachel, Rachel, wake up!!! It’s already 8:00 o’clock in the morning. Hurry, today is the start of the enrolment. Get yourself fixed and we’ll catch up. We need to enrol sufficient number of academic units so we could graduate on time,” my roommate explained. I hurriedly went to the bathroom smiling of the wonderful dream I had. “Time will come that MSU will become a world-class university. For now, I need to face the various challenges in the academe.”
We were then ready for enrolment. “Hundreds of students crowded our college, waiting for their turn to get a regular academic load or even more.” “Hope I can get a full load now,” one student said. “I’m tired of always being underloaded,” the other student said. The first day ended with our number of units not yet determined. The enrolment period continued and most of the time, I can hear students having a clamour for a full load. With their insistent behaviour, they assembled and rallied against the administrators, “We demand justice! Extend the enrolment!!! Open new courses!!! Give us sufficient load!” It’s a sad fact that the enrolment every semester wouldn’t be complete without the emergence of problems such as inadequate courses offered, unavailability of the enrolment task force members, slow internet connection, endless waiting lines and even harassments. “Oh Lord, help us get through the struggles during enrolment.
The challenges of being an MSUan do not end up in enrolment because there are many other unimaginable circumstances that happen.
One sunny day, a huge fire petrified the constituents at the commercial center. “There’s a big fire, fire, fire!!!” someone screamed. “Turn off the main switch,” said an employee of a nearby establishment. Others just stared at the fire, so helpless to control it. The firemen came an hour after the fire started and every building reached by the conflagration was turned to dust. I got more frightened upon knowing that a faculty and two students were intentionally burned to death…
“Help, help, help!!! Help me get out of here… Oh, no, help help help, was all I could imagine while these innocent people were put to death. “Huhuhuhuhu, this is the most horrible crime I have known.” Oh, Lord, please keep us safe…” The news came to my mother’s knowledge and she called me up over the phone. “Rachel, are you okay there?” “No Mama, I’m terrified… I wanna go home now, huhuhuhu.” “Keep all your things now and leave MSU the soonest time possible, my mother answered.” Days passed and it was as if nothing happened. Everyone seemed indifferent about the incident.
Some months later, a loud sound startled us. Boom! Bang! Bang! Bang! Boom! Bang! Bang! Bang! Oh my God, what is it!!! Boom! Bang! Bang! Bang, the firing of guns continued for a couple of minutes. Oh my God!!! Save us!!! Boom! Bang! Bang! Bang! We closed our door and windows and fervently prayed for our safety. Then, we realized that there was an encounter between the rebels and the military. The news once again came to my mother’s knowledge and she called me up, “Rachel, are you okay there?” “No Mama, I’m scared… I wanna go home now, huhuhuhu.” “Keep all your things now and leave MSU the soonest time possible, my mother answered.” Days passed and it was as if nothing happened. Everyone seemed indifferent about the incident.
While we were walking at the commercial center, a loud gun shot “Bang!” puzzled us. We hurriedly moved away from the source of that terrifying sound and sought refuge at our cottage. The news immediately spread, “The ‘balot’ vendor got killed in just a minute,” said my cottagemate. “Why? What was that for?” Answers were not clear to me and all I had to do was to call my mother. “Hello Mama, please get me here, huhuhuhu…” Days passed and it was as if nothing happened. Everyone seemed indifferent about the incident.
These are just some of the many unimaginable happenings in the campus. Every now and then, a boy killed, a girl raped, a student wounded, and a lot more. Oh no, these occurrences are life threatening, mind boggling and emotionally daunting.
When can we be peaceful? When can we feel secure? When can we seek justice? When can we affirm that we are heading to our vision as a world class university in 2020? Nobody knows the answer. But for as long as you, you, you, and I love Mindanao State University, there is a glimmer of hope that everything will be well. That all we dreamed of will be realized. That MSU will serve its major purpose in promoting peace across the globe. That you and I will become exemplars of peace and harmony to everyone. All these are but a dream… I leave the challenge to you of what will be your role in achieving the vision of our beloved MSU as a world class university…