Pabaon is that one last event we seniors had to attend before we graduate. These were the last things that our school wants us to remember before we go "down from the hill." I liked how the organizers interviewed the non-teaching staff and majority of the comments were how thankful they were that we were respectful and friendly towards them. They really enjoyed what they were doing because of us. It's something I wasn't expecting but they saw us that way instead of cold snob students (Well maybe that's just me)
Two professors and Rissa Hontiveros gave their thoughts, but it was Fr. Ben Nebres, our university president for the last 18 years, were the ones that really made an impact. It is also Fr. Ben's last year as president so he'll be leaving Ateneo with us.
"Mabubulok rin kayo gaya namin." He was telling a story of an Atenean working for a company where the culture is far from being ideal. The old men in the company said to the newly grad that he'll get used to the stagnant culture there and eventually do the same malpractices as they're doing.
Has Ateneo prepared us well for the harsh world beyond its walls? I'm not sure what to expect because not everyone has been molded with the same value as we know. Then again, this thinking that we are different from them prevents a leveled dialog if we are to be professionals for others, builders of this nation.
"Matutong umunawa bago maki baka" was the pabaon of Sir Calasanz to us. A lot of schools teach their students how to top the board exams or get that job in a multinational company. Some instill passionate nationalism or grounded Catholic thinking. But what sets Ateneo apart?
Ateneo graduates hinge from its solid foundation on the humanities and social sciences. Our philosophy or theology doesn't contain us inside the classroom but continues to deepen our understanding of the other, without losing who we truly are in the process. Only then can we really be able to effectively contribute to their development , everything else is unwarranted benevolence without a true understanding of the self and people around you.
With our close fist raised high, we sang our alma mater song at the end of the Pabaon. I won't blame anyone who had teary eyes at the end of the song. It was really moving standing there with my batchmates. Finally, we are going to graduate!