Thinking Twice about What I Believed in Two Years Ago

Play “Belief” by Gavin DeGraw

It isn’t easy going back to school, I admit that now. But even as I suffer through the work, I can’t help but feel excited for what I do. I wouldn’t lie: I wish things would somehow be easier. I miss the comfort of teaching and the easy passion I bring to the job, pretty much the opposite of the grinding and rallying I have to do just to pass a class in AIM.

But this was never meant to be easy. I know I’m being stretched in ways I’ve never been to become someone I’ve never even imagined. I always tell my students, “I am here to teach you how to think.” And to that I say now, “You have no idea.” Though this is how my students must’ve felt. Looking back now, they suffered through my classes, too, only to see how I’ve been setting themselves up for success in the latter quarters when they moved away from theory towards practice.

And today I just finished my proposal for my Management Research Report — pretty much the ‘practice’ part I am expected to do towards the end of this course and for possibly the rest of my professional life. How can I not be excited for what lies ahead?

I wrote this post almost three years ago when a student asked me what it was that I really believed in. I find myself asking that question now. Thus far, AIM has been one giant gut check — it strips you down to discover who you really are, what you stand for, and what you’re meant to do. I haven’t been blogging lately but a part of me felt compelled to revisit this post and check where I stand.

I believe that each one of us has it in us to be happy. No one can tell us what true success is. No one can show us where happiness lies. Just be at peace with yourself, and everything will fall into place.

I now say this: that we make our own happiness. I still believe that being at peace with oneself is key, but that there are proactive things we can do to facilitate that peace and make ‘everything fall into place’. That proactive thing to do is to accept and to embrace — that the world is what it is and that people are the way they are. It is not easy of course, but more often than not the impossible can be done with the help of a little compassion or better, love.

I believe that our country is still at its adolescent stage of development. It is finding itself, making mistakes, and learning from it. And like any adolescent, it is torn between enjoying its youth and rushing to grow up.

This is funny. I believe pretty much the same thing but I would opt for a different metaphor this time around. I don’t know what that is yet — I’m now wary of the pitfalls of metaphors — but I have a clearer sense of the mistakes our country is making, who are making it, and what can be done about it. That is the crux of what I’m learning in Development Management and so elaborating on this will require an entry of its own. Or a thesis.

I believe that teaching is what I have to do right now, but not forever. I am doing what I am supposed to, and I’m doing it where I have to. But every story has to end some time. Especially love stories.

And here I am, no longer teaching. What has to be asked then is whether I believe I’ll return to teaching after AIM. All I know is that I’d love to teach again eventually but whether that is all I’ll do after I graduate is uncertain. What is certain is that there are simply too many possibilities for me after I’m done here. Even if I’m contractually obligated to return to Philippine Science, I don’t think I’ll rush to confine myself to the classroom immediately. There is so much more I can do to make schools work even better.

I believe that my love for alternative rock music is the best thing I got from my high school years. Goo Goo Dolls. Vertical Horizon. Matchbox Twenty. Fuel. 3 Doors Down. They’re some of my best friends to this day.

I’ve been listening to music less and less, and I miss it. One fine moment I had this past week was accidentally hitting shuffle on my music player and having it play “Slide” by Goo Goo Dolls. That was heaven. But the best thing I got from my high school years? Far from it. For if it were merely music I got then that is regrettable. Looking at my students now, I am glad they’ve made and kept their high school friends more than I have. It is hard to say then that I got the best of anything; all I know now is that I’m missing something.

I believe that you don’t learn everything from school. That is what I learned from my best teachers. They instilled in me a genuine love for learning that lasts to this day. There is something to be learned from every person we meet and every moment we share.

Not true about AIM. Here, I feel like I don’t know shit. Which is a really good thing.

I believe that religions are but different languages speaking of one universal truth. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Anyone who masters this will have seen God.

It’s unfortunate the world has gotten so weird and wonky about religion. Faith should be a simple and beautiful thing.

I believe I’ve made some big mistakes in my life, and I am stronger because of it. I fell in love too fast. Too hard. I’ve given up on myself. Given up on others. I was consumed by own ego. I wallowed in my own pride. But that’s the thing about failure. We become better persons when we pick ourselves up.

You’re so dramatic, Martin. Just learn to make better decisions and embrace the consequences of your actions. What will be will be.

I believe that you don’t apologize for being who you really are. But sure, you apologize when you screw up and hurt others. Each one of us has the potential to be profoundly unique, yet we often get stuck picking identities in this media-saturated world. But don’t hesitate for one moment when it comes to showing everyone your full potential. Don’t listen to those who tell you what you can’t do. Shine your light, and in the process you inspire them to shine theirs.

We can help who we are because we can help what we do. Of course everything we do will never be perfectly enlightened; at times we will be blinded by emotions and false, misled reasons. What matters is that we own up to everything in the end, no matter what. Imagine a world where everyone simply took responsibility for their actions.

I believe that my work of forming leaders is the most meaningful to me right now. And I’d like to do more of it and possibly on an even larger scale. I believe our country will be a better place when people chart their own destinies. I know I can contribute more to this.

Working on it!

And lastly —

I believe that I can make a list of ten things I believe in, or even more, but we will only really need one. “And what is that, sir?”


Wasn’t that obvious?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s