“hindi ka laude? sayang lang ang pag-uwi ko.”
(you are not a cum laude graduate? my trip was just a waste)
that was the most emotionally felt greeting he received from his mother after several years of fetching her from the airport.
the words were powerful enough to pierce and open his happiness-coated heart that opened the doors to his own season of lent.
the impact hit him harder than the carousel slaps of the flashbacks of what-could- have-been-but-nots in college.
the greeting even surpassed his disappointments when his atm card was captured by the atm machine and when he learned that his mother bought his sister a new phone.
it was as if the words cum laude were the sole measure of his worth as a student.
true enough, numerical grades and academic recognitions could be the only tools for an overseas working mother to gauge the academic performance of her child. all the leadership achievements and the extra-curricular activities were often placed behind the background. the various factors affecting the academic performance of the student were often taken for granted.
little did his mother know that the only privilege of suma/magna/cum laude graduates from the rest of the students during graduation was the seat provided to them by the university administrators.
pre grad post
let me share with you the consequences of having the privilege of a free graduation picture package
figure 1: sablay shot. wearing the extra large-sized barong that made me look like a glutton government official
figure 2: reality-tv contest audition reject
figure 3: pose of the soon-to-be corporate slave (not!)