By sheer chance I got to see one of my closest friends today, some hours upon taking residence at a spot in Craft, a small coffeehouse on Esteban Abada street, reading for my thesis. I was beginning to fear that because she was now studying medicine after graduating from university last March, our small group of friends wouldn’t see each other for a while, but she found herself in Katipunan and a free hour this afternoon before she had to head back to Ortigas.
She was in an immaculate white uniform, with a bright pink watch on her wrist that stuck out, her hair neatly tied back, and carrying her textbooks in a large leather bag. It was likely a more familiar sight for her: I was in a black cardigan as I usually am, a few poetry books on the table next to an emptied cup of coffee and a brimming ashtray. It’d been a few months already since last seeing her, and I was reminded of how vastly different we were from one another: a life sciences graduate in med school working to be a geneticist, and a senior creative writing major hoping to be a published author and teacher. Our one other good friend, an industrial engineering student mulling over an MA in women’s studies or an MFA in graphic design. And I happened to run into a recent writing graduate too, as she sat at a nearby table; she is taking up law now in San Beda College.
When I found out late last week that I could graduate this year (after a string of confusions), I was elated that I wouldn’t have to extend my undergraduate stay for too long. It’s inevitably put a lot into perspective: so much—possibly too much—has happened in the past four years and—as I’ve found myself saying a lot the past weeks—I feel old as hell in every one of my classes. But through those years, everything I’ve thus far felt feels like it’s all contracted into a strange weight, far from light yet distant enough it isn’t as heavy in the chest. The anxiety upon facing my father, for instance, when I told him I wanted to shift out of my pre-law course. The irritation, anger, depression over superficialities like good grades or love. The disappointments of my mother, my own in past friends.
There’s nothing fun in thinking about it, neither in thinking about what people too quickly call “the rest of your life,” condensed as “the future,” in “the real world,” or at least the drawn out period in your life when nearly everything will be answerable to material conditions. I spoke of those anxieties with my friend; she said, “You’ll figure it out.” I can’t remember what I responded then exactly. And I’ll admit I find it difficult not to slide into a “hopeful” end for this post, that I can convince myself I can gain something from a tone or other so vaguely “happy” or hopeful, even if I don’t believe it. I concede to usually pretending. There are so few things that I know, few people to trust. Maybe we can just write about it in the end in a short blog.