“WHEN I got here for the first time, in all honesty, [I realized that] UST is beautiful.”
That was the sentiment Trisha Duncan, a prospective Communication Arts student, who took the University of Santo Tomas Entrance Test (USTET) last August 26. Approximately 11,000 of first batch applicants, according to an OFAD representative, went all their way to UST to take the USTET.
There are a lot of universities and colleges in Manila itself, but why choose UST?
“UST is one of the top schools in the world,” Jonathan Gabriel said, an aspiring Advertising student who took the USTET with his friends.
Jonathan and his friends took the exam in the morning and they stayed to wait for their other friends in the afternoon batch. His mother is an alumna of UST.
Trisha, on the other hand, seemed to be more ready of her answer, “Why not UST? It is the only pontifical and royal university…”
Her mother also studied in UST but she was not able to finish because of inconvenience, for their house was far from the University. And during that time, the flood was significantly higher compared to what the Thomasians experience today.
Some applicants want to study in UST because of the influence of their parents, siblings or relatives. There are even those who said they want to stick with their friends when they go to college.
Outside the Examination Rooms
While the applicants were taking the test, outside the buildings were the parents waiting patiently. The tents and the pavilions at the front of each building were filled by parents and guardians, entertaining themselves and let time pass by. Many fell asleep. There were groups of applicants waiting for their friends to finish their exam, moving around the university to take pictures.
Going inside the buildings during testing time was not allowed. But there were still some parents who want to go inside to check on their child or to give food, according to a security guard. The guards try not to be rude and explained why they cannot be permitted to go inside.
Most of the parents said that the guards were really accommodating and the Information Desk is very helpful, especially for those who came to the University for the first time.
A guard said that they were instructed that they must do their best to accommodate all the parents and extend their patience. He said that almost all the people that passed through him asked where the buildings are.
In front of Benavides High School, Mrs. Fe Rosal waited patiently for her son and ate merienda. They went all their way from Pampanga for the USTET. Her son wants to become a mechanical engineer and UST is his first choice, she said.
When they came to the university, the guards accommodated them well and told them on where the building is.
“We hope that he will pass because he really wants to study in UST,” she added.
The parents of the applicants gave their full support to their children by simply being there, waiting uncomplainingly. They were also excited on the next chapter of their children’s life.
Mr. Byven and Mrs. Felipa Remigio talked about planning for the future of their only daughter. When their daughter was born, they applied for an educational plan to secure her college.
“It is really our vision that when the time comes, we won’t be having problems on how to send her to college. We are not young forever so we thought that it is best to save for her education,” Mrs. Remigio said.
The very supportive couple said that they let their daughter choose the course she really wants. She wants to take Fine Arts and Design and her parents believe that she will excel in it. They know that UST is the most suitable university for their daughter.
Looking forward to the ‘Thomasian experience’
It is a common belief that UST is an old university, always flooded, and there are many ghost stories in the hospital. For the present applicants, it is a different story.
Trisha is worried about having leptospirosis. She had learned somewhere that experiencing flood and being stranded is “a rite of passage” of being a true Thomasian.
Jonathan said that studying in UST would be a bragging right. He added that he knows it would not be boring because they would experience a lot of events.
They are aware of the events and they are excited to be part of it, especially the Paskuhan. They said they have heard about how festive and joyous the celebrations in UST are. One of them already has attended the Paskuhan and enjoyed it.
Jonathan is a bit confident about the results because he found it easier than the previous entrance exam he took. The lessons he reviewed for that is still fresh in his mind. For him, the easiest part is Math.
Trisha’s rating for her performance in the exam is seven out of ten. She said that there were some parts that she was not able to finish.
When the exams were done, the applicants immediately went to their acquaintances. Different stories were told. Some told their parents of the difficult part of the exams and those which they were not able to finish. Others bragged in front of their friends about how easy the exam was.
The results of USTET will be released early January next year, after the next batches of applicants would have taken the exams. The schedules of the second to fourth batches of USTET are September 30, November 4, and December 9, 2012, respectively.
By Gherrylle Anne R. Ombina
Photo taken by Efigenio Christopher D. Toledo IV