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Striking a balance and stepping out of your comfort zone

It is during college when the process of shaping and preparing the students for the real world actually begins.

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Photo grabbed from Rafa Lipat’s Facebook account

It is during college when the process of shaping and preparing the students for the real world actually begins. The University is the testing ground wherein both the student body and the administration vows to work together to achieve the greater good for the student body. Here, students are given the chance to exercise some of their fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and their right to vote; the process of which is very much reflective and relevant to the happenings outside the quadrangle.

Every fourth month of the year, the cycle begins. Campaign paraphernalias peppers the whole University, persuasive speeches repeated as they venture each classrooms, and hopeful probables vying for the highest positions, may it be the central or local student councils, are some of the observable phenomena inside the campus even at the wee hours of the night.

Being the hope of the nation, awareness and the willingness to do action should be ingrained within. Standing up for what is right and fighting for what is moral are just  a few attributes that not only Thomasians—but all Filipinos—must possess. Improvement must always start at the micro-level to create a ripple in this flawed system and eventually turning it into what it should be—humane. Jan Rafa Lipat, a third-year Political Science major has shared with TomasinoWeb, his experience on both as a student and as an individual running for this year’s Central Student Council as Treasurer.

“Thick books and readings were required almost every single day, and lengthy papers were also a staple.” Nonetheless, he persevered through it all by learning how to allocate time properly per task and prioritizing his acads above all else,  “I handle my school works by managing my time well and prioritizing my academics first because it is essential .It [study habits] includes a browsing/reading a chapter or two of our assigned books/readings at night every day before going to bed and reading news articles online to refresh my brain and be ready for school the next day,” he said.

On top of all the academic requirements, committing to organizations and fulfilling the duties that comes along with it, is not an easy task. Lipat, being a member of the Circle of Talents Division in TOMCAT, and an active member of both UST-CSC as the Executive Coordinator to the Auditor and The Political Science Forum (TPSF), juggles all of this extracurricular activities while making sure that his academics are not being compromised.

“I balance my orgs, friends, acads and family by allocating my time to the urgency of where I’m needed. But as much as possible, my academics aren’t compromised by my extracurricular activities. I [also] make it a point that my friends and my family will never be left out of my schedule because they are my support groups and my constants.”

But he wanted to go out of his comfort zone and take on bigger fish to fry and for him, it is through running for a position in the Central Student Council, “I chose to run for the position of the Treasurer to step up my game, go out of my comfort zone and learn more as a student leader. The people who believe in me and my capabilities pushed me to run for this year’s Halalan.” Lipat said.

The journey is not always a smooth sail but all is good for him as long as his main source of strength, his mom, is there to guide him.

“She has continuously inspired me to work harder and be a better person everyday.” and sometimes, a mantra does the job perfectly,  “I live by my words that I should live everyday of my life as if its my last—and has pushed me to great extents ever since.”  Lipat also shares that in order to unwind from everything that is happening, he makes playlists and spends his time reading. “I usually spend my time with my friends and hangout to de-stress myself from acads. I read books to relax and my favorite authors are Paulo Coelho and Mitch Albom. Also, I love making music playlists for people.”

In the end, Lipat also has a few tips for the tigers who just started their journey in UST, “Be passionate. Love your course, your org, your blockmates, your friends and family and by then you learn to live your college life with vigor. Always trust the process and pray to Him in good and bad times and thank Him for everything.” and for the upcoming elections and also the national elections, “I advise my fellow thomasians to remain critical and wise in choosing the next set of leaders they want.” he said with passion.

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CTHM representatives hailed as Thomasian Lead Ambassadors

Screaming poise and elegance with their gray-matchy outfits, CTHM bets, Raz and Yeung bested other finalists from different colleges to claim the lead Thomasian Youth Ambassadors on April 27.

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CTHM
Photo by Gillian Robles

Screaming poise and elegance with their gray-matchy outfits, College of Tourism and Hospitality Management bets, Rin-Rin R. Raz and Glenn Mico A. Yeung bested other finalists from different colleges to claim the lead Thomasian Youth Ambassadors (TYA) on April 27 at BGPOP Ballroom.

Raz and Yeung topped 17 representatives, seven males and ten females in vying for the title.

College of Education representatives, Bethany Cadag and Hanseld David P. Napalinga bagged the Thomasian Youth Ambassadors for Community Development.

College of Rehabilitation Science finalist, Hilario Favilla III and College of Commerce and Business Administration finalist,Carmel Anne R. Aquino snatched the Thomasian Youth Ambassadors for Public Relations.

Glitz and glamour has always been the branding of the pageants but Student Organizations Coordinating Council (SOCC) President Pamela Apacible debunked such.

“This year’s TYA was focused on ‘beauty with a purpose’ and  at the same time ‘being compassionate, competent, and committed,’” Apacible said.

Office of Student Affairs Assistant Director, Ana Ruby Paez, also added to promote activities that will help to build the character of all Thomasians.

“We wish to bring more sustainable forward looking activities that will implement and work together to create partnerships that can accelerate the holistic growth of all the Ambassadors and the Thomasians as well,” Paez said.

TYA is an annual advocacy-based pageant initiated by SOCC which seeks to Thomasians youth leaders who embody the university’s ideals and core values.

TYA is composed of three parts: advocacies presentation, workshops, and awarding.

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Radiating Farther and Illuminating Further

With focus on health, awareness, and student representation, Robert Dominic Gonzales runs for presidency of the UST Central Student Council.

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Photo grabbed from Robert Gonzales’ Facebook account

With focus on health, awareness, and student representation, Robert Dominic Gonzales takes a step forward by running for the presidency of the University of Santo Tomas Central Student Council (UST-CSC) for the academic year 2019-2020. As issues within and outside the campus continue to surface, he aims to Radiate Farther and Illuminate Further as we realize our duties as Thomasians and Filipinos, coupled by his hope to Elevate student representation and participation.

A vocal and active student leader and an aspiring physician, he champions not only issues of health awareness, especially mental health, but also the upholding of students’ rights and welfare. A born-leader, he has managed to get executive positions since high school. Robert is also fond of teaching. When he was still a sophomore, he has since been the go-to of his fellow batchmates and lower years. “Currently, up to this year, kahit Med student na ko, kahit nasa Council (UST-CSC) na ako, nagtuturo pa rin ako, not just sa freshies ng [Faculty of Pharmacy], pati rin sa review centers outside,” Gonzales shared in an interview with TomasinoWeb.

But behind these leadership campaigns, advocacies and platforms, and fora, Robert Dominic Gonzales is like any other student struggling with academic pressure and expectations. Behind textbooks and highlighters is a love for fiction, manifested in a collection of Harry Potter books; a fondness for some risk, as told by the dripping of sweats from hours of playing volleyball, badminton, and swimming; and a contempt for his archenemy: veggies.

As the eldest of four siblings, Robert grew up determined. He has always been sure on what path he intends to tread: to graduate at the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. He recalled how when he was still young, he have always wanted to become a doctor, and consistently reminded his mom, “Ma, malapit na akong maging doktor.” A curious child enchanted by the wonders of Science and the universality of Mathematics, as reflected by and upon Nature, he went on with his “destiny.”

“Mas nag-ignite or nagpa-spark sa akin sa Field of Medicine was when we conducted one medical mission nung college ako,” Gonzales recalled how applying knowledge in a very helpful and concrete way of service made him more formidable with his principles. “Sobrang saya sa pakiramdam everytime magte-thank you sa’yo yung pasyente… sobrang fulfilling na nakatulong ka sa pagpapahaba ng buhay niya.”

With this comes the interest of furthering his service, hence his running for the UST-CSC presidency. But why, then, should the Thomasians choose a Robert Dominic Gonzales to represent the studentry? Here’s how he answered, with firm conviction:

“Siguro kasi ako yung isang student leader na hindi lang tumitindig sa karapatan ng bawat estudyante, ng bawat Thomasians, kasi makikita mo rin ako na nagpa-participate sa mga laban sa lansangan—sa mga pagra-rally, pagpoprotesta [para] sa karapatan ng mga mamamayan natin—ng mga manggagawa, ng mga Lumad at mga indigenous people.”

He was there holding a placard and speaking out in the streets from a megaphone condemning the massacre of the nine farmers of Sagay. He was also there to welcome when the University opened its doors to our Lumad brothers and sisters who have decided to establish bakwit schools in the campus to assert their right to education and self-determination.

He also noted that the University should be a defender and a sanctuary of human rights. “Being a Royal, Pontifical, and a Catholic University, kailangan tumitindig din yung UST sa mga karapatang pantao, not just of the Thomasians, but also [of] the Filipinos,” he said.

Student elections, like national elections, is saturated by campaigns and speeches. But behind the political theatrics, it is more of practicing democracy and our rights and the finding of the right representative, as a student leader is the voice of the studentry. With this comes the responsibility to become critical. Gonzales shared some tips in assessing aspiring candidates:

“Meron akong tatlong tinitingnan, ito yung natutunan ko sa pag-attend sa mga forum [on] voters’ education: Una, ‘yong pagiging Makatao; pangalawa, Makabayan; pangatlo, Maka-Diyos. Tatlong katangian na hinahanap natin dapat sa mga kumakandidato, not just sa University but also in the national elections.” He, then, shared that we must also assess candidates’ track records in order to figure out their integrity and credibility. “Doon natin makikita yung mga hindi dapat iboto.”

To radiate farther and illuminate further is to ask, for whom do we step forward? Who will benefit from our toils and sacrifices? For whom do we dedicate our passion? “We are not just Thomasian student leaders; we are Filipino Thomasian student leaders,” Gonzales replied when asked whether students and student leaders should participate on national issues. “And as Filipinos, we also have a duty sa bansa natin, that is if kaya natin, if we have the capability [and] capacity na ipaglaban yung karapatan ng mga kapwa natin mamamayan, bakit hindi tayo tumindig para doon?”

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All grit and femme power: Krizia Milleny Bricio for secretarial post

To empower others means to empower oneself. On the face of adversary, Krizia Milleny Bricio blooms.

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Photo by Troy Jacob Quinan

To empower others means to empower oneself. On the face of adversary, Krizia Milleny Bricio blooms.

“At the end of the day, no matter the overwhelming support you’re getting, it’s always you against yourself,” she said in an interview with TomasinoWeb.

Bricio, when asked if she had always known she wanted to become a student leader, said, “it wasn’t in my knowledge that I wanted to become one until I began serving the community at a young age—my family made donations and I was helping them in the process of repacking.”

It was the period after Yolanda, with her being a survivor herself. “It was then when I saw the essence of leadership and recognized the incompetence of some leaders.”

She spoke about the importance of student leaders, them being the catalysts to inspire and motivate others to become their own leaders as well, and noted three skills an effective student leader must possess: resilience, compassion, and responsibility.

“You must be resilient and show everyone that you are able to bounce back for them to be inspired to do the same; compassionate, to be able to sympathize with the student body and find out where they are coming from; and most importantly, you must be responsible.”

In light of her plans as a Central Student Council (CSC) secretarial candidate, she shared that the cornerstone for all her platforms were the needs of the Thomasian community. Bricio personally reached out to the students for suggestions because for her, in order to cater to the needs of the student body, one must overstep and look through the perspective of the majority.

“The secretary is the bloodline of the council,” she commented, “without the secretary, there would be no projects, and without the projects, the community won’t feel the presence of the council.”

Bricio, running as an independent candidate for the secretarial post, also acknowledged the underlying stigma circulating in the workplace that regards women inferior to men, and said that it’s empowering to be the only woman running as an independent candidate.

“I can also see that it’s empowering for others, seeing that a woman was brave enough to run independently for council,” she added.

In the midst of campus and nationwide elections, we, the people, as the electorate, must also be resilient, compassionate, and responsible just as our leaders should be. As noted from the interview with Bricio, “Every student can be a student leader in other ways.”

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