by Chino Vitriolo
They are hailed as one of the richest, maarte and conyo students in the metro. They flock Katipunan like pampered consumers, eagerly waiting for their 200 peso Venti Frappuccino. Coffee with cigarettes is their breakfast. They have their helpers following around until they need to be sundo by kuya driver, or their moms. Anak mayaman. Socialite. They have all the time to drink and party, while having minimal time for academics just because “si daddy at mommy na bahala sa akin”.
These are just some of the stereotypes surrounding Ateneans. These are labels given to Ateneans mostly by non-Atenean people based on how they see Ateneans carry themselves. Ateneo is well known for being a high-maintenance school and so it can’t be helped that most students who enroll here live in better-than-average households.
Whenever people learn that I was (used to be) an Atenean, they sometimes cringe at the thought and try to crack a joke or immediately discriminate. I usually get bombarded with questions like “Rich kid ba?” or “So you’re conyo? You don’t look conyo”, or even satire ones like asking me if I know what a jeepney is. What the frap. Being in a different environment, especially in the University of the Philippines, I can’t help but get these kinds of witticisms that aim at my character as an individual.
Not all of us Ateneans are what most people think we are. Most people would see us in a different light knowing we’re alumni of Ateneo. However, I’ve come up with some of the things that people don’t know about being an Atenean.
We demand independence. No, not all of us have helpers around us every time. Nor we all have drivers to pick us. Some of the Atenean friends I know hate the fact that someone’s job and life is to drive for somebody (and at many instances, wait for them and bum around ‘till they are needed). We don’t like someone else being hassled for the sake of our welfare. Contrary to popular belief, being pampered is really irritating. In my whole life in Ateneo Grade School and High school, Ateneo has been lenient and overshadowing towards us and even until now and even in College, they still continue to baby their students. This led some of my batchmates and I to go underground with our events and “experiments” during our Senior High School year. This also reflected in the diversity of my batch to go to different colleges. Most of us wanted to feel liberated and to be more free with our choices. I personally set my sights on UP because I know I’ll be unrestricted here and be left to fend for myself and build my character. In this way, I learned a lot and I can say I’m really growing.
We’re actually street-smart. Just because we’re from Ateneo, it doesn’t mean we always have cars and sundo. We can commute from place to place, regardless of the weather. We know how to take care of ourselves out there, and most of us are alert. We know how and where to go about in Katipunan, but in terms of other places, we go practical and ask around and trust our instincts. Of course, Ateneans are always careful. With all the crazy crimes happening today, even an Atenean wouldn’t dare show off his/her valuables out there, no matter how fancy or not it may be. We know how to deal with different people normally and we don’t cross the line. We get somewhere in between. This concrete jungle of Manila is dangerous and Ateneans would know, believe it or not.
We know our stereotypes. Don’t think for a second that we don’t know you call us conyos or maarte behind our backs. We know when you do, and I would like to disagree that not all of us are. Some of us get straight to the point, and are comfortable with the way we are. Ateneans don’t always walk around in fancy clothes. We’d wear a normal shirt and shorts in any normal day, because simply, it’s comfortable. We’re not all maarte. Practicality over looks and vanity would still be a priority. I see a lot of atenean friends go and eat street food or commute a lot and don’t mind being dirty. In UP, others would even walk and bare the heat just for a bite from a tasty Snack Shack burger. Sure we socialize and party, but our academics are still prioritized. Amidst all these stereotypes, we don’t retaliate about it. We simply ignore it or even use these stereotypes as jokes to break the ice with people and show them we are not who they think we are.
We are actually humble. You’ve probably heard about Ateneans and they’re crazy school pride. That we tend to show off and even in defeat, we are still proud of our school that we call it “THE” Ateneo. That may be true but you would see this only at games and its party of the excitement sports bring. We’re actually humble believe it or not. Most of us don’t even brag about the school where we came from. It’s just the image people project on us whenever they heard about us being an Atenista. You would think we’re apathetic towards Coming from a school with Jesuit formation; we were constantly reminded and trained in being men for others. We know the situation and issues revolving around our community and nation, and answer to the call for service. It’s not always about ourselves and we’re not all vain. We just want people to see as normal people with own unique traits. We also want to share our blessings to others and encourage others to do so.
We go for the extraordinary, the weird and the quirky. Some Ateneans are considered as ‘hipsters’ according to other people. This is true at some level but it simply means, we like to be different. Ateneans seek weird, new, unique ventures at their disposal. You would see Ateneans hanging around coffee shops not usually visited, or try out new hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Maginhawa, and even as to take the gym in Supercuts, (found behind Regis center) rather than go for the fitness giant, Gold’s gym. We try out new places and activities and constantly seek for even newer ones. Maybe it’s inconvenient for others, but for us it’s an adventure.
These are just some of the things that separate us from the crowd, things you won’t normally expect from an Atenean graduate. Whether we are spread out thinly in different colleges besides our alma mater’s Loyola schools, we still keep these things by heart. We may be viewed differently by other people, in the end we’re still normal students leading normal lives.
Chino Vitriolo is a new Ecosoc member. He is also an independent, street smart, self-aware, humble, extraordinary, weird, and quirky Atenean.