Under the Green Umbrella Trees

By Jessica Olaivar


Acad Oval walks are the best. The experience of walking in its uneven sidewalks, with the background noise of jeepney engines and bustling student activity while being shaded by the branches of acacia trees is very stimulating for my thoughts. These walks have become my thinking time, and I allow myself to contemplate deeply about a certain topic, no matter how trivial. It was during these walks that I’ve realized how smart the person was who thought of religion as the main instrument of the Spaniards to colonize most of South America and the Philippines. I form contingency plans about my future during these walks after taking a particularly hard exam (i.e. Mag-artista nalang kaya ako?). Some of my best (corniest) jokes were thought during some of these walks.

I was walking in the Acad Oval when I realized I love UP.

I love UP for giving me the freedom I’ve longed for back when I was still in high school, jaded by all the rules we had to follow. I also love UP for teaching me that sometimes, having a little bit more freedom can be harder than following the rules that are already laid out for you.

I love UP for letting me meet people from different backgrounds. When I was a freshman, I befriended a classmate who has impressed me on how updated she was on current events. Turns out, she’s an active member of a political party here in UP. On the other side of the spectrum, I had a friend who was pretty clueless as to what’s happening in UP because she has studied in an international school in Indonesia all her life. You will never know the type of people you will be meeting in UP. That is one of the reasons why I really like studying here. All people I could possibly meet are well represented in this school.

I love UP for giving me new interests. Because I thought I had to enlist in a language elective back when I was an incoming freshman using CRS for the first time, I was able to study French. I really like how I could see my progress as I take more French classes. It somehow gives me a sense of achievement when I learn more French words, and form more complex sentences after every session.

College is one of the best places for collecting experiences. Probably because college students have this energy that makes us feel invincible, and the college setting gives us freedom to do whatever our hearts desire. I realized that I have so little time left here in college and I’m scared to leave UP because of the fear I haven’t done all the things I wanted to do here. I would sometimes look back on what I have done so far, and I feel like I haven’t been grabbing the opportunities that college offers me.

There are some strange things I wanted to do while I’m in college such as joining the Astronomy Club, and the UP Pep Drummers no matter how random that sounds, joining a rally, dye my hair a weird color, etc. etc. And yet I would say that I should spend my time doing more worthwhile (read: acad-related) activities.

Another thing I feel I haven’t “exploited” from being in UP is taking the opportunity to take classes about topics I’m interested in, and learning from the best people in that field. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved history class. But unfortunately, apart from Kas 1 and Kas 2, I never had other higher history classes, because I heard it’s hard to get a high grade from history professors in general. When I took Philo 1, I considered taking Philo electives. But after the final paper, I said I wouldn’t want to undergo all the stress since I’m not much of a writer. After trying out French, I decided I want to be a polyglot and I would study 2 more foreign languages. I plan to learn Japanese and Persian (why the hell not?), but then I think it would just get in the way of French and it might confuse me.

Every time I want to try something new, I would always think of a shitty excuse that hinders me from making the most out of my college life. And now when I’m nearing the end of my stay in UP, I plan to cram all the things I wanted to do in my final two semesters. Looking back, I realized that feeling fulfilled after I do the things I wanted to do is as important as feeling fulfilled academically. In the end, seeing a meteor shower through a telescope makes a better story than the time you spent an all-nighter for an exam.

I thought about the phrase “I miss you” while walking in the Acad Oval.

The phrase didn’t make sense to me, until I found out how you say it in French. Tu me manques, or when literally translated in English, “you lack in me.” There will come a time when we think about college and UP, and UPSE, and think about how the things we do in the present will fade into memories, making you feel like you lack something once you remember it. I sincerely hope that this lacking may be filled with joyous nostalgia from the memories and experiences we have from the good ol’ days.


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