The Law of the Sea

Arturo M. Tolentino: I wish people will remember me for The Law of the Sea

Thirteen reasons why I hate to graduate

Four long (they seem short now) years of College life. They are over at last. During all that time I have labored hard (who hasn’t?) to steer my way through all the dangers that beset a student from the freshman year to the senior year. It was a plain “struggle for existence” all the way through. But try as I might I cannot convince myself that there is something to be glad about graduating. On the contrary, I regret that I had been so anxious to escape the retarding influence of 4’s and 5’s. My heart is softening towards those “red” grades; I feel I should have love them a little bit. But it is too late. I have to graduate. If there were only some means of stopping the natural course of events; I would gladly pay one year in College for it, if the university authorities will be willing to enter into a bargain. For now that I have already rented my cap and gown, I feel a sort of queer feeling against my being forced to graduate. Forced is the right word.

I simple hate to graduate this year. That repulsive emotion has not sprung in my breast out of more caprice. It is engendered by strong, vivid, conclusive arguments and reasons, viz

1. Lovable Silence

Four years of College life has awakened my heart a peculiar love for old U.P. It is that sort love which is bred by propinquity and companionship even among humans. I have come to regard U.P. as a person (not juridical person as lawyers would have it) who becomes lovable because of his silence of the building, the floors and the walls, of makes me adore it so. It is so unlike women, you see, that I simply cannot resist loving it. But if it were not silent; if the walls of the corridors should but tell of stolen conversations between periods which co-eds and “co-eds” have; if the benches at the eastern porch of Rizal Hall should but reveal what it hears on dark nights from couples who spend their time there on pretext of waiting for carromatas or companion; if the tables of the botany and zoology laboratories should but betray the secrets which are whispered over them by co-ed to co-ed ; if the white wash walls of the Faculty Hall should but speak of things which even the janitors hesitate to speak of; if the hard chairs in the Library should but publish the names and nicknames by which mischievous students are in a habit of playfully calling their “antipatico” professors – if old U.P. should break her silence , surely I would not love it. I would not hate graduating.

2. True Friendship

I have many friends who will be left behind. They take their stay in the university very easily and have been happy about it. Of course, they feel sorry every time the final grades are sent to their parents; but that sorrow does not stay long. They are wise, they would not let their studies interfere with their “good times” in the U.P., and despite 5’s and 4’s they do not forget that “behind the clouds the sun is still shining. Such good people! No true friend would not hate to graduate and leave them behind. I am a true friend.

3. Interesting Professors

I will my professors terribly. They have afforded me of the most entertainment in college during my four years stay. Nothing can, therefore, be more natural than my desire to stay longer with them. Some of them are hard-boiled; they give assignments long enough to take a whole day (including meal hours) to prepare, not seeming to realize that students have more than one subject every semester. Others are so sarcastic in their expression of disapproval of students’ failure to recite in the class that one gets the impression that they expect students to be feelingless (if there is such a word). Others are so disconcertingly personal that their jokes border on insults; perhaps they mean to insult, too, but of course that is for the welfare of the student. With such professor, one cannot but have a whale of time in the university. They make life more varied and thrilling. I hate to part with them.

4. Physical Education Jokes

I will miss my once a week visit to the physical education department. Perhaps I should not have one semester of this lovable subject so that despite all my 1’s and 2’s I will not be able to graduate. If I would but ask my swarthy instructor (in the dialect, of course) to change my grades from 3 to 5; I would carry one more semester in old U.P., performing crude antics in the gym once a week. People would think I would be exercising, but there is surely no exercising there. It is plain making fun or whiling away time in cheerful company. It has one advantage, too, this physical education requirement. It makes students healthier, notwithstanding the increasing number of students who seek the aid of the U.P. Infirmary. But whatever its advantages (so called) one thing sure is that if I had but received a 5, not because of ill health, but because I failed to attend the class at the gym about three times, then I would not be graduating this March. I would have a valid reason for staying.

5. Military Shows

I cannot be present to enjoy the performances (or shows) of the Military science department; the campus parades that are excellent in spite of broken lines and unmeasured steps; the groups of beautiful sponsors whose presence does not make the military spirit of the department any less martial; the polo practice on the campus on warm mornings and sultry afternoons (taking for granted that is part of the activities of the department); and a lot of other things that can conceived of only by military science department. And one thing more, war might break out in the Philippines any time, and of course cadets in the university might be recruited. They will make fine soldiers, so Captain Segundo (perhaps) think. And I remember why did I not answer back that cadet lieutenant who bullied me while I was taking the course? I would have been given a “5” meaning I would stay one more semester. I might be satisfactorily eligible for the Ph. B. degree because I would not be a good soldier.

6. Co-eds’ Parade

I will miss the “pass in review.” No, not the military show – I mean the parade of co-eds at ten and eleven in the mornings at the foot of the stairs in U.P. Hall right in front of the Registrar L. F.’s office. That is the time when co-eds, conscious that they are the cynosure of curious and admiring (we hope) eyes, appear at their best – unnatural. They afford students a true comparative study of the human species without taking a course in Anthropology. Such a sight, I would not miss – but it shall be gone (as far as I am concern) after commencement day.

7. Library Attractions

I have not stayed long enough to be satiated with the atmosphere the spacious reading room of U.P. main library. It’s chair may so hard as to distract one’s attention while studying; the tables maybe so dirty that one should study to be resign to tuberculosis if he be unlucky; it might be so warm that one is tempted to punch the student librarian in the nose for not turning on the electric fan; and the lights may not be turned on until several minutes of eye strain at twilight.- but in spite of all that, I hate to graduate and part with Professor G.B.’s pride. I would not regret graduating if after graduation I could still go to the library and read there. But that is impossible. Even law students, just because they are not given cards to the main library, are very ignominiously ejected at every opportunity. That is equality, they say; because law students should confine themselves to their library and not deprive other students of seats in the main library, or perhaps disturb giggling girls who find their “heaven on earth” in a spacious reading room.

8. “Kind” Co-eds

I will miss the companionship of kind co-eds. How often, while very busy with my work, a beautiful and charming young lady would sit across the table in the library and smile at me. Of course, I forgot my lesson for the time being, thankful that I could rest my eyes in the loveliness of her face and bask in the sunshine of her smile. And that, even if later I find out she was so charming because she had a ticket to sell or other little favors to ask.

9. Cupid Hall

I will not be a resident of the university when the idea of a “social hall” for love making is realized. I know that love express itself in it’s most sublime form when it is not publicized; that lovers (if they are really so) would not go to a social hall to advertise themselves; that love cannot be forced to bloom under such artificial circumstances; that the pairs in the social hall might prove more interesting to curious students that the College Humor or the Hollywood gossip section of Motion Pictures; that the encouraged love making might resulting cheapening instead of elevating of emotion called love; and that the social hall might be another good idea that will not work out – but I have a sister who is studying in the university, long waiting for an enterprising Collegian to make a mistake and make love to her. The social hall will be a blessing to her. I want to see how she will utilize Dean Benitez’s invention, patented. I myself might try the social hall; not for any lovemaking that is serious; but just to show the boys that I am the weakness of girls. Why not? The social hall is for the encouragement of lovemaking.

10. Pajamas

I will miss the dance at the roof garden. Not exactly the dances, but the enjoyable sights that are inevitably present in College dances. I want to be herein the “U” when the girls will dare to attend a college affair in pajamas not withstanding Dean Bocobo’s attitude.

11. Cigarettes

I can no longer enjoy the cigarettes and the ice cream “blow outs” given by candidates for student offices. It may not be nice to give my vote for a “blow out” , but to win, it does mean he is the best man for the post; it only means he is the “politico”.

12. Easy Money to Unemployment

My parents will not believe my letters anymore. While in college, I could take a girl to a show, then to a restaurant, and if she feels like it, to a ride around Luneta. I would spend the money which my father expected me to pay my ‘casera’. Then I could write home, telling that our professor (poor fellow) suddenly prescribed an additional text. Easy money, no? But that is not the only excuse I have utilized. There are many more, but what is the use of recalling then now?

13. The Strongest Reason of All

This is the strongest reason for my reluctance to graduate. I am afraid to shoulder the responsibility of a green graduate. Most probably, my Ph. B. will mean another addition to the ranks of unemployed. God save me from that faith.

Conclusion

After all it is not very pleasant to graduate, even if graduation means the realization of a student’s dream, the crowning glory of years of patient and arduous struggle. There are many things in college which a student is loath to forsake. Yet those things will stay, the student must go.