by Ivan Anthony Adaro | November 20, 2021
Monday morning; the sound of the alarm clock buzzes, and you groggily rub the dust off your eyes and realize that you just have two minutes left before your 7 A.M. classes start. While battling the urge to press the snooze button, you decide to get up anyway and head to the bathroom to freshen up, hoping against all hope that your teacher wouldn’t hold a live session so early in the morning. But alas, your little request is not granted, and you gather up all your courage to say, “Present, sir!”, as your cursor shakily hovers over the microphone button. Relieved to release a huge burden off your chest, you officially get the day started in your favor — at least you hope it will.
An hour passes by and words of goodbyes fill the conference room as each of your classmates slowly leaves the meeting. You silently sing a celebration to yourself for staying awake amidst the tiredness that is still numbing your body, but then your happy mood and sleepiness sulkily disappear as you see new learning material uploaded by your teacher and another assignment due on Friday.
Sunlight seeps into your room through the gaps of the curtains, and your stomach grumbles, sending signals to your brain and reminding you that you haven’t eaten breakfast yet. Normally, your mother would make you a fully composed breakfast with garlic rice, scrambled eggs, fried hotdogs, freshly cut mangoes, and a glass of orange juice to go with everything. However, years of student and teenage life have taught you to be independent, so you quickly boil some water to whip up some sweet instant pancit canton and a cup of hot milk, perhaps even coffee, to satisfy your grumbling stomach. After the quick lighthearted, yet satisfying meal, your feet carry you back to your workspace. And once again, you push through the day and finish whatever needs to be done while you do your best to not zone out or fall asleep.
Slowly, the morning fades into dusk. After an exhausting day at school, the smell of dinner wafting through the air makes your stomach grumble as your legs involuntarily get you up on your feet and deliver you to the dining table. Everyone is there, your parents and your siblings, all exhausted from school and work alike. Each of them shares about how their day went, but when it is your turn, you utterly speak only of the good times as your tongue fights back the urge to truthfully spit out the exhaustion and stress you are carrying. You feel the need to be strong; to be tough, and these thoughts keep turning up in your mind as you do the dishes and head back to your room.
In the darkness and coldness of your disorganized room, your body lazily sulks into bed. You want to curl up into a ball and cry yourself to sleep, but the fact that you still have two videos to edit, three essays to write, and one digital poster to make keeps you awake. Just like any other student, you switch the study lamp on and frantically put your thoughts into words and export videos as you battle to win the race against the time — the deadline.
The midnight candle burns and the clock strikes 3 A.M., yet somehow only half of the tasks get done while new ones pile up. Knowing that you still have 7 A.M. classes tomorrow, you set the alarm clock to go off three hours and 45 minutes from now, hoping that those few hours of sleep will be enough to regenerate every cell in your body. For some reason, your eyelids manage to close but the exhaustion does not seem to go away, and just like how all other things happen in a blink of an eye, the alarm clock buzzes again. And so, the cycle repeats.
Friday evening; the weekend is just at the tips of your fingers. You feel so excited, but the thrill is only short-lived as you realize that you still have one assignment due at midnight. Instead of getting it over with right away, you rant it out to your friends, wasting valuable time. Nevertheless, you still make it because even if the world turns upside down, you can never escape from the responsibilities you have as a student. Just before the clock strikes midnight, you manage to submit the assignment and feel a breath of fresh air as the weekend greets you, giving you two days to do what you want and need to do before Monday morning comes again.
There are moments when we just want to curl up into a ball and cry out all the burden and stress we are carrying, and that is okay because each of us needs to wind down and give time to ourselves. We all have different goals and finish lines in life, and it’s normal to stumble at the hurdles and make mistakes. Always keep in mind that every successful person in the world started as what we are right now — learners. And that is validation that anything is achievable if we never give up. You all deserve a pat on the back. Together, we’ll get there.
As the sounds of fingers pressing on the keyboard continue to replace the usual scribbles of the pen on the one whole sheet of paper that we would have hastily snatched from our classmate before the pandemic, the world continues to push through behind screens. In this online paradigm, we all have moments when we feel lonely and empty inside; I do too. We miss going to school with our classmates, the late afternoon hangouts with friends, the hugs from people we love that give us warmth and comfort, and so much more. While the pandemic has canceled all those moments, one thing will always prevail; and it is the fact that sooner or later we will be once again roaming the streets and schools, exchanging hugs and chikas with our friends and the people we love — that all these challenges will soon fade away.