HAILEYSTONES| Looking For The One

IT IS VERY strange to me that I’m a working girl now. Currently I am writing this while waiting for my class to begin, as I now teach IELTS at a review center and I handle administrative and marketing tasks for the UP Alumni Association. It’s far removed from the life that I once thought I would have lived. I mean, for the longest time, the thought of teaching and marketing never really appealed to me. My Mom was teaching MBA classes at AdDU, so I thought that it would be too copycat-ish to go into the same fields.

Things changed and then I ended up eating my words. My IELTS classes are doing a lot better than I expected. My co-workers are funny and helpful and my students are really nice, although it still is a little weird to be called Ma’am by people that are much older than me. I also found out that I really enjoy being able to teach. I never thought that I would say that. Maybe it’s because I deal with professionals and not bratty college kids. These people use their own hard-earned money, so I really appreciate that.

My work with the UPAA is also rewarding, but to say that I was surprised when I got the job is an understatement. I thought it was a joke, at first, because I didn’t major in anything corporate-related. I don’t even own a blazer, mostly because my arms never fit in those that are supposedly my size. At the same time, I didn’t think I was that ready to leave UP behind me. That school gave me so much. It gave me my life back and it made me feel like myself again.

It’s completely different from when I graduated high school. Putting things into perspective, I hated it. A lot of my shtick back when I started writing — heck, nearly all of what I talked about as a fourteen-year old– is because I hated being a teenager so much, because I thought differently from everyone else and not a lot of people understood me. I was so sure of what I wanted to do and everyone else just wanted to “figure it out” as they went along life. Not me.

And then, I was sad a lot of the time. I had just lost my parents, I was overweight, and I felt ugly and unloved and awkward even though I had a boyfriend and friends and all that jazz. So I looked inward, found writing, and never looked back. Looking back, I am so glad to be done with it all. I didn’t even pause to take pictures with my friends during my graduation. I left school as soon as I could.

In contrast, I bawled like a baby during my university graduation. It was six in the morning and my shoes were killing me and I had no sleep but nothing could have taken that moment away from me. When it was over, I felt like the sky was crying with me because it was raining so hard. It felt like it was. It was gratifying, after four of the best years of my life. I was telling people that graduating felt happier than gaining a hot boyfriend. David wasn’t too happy about that.

In the end, the idea of “giving back to the country” took over and I accepted the job. The thought that our tuition was subsidized by the government, and that it was taxpayers’ money that was being used, has always stuck with me. When you think about it, everyone from the janitor mopping our floors in school to Toni Gonzaga to overseas workers was responsible for sending me to college. You’re not really obliged to give back; you have to. I would never forgive myself if I never got to do so.

Now things are different; heck, I bring my work home with me. The first thing I do before I eat breakfast is checking my email and going through all the stuff that needs to be done, and I only ever leave the house unless it’s for my job with the UPAA or for IELTS. At least I got one thing right when I was a kid; I always thought that I’d be a workaholic. I like the life that I live now, though. I fought to have financial freedom for a very, very long time. It’s so strange to finally be here.

The only question that bugs me is if I still have any friends left. I’ve been so into work lately that I haven’t seen them in weeks. I might have to make it up to them, if even for just an hour. I’m sure I can come up with some time. Maybe. Sooner or later.

Posted in Opinion