April 9, 2016
The Universe And My Life’s Mediocrity
Last time I checked, my life was just running its normal run. Nothing major happening, nothing mind boggling occurring, no one dying and nothing worth mentioning. My life was just that…a normal life being lived by my normal self.
But last Thursday, I tasted a very different kind of offering from life and the universe.
You see, I studied to be a teacher in a Teacher University in our country. And because of circumstances, meaning LIFE, I didn’t get to finish my chosen course. I took up Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Secondary Education major in English. Yup, it was a double major because I was such a weirdo that time. Anyway, I didn’t finish it. And that was it. I didn’t contest it or whatever because I knew that I really messed up my last semester there.
Well, in the course of years, I went to work of course, and some companies asked for my TOR. I went back to my university maybe three or four times to request for it but every time they told me that my records were not complete so they couldn’t process my documents. They asked me to get a certain paper first from my high school so I did. Then my high school said they need to get a permission slip from my university and to cut the story short, I got fed up so I stopped. I didn’t try to get my TOR anymore because it was such a hassle for me and of course the emotional scars my non-graduate self experienced resurfaced whenever I stepped into the university. So there. End of story. I believed I was an undergraduate all my life and that was what I put on my resume whenever I applied for a job.
That is until recently when my new job required me to get my TOR. This time, I didn’t feel anything unpleasant anymore whenever I thought of my university. It has been 14 years after all. So I went to the same process, requested the paper from our registrar and since it was around the time of Holy Week in our country, I was asked to come back after two weeks.
Which gets me to last Thursday.
I took out the yellow strip of paper and gave it to the assistant. And she proceeded to look for my TOR. She got the documents out, thank god! I was thinking finally, after all these years, I’d see my grades. Not that I’m so happy with them just that I was curious how they look like on officially sealed paper. But as she was affixing the stamp and the dry seal, I took a peek. And what did I see?
It said, “Graduated with the degree of…” And I have a grade on the last subject which I knew was INC all along.
So I asked her, “Why does it have that?” I pointed to the words below. My eyes were glued to that spot the whole time. I think she didn’t understand me so she just said something about it being computer generated and all and I said, “No, why does it say I graduated? Does it mean I graduated without my knowledge?” Oh boy, that’s where it happened.
She called her boss, and they told me that they couldn’t check it to make sure because their head was in a seminar. I was so incredulous. I wasn’t feeling anything in particular that time because I was still in shock. Nothing was sinking in.
I joked that maybe the professor took pity on me to which they answered that she, the professor, was very generous (she gave me a 91). And one of them commented that maybe the professor used magic in giving grades…you know, a roulette. Anyway, suffice it to say that it was a very weird conversation. Maybe that was the first time they got something like that. I even said that it that were true, I’d give the professor a cake. Well then after that commotion, they told me to come back on Monday because they will have to ask their head to recheck and double check it if it was accurate or not.
I went out of the university and as I was walking toward the train station I was thinking, WHAT THE FUCK! Like it was a litany. Over and over. That was all I could say, in my mind, out loud…like, what the fuck!
I got onto the train and that was still what I was thinking.
Was I being over dramatic? Not if you knew what happened to me after my failed graduation.
Back then, my father was working abroad as a mechanic. He’d been there for years. I was still little when he started working abroad to finance the family. It was typical Filipino family story and anyway, you’ll have an idea where the determination to get someone in the family to finish school came from. And because I was the eldest, I had to deliver. But as I told you, things happened and I didn’t hand in my diploma to my father.
That started a chain of events that changed the course of my family’s life. I won’t go into detail but just know that it wasn’t pretty after my failure to graduate. I’ve always blamed myself for letting my family down. That’s why I’ve always sold myself short. That’s why I didn’t have the confidence my co-workers had. And that’s why I’ve always felt insecure.
Just imagine all your adult life you believed that you didn’t get something important in your life. You lived with that burden, that knowledge that you let your family down. You believed that because of you everyone in your family suffered. All because you didn’t have that damn paper in your hands that would make you feel accepted in the society. It was such a heartbreaking thing to me. Because if that were true, then I didn’t even get to show my parents that they had a daughter who got a degree in college.
Actually, that’s what I’m most regretful about. My parents have passed away years ago. First my mom, then my sister, then my dad. All of them didn’t know that I could be, possibly, a graduate.
That’s why I thought dejectedly that life and universe don’t care about me. I am mediocre in their eyes so they just play me like the mediocrity that I am.
I was a bit down after that, I cried in fact. My heart just broke. I kept thinking what would have happened 14 years ago had I known that I finished school. But my mind couldn’t imagine it fully. Not really. Then I just thought that if I didn’t experience that pain of failure in my life, I wouldn’t have the wonderful memories too. I contented myself with that.
I know I couldn’t turn back time and I couldn’t run my life backwards. I just have a lingering sadness about it. A wistful thought. I would have wanted that my parents knew that they had a daughter who gave them a diploma. I would have liked them to live proudly that they had managed to send me to school even though they themselves didn’t get to finish school. That was my dream for them before and that is my wish for them now. But then I can’t tell them that now. They’re long gone and I’m left with just a lot of wishful thinking and what ifs.
I don’t know what they’ll tell me on Monday. I’m not sure if I’m ready for it. If it’s true then good, if it’s not, then more sad disappointment for me but I’m not bitter anymore. I’ve lived with it for 14 years after all. Although, if it’s just a fluke then I’ll know that the universe is really fucking with me big time.
So I’ll just wait. And I’ll maybe give an update about it.
I just hope the universe would stop fucking with my life. Like really. Please?