The Fruits of my Labor

Now I am claiming and declaring that I am a free soul already. Yaaaas! My semester has just finished two days ago and it feels so good to be back–to the world I used to have. I can now sleep early without any hesitations of an exam the next day, or a pending paper due the other day etcetera. I can now wake up anytime I wanted without any worries of how will I start and end my day right. But before I had this little temporary comfort nowadays, I had a series of stress, sleepless nights, stressful days and restless hours weeks ago. I even got sick during the finals week! Imagine how hellish a life can get submitting too many academic papers, undergoing series of final exams and attending scientific conferences of paper presentations while being so terribly sick. I was really dying, literally. But congratulations to my self, I didn’t stab into death in the midst of the hell week. I survived!

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Here’s a vestige of the previous semester I had. For the first time in my life, I’ve done a major academic paper alone, presented it in public and published my report.

It was the “pilot-testing” of SOC 199 (Undergraduate Seminar for Sociology) of the Department of Social Sciences. Upon seeing the course as ‘seasonal’ which was only offered during the second semester, I got no choice but to enlist in the course even if it is just the first time the course will be implemented. Nonetheless, I was with my friends and fellow socio majors so, it’s worry less for me. The course design was: a sociological study must be done and be presented in a scientific conference in front of different stakeholders of UPLB and of some visitors, who, for that matter, were composed of different students from the different universities and colleges all over Laguna. The course was just an hour per week, 6 to 7pm every Wednesdays but we seldom meet as a class since our time is ours to do all the work like data gathering, writing, etc.

I knew it from the very beginning– I’ll be doing all my work alone, for the first time. I have done so many researches in the past but this is something peculiar. I had all my time, but I had all the tasks that should be done. I was contemplating then if I should drop the course since it was announced that the course will be offered every semester. I thought like enrolling the course next semester instead since I am not this prepared and I have 18-unit load. But I did not drop it. I felt like I must finish this so I can have a lighter load next semester and I must focus on my internship. So…I stood firm being enrolled in the class. Paninindigan ko na ‘to!

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My research study is an exploratory study among Filipino single fathers, specifically in Sto. Tomas. This was not my initial research topic. I was about to deal with single people in the same locale. Unfortunately, my classmate Erline is pursuing the topic as a thesis and she has already gathered preliminary data and researches. So, due to bureaucracy, I have to give the topic to her and think of my own again. Thanks to Mam Abrigo who thought of this topic which was then good to me.

Judgment day came.. April 25, 2016

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Anyways, I changed the final title of my work. I changed that into The Last Man Standing: Exploring the Lives and Experiences of Single Fathers in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. This is a purely qualitative study and a single instrumental case study as a research design. (Segway lang)

Back to the real world. I arrived at the conference hall very early so I can have myself prepared and oriented. My scheduled presentation is at 11:25am but I was at the conference hall the moment the seminar started. To tell everyone honestly, I was not so much prepared for the conference. Well, I have all the necessary data with me. I know how the research went and I believe I can answer whatever it is that the pannel would be asking me eventually. But there is the strange feeling in me that I can’t do this. I was editing my powerpoint presentation on the very last minute. I revise and revise up to the moment the staff collected the powerpoint from us. It felt like I cannot do any of it. I do not know, maybe this was me again dwelling with pessimism and not believing in my capabilities again. Hayyys!

I was watching the presentors before me so I’d know how to do this thing. When Ace (the one I was next to) was finally presenting his study, I cannot help it but to feel the butterflies in my stomach come crossing over my system. And when his twenty minutes were over, and the moderator, Prof Diane has called my name along the title of my work, I cannot even stand. I was freezing at the moment.

As I was holding the microphone, I cannot look at my audience and talk to them, present my work. I was stuttering. My hands were shaking. My knees were trembling. I cannot dare to look at the people straight in the eye. It feels like they were scrutinizing me, the whole me upon presenting them my research, ad hominem. Mam Kristine Alagad was part of the big audience and I cannot look at her from time to time. I am afraid what she might think of me after this torture. I do not know if she’s gonna condemn me as her advisee or will she be proud of me afterwards? I do not know. But upon having a glimpse of her while I was presenting my research, I think, she’s not disappointed on me. Well, I hope.

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I asked Joy to take a video of me since the faculty in charge, Mam Abrigo, required us to video ourselves since she cannot watch over us at the same time since the parallel sessions were done during the conference. I did not watch my video. I submitted it directly to my instructor without even watching! I was terrified that I might be seeing my stupid self saying too many things to people without seeing its worth. Naaah. I was just afraid to accept mistakes and see my awkward self and that’s it. Feels like the world’s spitting fire on me.

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The questions bestowed upon me were quite light. Naks! I mean, I was able to answer them all. Well, some were just suggestions of some of the faculty in charge from the department which enlightened me so much. And I was so glad, I feel like my paper is paving its way for it to improve. I believe I was able to defend my work from the world. I know I gave my best shot.

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I have taken Speech Communication 1 and I am training myself how to talk to public but everytime I am about to stand before a beautiful crowd, the feeling is always the same. No matter how much I practiced, I master my lines and everything, I am always beaten up by my low self-esteem and self-efficacy. I am always grounded to the thought that others can do better than I. Others can do this and not me. This is what I hate about myself. I do not believe in my skills (if any) and I doubt my self in everything that I do.

Well, I have a training ground way back in high school on how to step up and speak in front of a crowd. I once had the confidence in me. I was once brave. But I do not know, today I am not. I want to bring this old self of mine back. I want my brave soul to creep over me again. I want my courageous spirit to once again hail my inner self. I want my old self back.

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At the bottom line, I survived the most intimidating twenty minutes of my life. I was able to show the people watching over me that time that I have something significant to say, I am worth their attention, I am worthy as a person. I know, my research was not as perfect as other sociologists out there may present. I got flaws, mistakes and imperfections. And I am very open to criticisms. There is always a room for improvement and I believe I have too many things to improve on– not only on the research that I make, but things I have to learn from life.

Sorry I am not able to post here the final manuscript of my research. But if you wish, just send me a private message and I’ll be glad to share my findings with you. I am currently binding the manuscript and it’s not finish yet. I want to make this as an opportunity to thank all the people behind this success (Naks!). However, I have included my acknowledgement to may manuscript anyways.

To my mom and dad, thank you for all the kind of support I’m having. Thank you for never ever giving up on me. Thank you for joining me take whatever crooked path I have and I chose to take. To my friends, thank you for constantly cheering me up when things get really complicated and I felt like I have nothing to hold on to. Thank you for the lighter hours. To Ate Liane, Tita Christy, Ate Ara, thank you for recommending all the single fathers you know. You’ve been an instrument for me to make it. I cannot make it to this success if not because of you. Thank you! To all the single fathers I have interviewed, I still promise not to reveal your identities. Thank you for making this a possible thing! I do not know how my life would be if you were not the participants I had for a semester. I gained and earned so much lessons from you and I will forever engrave those in my mind. To Mam Girlie Abrigo, thank you for the words of wisdom. Thank you for being a very good mentor to me, to us. To the greatest Sociologist I know, thank You so much for giving me the strength and intelligence I needed. You are the reason behind these all. To you all, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

It is not just SOC 199 from which I survived from. I believe I was able to survive the rest of my loads, my other six subjects/courses. I have already seen some of my final grades while some are not being released yet. But I feel confident, in one way or another. I gave my all, my very all and whatever it is that will be the result of my labor, I will be the proudest girl ever.

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Congratulations also to my SOC 199 batchmates who have undergone as much for the survival of this semester. We did well, guys! Congrats to each of us!

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Congratulations, self! You’ve got a long way to go!

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