It’s a sem-old story (pun intended)

It’s been a long while…

(subtitle: “How I spent my summer vacation” and “What I did this semester”)

(warning: this is a long read, you may want to go directly to the lessons page)

Part 1

As most of you know, I’ve been studying in college for more than five years. Most of my batchmates (anyone who entered college in 2003) are already working, and some already have families. Somehow, those facts compelled me to at least try and find a summer job. After some misadventures, I found myself checking papers and policing high schoolers in a “famous” tutorial center.

I transformed once again into “Sir Benj”, though with a slightly higher salary (2x, where x = a UP SA’s rate). For the most part, I just check, arrange, and cut papers. Almost daily, I orient and evaluate new lecturers (almost everyone) about the class’ profile. On certain days, the higher-ups would tell me to call the parents for various reasons, hoping that my voice will be enought to make them feel that they get what they paid for.

It was a new experience for me to take four modes of travel every morning and evening (bipedal, jeep, bus, MRT). To make things challenging, I decreased my allowance to force me to use what I earn for my daily needs (the words inexpensive lunch and Greenhills have little intersection)


  • My very high saving rate will not work unless I work near my home
  • In a job, benefits are important


Part 2

Mishaps with the curriculum hit me hard when I realized that my DOST scholarship cannot be coupled with just 6 units, resulting in a sort of technical suspension. As such, I had to find some sort of “pag-aabalahan” for the semester.The list includes:


The decline in my units was countered by the sudden increase of time required to play the browser game travian, with my villages in two accounts being razed to the ground as I sleep.I eventually deleted my accounts as it started to consume too much time and electricity.


I was offered a job as a review assistant still, in their new saturday class (19 sessions = 5 months). At one point, almost everything I earned went to my lunch and fares. Thank God for my boss who somehow logged in my excess hours whenever I went early and got off late. I managed to finish handling three sections, and most likely, I won’t handle another one again.


Despite my failed preliminary demo teaching, they managed to convince me to try my skills at tutoring (where salary =4x). I was asked to do elementary and high school subjects (from algebra and physics to history and music 0_o). For more than a week, I was teaching almost daily from 4-8pm, sometime even earlier. Factor in the commuting time, and that would mean I spent a lot more time in the center that at school.

After the students’ quarterly examinations, the center summoned me less often. I suffered from successive cases of disappearing students, who magically become sick at times when I am already on my way to teach them. Eventually, I felt like I was wasting my time, and asked the staff not to summon me unless I get enough committed students.

Sensory Training Stints

I was asked to help out as a driver, lab assistant and all-rounder for two of my teachers who do trainings for a certain 30-year old fastfood chain (rate =1.4x ). At first it was lonely, doing repetitive work alone in the lab. I just convinced myself that this job is a relevant experience to my course. True enough, the perks (food!) were more than enough to convince me.

The usuals

A relationship, church, household duties, academics, and whatever errands I get.

The unusuals

For the first time in ten semesters, I did not renew in SVCF. For a change, I tried busying myself with other stuff, having a glimpse of what it would be like to work and not have a parachurch fellowship.



For the past year, life has become a seemingly endless chain of changing circumstances. By change, I mean major changes, not like how an 18-unit schedule remaps every semester.

I realized that I still tend to blame circumstances for how I respond to them. I do not seem to be intrinsic enough cause change rather than be changed. That means I cannot survive spiritually in places where circumstances change drastically (like in an unreached mission field where fellowships are rare).

I remember one lesson we had in compass reading. The lecturer told us never to make a potentially mobile object a landmark. “three hundred meters mula sa kalabaw” or “sa likod ng kotse” are examples of frail landmarks.

Circumstances are like frail landmarks, it’s pointless to base your life on things that change. Let your life be based on something immovable, like our God, who is a Mighty Fortress. The bottom line? Seek daily strengthening from God. Asses your circumstances, but don’t build your life around them. Don’t forget what God has commanded you to do.

*ang hirap pala mag summarize ng mahigit walong buwan…

This entry was posted in Current Affairs, Flashbacks, Lessons, life in general. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to It’s a sem-old story (pun intended)

  1. mom says:

    Just read this now. good to feel in touch somehow.Just want to encourage you by saying that in your difficult circumstances, God is using you to encourage, bless others. keep on.Love you.

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