First day of school after 16 years

In my haste to get to school for my 7 AM class, I forgot my jacket at home.  But the sun shone bright the entire day so the jacket could stay home.  Weekday traffic from Baguio City to La Trinidad rival that in EDSA.  But it was a weekend so I had no reason to be late.  I was 30 minutes early.  I had breakfast at McDonald’s happy that there’s Benguet Arabica brewing.  I wondered where they got their supply because it’s neighbor Benguet State University is producing it’s own Arabica beans which is certified organic at the international level.

I saw plenty of students milling around the OU campus.  I almost dropped my coffee when I spotted my former boss.  She was my first boss after college.  I haven’t seen her for ages.  I learned so much from her– development research, even my work ethic.  She was known as driven and a perfectionist and those under her who cannot cope would quit before their six month.  I was the first who didn’t.  She told me years later (when we were friends) that she was surprised and knew she would keep me when I merely laughed at her when she tried to intimidate me.

My first class is Management.  The professor, a consultant to the largest cooperative in LT, sure didn’t waste time.  He gave us a pretest though he said it’s not for submission.  But what a pretest!  Perhaps it’s the hour – 7 AM – because my brain was still asleep.  I can’t make an excuse of me being an evening person can I?  When I got to the second question on the form – ‘Define management’ – I stared at it waiting something to stir in my mind but nothing.  I’ve had this happen to me before– like when asked to write from memory the lyrics of Lupang Hinirang.

The professor then announced he’d randomly call us to discuss our answers to the class.  This elicited nervous laughter.  Since there was just a dozen of us and the class went for three hours, every one was called several times.  Except moi.  He called me only once.  How is leadership and management distinct from each other?

My second class was Philippine Urban Administration.  The professor didn’t show up but the OU staff came in to hand out the modules.  We were told to wait for an email from the professor anytime.  Great!  We read in the module that the professor is from HLURB-CAR.  Somebody joked about government officials not showing up at work so why expect otherwise.  That class was for three hours.

My third class was Environment, Society, Culture, and Climate Change.  The professor introduced himself as a biologist with higher studies in environment as well as a consultant (he’s on environmental impact assessments and recently did one on Banaue Rice Terraces).  Majority in the class are men with Bachelor’s degree in the hard sciences i.e. engineering, architecture, forestry.  I was the only one working in development a sector nobody was familiar in and so I spent the longest time introducing myself which was a pain.  I skipped telling them my undergraduate studies but the professor asked.  Economics, I mumbled.  After that he’d often turn to me to ask about economic modelling of environmental problems and every time he did I felt like I was going to have a heart attack.  I’ve forgotten how to do calculus.  But of course you don’t say that to your teacher.  So thanks to him I had to take out from the attic my books in college.


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