Aside from being cocky, what is a U.P. student known for?

The UP Oblation

I spent five years of my life in Miagao, Iloilo. Four years as a student and a year as an instructor. These years may not be enough for me to make an in-depth, scientific, qualitative research on the character of the majority of UP students, but five years are more than sufficient to be impressed on me how the world outside UP thinks about the student body that composes it. In general they think that UP students are so full of themselves, a group of over confident bunch who gets really rowdy inside a jeepney especially if they think they outnumber the rest, who brag their maroon shirt with a logo of the Oblation when they go to the mall for window shopping, or speak the longest speech not to mention the forced, all-too conscious twang if asked to talk on youth participation during the Labor Day rally.

And I could never agree more. Gone were the days when the first thing that enters the mind of an ordinary Filipino man who is not given the opportunity to enter the University was that a UP student is the Filipino student at its finest–the product of the best education that the Filipino nation can offer. It is, however, not anymore the case. Instead, a UP student is now known for his most dominant characteristic: his cockiness. As with the whole system, we tend to forget an essential ingredient for an institution of higher learning to work, that is, constant self-evaluation.

If it is too much to say, UP students of my generation have been sitting on the laurels of those who have gone before them.

Students of UP Diliman

Now what is a UP student known for aside, of course, from being cocky?

When my former Humanities professor Leoncio Deriada, now a professor emeritus, criticized the way UP works and the University in general in our class, because of my too strong an idealism then, I always made sure to give a rebuttal after. He said that if an earthquake would strike UP Visayas and the cracks in the soil will swallow all the dumb UP student (idiot was the word he used), only a third shall be spared and the remaining two-thirds will all be eaten up by the monstrous cracks, and nothing will be heard from them. It was laughable, at first, I thought, but upon deeper self-evaluation, I realized that there is some truth to it. Although I know he was exaggerating, of course, but a voice inside me is telling me that the man is saying the truth.

Surely I have encountered exceptional students and can still remember classmates of mine who impressed me in class. But they are exceptions. Majority are made up of complacent, over-confident students who come to class thinking that a lesson on macro-economics, quantum physics, relevance of the African-American class struggle, or the hypodermic theory of communication are subjects that can be understood using nothing but pure guts, proper bearing, or a good imitation of the American English accent.

I maybe too harsh. I may have set the bar too high–but for the best institution of higher learning in the country, nothing is expected of a UP student but to be the best. From our rank the scientists, artists, professors, doctors, mathematicians, politicians, and the next president of the republic will come. And we simply cannot lower our standard.

Now if our only defining charcteristic is our cockiness, that’s going to be too sad–really sad.


2 thoughts on “Aside from being cocky, what is a U.P. student known for?”

  1. At some point I agree with you. The culture of UP students in our time is different from the ones that came before us, but I still believe that fundamentally we are student of the State University. I have nothing against girls talking about mundane if not non-sensical stuff or rich kids wearing Havaianas costing 30USD as long as they do their responsibilities as students. I have nothing against redefining UP culture as long as it is something proactive. In our quest to establish our individual identities we seem to forget the plain reason why we are called scholars of the Filipino people.

    Thanks for reading Jules. I also miss Miagao: the best place I have been to.

  2. During Ate Chloe’s stay in UPD for summer class, she had a run in with the typical modern Dilimanian. She got onto a Toki and ended up listening to two kikays blathering about boys, cars and money, in “Conyo” (Taglish). She talked about said experience with another Super Senior, who told her there were actually tons of kids like those these days in UPD, and that the image UPD projects through the Collegian is a lie. A concrete example would have to be how people still wore slippers to school, except these days, their slippers’ cost as much as a week’s meal (for me at least).

    While she was telling us about the kikays, I remembered Sam and I had a conversation about boys and cars too, in a mixture of english and hiligaynon to boot. And though we do like to dress up when we’re in the mood, we do not wear havaianas. 😛

    A private conversation about a guy friend’s new chevy doesn’t have to mean these girls are shallow and that’s all they ever talk about. It is kinda hard to speak straight English or Filipino when you find shifting lingual gears too much effort when you’re just gossiping and you’ve grown up thinking in both languages.

    And though I may rant about instant assumption and hasty generalization over here where I can lay my thoughts out without being interrupted, I do agree that UP today is lackluster compared to a few years back. There was just some things about school that made your blood boil in the past. UP made me care about a lot of things I didn’t give a rat’s ass about back in HS. But that was only because I was actually curious. These days, most UPians I get to talk to, only care about making the grade and passing their scholarship quotas.

    When asking for identity info from a stalker the other day, he said his student number dates back to “When UP was still cool”.*

    So UP isn’t as cool as it was before. Sucks right? Though we may reminisce about the good old days, it’d be foolish to try to bring it back the way it used to be. Different approaches must be taken, isn’t that what being radical is supposed to be about? Being up to the times?

    I am not saddened by the death of UP Culture. I am challenged with defining the new paradigm of “UP Culture”. In a campus as small, yet as potentially volatile as UP Miagao, it’s so easy to make a difference.

    If anyone wants this generation to care again, one needs to remember they’re dealing with a different generation. A different generation calls for a different approach.

    But I’m not saying sitting around and laughing and calling yourself a “family” (ala brady bunch) is going to work when it comes to having people care about the rest of the world. I’m just saying we can’t expect people to keep falling for the same old tricks, specially because we 90’s kids are the TV generation. We have short attention spans. (well most of us do, sounds sad, but its very true)

    I like to ramble when I’m sleepy. You can go over the entire thing and replace “UP Culture” (or the idea of it for that matter) with anything that you feel is digressing today. Try Dunkin Donuts for starters. Or the dichotomy of Bago (I wish Pangs and Jun read this only they’d get this joke…)

    I dunno, these are just thoughts… I don’t profess to know all the solutions and to have all the answers…I’m not sure if I just made any sense up ^ there but. Do forgive me, i was up all night I just woke up and I read your latest entry… I agree with a lot of it, theres are just a sleepy girls points to ponder on…

    (ps. how are you na? hehehe is life treating u well? personally,I miss Miagao already hihi or maybe i just miss having an allowance… I’m not quite sure)


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