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In Our Dying Days

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Valediction by Horace G. Baria
Malayan High School of Science
6th Commencement Exercises

Danielle Policarpio, Snehita Polishetty, Sir Dhonny Bacuyag, Ma'am Genevieve Hilario, these are some of the names that are not with us today, and yet, we remember. Dr. Reynaldo B. Vea, Dr. Efren B. Mateo, Malayan faculty, staff, parents, fellow batch mates, and friends, whose names are with us today, good afternoon to you all.

It's been four years since we've first set foot in that big, blue building we've called our school. I say "entrance exam" and we remember the conference room. I say "first year" and we remember Darwin and Einstein. It matters, a lot, how we've started, but I believe that it matters more how it ends. We are all here today to realize that there is no "forever." This road ends here. If there is anything that I've realized, it's that it's not that bad.

It's not bad because, now, we are given a choice. We are given a choice to either keep on following the same road, or take a risk and try to be something we never were. I entered Malayan for a fresh start. I had wanted to change and I believed that the best way to do this was to look for a fresh start, though I didn't know if it was going to be good or bad for me, as a person, but that's what you call risk. Maybe the people were going to be tough, smarter, better than me in every way, but that didn't matter. It's not like the world is not tough enough, with people being stronger, smarter, better than me in every way; it doesn't matter. It's not they, but the people who change with the times that win at life;

But then again, the times are unpredictable. So, we need to be ready, ready to do what we thought we couldn't have done, ready to change ourselves into something, that although we'd naturally resist, we would do it anyways because it is something that we must do, and we believe that these things are necessary because they are our means to our ends, the way to our purpose. Purpose is something we need; with no purpose, we have no discipline, and with no discipline, we have no strength, and with no strength, we will be swept away by the times. Even if in our dying days – and this day is one of them – we lose our sense of purpose, let us not forget how we got here. We remember the past not only to learn from our mistakes, but to form our identity. The past becomes our reason to do what we ought to do. Even if in our dying days, we lose our hope in the future, let us remember who we were, and let us consider who we are now.

Because who we are now is going to react to the challenges ahead of us, and when we get there, all we would have left is the motivation coming from ourselves, the original driving force behind our will to live. So what, if the odds are stacked against us? So what, if the worst has come to destroy us? Would we not have enough reason to continue to fight? If not, then let me inspire you.

My father, (hi daddy!) when I was small, once got mad at me for refusing to answer his questions. They were simple questions, appropriate for a child, but I was so afraid of being wrong that I did not speak a word, and so, he got mad, not because I was wrong, but because I didn't try. For this, and other reasons, I love my father, and of course, my family.

I believe that overcoming ourselves is the highest achievement that any person can attain, because we are our own enemy, and we have to climb our own mountain. I believe that overcoming the natural human fear of risk – our fear of the unknown and our fear of new experiences, just like how some of us here are afraid of college – is the ultimate honor. These are not awards given to those who deserve them. For those of you who have become these people, I commend you. I'm saying this because... I'd never thought I'd be here. I'd never wanted to be here. This wasn't for me. This was for who I want to be. I don't want to be an achiever. I don't want to stay the same. I want to defeat myself, climb my own mountain, and become a man, prepared to face the world, its challenges, find love, hope, raise a family, and live my life. I want to be happy, and I hope that you, too, will become the same thing: happy.

On behalf of my batch, I would like to thank you, Dr. Mateo and the Malayan faculty and staff, for your service in our four years here, and if it wasn't sweat, it was tears, and if it wasn't stress, it was relief, relief in knowing that we are here, now, because of you; and of course, our dear parents. I cannot account in one speech all that you have done for us, but I'm sure that, for you, it is nothing but your love. I would also like to specially mention the Lord our God – if He's not your God, then it's okay, just ignore me – for all of His invisible support and unending grace.

My best regards to you, my fellow batchmates, and hopefully my words have meant something. Thank you.

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