Day 20 of 30 – Why (and How) I Chose UA&P

Back when I was a senior in high school, I have to admit I was completely clueless about what I wanted to take up in college and even more so what I wanted to do or be after. If you’ve read my post about finding my purpose, you’ll know that this uncertainty extended beyond college. But anyway, the time came to apply for college and like my sister before me, my parents had me apply to 5 schools namely, UP (University of the Philippines), DLSU (De Lasalle University), Ateneo, UA&P (University of Asia and the Pacific), and UST (University of Santo Tomas).

To show how much I did not know what to take, the courses I applied for were the following:

  • UP – Industrial Economics
  • DLSU – Mechanical Engineering
  • Ateneo – Management Economics
  • UA&P – Political Economy
  • UST – Industrial Engineering

Looking at it now, it’s funny how those were the choices I listed down because Engineering and Economics are certainly not my fields of interest. I had an interest in taking up Law at that time due to the ongoing impeachment trial of Erap which exposed me to some great lawyers. That’s the reason why I listed the courses for Ateneo and UA&P because they can be considered as pre-law courses.

I got admitted to all 5 schools which made the choice tougher. I was kinda hoping I’d only pass a couple of them so my choice will be easier. While I was proud to have been the only one in our high school to pass in all those 5 schools, I was freaked out by how to make the right choice.

My dad preferred either UST (his alma mater) or DLSU for the course which he thought would help when I eventually joined the family business. My mom preferred Ateneo so I’ll be the first in the family to go there and also because she thought being a lawyer might fit me. My sister just preferred anywhere but UA&P which is where she was already. Truth be told we weren’t very close at that time.

I didn’t see myself going to UP especially on an Economics course so I crossed that off first. Like I said, I also didn’t see myself as an engineer of any kind so I crossed off both UST and DLSU next. Those two were particularly tough choices to cross off only in the sense that most of my friends were going to those schools or in CSB so that meant I’d be far from all of them.

That left me with Ateneo and UA&P. Between the two, I definitely had my sights on Ateneo longer due to familiarity of the school’s rich history while I had no idea about UA&P except that my sister decided to go there despite also having Ateneo and DLSU as options. Plus if I really wanted to be a lawyer, going to Ateneo seemed like a more straightforward path. I decided the right move was to go to Ateneo. In fact, I remember letting the deadline to secure a slot in UA&P pass which was on a Saturday. I was sure of it decision. Or so I thought.

The next day, Sunday, the whole family went with me to Ateneo to tour the campus. We checked out the facilities in the school then afterwards went across Katipunan to look at potential dorms. We live in Parañaque so the idea was for me to dorm by myself and just go home on the weekends. We found a decent dorm near the big fast food chains. It had a convenience store, laundromat and a computer shop (Counter-Strike time lol). It seemed everything was falling into place so after speaking to the landlord, we went home for dinner.

On the way home something about it didn’t feel right. I couldn’t quite explain or even figure it out. I just had this intuition that maybe this wasn’t the right decision for me. Later that night, I went to my parent’s room and told them that I didn’t want to go to Ateneo and if it was still possible to claim my slot in UA&P the next day (Monday), that was where I wanted to go for college. My parents were stunned (and my sister a bit irritated lol) but they could tell I was decided on it so they just went with it. The next day we checked with the admissions office and they informed us that they would be happy to take me in. And that’s that, I was going to UA&P!

Looking back, I’m still not sure why I had that intuition. I think part of it was my uncertainty on the course to take. Since in UA&P, you had the first two years to decide and apply to the course, I can delay making that decision. Maybe I didn’t quite trust myself at that time too to essentially be living alone. I might just play video games and eat junk food all the time. To be fair I still ended up playing games and eating a lot of junk food either way but with a bit more structure lol.

But in hindsight, that was certainly one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. The obvious top reason was of course meeting Ellen and all my good friends later on. Another reason is that my sister and I became very close during our time in UA&P, especially since I ended up taking the same course as her. I don’t think we would have developed that closeness if I went to another school. And less I forget what I actually went to school for – my education!

The Humanities-based curriculum in the early years gave me a lot of tools for self-reflection and knowing myself. That, combined with the skills I learned in IMC eventually led me to discover my true calling. That’s something I’ll always appreciate about UA&P and why I’m thankful I made that decision long time ago.

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