Life in the Fast Lane


The Blue Family

By 9:01 PM , , , ,

Ever since I was a kid, the word "Ateneo" was a household term. My parents went to college in this institution; in fact, without Ateneo, they wouldn't have fallen in love, gotten married and had four children. Because we would hear this word time and again as kids, my siblings and I grew up thinking that we would one day study in this university; nowhere else.

Once I reached high school, my immediate goal was to pass the Ateneo entrance exam and major in Communication (how I decided on that course is another story). I did just that, along with procuring a minor degree in Hispanic Studies. Four years later, armed with an Ateneo diploma, I entered the world of advertising.

While I was a college senior, my brother enrolled as a college freshman. It was surreal to see him in the cafeteria and along the corridors since I went to an all-girls' high school and he went to an all-boys' high school (coincidentally, the Ateneo High School). Like me, he eventually became a Communication graduate and is now in the marketing division of one of the top television networks in the country.

The pressure then weighed heavily on our sister to go to Ateneo for college. Always a success story in the academic realm, she did pass the Ateneo exam with flying colors and sailed through life as a Management Economics major. She graduated Cum Laude and today, she works in the sales department of one of the largest multinational nutrition and wellness corporations.

Last but not the least, our youngest brother, a high school senior of -- surprise, surprise -- the Ateneo High School, found out just this weekend that he passed the college entrance exam. This June, he'll be enrolling as a freshman majoring in Philosophy, like our dad. Our very driven, very disciplined youngest has plans of becoming a lawyer someday.

There is not a day that goes by without some mention of Ateneo or anything related to this institution. We can't help it; our mom is the Director of University Communications and Public Relations and our dad is always updated on the goings-on of our basketball team. Dinner conversations at home focus on basketball games, the athletes, university events, fundraisers, notable alumni, and everything else under the sun.

Ateneo is also a topic of conversation on both sides of our family whenever we have get-togethers. Our dad's father and brothers went to the Ateneo for high school. A cousin of ours is currently a freshman majoring in Legal Management. Mom's sister is also an Ateneo Communication graduate. Other relatives on both sides of the family were also Ateneo graduates.

Also, the first Filipino rector of the Ateneo was our great grand uncle, Fr. Fritz Araneta, S.J.

Needless to say, we are very much a blue-blooded family. From the time my siblings and I were born, we were practically destined to follow in our parents' footsteps. I felt the pressure to be the first Ateneo graduate in the family (from this generation, at least), yet I wholeheartedly welcomed this opportunity. I wasn't forced into becoming an Atenean; I was one even before my first day of college. To a certain extent, my siblings feel the same way. It was expected of us to pass the ACET and enroll in this institution, yet we made the decision to study there.

Ateneo may not necessarily be the best school in the country (I'm sure other universities, especially our Maroon neighbor and Green archenemy, have valid things to say about their own institutions) but in our minds, it was a blessing to have chosen this university. We were groomed to become men and women for others just like we were given opportunities to go after our dream jobs. We learned theoretical terms like thaumazein and facticité, but we mingled with people from different walks of life and even spent time reaching out to less fortunate rural and urban communities. We took up student leadership positions in organizations and hit the books when it was time to study. We've had teachers who inspired us but we've also had "terror profs" who served as badges of honor in an "I survived *insert prof's name*" kind of way. We've found friends who we know will stick around for the rest of our lives.

Yes, we're the family decked in blue during the basketball season. You see pictures of us cheering when albums are uploaded by sports photographers. We watch replays of basketball games (and DVDs of past championship seasons, I might add) and try to catch as many of the other UAAP sporting events as well. We're there, too, at other events scattered all throughout the academic year. Bonfires, Thanksgiving Masses, outreach programs, graduations; you name it, we've been there.

We're extreme that way, yet we don't know how to be any other way.

Someday, when my siblings, cousins, and I have our own kids, we'd want them to go to Ateneo as well. But we wouldn't impose this on them. They have all the free will in the world to go after what makes them happy, regardless of university.

Because if they turn out to be anything like us, they'll come to embrace their inherent blue-bloodedness.

The Ateneo Way is our family's way, after all.

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