Pinili ko ‘to, kaya kasalanan ko ‘to: The in’s and out’s of being a BS Org

By Larraine Castillo

Artwork by Mikaela Gabrielle de Castro/TomasinoWeb

You’re getting settled after a long day of classes. Online or onsite, it’s bound to have drained the life force out of you by the end of it all.

You close the tabs, shut down the laptop, and start to get ready for bed. But then a notification lights up your phone. Then another. Then another. Then you realize the day’s not over just yet, because your events team is following up on the program flow, your creatives committee is asking for the fifth publication material in a row, and your executive board is calling for a Zoom meeting for right when you scheduled a long-overdue nap.

Maybe it’s all a bit too much. But the thing is you voluntarily chose to do this. Pinili mo ‘to, kaya kasalanan mo ‘to.

Yet, the state of being a BS Org student is nothing if not a growing phenomenon in UST. If anything, it would be considered a “flex” to be able to juggle heaps of extracurricular work on top of the already-heavy load your college program so harshly bestows upon you.

But this multitude of responsibilities is no joke. With only 24 hours in a day and a limited tank of energy and motivation, how can university students show up as their best selves for all these obligations?

Rest assured you are not alone in wanting to traverse the murky waters that are college student organizations. Three Thomasian college students share just how daunting the BS Org life is, but also how fulfilling it can be to step outside the realm of academics and into a colorful world only you can take yourself to.

Meet the Thomasian BS Org’s

Louisse Recalde is an Economics sophomore who is currently active in three organizations. She was “filled with curiosity” and had the desire to explore the “full college experience.” She has been pursuing her personal interests with different natures from her program, such as being the President of BA Dauncén, the official dance organization of the Faculty of Arts and Letters.

Lyza Balita is a Nursing junior who is not only a part of four organizations but is also the Vice President of her block and a host of the Kumu show Circle of Life. Always booked and busy, Lyza believes that she “must not stop exploring” if she wants to reach her utmost potential.

Jillian Mama-o is a Pharmacy junior who handles more than just school-related tasks as she is also a mother to a 3-year-old son. She is a leader in four organizations, with positions ranging from President to External Affairs to Social Media Manager.

Why join, and why stay?

Photo from Vlada Karpovich/Pexels

We’ve all reached that part of the academic year when we get bombarded with registration forms and Google Forms links to sign up for a particular team. There can be so many in your college alone without even counting the ones open to the whole University. With such a wide array of choices, how do you know which ones to commit to?

Louisse has been living the BS Org life since she was a freshman as she was advised by her seniors to become active in extracurriculars during her first and second years. The last two years are generally pronounced to be “crucial” when it comes to her chosen career path. She also emphasizes the potential of developing connections with people outside her program.

Lyza shares the same sentiments as she says she had developed a “sense of attachment” not only to her organizations but also to the people she works with. The organization’s advocacy is also important to her when choosing which ones to devote her time to.

Moreover, Jillian emphasizes her passion for serving and leading in her organizations, especially dancing, communicating, and relationship-building. She also sees these new responsibilities as an opportunity to get to know herself better and gain experience. A shiny résumé is always welcome in any college student’s portfolio.

The unseen challenges

Photo from Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

It’s easy to go for the first application form you lay your eyes on when you know that your upperclassmen have done the same. Little do you know it’s not all the time they make their struggles and hurdles as evident as the extravagant activities they get to be involved in.

For Jillian, managing her time is one of the most difficult skills she can execute as a Pharmacy student, leader, dancer, and mother. With classes, dance training and gigs, and freelance work to accomplish, planning her schedule and selecting which tasks to prioritize can be so intimidating to the point some of these have to be left unfinished. As a mother, this also compromises quality time with her son.

“Since I’m juggling a lot of things and most of my schedules keep me away from home, I am always left with a short amount of time to spend with my son and almost no time for myself,” said Jillian.

Louisse recalls several instances where she had to attend two webinars at the same time and one after another, with some being only five minutes apart. There are also moments of identity crises as she would question herself as to why she chooses certain paths or if she has the capacity to carry out specific decisions.

It is also inevitable to feel overwhelmed from time to time, especially with Lyza’s own number of organizations to keep in mind. Because she chose to put herself in those positions, she believes she has to live up to different people’s expectations and keep up with her many obligations.

Management tips to not lose your mind

Photo from Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels

Believe it or not, it is totally possible to take on a seemingly impossible number of tasks and at the same time, still have a life and stay sane. It takes a whole lot of discipline, but it’s a habit that can only be practiced with time and experience.

Lyza shares just how she does so with a little flair to boot.

“Often the question states ‘How do you balance everything?’ and my response has always been ‘I don’t balance, I blend,’” Lyza said.

With this method, time management and prioritization are key factors. Instead of allocating two hours each for academics, family time, and her hobbies, Lyza blends by playing online games with her family for two hours, leaving time for her academics and saving another two hours.

Efficient scheduling is also a regular practice for Jillian, who sets priorities and plans her days “intelligently and thoroughly” as a result.

Louisse does the same as she makes lists and sets internal deadlines in order to accomplish her tasks without rushing any of them. Interestingly, she found that she often comes up with more motivation to finish org-related work than academic.

“I use this as an opportunity to trigger my productivity and directly switch from doing [organization] work to doing academic work,” she added.

Painting your own canvas

Photo from Vlada Karpovich/Pexels

When you subject yourself to various areas of responsibilities, you are bound to come out the other side as a different person from the clean slate that was your freshman self. Exposure to different social spheres has allowed Lyza to “expand her intrapersonal and interpersonal abilities.”

Louisse shines best when she’s widening the scope of what she learns when she’s interacting with individuals from different backgrounds. This also opens the gate to many opportunities aligned not only with her future career path but also with her hobbies.

Most of all, being a BS Org can help you learn who you are as a person. Jillian agrees that both individual and team skills are developed when she partakes in extracurricular activities. Considering the nature of her organizations, no doubt she has a limitless number of outlets for creativity.

Despite the hectic schedules and the overflowing to-do lists, Jillian admits her BS Org status offers her peace of mind. And isn’t that a component of college life we don’t want to miss out on?

For your future

It can seem unnerving to voluntarily subject yourself to more than what your program is requiring of you. You never know how your experience will turn out and it takes time away from your typical academic obligations. It would take a great deal of time management to accomplish everything and to accomplish everything well.

But Louisse, Lyza, and Jillian are just three out of the thousands of Thomasian college students. These ventures into places outside of their comfort zones are exactly what make them stand out from the crowd. The stress and burdens are heavy and there can be only so much a person can carry, but the seeds you plant will grow into the tallest of trees by the time others are just beginning to prepare their lands.

However, if you choose to live out your college life, do it with fervor and passion. And enrolling yourself in the BS Org program is a marvelous way to do just that.

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