Disclaimer: This article requires your utmost reading patience. Skip through if you think it’s too long. If not, well—yay! Somebody read my entry.
Before you put your hand on that door knob and twisted it, clockwise, with all the strength your hand could wring, you suddenly think of what awaited you as you stood there, hesitantly—you remember your debate yesterday and wonder, if you'd fare any better today. You entertain the thought of just turning around and running the hell off—you won't bear the risk of having to create more hung arguments, more dead-air, more humiliation. But before you even have time to consider, you find your hand moving by itself. The door clinks as you enter the Econ Caf. You purposefully move forward, a man with a mission. To hell with whatever was inside, I'm in. Various sights, smells, sounds and feels, suddenly assault you: a view of BJ jumping up and down, a whiff of BJ's new perfume, the auditory sensation of BJ's high voice reverberating on the walls of the caf, a jolt from BJ, like a mother would a wayward child, slapping your wrist, and, uhm, BJ (So is BJ an assault on the senses?).
There’s an art to it, really—how to understand BJ, how to be around BJ, how to please BJ (hey, no undertones there), much so how to write about BJ—that top adjudicator, situational narcissist, great debate constructive critic and perpetual UPDS character (BJ would love this). And that’s not romanticizing it (I mean BJ) than is strictly necessary. He's really that much hard to put a finger on (Hey, you. Yeah, you snickering there—I know what you're thinking—cut it out).
The steady, wavy movements of his hands, the loud, high strung voice of his, the helpful debate advice, the panacea to any debate ailment, the brutally frank, jocular attitude—all this add up to the single, revelatory vision of a (or the) BJ Guerrero. The one and only. Tadah! OK, so now I'm finished with the obligatory BJ praising.
You know it’s only BJ who could think up of a task like this. Really, I’m not surprised. Not that I have anything against this—in fact, I’m all for it. Not for purely sentimental reasons, so I could whine all I can for the next few paragraphs about my experiences, how they've changed me and all—I'm not really much that kind of guy—neither wanted to nor could do that. What I'm thinking instead is, it’s good that there’s something like this, a lens, if you will, with which to view the past application process in hindsight, so you could review yourself again, take a bird's eye view of whatever the hell happened this past month—and reaffirm yourself, of your place (consider it an obligatory self-evaluation process). The only danger to that probably is how upon being forced to regurgitate, like some bulimic poring over the contents of his/her (have to be politically correct here) little spill, whatever has happened this past month or so, what I have felt about the app process—which has positively been good, very good in fact—may change upon retrospection.
I'm not even sure if something of the sort has already begun to happen with me—you only remember the failed debates, the hard-as-hell matter exams, the disappointment in being unable to put yourself up to standards, the cut-throat competition, all throughout the application process, you're almost tempted to wonder—is this truly debate, or is it flagellation? Is this supposed to inspire enthuisasm, or masochism?
Out of sheer frustration and major ego de-boosting, you start considering jumping out the window or lying down in the middle of the university avenue, customary food for any tire willing to come your way. But then upon hearing encouraging words from those divine beings, debating gods (from my vantage point anyway), the MAC members—veritable extensions of BJ himself, you slowly regain your sanity, start thinking straight, begin appreciating everything.
You get to spend time with them, you talk about the application process, and then you realize that the phenomenon of pain and pleasure, as evinced in the debsoc application process, is not limited to the confines of a bedroom, dominatrix leather outfits, whips, and screams of the codename California. It can also be seen towards the end of the application process—when all your hard work would pay off (hopefully it would). If it doesn’t—well that’s all the more reason to work your ass harder, isn’t it?
But if I really wanted to examine just how positive an effect UPDS has done to me, I need not look far for an answer. You simply conjure a what-if thought process where you didn’t push through the debsoc application. I’d be carrying my lifeless carcass of a body to an institution was so hyped to study in before and which upon entering I had quite some trouble adjusting to—something I never expected. I do this every weekday for the next 4 or so years, try to enter UP law and become a lawyer, so I could feed myself three times a day, say to myself this is what I’m born to do, serve society (the old bull), and then be happy—but such things seem so formulaic, so lacking life. It invokes the unholy image of likening UP college life to meat grinders—put something in, out comes the finished product. What’s so fun about that?
I know I’m not speaking entirely for others, and I’m not even asserting a fierce generalization here, but I truly believe the only way I could fully enjoy UP life is to have an org—one that pushed me to my very limits, one that improved me in every aspect, one that had the most interesting, not to mention intelligent, people UP could boast of, and one that could open up entirely new experiences for me. Well, you know what the org is. To think, it makes all the hardships you’ve been through worthwhile, if only to give you the slightest chance of getting into such an organization. Sure as hell.