Monday, August 08, 2005

So... even DLSU feels inferior, huh?

This is a response to an article written here. This is another one of my badly written articles on the silent gripe on supposed academic superiority and shouldn't see the light of day because it might offend someone.

You know what? I didn't know that La Sallites had an inferiority complex when it came to Ateneo. My, my... who would have thought? And all this time I had been under the impression that they had been so busy looking down at other universities and colleges, especially those that they are in "consortium" with... like PCU.

What's the entire deal with trying to prove academic superiority anyway? When I transferred from UP to PCU, I had so much difficulty having my subjects credited. They kept on telling me that the subjects from "there" are different from those over "here." Some of my friends who had made the same kind of transfer to PCU and were proud of the grades they got in UP were shocked that the "advanced" subjects they took back there is not considered valid. When for a while I tried to take my M.A. back in UP (more out of a desire to validate whatever academic achievement I had than anything else), I had difficulty convincing them that the subjects I took in PCU were good enough and advanced enough to allow me to even apply.

In the end, all this is bullshit. All colleges and universities, in order to be recognized as a college or university and allowed to operate at all, go through the same process of accreditation. Simply stated, they must be teaching the same thing with the same standards. That is, an English major who graduates from UP should be as good as an English major who graduates from Corregidor College. Yet, inspite of all the "accreditation" there is this view that somehow the "ivy league" schools are not only necessarily better, but also rather the only choice for smart students. If you are just too dumb to go into UP or Ateneo, there are still the others.

So, DLSU is trying to pride itself on being really good athletically over such clumsy morons like those in UP, while UP prides itself on their brains... Ateneo has the best of both worlds, it seems. Back in high school, our Salutatorian chose to go to Ateneo even though he passed the UPCAT and had a scholarship in UP; he was trying to prove a point.

The darndest thing about it is that my Dad's generation felt it first. Right now, where my Dad is assigned as a pastor is a RTC judge amongst the congregation. Dad, ever the nice, doormat man that he sometimes is when meeting old "friends" remembers that both he and that present judge both took the entrance exam for Law so many years back. He wouldn't tell me what that guy's scores were, but I suspect that Dad got higher marks. Yet, he couldn't afford it so he didn't take Law and became a pastor.

Fast forward to the present, and here is that same judge arguing before the Church Council exactly why Dad doesn't deserve more than P13k a month: he's just a pastor. The second darndest thing is that the Church Council agrees with him, inspite of the fact that they hear Dad every Sunday and they heard this judge last month give a sermon and... well, there just isn't any comparison. That judge seemed like he was half dead. I wonder how he holds his court...

The funny thing is, this isn't the first time. He has an IQ of 152, right? Yet he never became Valedictorian of his graduating Elementary class. Why? He's from another barrio. Same thing with high school. Same thing with College. Same thing in the seminary. Should he have graduated at the top of his class in Yale then (where he finished 2nd, that is, secundi honoris)? After experiencing all of this prejudice and deliberate stops to his career everywhere, he thinks that it is fiction when I tell him of instances when there is prejudice based solely and merely on where you graduated. Or maybe, he just doesn't want to accept the fact that this is true. He has been held back so long, he needs to know that where he is right now is his best possible destiny. Will I ever become like Dad, or those La Sallites, always giving alibis on why they are perceived as second- or third-rate?

Another group of people who would not believe or acknowledge the unfair bias shown to UP/Ateneo, heck! even La Salle are those people from these very institutions. They just have to know that they are really good, not merely considered good. We got those jobs because UPeans really are good naman. We rule, we rock precisely because we rule and we rock. My wife, who began and ended in UP, finds it offensive whenever I talk about those of us who have been overlooked and shunted aside not because of our lack of skill or talent but because of our Alma Mater. Which is wierd, since I had thought that, after experiencing a version of that particular bias in Oz she would see that there was some validity in our gripes and our groans. But, no go... she should be accepted precisely because she is from UP and they are being unfair. The aussies don't know what UP is, and they will only, only value people who graduated from their local universities, or at least have plenty of local experience, and bugger all other qualifications.

Yet, Ærynn still would not believe me when I say that thing about jobs. The only jobs available to us are the lowly, utusan jobs—being under those who finished in an "ivy league." She, like my Dad before her, would cite all those people who had gotten jobs who were not from UP, silently and deliberately ignoring the fact that most of them only got their jobs not on the strength of their resumes but rather the network of people that they know. The only way a walk-in applicant gets hired is if that person has a UP or Ateneo (and, yes, dear friends, sometimes a DLSU) diploma and TOR; and the cycle continues.

Well, PCU has the basketball championship. Looks like PCU, like DLSU before them, will now have to bask in their athletic rather than academic prowess, making alumni like me even more useless in the job market.

And so, even when this job that I have now is the sort of job I particularly dislike I am staying in it (if it kills me), since it is the first job that has offered me pay higher than P10k a month. In fact, my salary is, in fact, higher than my Dad's right now. I am a prostitute, prostituting my skills and talents in what is technically organized slavery to money just so I can meet some of my friends, and not be ashamed of telling them what my salary is (among other, more needful things, of course).

Oh, don't worry... this won't get published. Nobody will read and be offended by it... I'm hiding it right in here where no one can see... Let the delusions continue... UP... Ateneo... what was it that Mercutio said?