My reformation as a student

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By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas

“ All I had to do was to do was defend it in class. With a modicum of lawyerly genes in me (read, “Being a able to lie with a straight face”), I was able to make it.“

It was in 1975, after being a bum in college for almost four years,  I started thinking of change. First order of business was to stop drinking. 

To aid me in that effort, as I related earlier, I started learning yoga. Now, when people hear that word, they think about twisting, contorting one’s body in strange ways, standing on one’s head, etc. Along with all that is of course meditation.

There is really no big deal about doing yoga. It is just like waking up one morning and finding out your roommate woke up earlier to do his meditation which is not so different from a devout Christian having to do his morning prayer, or evening prayer for that matter. 

Then I would do my yoga exercises. It was not so different from having to go jogging or walking.

The result was immediate. I felt better with better concentration to take care of studying requirements.

I did well in all the courses I enrolled that semester. In some, even quite well.

One course was very vivid in me on how things played out. It was English 10 (Technical Writing) where students had to conduct an actual scientific experiment and submit a “baby thesis” regarding that. And it had to be defended in class, the teacher acting as the only interrogator. So many students failed that course as the teacher had the word “cinco” attached to her name. That would be after all the trouble of conducting a scientific experiment.

Thinking about it, it took me down memory lane. Then a fairly recent article in the internet flashed in my mind. A graduating high school kid in the US was made to speak during their commencement exercises. He said, “Thank you very much to the inventors of computer programs with copy and paste features. Without those, I would not be here standing before you.”

Same thing with my English 10. I have to thank the inventor of the word “copy” (the verb). I did not have to conduct a scientific experiment as my roommate (a fellow Cordilleran) did a very good one the year before.

All I had to do was reinterpret the data in my own words and  defend it in class. With a modicum of lawyerly genes in me (Read, “being a able to lie with a straight face”), I was able to make it.

Since, I had a good “puhunan” in my first exam, my class attendance became less than sterling. Then one time I was feeling the next exam was just around the corner. So I went to see the teacher with the word “cinco” attached to her name, to ask when the next exam would be. She stared at me with her big eyes and said in her beautiful voice and diction, “Mamayang 6:00 p.m. Ang hirap sa yo hindi mo sineseryoso ang pag-aaral.” That was a refrain I heard so many times before in various forms from the elementary grades up until I finished in the college of law.

That was 10:00 a.m. so I sheepishly went out the room then rushed to the library to bone up on what would probably come out in the exam about seven hours after.

Anyway, all is well that ends well. For me. the semester ended with relatively good grades by my screwed-up standards.

A major reason was my having stopped drinking. If you did not get kicked out from the university or were OK even while drinking, stopping it meant you could do a lot better. And so I did.

Also, I was already meditating or doing yoga regularly. It gave me the equanimity to concentrate well when studying, and the stamina to sit for longer hours until I had academic lessons down pat.  

And there was the element of luck. Perhaps the planets aligned well that time, or Jupiter, the planet of good luck, was transiting the ninth house of my astrological chart which is the area of higher learning.

Form then on, I never looked back. I never got back to drinking and am still regularly doing my yoga practices.**  


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