I just finished visiting/disturbing the ol’ high school alma mater, University of Nueva Caceres. Though I still feel some resentment towards the administration/school system, there are two things about the institutions that warms up fond memories towards it.
Yes, memories of friendships – both among my peers and teachers.
But I’ll save that for some other time. Along with reawakened flashbacks of various antics, escapades, and teenage bravado/passion/freakishness. Hopefully I’ll have a camera on my next visit…
So anyway, where was I?
I woke up late today – way later than what I intended. I was planning to visit UNC at 9:00AM; however, I got up at 10:30AM. But since it was a mere 5-minute walk from the hotel, it wasn’t much of a problem. Arriving at the campus gates, I still couldn’t get used to the cordiality of the guards – maybe because I got traumatized by the school security during our time. Or maybe they just treated “guests” differently from students? Hmm.
What struck me first was an old monolithic light grey structure near the campus entrance. The almost 13-year old edifice still proudly bore its time-aged message of “Non scholae sed vitae”, and for a moment, I felt a pride that I had long forgotten – the pride of being a UNCean.
Yes, being a UNCean meant a lot to me. I started my schooling at the Saint Joseph School in Naga City, but though I have nothing against SJS, being a student of UNC was my first attempt to aspire. It was my first step into being a radical… but how did I start with that pseudonym?
Flashback to school year 1995-1996. Yup, my high school sophomore year. In many ways, it was among the most interesting years I ever had. But there’s too many stories about it, so I’ll focus on what’s important now.
Like, where did ‘the radical’ came from?
Simple. Algebra class. Thanks, Ma’am Niebres!
Amusingly, during that time, I was enamored with our 4-inch thick Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. So every time I encountered a curious term, I looked it up. And so I stumbled across an alternate definition to the mathematical radical. Note that in the 1990’s, radical wasn’t exactly positive. But nonetheless, I made it my own – vowing to change the way the world thinks of radicals.
But why did I bother thinking up of such a kookie pseudonym. Well, a backtracking the timeline a little bit, during our sophomore year – we had this rave about riddles, code names and coded alphabets. I used a lot of monickers then – from the classic, and the downright embarrassing. Two of my favorites then were ‘Phantom’ and ‘Spectre’. I’ll explain that more on another blog – as these can be best explained in the context of ‘Casper’ – another loooooong story. (And to my old high school classmates – don’t react immediately. Save it when I do write the blog about it.)
So what’s in a name? I sometimes wonder why I hold on to something I thought up years ago, but now I realize that it is an essential part of who I am today – connecting that idealistic child in me when I was young, to the stargazing/star-chasing man I am today. It’s a name that bridges my forgotten dreams to my life-long goals. And as a writer, it was the genesis of my written expressions.