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The Semestral Refill

by Max Ong

Maybe it isn’t so. Maybe it’s just my sentimental self who can’t help but concoct certain parallelisms between the past and the present. Maybe things are indeed different now. Maybe I’m just confabulating. Hey you! Stop daydreaming again!

As I walked into that white-walled, half-lit room, I couldn’t help but feel awestruck at the sight of all the seated aspiring members. There I was — or rather — there they were, eagerly waiting for the program to start, while perhaps also anxiously anticipating what would be the beginning of a three-month-long journey with each other. I stood still as our Society’s President, Nic Garcia, gave her opening remarks and introduced the rest of the Executive Council for this brand new academic year. I thought to myself, “Is this really happening? Am I — I who was also seated, albeit in front of my computer screen a bit over a year ago, while I listened to the members of the Council speak — now on the other side of the fence?”

As my turn to speak approached, I sat still in one corner and closed my eyes. Slowly, I began to turn deaf to my surroundings, until the only sound I could hear was the one which came from deep behind my sternum. More rapidly each throb came, as if I was running around the school’s infamous asphalt oval, except this time I was sweating cold. Before I knew it, I was up. As I grabbed the mic and delivered my spiel, I couldn’t help but feel like I was starring in a fictional movie. Perhaps this semester’s Alice in Wonderland theme was a fitting pick, after all. Every time my eyes met with a prospective applicant, it was as if I was being transported into a different world; a world so foreign from the one I currently reign over, but so eerily similar to the one I was thrown into a little over a year ago. After I had delivered my piece stutter-free (thank goodness), I retreated to my corner and basked in relief. I watched as the remaining committees delivered their presentations, and as two PMS alumni, Albert Obis and Matt Escueta, both from Batch 20A, gave their messages of inspiration. It was during this moment that a thought dawned on me; a thought that oddly enough, was both unsettling and reassuring: These seated individuals would soon be our replacements. In front of me sat both my past and the organization’s future.

It’s been said that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s a line which, to be perfectly honest, I had never really bothered to understand up until the tail end of that day. But perhaps the events of that day were significant enough to make me contemplate my place in this organization, and to make me realize that despite all the changes that are set to take place, certain things are etched to remain. In three months’ time, a fresh set of members will be welcomed. In less than a year, the position I currently hold will be sought after by a couple of daring individuals. In a little over a year, I’ll be bidding farewell to this organization and university which I’ve called home for most of my young adulthood. While the thought is indeed harsh, and in effect prompts me to view myself as a mere statistic — a row in a spreadsheet file labeled by an integer — such is reality. Like a bottomless drink that can’t wait to be guzzled in anticipation of the next refill, perhaps the only consolation I can hope to offer myself when I look back at this period nine months from now, is that when people chose to take a sip from my glass, it was the sweetest drink they had ever chanced upon.


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