Photo taken by Natalie Sehn Weber

yes, yes, ya’ll.

i finally graduated from pasadena city college and am hoisting my ass out into the real world because i can’t stand being a student.

this journey – this fucked up 5-year journey marred with up and down emotional battles that made me question myself and my work ethic – has finally come to an end. i look back and i remember the struggles, the confusion, the fights, everything.

i remember laying on my bed, staring straight up at the ceiling and thinking to myself, “god, you’re a fucking piece of shit, you know that?” i remember thinking to myself about how much of a disappointment i am to my parents, how much money i’ve drained from their accounts, how much of a bad influence i’ve been to my little brother who never saw me study or open to a page of any of my textbooks. i remember pounding my hands on my desk and going on nine cigarette breaks, studying for a fucking math final that i had to take at another college because pcc wouldn’t let me take it there. i remember the light bulb going off in my head when i, for some odd ball reason, just decided that i was just going to grab a career certificate and stop.

but it’s within the madness that we grasp onto the bright moments that shine forever. had it not been for pasadena city college – the fucking bunghole of california that drained my 20’s – i wouldn’t have met the most amazing, most talented, most happening in a far out kind of way friends. i wouldn’t have experienced winning all sorts of scholarships and statewide competitions for my journalism work. i wouldn’t have had all these memorable adventures and learn about pasadena, a city i consider my second home. had it not been for me hanging onto the dream that i, yes i, neil protacio, can grab a fucking degree, i wouldn’t have experienced one of the happiest moments of my life: walking down robinson stadium, snatching that fake-ass degree, and lifting it up for pictures as a big symbolic “FUCK YOU” to the educational system. like really? ya’ll gon’ give me two degrees like that? okay girl. you’re marketing me doe.

me graduating – despite being blissfully mediocre and a terrible model for the traditional asian – is testimony to the idea that anybody can do it. if you’ve been working your ass off ever since the day you left high school, you can come back to college and you can do it. if you’ve been slacking off in life and dug yourself into a major ketamine induced psycho-hole, you can come back to college and you can succeed. if for whatever reason you’re just like me, and you hate math and anything that has anything to do with sitting back and dare i say, learning, you can grit your teeth, go to college, and just do the damn thing.

take it from me: motivate yourself. elevate your mind, craig. strive. look the brighter side. get involved. make college work for you. that’s the whole point, right? if you keep thinking about how bad your situation is, you’ll never make progress. i learned that later on in my tenure (ha!) at pcc.

you will get out… eventually! and when you do – even if it IS with just an associates degree – you can do what i did: walk the ceremony, grab your degree, and whisper something scandalous to the college president. i told him that his time here was almost done.

i was, of course, referring to the fact that he was almost done passing out the degrees and he could stop smiling after the next row of students came up. my friends think he may have taken that the wrong way. in my defense, oh well.

i’m just saying. make what you can of college! don’t dig yourself in a hole of self-pity and negativity. higher education shouldn’t be a hurdle. it’s an opportunity. so take it, damn it!

About neilprotacio

Freelance journalist who just so happens to know what goes well with certain breads.
This entry was posted in Blog, Education, My Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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