Thursday, April 14, 2016

Where Do I Begin?

Can you believe its been 6 years since I left this blog and focused on college? Its funny, if you scroll a few pages back, you can find my post about “my college experience so far.” I really did try to maintain this blog through college. As a freshman I thought I could (hence the “college experience so far” post). Unfortunately after that first year, things didn’t get any easier. I struggled – crawled through countless Calculus and Physics classes. It was only last year when I finished the last 5 units of Calculus in our curriculum. I thought after that year, it was the end. No more stress. Goodbye sleepless nights. I only had 12 units (which meant 3 classes) to take on my final year, so I was expecting to breeze through it.

I was wrong. Thesis was probably the most challenging year for me.  I entered thesis year with the mindset that I wasn’t going to make thesis my whole life –unlike how most people get during this time. I thought “Well. I’m not running for best thesis or anything special like that anyway. All I want to do is graduate. I’m just going to wing this.

Well that plan backfired. I entered thesis year and everyone was extremely competitive.  How could I maintain my “I don’t care” attitude when the pressure was so strong? I began to care. I became competitive because everyone else was so competitive! It would have been fine if there were others who didn’t care like me. But since everyone was competitive, I had to step my game up and also be competitive. I sure as hell didn’t want to present mediocre work compared to my peers.

And so, the road to thesis ensued. For two semesters, we worked intently on developing our individual projects. The sleepless nights I thought were gone forever, returned –times two.  In my 6 years of Architecture, this year was the first time I was awake for 48 hours straight. I didn’t even have time to eat. It was the kind of hustle where you know you cant eat because eating takes time and if you ate you wouldn’t be able to make it on the deadline. I told myself thesis wouldn’t become my entire world, but it did.

Fast forward to the last few weeks before deliberations which were the toughest for me, emotionally.  This was during final submissions of our architectural sheets, then the MEPS  sheets (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Structurals). I was seeing everyones final works and I couldn’t help but compare myself. I was never a designer. As an architecture student, I was more interested in construction rather than design. So of course I couldn’t help but compare myself to the rest of my batchmates when I saw their designs and how detailed and beautiful they were compared to mine. My drafting was bad too. Basically, everyone was so much more advanced than me, and I couldn’t help from feeling bad about myself. Thoughts like “You studied Architecture for 6 years and this is all the kind of work you can produce?” entered my mind. There were many things I didn’t know how to execute through computer programs, but it was too late to learn everything since I was simultaneously working on my design. I did what I could with my measly computer skills. Submitted all my sheets. Did my model. Now all that’s left were deliberations.

I was scheduled on the last day of deliberations, so pressure was on me since almost everyone already passed by the time that it was my turn. Initially, and I even remember tweeting this, I said that it would be OK for me to do re-deliberations since for sure we’ll all pass as long as we submitted all the requirements. It was not until our faculty, Sir Chua, posted in our Facebook group of how proud he was of us because those who had their delibs all passed so far. I was pressured by this post. I was ready to accept defeat if it was meant to be, but when he posted this and I saw how happy he was that all his “children” passed so far, I didn’t want to be that one and only child who would disappoint him.

I now wanted to pass and not do redelibs. Not for me, but for my faculty. I wanted to make Sir Chua proud that all his students passed in one go. I saw the happiness it brought him, and I didn’t want to be that student who took that happiness away. And so, I worked harder to make sure I pass. I couldn’t change anything in my sheets anymore, so instead I just prepared extra hard for my presentation. I had a 6 page script, 4 page kodigo, and I printed extra CAD working drawings just in case my panel asked for anything that I wasn’t able to provide in my sheets. I was prepared. More than prepared. I did everything to salvage my thesis. If I had to do redeliberations, I wouldnt feel bad because I knew in my heart that I did my best and exerted maximum effort. I was content knowing that I genuinely put effort into my presentation, and in the scenario that I would have to do redelibs, I would never have regrets thinking “I should have done this, I should have done that, I should have prepared this”, etc.

And so, the day came and with God's grace and the kindest panel, I passed! I finally passed my undergraduate thesis and I am officially one last step towards graduation. It was a long hard journey, but hey, I made it! We all made it. 

please see my next post for my Acknowledgments to the people who made this all possible. I am nothing without them. My presentation board is also posted at the end of my Acknowledgments post so please read until the end if you would like to see it.

Thesis Acknowledgments

There are too many people to thank, too many I owe this thesis to.

To Sir Chua, my thesis faculty. For his undying effort in looking after us. Generally, thesis faculty don’t conduct individual thesis consultations anymore during the design stage – that’s what the thesis adviser is for, but Sir Chua was really hands on with us that we had required consultations until the very end of the thesis proper. He always made himself available to us, and he would always reply so quick whenever we consulted with him online through Facebook. Sometimes I’d send him paragraphs of questions on FB but he would still be so quick to reply. He was genuinely concerned for us which I really appreciated. If not for him, I dont think I would have pushed myself as much as I did.

To Ma’am Araneta, my thesis adviser. For being so supportive and giving the best advice, design wise. Like I mentioned during my delibs “If only you saw my initial design.. it has indeed gone a long way and definitely improved because my faculty and adviser who gave the best advice.” I will always remember what Ma’am Araneta told me. She said I was trying too hard to impress her and my faculty --that I was always following whatever she and Sir Chua said just to make them happy. “I feel like you’re trying so hard to impress us. Don’t design what you think Sir Chua and I will like. Base it on your style aesthetic. Don’t think about what we’ll think. Just do you.” From these words I reconstructed my design, and eventually came up with the final form for my presentation.

To my panel, Dean Espina, Sir Meonada, Sir Yazon, and Sir Sarthou for being so kind. I guess it was also because I did my part such that I really prepared for their questions, but it was still very refreshing that it didn’t feel as if I was being grilled which happens often during deliberations. Again, I have my adviser Ma’am Araneta to thank for this, “Don’t treat it as a question and answer portion, treat it like a conversation. Communicate with your panel.”

To Sir Manaloto, for helping us out with our structural concerns with thesis. He was a big help with the technical aspects of our designs, and I was surprised by how accommodating he was. Kami na nga yung nagpaconsult, kami pa yung nilibre niya ng food! Thank you Sir, I will miss structurals class with you!

To Don and Mikee.. you guys know this already because I cried during deliberations acknowledgments because of you two. But seriously from the bottom of my heart, I will never forget the help and support you two have given me. Mikee, honestly sayo ko lang talaga nakuha yung support na binigay mo. Yung mga “Hindi ka nga magreredelibs! Wag mo isipin na magreredelibs ka!” Kahit sa pamilya ko, wala akong nakuhang support na ganun. Kaya nga sabi ko, sa inyo ko lang talaga nakuha yung confidence to push through. The support was only from one person, but it was enough to keep me going. Even if I had mediocre designs, you still believed I could do it, and that’s what made me push myself more. To Don, for always being there to suffer with me, and also being my support system. You were there at my lowest and highest, so thank you for that. You were there during my panic moments, and ~almost-breakdown~ moments. Thank you for all the advice and tips you gave about thesis and always being there to answer my queries to anything thesis related.

To AF Sepanx, this is one of the moments when I realized how friendship can surpass just mere friendship. Never in my life did I think I would ask for anything from you guys other than friendship. I really didn’t think that a friendship I made in an org would actually help me finish thesis. Like Don, I don’t like asking help from people because I didn’t like the feeling of bothering others. I was surprised that sometimes I didn’t even have to ask, but you guys were the ones who actually offered to help. The amount of help you guys offered and gave was overwhelming. This thesis became presentable because of you guys. Thank you to Nina, Berns, and Mikee for helping out with perspectives, Kor and Mikee (again) for sending their sample thesis files from last year for us to base ours on, Drew for helping with my SDP, and Sophie who offered her house as a semi-thesis house. Also shoutout to Tin, who is not AF but practically fits in this category of friends. You were one of the friends who offered to help and I really appreciate that (also my favorite perspective was yours! Hehe kilig ka ba. Ang ganda talaga!). The perspectives you guys helped with really brought my design to life so thank you for that.

To AF Undergrad, again, I never knew how an org could help me so much.  I did not expect the help I received from AF Undergrad at all. You guys are younger and since I haven’t been active in AF and not so close with a lot of you, I didn’t think anyone would actually help me out. I was surprised by how so many of you were so willing to help and really went out of your way to help us. For those who stayed overnight in Arki to help with our models, for those who helped with my perspectives: Japhet and Juami,  and a few other honorable mentions: Joanna, Maidy, Anna, Lance, Ronn, and Domeng.  The help was heartwarming coming from the younger batches. When its your time to do thesis, I’m sure the favor will be returned.

To Gerard and Poncho, mga besh tapos na tayo. Can you believe it???? Thank you for being a huge support system and panicking with me, sharing all the information you know about thesis, and just simply being there to calm me down when I’m on the verge. Although we never actually worked together, it felt as if sabay pa rin tayo gumagawa from the constant updates we have with each other. It feels so good to be able to celebrate this victory with you guys because we went through the experience together. Thank you!

To Kevin, Gab, Robbie, Kiel, and Christa, for allowing me to present to you my initial thesis in its early stages. I presented to you guys at different times in Starbucks, Kev and Gab on one time, then Robbie, Kiel, and Christa on another. Napagkamalan pa nga na nag-nnetworking tayo =))) Thank you for the support and analyzing my design even if you guys arent Architecture students. You guys being there to listen was enough.

To my highschool  barkada, for letting me present my thesis to you guys multiple times. I still remember the first day I ever presented my initial design and I was grilled by Karl and Ricky. To be fair, that session improved my thesis a lot more. Despite Karl being the only Architecture graduate in the barkada, all of you still listened to my presentation and gave all the possible feedback and advice you could give. Practicing even my final presentation with you guys calmed down all my nerves and made me more confident. Thank you guys for believing in me.

To STARBUCKS, for being my number one and only sponsor in this thesis. Every single thesis all nighter was spent with Starbucks. I could say I spent ATLEAST 70% of my thesis year in Starbucks. Sometimes I would have breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the joint. I would be at there almost everyday with a schedule of 3pm-12mn just doing thesis, sometimes even earlier than 3pm. This thesis was sponsored by Starbucks to the point that even the coffee and food I served for my 9am deliberations was from Starbucks. (Thanks to Ronn and Don for helping me carry 8 cups of coffee and 8 sandwiches to my delibs that day!) Shout out to Starbucks, Katipunan branch because that was my homebase, with the best baristas, and friendliest security guards!

And last but not least, to my family, who I would not be here without. To my dad for being so understanding of my thesis schedule, and allowing me to go home late from Starbucks even on weekdays, and mostly for just knowing when to leave me alone when I’m stressed, to my mom for being supportive, more about my lovelife than thesis lol but she’s always been supportive anyway and I will always appreciate her for that, and to my sister who never fails to praise my work which always encourages me to work harder every time.

Before I go, may I present my undergraduate thesis which I presented on the 13th of April 2016, the Center for Fashion Technology, Merchandising, and Research. I will always remember this day as the mark of the culmination of everything I ever learned in UP Architecture. The end of another chapter in my life.

Thank you everyone for the support and believing in me. This thesis would be nothing without all of you. I hope in some way, I made a few of you proud.