By: Samantha Justine Q. Domingo
With the upcoming Recruitment Week (RecWeek 2017) of the Council of Organizations of the Ateneo (COA) in which the different organizations in campus vie for new members, a lot of Ateneans are probably creating a list of organizations they want to join into right now. And to help them choose, some Gabayanos share their reasons why they chose to join and commit to Ateneo Gabay.
For some current members like Julia Agida, a 4th year BS Psychology major, people join Gabay because of the most obvious reason, for being a scholar. But most chose to stay because of the diverse people they met along the way, according to Agida.
“’Yung mga tao na higit pa sa tawa at saya ang nabigay sa ’kin every time na kasama ko sila. Tinuruan nila akong magmahal nang higit pa sa sarili ko, na lumabas sa comfort zone ko, na magtaya lang nang magtaya,” she explains.
(“These people have given me more than happiness and laughter. They taught me how to love beyond myself, to go out of my comfort zone, and to serve selflessly.”)
Furthermore, Emmelle Petalver of AB DipIR happily shares that she joined Gabay because she thought it was required as a scholar but, more than that, she also felt that she needed a support system that would help her adjust in the Ateneo. In the end, she did not regret it. “Sa loob ng halos dalawang taon bilang Gabayano, talagang napamahal na ako sa organisasyon at sa mga taong bumubuo nito,” she adds.
(“In the two years that I’ve been a Gabayano, I have learned to love this organization and the people in it.”)
Julius Guillermo of BS APS-MSE, on the other hand, found Gabay as the safest choice among all the organizations that he wanted to join into. He says that since he did not know a thing or two about the organizations in the Ateneo and what they do, he joined Gabay because he’s a scholar and it’s already a given for him to join there. Also, he had a number of blockmates who also signed up for Gabay which just made him affirm his choice.
On the other hand, some people like Lance Ting and Clowee Anne Licsi of AB MEC, joined Gabay because of its advocacy: empowering education. “Then, when RecWeek came, I joined Gabay without hesitation. Aligning with what I loved doing during my last year in high school, which was teaching, I was excited to learn that Gabay had Erya,” he recalls.
Erya engagements are amain effort of Gabay which gives its members the means to tutor kids Mathematics from public elementary schools every Saturday. Because of this project, Gabayanos get an image of the reality of our education in the Philippines.
“Sa mga sasali, gusto kong matutunan nila ang realidad ng edukasyon – na kahit maraming problema sa sistema (makikita nila ito sa pagpunta sa Erya), marami pa ring magagandang loob na nagtitiwala sa kabataan (sa pamamagitan ng scholarships at iba pang serbisyo) at maraming mag-aaral ang patuloy na nagsisikap para mapabuti ang kanilang buhay at ang komunidad na kanilang kinabibilangan,” Licsi shares.
(“To the people who want to sign-up, I want them to know the reality of education – that even though there are a lot of problems in the system (they will see this when they go to Erya), there are still more people with kind hearts who believe in the youth (by giving scholarships and other services that they can offer) and that many students still continue to strive to make their lives and their communities better.”)
Certainly, Erya engagements are some of the most memorable experiences that an Atenean can get from being a Gabayano.
Another experience is the love that the organization has for its members. This is what the members like Beloved Abigail Madlangbayan of AB DipIR stresses in her sharing her experience of pagtataya in Gabay.
“Siguro more than the fun of having new friends in Ateneo and widening their social circles, I want these people to feel how tiring, how painful, yet how beautiful the value of pagtataya is. Pagtataya para sa org, para sa mga sektor, para sa adbokasiya, [na] kahit gaano kahirap, gaano kasakit, na kahit walang kasiguraduhan, patuloy silang magtataya dahil nagbubunga ito,” she expounds.
(“I guess more than the fun of having new friends in Ateneo and widening their social circles, I want these people to feel how tiring, how painful, yet how beautiful the value of service is. Service for the org, for the sector, for our advocacy, that no matter how difficult, how painful, how uncertain, we continue our service because we know that it delivers.”)
From their stories, Ateneo Gabay is not just an organization, but a family that wishes to welcome people from different walks of life this to make them stay.
As Petalver hopes, “Sana maramdaman din ng mga sasali sa Gabay ‘yung init ng pagmamahal na nararamdaman ko tuwing pumapasok ako ng GR, tuwing sumasali ako sa events, tuwing [kasama] ko lang ‘yung mga Gabayano. Sana, kagaya ko, matuto rin silang magtaya para sa iba. Sana maranasan nila ‘yung halo-halong emosyon na magkukumbinsi sa kanila para manatiling Gabayano.”
(“I hope the people that will join Gabay also feel the intensity of love that I would feel every time I enter Gabay Room, every time I join events, every time I am with my fellow Gabayanos. I hope that, like me, they will learn how to serve other people. I hope they will feel all the emotions that will convince them to stay as a Gabayano.”)