By: Beloved Abigail Madlangbayan
Rizal Mini Theater was jam-packed last September 1, 2018, as 190 freshman scholars gathered for Neofight 2018. Neofight is an annual event to welcome the new scholars of Ateneo and empower them by giving college survival tips. This year’s festive theme, with party masks as the main element, conveyed how adjusting to college is like putting up a new mask and that Neofight aims to help and empower freshies in facing this challenge.
The first part of the program included talks from three Loyola Schools professors: Ms. Missy Maramara from the Fine Arts department, Mr. Arvin Boller from the Psychology department, and Dr. Christian Chan Shio from the Mathematics Department. Ms. Maramara set the mood amongst freshies and allowed them to interact with each other as she reminded them to take care of themselves, take risks and meet new people. Mr. Boller built on Ms. Maramara’s talk and provided tips for freshies on finding their own identity in college and taking a leap of faith in taking opportunities for themselves in and out the university. “Suntok sa buwan,” as he said. In his short but encouraging speech, Dr. Chan Shio presented statistics of math students and their average grades for the past few years to remind the freshies to excel in their academics.
After tips from the professors, a talk from David Ang, a sophomore scholar and one of the Neofight project heads, followed up to provide more meaningful and relatable experiences for scholars. David shared his own experiences in dealing with his failures and successes as he adjusted to college life. One of his most memorable experiences as a freshman was how he learned to love math. As a Management Engineering student, he had to work harder on his math subjects when he realized he was lagging behind compared to other students because he had not been able to learn much in high school. After a few weeks of all-nighters and a lot of scratch papers used, he was ecstatic and leaping for joy from his first A in a math long test. It was followed by a few more successes in other major subjects, and while he learned how to persevere, he also learned how to be content with how much he can achieve. As he said, “your best is enough so long as it is your best.”
The second part of the program introduced the Scholars’ Support Group program (also known as SSG). While Neofight is a one-time event for scholars, SSG is a year-long project that aims to encourage and guide freshmen scholars as they venture into their first year of college. Accompanied by two upperclassmen scholars serving as facilitators, support groups gather every month to bond together as a “barkada” and talk about their experiences inside and outside their classes.
To allow the freshmen scholars to get to know their groups and bond with each other, the SSG team prepared a category game as an activity to build up group dynamics. They concluded the game and the event afterward with a group picture and a light lunch at the Gonzaga Hall.
Neofight wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of its project heads David Ang and Marcel de Lima, as well as its Core Team members Igor Garcia, Lorenzo Lazaro, Luigi Reyes, and Manuelito Carbon.