By Jihannah Genova
Originally scheduled to take place last August 9, Neofight finally happened last September 7, 2019 at the Escaler Hall. As early as 8:30 in the morning, both the Neofight core team and Scholars Support Group (SSG) Facilitators welcomed the new batch of freshmen scholars with dance routines and creative sign boards.
To formally open the program, Chrisjomar Sta. Maria and Jonalyn Chan greeted the audience and introduced Academics Committee Head Igor Garcia for his opening remarks. Garcia also shared to the freshman scholars the relevant announcements regarding his committees’ services and other relevant projects as well.
Afterwards, the guest speakers were invited onstage for their respective talks. First was Physics professor, Johanna Indias, who discussed about pursuing a science course. She shared her college experiences and gave tips on how to properly traverse the science path.
After Ms. Indias, Dr. Corazon Santos of the Filipino Department shared to the students what pursuing courses under the humanities is about. She talked about how important interpretation is in humanities and creatively showed this importance through Lay’s music video “Honey”.
From the humanities, Mr. Miko Galvez turned the spotlight towards the field of theology. He specifically focused on how the freshmen can survive Atenean Theology, breaking the notion of the subject being too daunting for freshmen.
Lastly, Admissions Officer Ms. Kamille Tabalan ended the series of talks by sharing her own experiences as a scholar in the Ateneo in her undergraduate years. In addition, she reminded the freshmen scholars that the Office of Admission and Aid is always available to help them with any of their problems.
Once the plenary talks were done, Kailo Bigcas and Mika Tuason, Scholars Adjustment Committee Head and SSG Deputy respectively, started the launch of SSG with the game, “Who Knows Ateneo Best?”
Each SSG actively participated by forming the letters of their answer, while some made sure to shout their answers as well.
The SSG launch was the start of a ‘life-long relationship’, as SSG deputies had put it. Hence, the Neofight core team put great emphasis on starting the SSG bonding by bringing together the SSG batches during lunch time with food prepared by the AMPC.
Rizzie Rapada, one of the two Neofight project heads, explained how the SSG launching tied up with the overall theme of the event. “Our theme, Tetris, is based off of [the SSG] initiative: community building and forming bonds with your fellow scholars despite your differences,” she said.
By afternoon, all the groups went to their assigned breakout rooms where they played ‘group dynamic’ (GD) games. Following the group dynamics, the groups also listened to three upperclassmen scholars talk about their lives as an Atenean student.
Elise Ofilada, a Creative Writing sophomore, talked about her significant learning as a member of Panday Sining Katipunan, and she imparted what it is like to be a scholar who serves the people through art. BS Psychology sophomore Jihannah Genova, on the other hand, shared h how she manages to balance organization life with academic responsibilities. Lastly, Igor Garcia, a Management senior, told the freshmen how one can bounce back after the failures they may in the forthcoming college years.
As conclusion, the groups hailed back to Escaler Hall. Project heads Jonalyn Chan and Rizzie Rapada delivered their closing remarks.
Afterwards, each Scholar Support Group took turns in having their photos taken. Eventually, the four-month preparation of the Neofight core team came to an end. “I was really nervous about how things would turn out the whole time. But, after the event, I felt a deep sense of fulfillment,” Chan shared.
This year’s Neofight, according to Noelle Cubacub, one of the SSG Facilitators, “gave a glimpse on the academic life to the freshie scholars here in the Ateneo as well as the opportunity to introduce the people that they can depend on, their scholar support groups”.
On the side of the freshmen, Neofight effectively oriented them in their first few months in the university. “Neofight not only allowed me to socialize with fellow freshmen, but it also helped me realize the ways on how I can make the most out of my scholarship for the greater good of society,” said Pamela Anne Serrano, a freshman scholar.
All in all, the event was a success, and it lived up to the expectation of its legacy: to bring together freshman scholars as they find their new home in the Ateneo.