Kalayaan College was my do-over by Charisse Priscilla M. Doble


US President Frank Underwood once said: “There are two kinds of pain. Good pain – the sort of pain that motivates, that makes you strong. Then there’s bad pain – useless pain, the sort of pain that’s only suffering. I welcome the former. I have no patience for the latter.”

Many of us are here, at Kalayaan College, on the pretext of pain. We failed the UPCAT or the ACET. We got a 5.0, or 5.0s rather. We failed to reach the maintaining grade, so we were kicked out of whatever school we came from. It’s pain that led us here, and that same pain is so overwhelming you just want the world to stop spinning so you can take a breath and catch up to it.

Because of it, admittedly, I had become jaded and so bitter that it felt as if the planets were never ever going to align for me, figuratively speaking. Life was Unfair (yes, with a capital U), and whatever pain I carried then was just that—useless suffering.

Kalayaan College was my do-over. At first, I just wanted to leave the past behind. I said to myself, “Graduate in n years, deal with it after.” Escapism at its finest. What I didn’t predict, however, is that by being here, I would turn all the bad pain into good pain.

I’ve never studied this hard in all my years in school. I’ve worked on and around both my depression and anxiety. I’ve never put this much effort into anything, to be honest. I now know what I want to do post-graduation and how I’m going to get there, and I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything with this much intensity as I do now. I’m more motivated and ambitious, having experienced and channeled the hurt from n years ago.

We’re only as strong as our weaknesses, and rarely are we given opportunities to better ourselves. That was Kalayaan College for me two years ago. A clean, blank slate I could start all over again with. A second chance. An opportunity. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s not the fall that matters, but how we can rise above it—if, and only if, we choose to do so. No matter what we’ve been through or what we’re going through, and no matter how much we want all it to just go away, it won’t.

The world doesn’t stop turning for you, or for anyone, really, but it’s up to you to make a conscious effort: Would you let your pain drive you to become an improved version of yourself? Or would you continue indulging your self-pity and letting your pain be just useless suffering? I welcome the former, I have no patience for the latter. And if you choose to welcome it as well, you can never be more ready than you are right now.

by Charisse Priscilla Doble, BA Psychology student