Thursday, March 26, 2009

So What If I'm From UP?*

I have experienced being prejudiced as a result of being a UP graduate. Yes, prejudiced. Discrimination that is not corporate in nature, but personal. Something not harmful but irritating nonetheless. Discrimination coming from acquaintances, sometimes from friends.

The most common negative term I heard directed toward UP graduates was mayabang (boastful). Agreeably, some UP grads are mayabang, but that was a case of differences among people rather than differences among colleges. It is never right to generalize. However, all UP grads are proud to have graduated from UP, especially those whose parents worked doubly hard (or worked hard themselves) to get them through college or those who have spent so many hours just to pass that math subject. I myself am proud to be a UP graduate, perhaps the only accomplishment I can be proud of. And this was not so much of the education taught me, but the lessons in life learned and people from different cultures met. I thought of UP as a mini-Philippines, the people, the politics, with a slightly different social pyramid.

That we are proud to be Maroons should not be held against us. That we somehow have our own language should not be a bother to others not from UP. Be proud of the college you came from and the “language” you have learned. If you chose not to be proud, do not take it against us UP grads. It is your choice, it is not our fault.

Over a conversation at Sarah's (inside UP Diliman) with a group of people I've recently met (classmates for 6 sessions), my theory of discrimination against UP grads was validated. I started a discussion on which is the best TV network in the country, not for argument but as a joke to one of my classmate who's working with one of the two networks. Beer can really spice up things, and the joke became a “heated” argument, with the group divided into two networks and one neutral. And somehow, which in my opinion was beyond the discussion, someone exclaimed that UP grads are close-minded, and I surmise that this was because I did not fold to his side, in which case he would also be close minded. Another told a story of a cousin who was a UP grad and who was “ostracized” because most cannot stand him. “He always argues,” I think was my classmate's words. Instead of following up on this line of thinking, which seemed pointless to me, I asked why people tend to generalize UP grads and, of course, nobody knew why.

Most people think that UP is full of activists, militants, and rebels. I beg to differ. I say UP is full of people who are socially aware, and as far as I know, only a small percentage of the entire UP population go to Mendiola to rally. I am not saying that it is wrong, but that not everyone does it.

People believe that UP grads exude that air of confidence, so is this the reason I often get sarcastic comments whenever I do not know things? For example, when someone asks me what a certain difficult word means and I do not know, that someone would shake his head and say, “I thought UP students are intelligent,” or something like, “you're from UP, how come you don't know?” Argh. I couldn't let such derogatory remark simply pass, so I'd say, “do you expect me to know the whole dictionary?”

It's as if some people are always on the lookout of UP grads' errors, even trivial ones. Hey, we are not robots, and we do not want a contest or a competition. If voicing out our minds mean showing off, then all opinionated people are egotistic, which is hardly the case.

As I understand, it is not the UP grads in general who are insisting to place themselves above the others, but it is the people who are placing UP grads above themselves, hence the unnecessary perception of UP grads having “superiority complex.” Yes, we are proud of our alma mater, but I know that there are so many gifted people outside the university. UP taught me that there should be equity and harmony in society. That there should be understanding and tolerance of differences. And that there should be liberty of mind.

*So I'm from UP. Do you have a problem with that?


Anonymous said...

Ahh I know exactly what you mean. I'm an Atenean. And you know what people say about Ateneans :)

Anonymous said...

oh, so you graduated without being able to memorize the dictionary? lu-ther! :-)

seriously though, I have been in a similar situation – people expecting so much from me because I am from UP. nakakainis na minsan. there was once this situation when a law student (she’s a sophomore or junior, I can’t be sure) is trying to start a debate with me about rules of evidence or of court, or something like that. when I told her I don’t think I can win in that kind of debate with her, “aba, kala ko ba mga taga-UP matatalino?” what?! she’s a law student for x’s sake!

people should understand that there is a difference between activists/leftists and being aware; between arrogance and pride; between knowledge and wisdom.

I like it when you said “…it is not the UP grads in general who are insisting to place themselves above the others, but it is the people who are placing UP grads above themselves.” very much true.

but on a brighter side, don’t you find it so funny – and fulfilling sometimes, hehehe – when you win an argument even before you start to present your point simply because they know you are from UP? hehehe.

(also: did you know that a UP student’s brain costs a lot cheaper than anyone else’s brain?)

princess_dyanie said...

I haven't met someone na ganyan mag discrimate sa mga UP students. I always admire people who studied and graduated in UP. That's my dream school way way before but i failed. sayang konti na lang na points ang kailangan ko. so when i got the chance to study other language, i immediately chose UP.

mordsith, don't worry about those people na kala mo kung sino manghusga. inggit lang sila sayo! hehe ;)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

hhahahahha mordsith.

pabayaan mo na lang..

Ive been form ateneo de davao but graduated from a semi private school were extremes exists where I was also feasted like how will I react if they ask like you have mentioned. But I am more like "no comment person" just letting them pass and that's it because if you get to start to be pissed off, they will love it and feel their contentment that they win over you. So what?

I don't care about "those people" you can't take hold on how people stereotyped people and groups, they just want to do it. Let them.

Anonymous said...

I really dont know why some people are like that. So what nga if your from UP. It doesnt mean your perfect, your a walking encyclopedia, your an activist, a debater....nasa tao yan di ba. :)
The most important thing learned, you study hard and graduated. :)
I know your are proud (I'll be the same if I'm from that school too)and you should always be...hirap kaya makapasok jan :)

Enjoy the rest of the week sistah!

Kayni said...

i have no problem with people who studies in UP. i spent two semesters in the UP system myself, and i loved it =).

mordsith said...

[sleepless in KL] oh, yes. they also say so many things about you guys. :)

[eks] yeah, sometimes it's funny, and sometimes debates would not start at all. hehe

[dyanie] you studied foreign lang? that's great! sample naman. hehe

mordsith said...

[louraine] there are times when i just laugh at those silly comments, and there are times when i give them what they deserve. ;)

[jeanny] it's kinda weird that some people expect much while waiting for you to make a mistake. weird. :)

[kayni] you did? yey! schoolmate! :)

Anonymous said...

most people who tend to be prejudice are insecure people. kasi if you think you're matalino, kahit UP grad pa yang kaharap mo, it wont bother you. there are alot of intelligent people who are not from UP. madami din akong kakilala na matalino at hindi sila UP grad ha. i also believe all UP grads are matalino, tamad lang minsan mag-aral hek hek hek

Anonymous said...

this reminds me of conan o'brien's commencement speech to the Havard Class of 2000.

"You see, you're in for a lifetime of 'And you went to Harvard?' Accidentally give the wrong amount of change in a transaction and it's, 'And you went to Harvard?' Ask the guy at the hardware store how these jumper cables work and hear, 'And you went to Harvard?' Forget just once that your underwear goes inside your pants and it's 'and you went to Harvard.' Get your head stuck in your niece's dollhouse because you wanted to see what it was like to be a giant and it's 'Uncle Conan, you went to Harvard!?' "

hehehe. read the entire speech here:

sunny said...

hahahaha! aint got problem with that! lol! ano ba! my gray matter isnt working at the moment! chill out bud! tc tc!

jetty said...

I have no problems with UP graduates :)

sheng said...

I have a problem with UP, hindi ako nakapasa diyan, hehehe... anyways, true mordsith, i feel the same way, here in gensan, my university is undergoing the same discrimination as yours since we are a state university, and most grads expect us to be really higher and mightier than other schools, lesser do they know, we are grads because of our differences...

kg said...

ako din, walang problema sa mga taga UP....he! he! well, the people I've met have high regard for UP grads [which may also be the problem].

what your friend does not probably know is he will meet many "stubborn" people in his life, most of whom will not be from UP. I think he's just bitter that he can't get you to go to his side and was just using your being from UP as an excuse.

mordsith said...

[kaka] nakakainis nga minsan that i had to downplay UP just so others would feel good. i'd say, "meron naman na hindi matalino sa UP" or something like that. hehe.

[sunny] chill man! :)

[jetty] i couldn't imagine someone as fulfilled as you are could have a problem with UP grads. :)

mordsith said...

[sheng] kakainis no? some people just take pleasure from pressuring others or watching other people commit errors.

[kg] bakit kaya di ka affected? hehe. hindi naman siguro bitter. baka he just ran out of things to say. hehe. :)

Rico said...

Remember when we went to UP Diliman one time? It was my first time. And you and Eks have amazing stories. I so wanted to be a "skolar" (and I still do). :)
What I do know is that it doesn't really matter where you come from. It's what you brought from where you came. There's more to it than academics. It's how you live your life, how you treat people (respect), etc.

sterndal said...

uy UP grad ka pala?

wow! kaya pala ang galing mo mag-english!


Angeli said...

i was going through kayni's blogroll when i saw your post. I am a UP graduate myself. I have experienced the same prejudice as you did. hindi ka nag-iisa. :) and this i quote for you:

"UP trained you in such a way that when the people of the world are sitting, you’ll be standing; when the world is standing, you’ll stand out; when the world stands out, you’ll be outstanding; and when the world dares to be outstanding, you’ll be the standard."

I'm glad to have stumbled upon your site.

mordsith said...

[rico] oh, yeah. i remember that time. it was fun. :)

[sterndal] ay hindi naman. tsaka yung English teacher ko nung elementary ang nagturo talaga sa kin. hehe.

[angeli] that's a nice quote. i wonder who made that. :)

mordsith said...

[rico] oh, yeah. i remember that time. it was fun. :)

[sterndal] ay hindi naman. tsaka yung English teacher ko nung elementary ang nagturo talaga sa kin. hehe.

[angeli] that's a nice quote. i wonder who made that. :)

yeine said...

“it is not the UP grads in general who are insisting to place themselves above the others, but it is the people who are placing UP grads above themselves.” sooo trueee hehe students from UP matatalino pero hindi nyo fault kung may ibang tao n ibinababa ang sarili nila for the fact na UP grads kau :) ung friend ko UP rin pero never ako nkarinig sknya na mgyabang..humbleness exudes from a person who knows its true meaning kahit wala syang ginawa o sinasabi at kasma kau ni ate kg dun :)

Anonymous said...

When my girlfriend mentioned your UP post, I know it is regurgitated drivel of what all generations of UP graduates experienced. You should be offended if you did not get that kind of attention. :)

But what really piqued my rusted UP brain is the word mordsith. I have to look it up. OMFC(oh my funnel cake), it means a group of elite women warriors. And to become one, you have to lose your desires, compassion and then torture your father. The same concept as what I've been taught - see Luke 14:26.

You go girl!

Unknown said...

i have many friends who are UP graduates and i never saw the yabang that some observes. maybe those people are just insecure that's why they have that perspective.

Anonymous said...

It's because SOME UP grads came from NOTHING and when they experienced SOMETHING, they feel like they're EVERYTHING.

Sad that you're being treated that way because of some bitches.

joga said...

hey mordsith...followed you here huh? stalker na din ako.
anyways, for my case it is so what if i'm from UP and Pisay? he he he...could you just imagine the prejudice that my Chem 16 had over our blue labgown? She said, "Who's from Pisay in this class?" and six of us raised our hands. she exclaimed, "Wag nyong gagamitin ang labgown nyop dito ha? bumili kayo ng ginagamit dito sa UP." he he he...we used to think she's just bitter over the labgown but as we finished the semester, we found out she was more than a bitter gourd...i couldn't forget that...and then there was this classmate from UP IS who exclaimed, "Wow, san mo natutuhan yan?" as if it can be learned from outer space when I answered the question about the relationship of wavelength and energy...nerd nga pero yun lang kasi natatandaan ko sa physics e...he he he...
to top it all, they all seem surprised that not all of us from Pisay who took up Chem engg ended up graduating from Chem engg...some of us went to Brod Comm, which they though was such a what di ba? di ba pwede mag brod comm ang Pisay grad? e sa dun gusto e...
anyways, i was just sharing some thoughts here...