Farewell?

Time is ticking and the end, or the beginning rather, of my career is coming fast.

I was hired for my very first job June 15th of the previous year, at the International Rice Research Institute in Laguna. Two days ago, the whole team had a meeting, and we can feel the gloomy atmosphere as we count our remaining days left together. One by one, our boss asked us our lessons learned in the project. Me, being a newbie, was of course surprised and I don’t know what to say. I am an AB Communication graduate, without much knowledge in scientific research. I just started seven months ago, and I don’t have much experience in handling the [our] data.

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“Sa totoo lang po, nung umpisa medyo na-culture shock ako. Nung college po kasi, ang napagtuunan ko ng pansin ay yung artistic side ng communication. Pero nung tumagal nag-enjoy naman po ako. [I’m holding out my tears while saying this, seriously] Napamahal naman sakin yung work ko, kaya nanghihinayang ako kasi sobrang maiksi lang yung time na nakasama ko kayo.”

Those are the only words that I was able to say. If only I wasn’t a too-emotional-type-of-person I would’ve said more than that. I realized later that I was not able to answer the “lessons learned” question and maybe I was too honest with my answer, and thought that maybe what I said was not the right thing to say.

But moving on, I learned a lot of things during my seven months of employment here. First is, of course, our project. We are involved in the Rice Self-Sufficiency Project under the Department of Agriculture (DA) and PhilRice. During my interview, they explained to me what the project is all about, and then I asked myself, “How come I didn’t know that there is a project like this?” I was really enthusiastic about this project because it’s really beneficial to the Filipinos and I was looking forward to a self-sufficient Philippines.

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This experience also helped me a lot in terms of my career growth. At this point in my life, I’m still trying the different courses of Communication. In college, we learned that Communication can be considered both as science and an art. When I was a student, I engaged myself more on the artistic side of communication. I even considered myself as an artist doing visual arts, literature, music, dance, theater, film, and even photography. I never fully understood why Communication can be considered as a science.

When I came here, as I mentioned earlier, I had a culture shock. Not because of the foreigners in the institute, but because of a totally different environment that I was exposed to when I was in college. I’ve always imagined myself to be working for television or print media, not in a science-related field. But after several months of working, I somehow managed to unlock the other side of Communication which I never dared to enter when I was in college.

Yes, Communication is also a science. In research, it is vital that the researchers reach out to the community and vice versa. This is where communication comes in. Our project disseminates information and new agricultural technologies to farmers in selected rural areas, and I’m assigned with the ICT and feedback of the project. Only with this experience am I fully convinced that communication is vital in development.

With the presence of modern technologies, people nowadays often misunderstand the essence of communication. Communication, in the eyes of people, is merely expressing one’s opinion or the exchange of thoughts, etc. They say that anyone can communicate, so they are often “blinded” with the idea of the real importance of communication. Yes, anyone can communicate, but the real question is, is what you’re saying sensible? When you communicate, you must have a purpose. Communication is not just something that comes out from your mouth. Communication is not just mere exchange of thoughts, but it can also be a bridge for development.

Second on my list of lessons learned is pakikisama. This is a very vital Filipino trait that one must learn in a work place. I am really awkward and really shy with the people I meet for the first time, but thank God, my colleagues are fun to be with so I was able to become at ease with them easily.

I will surely miss this work place. I will miss my cubicle, my crush, my friends, my colleagues… the entire institute to be exact. Well I know that this may be the end, but this is also a new beginning. I know that whatever happens the Lord will always lead me to where He plans me to be, and that I will become successful one day. I’m proud to have this project as my stepping stone in my career.

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(c) Dehner De Leon, Ramoncito Giovanni Sarmiento, Neale Paguirigan and Zeynna Balangue ♥

To my boss, Dr. Flor Palis, thank you very much for this opportunity. It was really an honor working with you. You introduced me to a new environment, an environment out of my comfort zone, and with that I will always be thankful. You didn’t just give me a job. You have also given me a new family with new ates, kuyas, and titas. I learned a lot and this experience opened my eyes to new things. Thank you thank you.

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