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Opinion: Hanging from a Tree

By Ginyn A. Noble

They say we all are apples. They say some are fresh, ripe and juicy apples – full of potential and the promise of goodness. On the other hand, some are rotten, wasteful nuisances mixed in the basket of supposedly good apples, and thus, drag the inviting image of the whole down. They say it’s unfair for the fresh apples, but what about the rotten ones? Will they be left to go to squander?

The good apples – they are the classically diligent students. They are never late nor absent, and their make-up duty record is spotless or very minimal. They are very attentive in class, even actively participating in recitations. They study for the sake of studying (and maybe sometimes, for others, for the color of grades). They are the teacher’s pets and the class’s volunteered representatives. They do deserve all the praise and high regard, without any trace of bitterness. These are the fresh apples.

The bad apples, however, they indeed are sores to the eye and migraines to the mind. They are habitually tardy, missing in class and on make-up duties. They doze off during lectures and even cut classes occasionally because “they can’t take any more.” They prioritize sleep, party and procrastination. They neglect to maximize their expensive tuition fee, their golden opportunity for education. They study for the sake of passing and getting school over with. They take for granted and even show minimal respect to professors and instructors who diligently teach and try to get through to them. These are the rotten apples.

I beg to differ. They’re not rotten, not just yet. They are simply unripe and just a little dusty. They’re sour and averse to taste, but that doesn’t mean they can’t develop into the more taste bud-friendly form. Otherwise, they may already have the best appeal from taste to appearance an apple can have but had caught some dirt during their transport. Yes, these students have undoubtedly wrong ways. Their absences and tardiness are inexcusable (or with cunningly invented pretexts), and they ought to do better in academics. They should be reprimanded; they should be intervened with. Nevertheless, do we take the time to assess them thoroughly first? They are regarded negatively without prior investigation as to why they act or feel the way they do. They are eaten and expected to be fresh apples right away without wiping off the soil around their delicate exteriors first and giving them a little time.

These people are on the fine line between “getting along just fine” and “on the way down to failing college.” “Getting along just fine” means being average, non-exemplary and unnoticed, while “on the way down to failing college” means missing out on truly learning, failing to bring out the most hidden potentials, defunct prioritizing and letting clouded judgment rule one’s decisions. Beneath the seeming lack of effort and critical thinking though lies stories of brokenness and depression. These are remotely knowable, barely touchable and hardly fixable realities that they have to live and cope with. Going through the day is hard enough. How much more would this be along with the complex, exhausting responsibilities of Nursing student?

What they want is a little empathy, a little understanding. They need passive supervision for them to realize on their own that they have to step up for their own sakes. They will encounter certain friends and even professors or instructors who give genuine concern over them and make them want to change for the better. They will stumble upon lessons in life which will wake them up and point them into their rightful paths. They will eventually mature enough and learn to sacrifice the momentary hedonistic pleasures like relaxing and partying while they ought to be seriously preparing for their future. In the long haul, they will think of sacrifice as a friend, a teacher and a means of delayed gratification. They will come to point where they say to their selves, “Yes, it was all worth it.”

This year, I learned about sacrifice. Cliché enough, I learned it the hard way. I came in this year as an immature, hardly responsible student who just wanted to pass, to get along – a rotten apple, one might say. Because of sacrifice, however, I am eventually coming out of this year molded into a student worthy enough of being called a Thomasian - a Thomasian who does not simply settle, but gives a great effort to excel. I was not rotten just yet; I guess I was just a grubby, little unripe apple who just needed a little dusting, just like the rest of us are. Along with the rest of us too, I am on my way to the pedestal where I can exclaim, “Certainly, it was all worth it!”


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