Humans of Ateneo

Humans of Ateneo is a project of the Sanggunian: Commission on Mental Health that aims to share the different stories of resilience among the Ateneo Loyola Schools community in order to inspire the student body.

Sanggunian Vice President
Written by: JB Bejarin | August 24, 2019

Before Sanggu, I didn’t fit the typical characteristics of a leader. I just found joy in background work and I enjoyed helping and organizing people. There came a point when I had enough guts to get out of my comfort zone, and that’s how I started my journey with Sanggu.

Sanggu was one of the reasons why I still chose to stay in Ateneo after high school. At that point I just knew that Sanggu in LS needed help. Little did I know, there were a lot of things in store for me. It was summer before OrSem when Hya [Bendaña] messaged me if I could help out. That’s how I ended up working Sanggu’s Admin Affairs with fellow freshies.

It was really hard as a freshie, especially without being too familiar with how things work. Sanggu was still rebuilding. Some people misconceive freshies with a position as pabibo; some would even think that they have more experience than you. When I entered the Sanggu last year, I didn’t immediately feel like I belonged. I couldn’t help but feel alone.

There would be times pa when it would become so difficult to work, especially when you don’t see eye to eye with some people. And you really have to learn how to balance multiple perspectives, given that everyone’s opinion is valid.

I realized that I was also getting frustrated with the environment we were all in. I have to admit, I didn’t start out loving this new community. When you love something kasi, you’re willing to take the risk and sacrifice your time. But I found myself at a point that I was getting demoralized. Hinahanap ko kasi agad yung growth na nakasanayan at inaasahan ko.

These same stories are what pushed me to run for Sanggu Vice President. The decision to run was out of nowhere, having decided two hours before the deadline. I prayed over it, asking God for signs while convincing myself that I shouldn’t run. But then I remembered the conversations I’ve had with people, and I just went for it.

When I won, love didn’t really sink in. But when we started working, assessing teams and planning, I was able to experience again what fulfillment felt. Sanggu is about service, and service entails sacrifice, having a heart for what you do.

Of course, some days are better than others, and you can’t help but feel exhausted. It was in working in the Sanggu that I realized that you can’t always expect to be happy even if you’re in love with your job. Mapapagod ka talaga. I remember that one time I chanced upon Bobby Guev. He may have sensed tiredness, so he told me how college was like a marathon, and that you have to sustain yourself throughout. College really is a marathon. There are times when you have to run fast, and times when you can simply slow down to drink and breathe to sustain yourself.

I chose to spend a lot of my time in this spot since freshman year. Sitting on my chair, observing my surroundings was how I started reconnecting with myself. I learned introspection, and saw the value of what I do. There are times when people express feelings of frustration towards Sanggu. I admit I’ve shared those same feelings in the past and even now. However, seeing how many people are passionate for service despite its current state, I continue to believe that Sanggu can and will be a better place. p I hope in the end, when I leave AdMU, I’d feel just as fulfilled when I entered here, nung nagtaya ako bilang freshie. 

— JB Bejarin

See you at the Red Brick Road on August 27-30 as we rise up and #TraverseTheUnknown with Sanggu this COA Recweek 2019: Orbit.


You may follow Humans of Ateneo on Twitter and Instagram through @humansofateneo.

Photo by Gwen Morelos
Layout and Post-processing by Sean Valencia
Transcript by Nadine Altavás

Sanggunian Vice President

"Dreams really do take a process, and this process involves the efforts of other people. This holds true, especially for a dream like Sanggu."


Angelo Kouame