At this point in my life

“Published” on June 23, 2012

WHAT: IT Practicum

Company Engaged: Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Department: Information and Communications Technology Unit

Hours to complete: 486 hours

Hours logged: 230 or something.

Abilities Acquired: Printer Installation, Printer Networking, Printer Troubleshooting, Ethernet Cabling, PCI Card Installation, Coffee Making

Abilities Re-acquired: Database Connection, Query Language Declaration, Database Programming

Problems to acquire skills for: Computers unable to obtain IP addresses from network, Wireless Router Crashing, Prevention of Procrastination, Prevention of Consumption of Third Party Rations

The end of my Practicum days at the government agency is still beyond reach — for a normal student, at least. Being an irregular student can really twist your curricular schedule in ways hard to imagine. Hence the term irregular. Is this a bad thing?

It could be, but it depends on the perspective.

From a socio-psychological perspective, no. I’m enjoying my time with the Peace Process Office. I must admit that I’m not really interested in the whole Peace Process concept, although it’s a given fact that the agency’s vision is noble and grand. I’m more focused on the task at hand, which is getting the best out of the 486 hours I must complete under the curriculum. I’m more focused on keeping each of the agency’s computers up and running. With the technology advancements these days, our unit is becoming more and more of a necessity in order to maintain the additional efficiency that said technology promises and provides.

Oh, did I just say “our unit”? My apologies. I feel like I’m getting my mind and soul too absorbed into the office and its denizens. But I don’t mind. I like the office. There’s free food, free air conditioned atmospheres, my boss is probably the best boss I will ever serve under in my entire life, and this office is where I found out how much I love going around servicing computers (whether I knew how I fixed their problem or whether I even fixed their problem at all!). Why? I get to meet different faces, and those scenarios provoke my interest in human psychological behavior. There really are different blends of personalities out there.

And every little thing you do for these people elicit a “Thank you” every time. It can be sincere or not, but it’s a token of appreciation nonetheless. It’s such a small thing to go crazy for, you might say, but these small things are what keep us going everyday. So in some ways, one might conclude that I love being a Technical Support Representative. And that one who concludes such speaks the truth.

However, it was pointed out to me that being a Technical Support Representative (such an ironed-out, perfume-clouded, hair-parlored, rainbow-colored term for Computer Repairman) is such a clerical undertaking. Strangely, this slight lambasting of the job that I’ve grown to love doing was brought up in a conversation concerning an offer from another unit wanting to borrow me. When I asked about the nature of my job there, I was told I was to be asked to encode.

…encode?

In their defense, what they want me to encode in that unit are highly confidential records of data. They don’t just let anybody handle that kind of information. But to have them actually offer me (of all people, and a Practicum student at that) that kind of job is a huge honor because it means I have somehow gained their trust in a short period of time.

It puzzles me how their trust in me came flying into their windows like a thrown brick. Or like a huge pimple, popping out of nowhere. But it also dawns upon me that I look at encoding even more, if not just as, clerical as being a Technical Support Representative/Repairman. And encoding is terribly dull. When I make e-mails for my grandfather, I finish them quickly and proofread them immediately because the whole endeavor is just transferring this bunch of letters into another medium.

The way I see it, anything that requires me to sit for long hours in front of a computer screen (other than games, or 9gag) falls under that category of DULL. Quite frankly, I’d rather people make calls all day, making me go up and down the elevator causing me vertigo than sit in front of my computer with mouth wide open attracting flies. It’s not even just a choice of using “rather”. I’d really really prefer if even one person called just to get me away from sitting down. The phone is ringing? Someone needs my help? Sweet Jesus.

Besides, my back is killing me at the moment, and I point fingers at my posture when I sit down at the office. Which also probably answers many employees’ questions as to why I don’t sit when I do servicing on their computers. Signs of aging. Ah shit.

Now for the other perspective — from a physical perspective. I’m leaving the things that I do in the office out of this equation, because like I said, I’m having a blast there where the golden air soothes the soul. Let’s just change this variable of the equation to “being a Practicum enrollee”.

I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted every day. I’m exhausted every week. Every day I have to go “be a Practicum enrollee” during the morning hours, have lunch there (it’s free, don’t ruin this for me) then become a regular student from that point onwards.

This includes walking under the fucking sun at 12:30 in the fucking afternoon, where the fucking temperature ranges anywhere from fucking 28 degrees when it’s raining to a fucking 35 degree inferno for 3 fucking blocks along Ortigas Avenue. That takes me around 10 to 15 minutes, depending on my motivation to actually attend class early, which is consistently zero. I get a short air-conditioned 2 minute break walking inside SM Megamall then get to the bus terminal, where it is still fucking hot. 10-15 minutes to Cubao, air-conditioned of course.

At this point, by the way, it doesn’t even fucking matter whether I take the FastLane bus or the Ibabaw bus, because I still end up walking from right across that Samson Criminology school to the school building. Because even though the Ibabaw bus does drop off passengers in front of Farmers’ Plaza, they fall in line for 15-20 minutes waiting for each other to load up on passengers there, so like I said, doesn’t even fucking matter. This takes me around 5-10 minutes again, wherein half of that is spent absorbing the infernal ultraviolet death rays of our mother star.

Then I get to school, where the smoking den is drenched in a thick mist of cigarette smoke (which I shouldn’t really be snarling upon, since I smoke there as well). And yes, it’s also hot there. The only time where the temperature and my temper go down to comfortable levels are in the classrooms. My classes then end at 7 in the evening, and it takes me an hour and a half to get home from school.

However, my interest in school has dropped. Massively. This is no longer under the physical perspective. It may contribute in some way, but this is now a completely different part of my fatigue.

STI Cubao is different now, at least for me. Greed and politics have driven out the worthy Programming professors and have replaced them with fresh graduates or not very wisened people coming of age, neither of which I learn much from. The former professors left gaping sinkholes as shoes to fill in, in my opinion, and these new instructors just don’t cut it.

All of my closest friends have already graduated, leaving me as the only part of the circle still in school. They’re the only circle of friends with whom I can actually be myself, project the wholeness of my personality without being subject to or be concerned of judgement and instead provoke laughter amongst ourselves (my girlfriend doesn’t like my verbal barrage of others at times, so I water it down when I’m with her). I know very few people in my classes, but they just don’t strike me as well as my pals do. They’re either smoking mates or former classmates, but that’s about it.

And I don’t intend on getting to know those other young and brash brats who I’ve never been in the same classroom with. They annoy me for no reason. Maybe it’s the way they look, the way they talk, the way they look at me, but I don’t like them.

I’m also taking up a Technopreneurship subject, which is basically a Business subject prefixed with “Tech”. I took up Information Technology to learn how to make computerized systems run, not to make product concepts. I have absolutely no interest in putting up a business because I’m just not that creative.

All this put together basically means my last semester in school is going to suck.

Sometimes I wonder if this terrible perspective I now see the school with is because it’s in stark contrast to the perspective I hold for the office (where I’m not even an employee). Do I miss the office when I’m at school? Probably. Do I despise leaving the office to go to school in the afternoon? Yes. That much I am sure. But I constantly push myself. I have to motivate myself for 4 more months. It’s the final wave of my education days. I’m running out of patience, but there’s still some left in the tnak.

I told my aunt about how I felt about the offer from the other unit mentioned earlier. She’s the one, by the way, who called being a Technical Support clerical. She also told me however, that these things happening might be shaping me up for OPAPP, hence the odd planting of trust going on. I am an On-The-Job Trainee after all, and I have to be flexible — it’s in my objective per my resume. Besides, when I was finishing the directory for the agency the other day, I think I almost said to myself, “I’m putting my name here some day.”

PS I apologize for the flurry of swearing in the 10th and 11th paragraphs. There was just too much fucking emotion and temperature involved in the making of those.

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