I stand before you today, humbled to be speaking in behalf of the PNU-LISAA, Inc. Among the many qualified and more respected alumni, the association chose someone like me to represent it in this momentous occasion.
The PNU Library Science Department can boast of so many sons and daughters who are more accomplished than I am. In its 50 years of educating and forming future librarians of the nation, it has produced an armada of alumni who are wiser in years of experience. It can be proud of its recent graduates who are sturdier and more resilient in the face of professional challenges and personal trials. Compared to them, I am merely a beginner who is carving a niche in the ever-changing landscape of library and information science. I did not graduate with honors. Nor did I make it to the top 10 of the Librarians’ Licensure Examination. But here I am, nevertheless, tasked to give an inspirational message. Indeed, to be doing this in front of my former mentors and teachers is an honor. I feel that I am now a colleague. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for this recognition. So I take this great opportunity as a way of giving back to PNU in general and to remember the glory, golden and shinning, of the PNU LIS Department in particular.
By looking back and remembering, we can define the future. After all, the past, the present and the future exist in one plane. To lose the connection between the three would mean a loss of direction.
Allow me now to look back. And, I invite you to do the same. Get a pen and a piece of paper and together, let us chart our past so it can propel us to set directions for the future.
Divide your paper in four columns. Each column represents a year in college – Freshman Year; Sophomore Year; Junior Year; and Senior Year. Write them down.
Now, fold your paper lengthwise. On the first row, write the “highs” that you experienced as a student of LIS in PNU. On the second row, write the “lows” that you encountered as a student of LIS in PNU. Your highs and lows can be about the curriculum, the teachers, the class activities and projects, extra-curricular activities, practicum, support from friends and classmates, etc. Let us work on our paper for five to seven minutes and then we will have small buzz groups.
(After five-seven minutes…)
Turn to a seatmate and share. You can also form a group of three people.
(After five minutes…)
Let us now generalize. Try to go back to your paper. Recall things that struck you in your buzz group. At the back of your paper, write down insights you’ve derived from our short activity.
Can we have one or two brave souls to share his or her insight in the big group?
Volunteer 1 –
Volunteer 2 –
(At this point speaker can share her highs and lows…)
Thank you for your generosity and openness in participating in our little activity this morning. The highs and the lows that you wrote on your piece of paper is a constructed meaning of what the PNU LIS was, is and will be. Some of these experiences maybe delightful, relevant, earth- shaking, painful, frustrating, stressful, elating, humbling and life affirming. Whatever these highs and lows are, it should be enough to move the PNU LIS Department into the next 10 to 50 years.
To channel new directions and to establish new paradigms can not be done by one entity alone. It would take a communal effort to achieve this – support from the university administration, a competent faculty and staff (combination of the young and the seasoned), updated and relevant learning resources, a curriculum that empowers and answers the needs of the learner and his environment, the political will and inner strength to change for the better – these are but some of the ingredients necessary to chart pathways for the PNU LIS Department in the next three or five decades. In the process, there will be discussions, discourse, dialogues and even debates. There are factors both internal and external that will affect the structuring or realigning of things. There will be roadblocks too, for how can we face the realities of change when, as Filipinos, we take things always, on a personal matter. Then again, we are Filipinos, and we will endure.
Like many of you, I hope to see the torch light burning bright as the PNU LIS Department continues to guide aspiring librarians to a promising tomorrow. It does not end with hoping and seeing though. As an alumnus, it is my personal responsibility to carry the torch, ablaze and aflame. PNU LISAA as an alumni organization is a keeper of the flame. We all have a part to play. We all have a contribution to make. We all need tough love and sacrifice to nurture the torch’s fire.
I ask you now, how do you keep the torch’s flame from flickering? How can we all keep the torch’s flame alive?
To end, I would like to sing PNU’s Alma Mater song – I will sing it once, but on the second round, please join me.
Oh Alma Mater ko
Sa Mga Guro’y Ina
Lagi Kang Patnubay
Ng Bayan Ko Kailan Pa man
Lualhati’y suma iyo
Oh Alma Mater ko
*The above speech was delivered during the 50the anniversary of the PNU LIS Department held last Saturday, February 16, 2008 at the PNU Library.