MULTIMEDIA

Sanctuary amid pandemic

Photos and text by Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 28 2021 01:49 AM

The heavy rains and flooding amid the COVID-19 pandemic won’t dampen this graduate’s spirit. Jodie Jose is filled with happiness and gratitude, as she caps her college years at University of the Philippines Diliman from the safety of her home surrounded by her family. 

She graduates along with 3,166 other students in UP’s second virtual commencement exercise while large gatherings remain prohibited as the National Capital Region remains under community quarantine due to COVID-19 pandemic. 

It has been more than a year since the country shifted to remote learning, which presented various challenges on students, educators and families alike. 
 

For Jodie, this meant letting her dreams of graduating with honors slip away. 

“Nu’ng time na lang ng pandemic, du’n ko na lang din naintindihan na may mga bagay na mas importante kesa sa grades. Pero hindi ko ’yun agad na-gets. Hindi ko siya agad naintindihan, and nag-sulk din ako in some way, which i think now in some sense medyo privileged din.” recalls Jose. 

On her final year as an Art Studies student, Jodie faced a setback completing her thesis at the onset of the pandemic. 

“And then at that time, I was at a loss kasi ’yung mga correspondents ko sa thesis, they were mothers. And we know by the time na nagka-pandemic sobrang busy na ng lahat ng tao especially moms,” Jodie says.

“And I couldn’t bring myself to ask my correspondents to, ‘Ah, tara gawin na natin ’yung thesis, gawin na natin ’yung interview,’ because you also want to give them time to adjust to the new normal.” 

Sustaining face-to-face relationships posed a bigger challenge more than the academics. “You long for that constantly, because somehow personally that's where I find na naging significant ’yung pinag-aaralan ko, when I am connected with these people,” Jodie adds. 

Amid the frustrations with distance learning and the pandemic, Jose finds sanctuary through family support, professors, and friends of the same faith. 
 
As she caps her year in college, she finds herself seeking personal goals in quest of being in service to people by using the skills she has learned.

“I thought I would cry nga kasi parang madi-disappoint nga ako, na I didn’t get it in the end. But then, by God’s grace, parang kahit papaano na-shift na rin enough ’yung perspective ko into learning what really matters,” Jodie says. 

As an Art Studies graduate, she is currently involve in re-educating Filipinos on the value of arts and culture for nation-building through an NGO. 

“I would like to empower younger artists, especially today that more artists are keen on using their art as an instrument in building a better society. Gusto natin ’yun kasi we need more of those. And I am devoted to that trajectory of a job,” she says.

Jodie reminds fellow students that a community is needed more than ever in getting through amid a pandemic. 

“Finding ourselves in each other. Finding ourselves spaces to be at home, be at peace with each other,” Jodie says.

“Continuing the connectivity and realizing that you are not alone, even when you feel like you’re alone, is very important, kahit sa pagtatapos mo kasi OK lang din maging mabagal, maging mabilis, you don’t really have to catch up so much. But I also want people to realize that even if you don’t catch up, you’re still not alone.” 

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UP Diliman graduate Jodie Jose participates virtually in the 110th commencement exercises from her home with her family in Cainta town, Rizal on July 25, 2021. The state university celebrated the graduation of 3,167 students online for the second time amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

UP Diliman graduate Jodie Jose participates virtually in the 110th commencement exercises from her home with her family in Cainta town, Rizal on July 25, 2021. The state university celebrated the graduation of 3,167 students online for the second time amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

UP Diliman graduate Jodie Jose participates virtually in the 110th commencement exercises from her home with her family in Cainta town, Rizal on July 25, 2021. The state university celebrated the graduation of 3,167 students online for the second time amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

UP Diliman graduate Jodie Jose participates virtually in the 110th commencement exercises from her home with her family in Cainta town, Rizal on July 25, 2021. The state university celebrated the graduation of 3,167 students online for the second time amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

UP Diliman graduate Jodie Jose participates virtually in the 110th commencement exercises from her home with her family in Cainta town, Rizal on July 25, 2021. The state university celebrated the graduation of 3,167 students online for the second time amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News