By the time you read this, you’ll have immersed and integrated yourself well enough into the Ateneo community and culture, so I won’t bother giving you tips on how to survive Ateneo as the title might suggest. Instead, I’ll give you real, honest advice on how to make it through your first year as a Celadon freshie—things I wish I’d known when I was one myself. You’ll only be able to connect the dots in hindsight, but it does pay to be prepared before stepping into the unknown—so prepared you shall (hopefully) be after reading this.
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Drop by the org room once or twice (or every day, that works too)
The first time a Celadon upperclassman told me about this, I thought it was to promote unity in the org or to make friends. Apparently, I was wrong. “Baka nandoon si Celadon crush!” was instead what he’d reasoned. Seeing your Celadon crush everyday while having a place to tambay at when the Rizal Library’s full because of all the other freshies? Why the hell not, right?
Kidding aside, drop by the org room—it’s at MVP 313—because that’s where the fun happens. Not only will you get to meet your fellow orgmates, you’ll also get to meet new friends who share the same passion for all things Chinese, enjoy a friendly game of mahjong and look forward to receiving ang paos just as you do.
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It’s also where you’ll get to meet upperclassmen who have been through what you’re still going through. Struggling through MA11 or LIT13? We’ve got our old notes to help you out. Heartbroken because your Celadon crush doesn’t know you exist? We can run over to Gonzaga to get ice cream and have a truckload of hugots to help you mend—and entertain—your broken heart. In need of a friend or just a place to call your own for a little while? We’ll gladly welcome you with open arms.
Bonus tip from your HR AVP for Member Development Jannina Ong: if you’re a freshie who commutes by the LRT, you can find fellow commuters whom you can travel home with in the org room. If you’re in luck, you might even find someone who has a car, lives in the same area as you and will be willing to drop you off.
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Don’t be shy and sign up for events.
For most of my first year in Celadon, I chose to watch from the sidelines. I’m an ambivert who leans more toward my introvert side (or at least I used to), so I reckoned that I just wasn’t the type to put myself out there. I wouldn’t know how to make friends or to fit in, and I constantly worried that I’d do something wrong. Freshie, huwag akong tularan.
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Now that I’ve experienced being a part of Celadon events, one of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t join more in the past. They enable you to not only get a taste but to delve into and to relish in the Chinese-Filipino culture itself. As you enjoy the sights and sounds of an undeniably rich culture, you get to bask in the glow of others experiencing the same things, probably even for the first time. There’s simply a certain joy in watching others appreciate something that you know by heart, whether it be in winning their first jiong guan, or watching their eyes light up as they see the Lion Dance.
Additionally, you get to grow as you learn the ins and outs of planning, preparing and executing events. You learn more about yourself in the days you struggle to balance your academics, org life and personal life than you will on any other season of your college life. The sense of accomplishing a project with a team is completely worth it. That, and the praises you get from fellow orgmates and friends for a job well done.
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Always carry your Elements privilege card with you.
This one’s courtesy of Jannina again, and I’d have to agree. I don’t know how many times the privilege card saved me money I could use for elsewhere (like, ahem, readings). As a commuter who doesn’t get allowance (that much), every peso counts, and the privilege card is a great way to save up on those pesos.
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It also goes to say that you’ll never know when you need it. Partnered with more establishments that I can count (yes, that many!), you just might happen to be at a stall that the privilege card can get you a discount at. Now doesn’t that sound glorious?
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Your first GA will be tiring—but it will also be fun.
Not gonna lie: the first GA I ever had for Celadon was nearly a whole day event and it was tiring. Nonetheless, not once was it boring. I’m the kind of person who takes first impressions of events seriously. The way I feel about an event in its first few minutes are not likely to change unless something really great happens afterwards. With the Celadon GA, however, I didn’t worry about looking for a redeeming factor much later on because it was already a great experience from the onset.
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The moment I walked into the MVP Roofdeck, I knew the GA wasn’t going to be an ordinary one—and I was right. The day kicked off with the EB and other org members welcoming the freshies with TnT-levels of energy. Imagine the Celadon GA being OrSem Part II. Doesn’t that make you excited (*wink wink*)? We were also split into groups upon our entry, and that made socializing and making friends (and corny jokes in my case) a lot easier.
Rather than feeling at a loss as to who or how to make friends in a large crowd, it felt less intimidating to make friends on a group-scale. The rest of the day allowed the freshies to get a glimpse of how each department works through quick and entertaining activities. Moreover, it also allowed us to get a feel of the Celadon family on a whole.
Dearest freshie: I’m telling you now what I felt then and what I think I’ll always feel: there is no greater feeling than to be welcomed by the likes of the Celadon family. It’s an experience that’s for the books—one you’re likely to always remember. And next year, when you’re no longer a freshie but a reminiscing sophomore like I am, pass on your words of wisdom to the next wave of freshies. I’m sure you’ll have your fair share of GA memories and Celadon stories by then that’ll be worth giving a voice to.
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Celadon is family. Celadon is home.
Anyone can say this about their org. In fact, most people will. But what makes Celadon so special isn’t the perks, the org room or even the GA, as awesome as all those are. What makes Celadon special is the unity and sense of home that its members feel and experience immediately and constantly. Maybe it’s because of the shared culture, the similar stories of childhood spent in downtown Ongpin or maybe it’s because of something else entirely.
As DocPub manager Ervin Llobrera puts it, “Eventually, you’ll find your own definition of a family here [in Celadon], with an emphasis on a shared unique cultural heritage, if one seeks for it hard enough.”
Maybe it’s asking too much, but family is whom you choose for yourself and Celadon has chosen you—now will you choose us? (Answer hint: Y-E-S.)
Written By Tiffannie Litam
Special Contribution By Jannina Ong