Shifting my sight off my laptop to the four corners of Room 321, there I see my co-probationary midshipmen (PM) lying on their bed while sporting their magnetic smiles in every laugh-stocking statement and story each one of us shares. They are PMs who have turned into my friends. Friends who I never thought I would be comfortable with within barely two weeks. Friends who accompany me in eating, studying, and washing clothes. And friends who help me forget my worries inside the academy.
Looking back at when I had my first step on the ground of the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP), I remember my heart pounding as my blood rushed through my veins in every contradictory feeling and thought I was having. The idea of finally embarking on the institution that will help me pursue my dream career path had undeniably given me much serotonin. Beyond that, however, was the thought of me failing to make friends inside the academy since I am not a people person. Such worries had entered my bloodstream that I became uncoordinated with my body. I saw many PMs like me wearing all in white, and I did not know what to do. I couldn’t bring myself to converse with anyone of the crowd. I couldn’t move my feet from where I was standing. I couldn’t decide what group of people I should approach. But then, I saw five people standing who I inadvertently fell in line.
As I entered Room 321 with the five people I would be with for the next two weeks, I couldn’t help but feed my taciturn-self. They were all talking and introducing themselves while I was in the corner staying still and merely nodding whenever I agreed with what they were saying. There were bits and pieces of words coming out of my mouth every once in a while. But, it started to dawn on me when I realized how quickly they became comfortable with each other. It was shocking – at least on my part – because I am the kind of person who observes people before befriending them.
Fortunately, they were making efforts to make me talk, and I did appreciate that. As such, I tried to give back. Surprisingly, it only took me three days to make connections with them, and it was the shortest amount of time for me, making friends with people who I just knew.
I was proud of myself. Not because I was able to befriend my roommates in the shortest time I could, but because I was able to get out of the quicksand of my inhibitions. Once a reserved person had turned into an open and assertive one. Thanks to my five friends who helped me overcome it.
Seeing my friends in front of my eyes at this very moment, I do realize how lucky and glad I am that I followed the right line during that day. Because if I did not, there would be no John Paul Pallar, who spices the mood every time we get bored. There would be no Elijah Joseph Geronimo, who helps us with our studies, especially Mathematics. There would be no Charles Aaron Mercurio, who applies his IT expertise in solving every digital technical difficulty we encounter. There would be no Raymond James Tabaniag, who is willing to help whenever we are in dire need. There would be no Leo Amatorio, who has the strategic and resourceful nature that could help us get through unfavorable situations.
We may or may not part ways after our days as probationary midshipmen, but I hope against all hopes that the bond we established will not lose its grip anytime soon. I will do everything to keep our bond undamaged, and I hope they will do the same in 3…2…1…