Enrollment again at the University of the Philippines Los Baños

So as can be gleamed from the admission letter I finally got hold last Tuesday, today is the stated enrolment day for the type of student I am - a Non-degree student. Yep, I am going, well, planning to enrol as a Non-degree student in UPLB. So what about it? Well, as a non-degree student you're just like another student - except that you are not taking courses/subjects that lead toward conferral of a Bachelors/Diploma/Masters/Doctorate degree. However, the units of the courses/subjects you are taking are credited to your Transcript and you could use them should you need them in the future if you decided to pursue a degree that requires such courses/subjects.

I told my bosses about the activity and left campus via the 1345H shuttle. Because of me hurrying, I detached the external monitor, USB devices from my laptop and all of  a sudden made a mad dash to the DL Umali Laboratory Lobby to catch the bus. In the process, I was not able to switch the laptop to standby mode, and currently I have set that closing the lid should not do anything. The usual action indeed was for the PC to sleep, however, I changed that because when there was still no electricity at my abode  due to Typhoon Glenda's rampage here I used the laptop to play music to save me from the eerie silence of the place. This high-end IBM Lenovo Thinkpad T440 laptop issued to me by IRRI has some sort of motion sensor and if it is triggered, I recall it stops the laptop's hard disks from spinning thus effectively freezing the computer. Now, since I was able to immediately board the bus there was a very long time before I as well as my laptop stopped moving. And there it was, frozen, hanging. Doesn't react to any key press. While at Engineering waiting for a Forestry-bound jeepney so I can go to Infirmatay University Health Service (UHS), I let it sit still for a minute. After that, negative, still hanging. Then a jeepney that I wanted came out of nowhere and I have to ride now. On the jeep, I can see a couple of apparent freshmen looking right outside the window and scrutinizing elbi's surroundings. Jeepney dropped off a passenger at the Women's Dorm and I can see a student unloading his personal effects ( sleeping paraphernalia, electric fan, some books ) from a chartered jeepney.  Oh Good Lord, why is it very hot today?? Temperature seems like that of the cruel summer that just passed. In the back of my mind, something's telling me to just take the online courses again but this time dedicate a block of time from your official work time so you can concentrate. Then another thought disagrees, saying that you have already defended to my bosses this intent of personally attending actual classes because I have said (and I feel too) that I'm the type that needs actual, formal interaction which you cannot find or at least difficult to be felt when taking online courses. Or, how about I really taking up to the very end the subject(s) I intend to enrol here in the university - because it costs actual money, my hard-earned money, money that I could have used for other purposes like flying! Hahahaha. So I got off at the UHS, immediately proceeded to a shady area and put the laptop on the ground (Lenovo claims it's MILSPEC testing compliant) and waited for 3 minutes, nothing happened. I finally went inside the UHS, sat on one of the benches and waited for five minutes again. Nothing happened again. Boo. Now I have to perform cold reboot on it. Wahhh! The reason I brought it was to read when I'm on a possible queue, the articles that have been lingering on my browser tabs for sometime now. Now, they are all gone. Oh, I brought my pocket WiFi device with me. Tried it but no, Internet connection was slow as hell that all the pages barely loaded. ************* Philippine Internet Service Providers! 

Now, let's discuss my transaction with the University Health Service. They are friendly, corteous and helpful. I just have to explain my circumstances, that is I'm a non-degree student. I also asked whether I need to be subjected to Complete Blood Count (CBC), Chest X-Ray and Dental Examination when I already had these towards the end of April this year as part of the annual physical examination as a requirement by IRRI. The answer of the one in the records section was that, I need to take CBC and Dental. For CBC, I paid PHP 164.00 while the dental exam is free.

I proceeded first to the laboratory. Staff there seems to be quite busy and has lots to work on. After waiting for a couple of seconds, some staff entertained me. I showed her receipt, and she gave me some other slip to fill out. And after a few minutes, yay, blood extraction again! Yum! 

Blood extraction: It's more fun in University Health Service!

However, to my disappointment, results will be available only by Monday morning. I had no qualms at first but I looked at a schedule at their door, saying that results submitted at the current time should be available within 30-60 minutes after blood extraction, if it does not need to be submitted to another lab for (further? other?) testing. I went back to the lady and she politely explained that they are processing many samples this time because it's enrolment time. Outwardly I was convinced but inside, I was screaming - isn't it that the other students had their medical examinations done on their respective assigned time frame, before this date? Oh well, I guess it won't be that much of a hassle even though start of classes is at Monday, 11 August, per experience. :D 

Now up next, dental exam. Dr. Noel Altamirano, DMD is also the dentist who examined me six years ago. I was just not sure if he had sterilized/disinfected his mouth mirror before using it on his examination of my dental condition. Well, just to be sure, I gargled water from the tap faucet immediately after exiting the dental room, oh well, would there be any effect? Hahaha. Placebo effect maybe.

To be sure, I went to the X-Ray room to see the Radiologic Technician and ask if my X-Ray from end of April would be still valid for the pre-enrolment ritual. She replied in the affirmative, adding however that of course, I should bring the film and the diagnosis/report to her. Alright, set, on Monday.


It's not even 1430 when I finished my transactions for today there. Now, since this is my first time being uphill in UPLB after Typhoon Glenda hit and therefore uprooting/destroying tree cover in the area partly or totally thus area's clearer now, I opted to not catch the two succeeding outbound jeepneys to examine first the view down the UPLB (Lower) Campus. 

I took this shot by the house in front of UHS. There used to be a lot of trees around this house that it was almost impossible to get a shot like this formerly at the point I am standing at that moment. Those differently colored objects at the center of the picture are IRRI buildings.

Next stop, Office of the University Registrar (OUR),  I do have some inquiries. Since it is very hot, I felt so lazy to walk down even though the distance is relatively short thanks to the Japanese Pavilion with steps or whatever they call it (haha, I still don't know how its official name) and rode on a jeepney instead. To my disappointment, it took the route via Student Union (SU) Bldg so I have to get off immediately and walk the 200-250 meter distance to the OUR. While walking, Tita Mayeth Gironella, the librarian of the Institute of Computer Science chanced to recognize me and called my attention. Ever since, she was one of those people that I see are really friendly and can approachable. I recall back in 2011, I was not feeling well and while I was doing some research for my Special Problem (SP) at the library, I did something that caught the attention of almost everybody in the room can't remember exactly, it's in the likes of dropping a book in the floor accidentally causing sudden thump. She was the only one who asked me if I'm okay, whether I'm feeling anything bad, showed concern. Hahaha. I'm thankful for that - helped somewhat on my healing.

Now, exchange of pleasantries and updating of each others' lives ensued. She somewhat nags me, why I'm not visiting her even though IRRI is just near, things like that. She even asks me why I was walking under the heat of the sun without an umbrella but instead using the laptop as a sun shield. Well, I replied, that I lost my umbrella yesterday which I sadly just bought last Sunday. And it costed PHP 450.00 :'(. Then, where am I headed to? To the OUR I said and she followed up with a question on whether I'll be pursuing a Masters Degree in Computer Science/IT as what many of my batchmates are into now. And I explained the situation. So we have to separate paths...

So at the OUR, most of the windows are open and that includes Tita Vhie's therefore I don't have to enter the office to be able to transact with her. First, I asked her if enrolment for non-degree students are only limited today. Well no, she replies. As with other students, I have until August 19 (which is usuaslly extended) to complete my registration/enrolment. I asked this because, I was not able to complete the medical examination today. Second question is uf there's really a need for a  photocopy of my birth certificate since I already submitted such to them back in my first enrolment circa May 2008. Well, the reason was I was not able to bring it today. But she replied, better bring it anyway in Monday when you come back, I'm not enrolling today anyway, right? Okay, then third one - since the admission letter states that I can enrol subjects/courses that total up to 18 units, could I enlist in more subjects that I did not specify in the non-degree student application form? Affirmative, yes. Okay, I got my questions answered. Thanks Tita.

After going out of the OUR's vestibule, I've just seen the 1445H bus pass by in front of PhySci. So I've decided to stay in one of batchmates' rooms in Institute of Computer Science, if allowed. First knocked at the office of Kim and Marya - then attempted to open it, locked. Okay. Then next, Marya's - okay she's there. Hehehe. I said, I missed her already so I'm seeing her. Joke. I told her if I can stay there and wait for the return trip of the shuttle, which she willingly accepted. In the room also was Ms. Mini May Markie Medel (so much M eh?, used to be my lecturer back then,CMSC 11), now a Professor. The room used to be solely occupied by Ms. Margarita Carmen Paterno (one of my Prof/Instructor - CMSC 56,57) but well, more staff needed and real estate of ICS is not expanding. The last time I spoke to her was during the Testimonials (basically, Institute/Department-level graduation) of the Instute a day before the UPLB Commencement Exercises/Graduation. She asked what's my SP and I pointed it out. Ms. Paterno says she have seen that and I do think she's quite receptive of it, being nominated as one of the Best Special Problems at the time. And you know what, before that one, the last time I spoke to her (not even greeting) was circa 2009! That was because when I was taking CMSC 57 under her, there was an examination that conflicted with CWTS 2 class I have. And I forgot to check upon that, therefore I failed to secure an excuse slip so I can have  a special exam. I only realized that by Saturday then and the exam was at Monday. I tried contacting her via email but it seems to me she did not check her email up until the exam day. On Monday, at the day of exam, I departed earlier than usual from my aunt's house where I go on weekends mostly, and eagerly waited for her arrival. Her car has plate number WJZ \d\d\d (#Stalker much?). She arrived quite late than I was expecting. I asked her if I can have a special exam later because I only realized last Saturday that there was a conflict. Well, she insisted on 'I neeeeed a certification...'  and I have decided it would be quite impossible to secure the slip so I chose to take the exam anyway and skipped on my CWTS 2 class. It was a heavy decision since CWTS 2 is a once-a-week class, and there's only a very limited number of absences you can incur. That day, it was the second day of our field work in Puypuy Elementary School at Barangay Puypuy, Municipality of Bay. My teammates-classmates who were ComSci upperclassmen asked me why was I absent and added that the kids were looking for me. Of course, I was there last week. Hayyy. Luckily, at the end of the semester I passed both. As a result, I avoided all interaction with Ms. Paterno as much as possible till that time. *Insert socially awkward penguin meme here*

She's not here, Maria says, as she was touring the United States and visiting her sister there. Yey, I got a chance to look around her desk and pictures. By the materiel around her space, I could see that she is indeed uhm, a dedicated roman catholic. And oh my goodness, she and her sister really look alike! How cute! And both of them are still single. Oh. Looks like they are both busy in their careers too. Ms. Paterno is pursuing her Ph. D. in Computer Science as of the moment, as with most of the Senior ICS Faculty. This was one of the reasons they recruited many instructors last year and I was one of those who applied. Well, eventually I chose staying at IRRI. Hehehe.

Oh, and I noticed this - a batchmate's excuse letter, dating back to almost five years ago...

Release the inner Grammar Nazi in you! Find what's off!

While staying, I noticed that Maria edits a pamphlet to be given to ComSci freshmen during the orientation on Monday. The copyreader/Quality Assurance officer (one of my strengths/things I like doing, I guess?) in me kicked off and I started scrutinizing what she was doing, grammar-naziingreading what's written, pointed out a wrong definition of an acronym, elaborated on the ruling on freshmen joining orgs, among others.

Okay, though I decided earlier that I would take the 1540H return trip, changed my mind and attempted to catch the 1515H one. Woah, I have to run just to catch the bus which started to move while I was still at the PhySci building. Woooh, running practice. And sweaty me all over.


Now during the night, going home, after buying banana somewhere in Grove, I could see that the area is once again brimming up with students. The normal UPLB-Grove "elbi" aura is back.