JEEP, more commonly known as the Junior Engagement Program (formerly known as the Junior Labor Trials) is a required activity for Juniors in the Ateneo. Everyone has to undergo 12 hours of work in designated areas within the Metropolis. The areas are subject to the OSCI (Office of Student Concern and Involvement) and are areas picked especially to involve the students in work that would immerse them in the everyday lives of the common people.
Some of the areas include Mini-stop (yes, Katipunan), Blessings Photocopy (in UPD), Robinsons Sta Lucia and Metro East, Marikina Public Market, Noah’s Paper Mills (beside SM Marikina) and more. Why mention this? Honestly speaking, I never got the reason why we had to do required voluntary work. Call me an elitist, or a snob, or whatever else you think would be a fitting adjective to call me. I grew up in a GS/HS that for years was run by nuns who always made us aware of the fact that we were lucky to be in our school. We were sheltered students who weren’t allowed to do much. We were overprotected. But one of the things my school never failed to mention was that we could always help other in some way. This is the reason why I detest required voluntary work. Voluntary work should never be ‘required’, it ruins the whole point of volunteering ones time and effort to help others. In HS, I immersed myself in CLC (Christian Life Community) and FCCY (Filipino-Chinese Catholic Youth), and I grew up in a charismatic community (similar to Couples for Christ), which is why I never saw the point of requiring people to help others.
Okay, I’m sort of straying from my point. Despite all that I said, I still didn’t look forward to going to JEEP. Saturday was the first day that I was actually going to work. I was set to work for 4 straight hours, and I was not a happy girl. First of all, it took the fun out of waking up late on a Saturday Morning. (FYI: The hours for JEEP can be done anytime during the week as long as it didn’t clash with classes – depending on the area as well, and it had to be done over 3 weeks which means 4 hours/week) I really hated getting out of bed early in the morning for my scheduled insertion, but it was the only time in the week that I could fully concentrate on work and not have to worry about getting to/from class.
So there I was waking up early. I had a friend wake me up, since I had to pass by her house to pick her up before picking up our other friend at Katipunan. I had my driver bring me to the closest possible area to Noah’s Paper Mills (my insertion area), basically, on the curb into the area. Most of my other friends’ had to commute to their areas, but my parents were hesitatnt to let me go since they said it wasn’t safe. Me and my friends’ got to our area in time, despite the troubles we encountered on our way to our area. We timed in exactly 6 minutes before 8am, which is 4 minutes past Ateneo time (which is why we thought we were late). Our work? To pack papers into those stacks you see in malls. For the next four hours, we had to get (already) counted packs of paper and pack them and glue them into a sort of thin paper covering.
4 hours of standing there and packing. It sounds boring, but it was one of the best 4 hours of work I could have ever imagined, and this is me NOT being sarcastic. My first impression of JEEP literally changed. Me and my fellow JEEP-mates had minimal communication with the other people, which was a relief for me since I didn’t have to force myself to speak Tagalog. We didn’t have to go around much, and we simply stayed in our work area and packed away. It was a very productive 4 hours. During the first hour and a half, I was really OC with my work which is probably why I was only able to pack 18 “reams” of paper. But after that 30 minute break, I was able to pack more than 70 “reams” of paper over the next 2 hours. It was amazing really. My friend says I Leveled Up because I got really fast. Of course, mine wasn’t as good as those who have been working there for quite some time. My packaging was a little loose, and I could have done more, but it was a good load for someone who just started.
Me and my 2 other friends are having a contest for our next insertion. Quality + quantity. Honestly, I’m really looking forward to working this Satuday (except for the waking up early bit). In a way, I’m glad to say I picked a good area for my insertion, despite my mother’s arguments towards going to a place which is bad for my health since I have asthma and allergic rhinitis. All in all, I still say it’s a good place. I got to enjoy my work and it changed the way I looked at JEEP though I still don’t get the whole point of required voluntary work.
Still, I can’t wait for Saturday.
For Juniors who have yet to take JEEP, do consider taking Noah’s Paper Mills as your insertion area. 🙂