Immersion: Personal Insights and Inquiries

2 weeks ago, I finished attending a 3 day immersion session with a community in our area. For those who aren’t aware, 4th year students at the Ateneo are (highly) encouraged to attend immersion sessions with a community partnered with Ateneo.

I, together with 11 other students, had our 3 day live-out immersion session with juvenile delinquents in an undisclosed location. Haha. Basically, we were to spend around 7-8 hours with them for those three days (Friday-Sunday), living out – which meant going home and coming back the next day for the next session.

At first, I was very iffy about attending immersion. I didn’t see the entire point of attending something that didn’t seem to mean much to me, and only deterred me from spending 3 days concentrating on my thesis. But as the days wore on during my immersion, I came to realize how blessed I was in life. Awhile ago, during our post-immersion recollection, it struck me how blessed I was to have grown up in such a safe and warm environment. With a loving family, enough money to support my daily needs and education, plus extra, I’m considerably lucky. During my immersion, I got to meet children who were only a few years younger than me, but who have endured much more in life than I ever have. They didn’t have the same resources that I have had to live a good lifestyle. Sometimes, more often than not, they were forced into situations that were beyond their control. It made me feel sad that such young children, don’t really enjoy the thrills of youth and are forced into learning the harsh realities of life at such a young age.

I got to talk to 8 juvenile delinquents – 7 boys and 1 girl, in my 3 day immersion session. The kids were very nice and friendly and cooperated with us when it came to the activities that we had prepared. Miraculously, despite my poor sleeping habits and frustration towards waking up early, I was able to make it during those 3 days. We laid out activities for us and the children that were meant to be fun and social-oriented. At the end of those 3 days, I got to learn a lot about those children and the environment that they had been thrust into.

I won’t go into detail about any specifics. Honestly though, I am quite lucky to be where I am, especially in a 3rd world country. At times, I think to myself and wonder why we’re forced into such activities. They’re called volunteer work but are mandatory most of the time. Either way, at the end of it all, I am glad that I chose to attend the immersion session. Though different from the other immersion sessions of other students (most of whom live-in with their community, most of which are in the farming communities, or mountainous communities such as with the aetas and such), I got to learn a lot about the community I was involved in. Maybe not as much as other students who were probably more immersed with their communities as compared to my 3 day immersion (but more like a 3 day outreach program) experience, but still…

Ateneo teaches students to be men and women for others. Maybe it’s this. It’s not always clear at first, but if there is some way that in the future, my actions can lead to less children having to be accused of crimes they didn’t commit, or are forced into bad situations because of a lack of means, then I hope I will be able to help then.

This entry is so jumbled up. A lot of my post-immersion thoughts are mixed up with my post-recollection experiences. Seriously though, there’s a lot that I should be thankful for despite how many times I complain about my thesis or family issues, or other shallow things.

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