Response of Jaren Ryan Rex (BS APS/ACS) at SOSE Recognition Program for Distinguished Students of 2017

ateneophysicsnews_jaren_ryan_rex_sose_awards_20170524

Jaren Ryan Rex, Magna Cum Laude and Physics Program Awardee, makes a response in behalf of the Honor Students during the SOSE Recognition Program for Distinguished Students at Leong Hall, 24 May 2017, 10:00 a.m. Photo by Maria Anna Acejas-Asis.

Dr. Vilches, Dr. Bautista, esteemed faculty, and fellow students, good morning.

It is an honor to be with you all here today. I am sure we are all delighted to have performed as well as we did to receive our hard-earned grades. At the same time, we are humbled to be blessed with the passion for learning and the cognitive capabilities that have enabled us to excel in our fields. We are also humbled to be in each other’s presence, to see others who have excelled, and to celebrate our collective achievements as a community.

As science majors, we can perhaps all agree that reaching this level of excellence has required a great deal of discipline. Reading our textbooks and other references again and again, until we finally understood the lessons; solving problems late into the night to practice for the upcoming exam; working long hours in the lab to accomplish only a small step in our theses—we’ve all learned how hard work pays off through these experiences.

Sometimes, though, we felt it didn’t pay off—we may have been discouraged from time to time with a substandard performance in a test, a difficult concept we couldn’t understand, or a failed experiment. And many of us have been in a love-hate relationship with our theses, recalling those times when we wanted to scream in utter frustration whenever our programs weren’t running properly, or our simulations produced bad results, or our circuits weren’t working, or the reagents didn’t react as expected, or we didn’t see what we wanted to see under the microscope, or the math simply didn’t check out. At one point, we may have given up on doing our best, and settled for “OK, good enough.” But eventually we would get back on our feet and renew our resolve to excel, no matter what challenges we face.

And here we are now! We’ve hurdled four or five years of hardship and trials, and reaped the best rewards: those flashes of insight when we connect two lessons together, the sweet feeling of winning a champion title in a competition, and the extraordinary experience of getting 100% in a long exam and seeing your raw grade decrease because your previous exam was a 137.5/100.

But as Ateneans, we’ve learned not to let all these achievements get to our head, but rather to share our blessings with others and use our talents to help others in the best way possible. We’ve tutored our block mates and other students who needed help understanding the lessons. We’ve organized projects to spread love and appreciation for the sciences: amazing race-type games with stations demonstrating practical applications of science, talks and fora for experts to share their knowledge and experience, and many, many more. Some of us have even gone out and presented our theses or other projects to various audiences, reminding them of the importance of science in our lives.

This brings us to now. After celebrating our achievements, we ask ourselves: What now? Some of us have well-laid plans as to what to do next. But some of us are still unsure, still exploring our options (and doing feasibility checks on them). And what are we to expect from the outside world? I don’t know. Perhaps we will be continually frustrated by people who refuse to believe in the usefulness and relevance of our fields. Perhaps we will be discouraged by the lack of scientific interest in our own country, or the blatant disregard of it elsewhere in the world.

But as scientists and as Ateneans, we know how to respond. We know the truth about how science is ever-present in life, how science shapes our understanding of nature, our technological developments, and our worldview. And we can assert the importance of our careers, whether they be creating products that put science to good use, or doing research that deepens our understanding of the universe, or inspiring the next generation of scientists. We will not be discouraged by the evils of the world; rather, we shall commit to serving God and the world by continuing to excel in our fields.

Once again, we thank the Ateneo for giving us this opportunity to excel. Wherever we go, we shall inspire others to do the same.

Thank you all.

Advertisements

About quirinosugonjr
Physics professor and corporate blogger

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: