In a virtual Eucharistic Celebration to mark the start of their Thomasian journey, close to 11,000 freshmen of the University of Santo Tomas were challenged by the University Rector, Very Rev. fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., PhD, to make the most of the opportunities they will have and discover their identity while in UST.
“Be a first-rate version of yourself: your intelligence, emotions, talents, character are God’s precious gifts. Develop them,” said the Rector in his homily. The head of the University expressed joy at having the new batch of Thomasians, for their “presence gives fresh energy. We need young blood.”
Talking about University life, the Rector recalled the Latin word “Universitas,” which means “all together.” “We are a whole community of teachers and scholars all together. Entering a University is a life-changing event that is difficult at the start,” the Rector said.
The importance of learning and foresight
Education, according to fr. Ang, must not be taken for granted, especially at a time when access to it is challenged by the economic difficulties caused by the pandemic: “Education helps you get ahead in life. Seize this opportunity. Take advantage of it, for not everyone has a fair share of chances. You are most privileged to be given a chance to continue your education. The greatest calamity is the tragedy of missed opportunities. Don’t miss your opportunities.”
To guide the learners in their pursuit, the Rector asked them to reflect on what they actually envision themselves to be. “What you want in life and where you want to go? How do you want to be known? No matter where you are from, your dreams are valid. I want you to chase your dreams and catch them. I hope that the choice of your course or strand. The secret of success is loving what one does,” fr. Ang said.
By living the University experience, the students, according to fr. Ang, will be led to discover more about themselves: “I give you a freehand to discover slowly what people say about Thomasians. There is nothing ordinary about Thomasians. In order for you to figure it out for yourself, you have to experience living it. Off you go, happy strolling. Welcome to the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas!”