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Ateneo de Manila University has existed for more than 150 years and within that timeframe generalizations have been made by outsiders on the characteristics of its students. Many of these observations put Ateneans on high pedestals, praising their greatness in all things. This may not be entirely untrue for they do abide by the principle of Magis. Even with this, many Ateneans do not uphold the same teaching in their day to day lives. Examples of these stereotypes are:

• Ateneans are Fluent English Speakers

Ateneans are known for their fluency in the language of English, this is a well-known observation among many Filipinos. It seems that people have created a certain idea in which all Ateneans specialize in the language of English but not in Filipino. For some, this may be true because as soon as you step foot inside the campus of Ateneo de Manila University you will hear many of it’s students conversing in the said language. This is not entirely true for the school may use English as the primary language as their mode of communication but there is quite a vast amount of people that are more comfortable in speaking Filipino. It may not abundant but there are a lot of them that do, you just have to find them.

• Ateneans are Over – Achievers

Yes, it is true that the Ateneo has had it fair share in attaining awards in multiple competitions both local and worldwide. This is probably because the institution stands by the principle of magis, which is translated as “more”. This inspires many of it’s students to give their best and surpass certain standards. Many of it’s students are successful in accomplishing this but not all are capable of abiding to it. Many of this school’s students are quite average. Not all attain perfect marks and honors. Many just do their best to pass and get promoted to the next grade level. Some even fail and are required to take summer school. It only seems as if all are achievers because they are profusely blessed with students who use magis as their motto.

• Ateneans are Snobby Rich Kids

Just because the tuition fee in this institution is gravely high, it does not mean that all of it’s students can afford it. Ateneo de Manila has thousands of students who cannot afford the tuition fee and are only able to attend said school because of their scholarships. These scholarships are provided by the university to assist these pupils who have financial problems but have the determination and deserve a chance to receive education from the university. Although many people think that these students come from prestigious families that give them all they need, it is quite the opposite. Some students hardly get by with all the expensive requirements that are tasked to them and it takes a great amount of determination to remain in this institution.

These are just some of the stereotypes portrayed by Ateneans. Although they may not be completely false, they are also not completely true. The students of this institution are like any other’s. Some may just rise above the others and share their abilities to farther lengths but at the end of the day Ateneans are just like you.

“GA, ka lang?” is a statement I usually hear whenever I let someone know that I belong to the General Academic strand. Lang, it’s almost as if this strand is being belittled and considered inferior to the rest of the strands.

But first, what is the General Academic strand? It’s quite self-explanatory. From the name itself, the GA strand is a strand that offers a wide variety of subjects which cover general topics rather than specialized areas of study. Thus, it is commonly referred to as the perfect track for those who still does not know what course to take up in college or the kind of career to pursue. Taking up this strand will enable you to explore and be exposed to different fields of study, possibly introducing you to a career path you didn’t know you would develop an interest to in the first place.

This is the main reason why many people have labeled GA as the strand for the “undecided”. Being labeled with this term is not necessarily a bad thing because it is true that there are students who can relate to this and are still undecided with what path they want to pursue. However, what’s disappointing is that some people perceive the condition of being undecided and unprepared as a ghastly foreshadowing that one will not be able to achieve anything in life.

Sure, some people may not yet have concrete dreams and clear goals in mind right now. But who are we to judge them for it?

Here in the Ateneo de Manila Senior High School, students can choose among four academic strands namely: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), ABM (Accountancy, Business and Management), HUMSS (Humanities and Social Science) and GA (General Academic) strand. Each strand is composed with its own remarkable qualities and distinct characteristics enough to distinguish what makes one unique from the other.

What makes the GA strand unique is the fact that being a part of this strand challenges you to be open to different ideas and cultivate a diverse set of skills that allows you to see for yourself how you can aspire past your limitations and pursue an ambition that matches with your expectations in life.

Girls are all about just beauty. Girls can't play sports. Girls can never be in charge. Girls are not meant to speak out. Girls can't be both beautiful and intelligent. Girls this, girls that.

Sometimes, most girls try to break stereotypes like these given to us by doing their best to be the "perfect girls". For them to be accepted, they try to be the icons that the society wants them to be. In some cases, they even do everything just to try and please everyone; To prove to them that they are worth the shot. While doing so, they do not notice that they're already becoming someone they're really not.

Us girls from the general academic strand, we strive to be the persons we've always wanted to be. We do our best not to be perfect, but to be better. We are doing this while being our own true selves, not while being someone we're not.

Some people say girls can't do sports. Well guess what? A lot of GA girls play sports. Some are even part of a varsity, moreover UAAP. They say girls are not meant to speak out their minds. A reality check, many of us GA girls are on the debate team, competing and winning.

Some people say girls can never be in charge. Then again, almost every girl in GA is a leader. You don't need a title to lead. You just need to have courage and be kind.

Beauty isn't all about one's appearance. It looks into what a person has to offer on the inside. GA girls are beautiful and kind-hearted. We don't brag, we don't show off. We're smart and no one can make us feel inferior. No matter what people say, us GA girls will stick together, lose together, and win together. After all, who says we can't be imperfectly perfect?


Writers: Rafaela Castro, Rose Santos, Kimberly Yu

Editor: Kitty San Diego

Layout: Cloie Pino

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