MS vs BS and the Pieces of the Puzzle

There’s a big difference between an MS and a BS. And it’s not just the obvious fact that one starts with an ‘M’ and that the other with a ‘B’.

The difference isn’t just in the wardrobe preferences either. Truth be told, though you would find me sporting ‘professional’, ‘corporate’ outfits most days, there are still ‘haggard’ days that you’d catch me wearing a pair of good ol’ rubber shoes – sorry t’merc.

Okay, please don’t hit me on the head when I state this difference right here: Compared to BS students, most MS students are better thinkers.

I told you not to hit me on the head.

I’m talking about students here, by the way, not graduates. (I’m not saying that those holding the MS diplomas are the more superior thinkers of society!) I’m just saying that most MS students think better than BS students. Okay, let me rephrase that. Most MS students think better than how they did as BS students (now that’s better).

Or maybe it’s just me.

Yeah, I think it is just me.

The thing is, I realized something last Monday. I’m now more analytical when it comes to my classes. And my attention span is much, much better. (I think)

For those who don’t know me, I used to daydream and doodle a lot during my undergraduate years.(Now that’s a revelation!) Heartfelt apologies to my previous professors and instructors. But – in all honesty – most days I would just sit through classes drawing on the margins of my notebooks, thinking about something that happened that day, pondering on the events that are to take place that week, fixing up my oh-so-haggard schedule, and then counting the minutes until that class ends and the next one starts.

Because unless you’d tell me why and how that class is important to my life, you’d lose me. Definitely lose me. (Side note: And this is the reason why I always used to emphasize the courses’ importance and relevance to my previous classes back during my teaching days! Haha!)

But now that my tuition fee is much, much higher, and because it took me a great amount of effort to get my four IT subjects this semester – I’m subconsciously learning to be more ‘effort-full’ in listening to my lecturers.

And maybe it’s because I’m now trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together, trying to see how all these Masters subjects are going to fit into the rest of my life.

A note to all who want to pursue their Masters degree – you shouldn’t do it just because it’s the trend. You do it because you want to specialize. Because there were lessons in your BS days that you weren’t able to learn but you oh so want to learn about now. And because those things that you want to learn about are the things that you want to use for the rest of your life.

This is coming from a girl whose wildest dreams include working as a magazine editor, having a bestseller published, and getting a recording album produced.

Funny right? That’s why I’m trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Because why take up MS in IT? Why pursue knowledge on databases, automata, networking, and service dominant logic??? What do all these have to do with Mari and the Mari that God wants me to be???

There’s this course that makes my heart race whenever I think about it. Multimedia Innovation. Whenever Kuya Anthony talks about his light trap and the new inventions that he has percolating in his mind, I see these light bulbs and sparks going on and off in his head. Know what? I get that way whenever my lecturer talks about ‘Photoshop’, ‘Flash’, ‘Sound Forge’, and ‘Premier’.

But what about everything else? How does everything else fit into my life?

Yes, I’m 21 years old and I’m pondering deeply about these things. Because I don’t want to waste time and money (not to mention sleep and precious brain cells) on things that I’m never going to really use anyway. Or on things that don’t matter. Or on things that aren’t ‘me’. Or on things that won’t be really used for God’s glory.


“In your heart of hearts, what is it that you want to do? What is it that you think you are called to do?” I remember a pastor asking me that question a few weeks before my 20th birthday way back in 2008. I never really gave her my answer. But if you would ask me that question right now, my answer would this: I want to teach. I want to equip and inspire young minds and hearts, unlocking the destinies of each one. I want to see hearts ablaze and eyes lighting up as possibilities of their future are opened up before them. I want to see students finding their very purpose in life and I want to see them walking in it.

There’s a purpose why I’m in IT. There are many great minds entering and venturing the field of IT these days. The Web is one of our time’s most influential mediums. So what happens when a daughter like me influences young men and women whose skills and talents would be used shape one of our generation’s most powerful tools?

But I can never teach what I do not know. You can tell whether a lecturer is teaching out of his or her experience or whether that person is just making things up as he or she is going along. I don’t want to be a mere actress in front of my students. I want them to get something that is of substance. Something that I truly know and can speak authoritatively about.

One of my favourite ICS shirts has a print in front that says, “We can change the world”. I want to teach in such a way that my students will know AND walk in that.

And so this is the reason why I’m saving up a considerable amount of Ringgit and losing a considerable amount of sleep. I now see my MS as an investment.

I will get every lesson I can get from every lecture and have every word and theory inculcated into my system. Letting those things become life so that when I pour them out to the next generation – they will become life for them as well.

I will make the most out every assignment. Learning what I can learn. Gaining experience in whatever way I can gain experience in. That I may truly become an expert and that when I would eventually talk to my students – I would KNOW what I’m talking about.

And I will be excellent in my research. As I delve into e-commerce, as I go deeper into service science, and as I try to create a new framework for business-to-business companies – I pursue excellence because I am a representative of the Creator God who can make something out of nothing. And so this research will be a testimony. To me. To my faculty. To the e-marketplace. And eventually to my students.

I see myself teaching for the rest of my life. Teaching life. In the Computer Science classroom setting. In the church setting. In the family setting. Even in the Internet setting – teaching through multimedia when time and distance won’t permit me to do the actual face-to-face thing (I have this blog to start things off right? And who knows – maybe I’ll develop something that would revolutionize teaching through multimedia innovation!)

I’ll be working up a lot of brain cells tonight. I have two papers due early next week. One for Multimedia Innovation and another for my research. Burning the midnight oil would be a pain and a sacrifice if I did not know or if I did not consider the greater purpose of this night’s puyatan session.

But now that the pieces of the puzzle are coming together, I can go through this night joyfully.

Not to mention this semester the semesters to come.

Happy new year, everyone!

The Fog Clears Up

Ah. The fog finally clears up. That’s all I can say. Everything is much, much clearer now.

Okay. So I attended a seminar-slash-meeting on service innovation this afternoon. Masaya siya, sa totoo lang. I mean, I could really see the point why I was there in the meeting. I really, really needed to hear what the guy had to say about knowledge management systems, ontology, co-laboring, co-creating and all those techie computer science things. His research is actually a bit different from mine, but they’re still closely related. I’m glad I listened to his discussion. Because the truth is, I still have a foggy view of what I’m actually supposed to do for my Masters’ research. But after that discussion – well, let me just say that everything’s so much clearer now.

Bear with me for a while. I know, I know. Nerd talk.

Well, as the guy presented his literature, his objectives, his research questions and his methodology, a million flashbulbs began to light up in my head. I was having all these “ah-ha” moments. He discussed how co-creating was supposed enhance knowledge management systems and I then I suddenly thought, “Oh, I see. Now I understand what I’m supposed to do for my research.”

Yeah. Like crazy.

For my research, I’m supposed to create a new model by “marrying” e-commerce and service dominant logic. E-commerce I know, but service dominant logic? Uhh, what on earth is that? But thank God for Knowledge Management System Guy because what he said about co-creating cleared up the fog on SDL.

Yeah. The fog’s been cleared up for me. But I bet you’re wondering why I’m rambling on and on about my research and about that seminar that I attended this afternoon.

The thing is, I’m just so excited right now to get into this research. One of the FTSM senior lecturers tried to explain to me the other week what my task at hand was all about. She said, “You have to ‘marry’ the two concepts – e-commerce and SDL. Ahh, but that’s going to be difficult. Because that’s like asking two clashing people to marry and live with each other.”

Hmm. Interesting. I think it’s the possibility in the impossibility that makes me want to see how this whole model is going to work out. Once I got to know what SDL was all about, my mind began reeling ways on how e-commerce and SDL were going to marry one another and how they were going to live with each other.

Yeah, it really is possible. I believe that it’s because there’s going to be that certain point wherein the two different concepts are going to meet. Kumbaga, pag yung dalawang nagclaclash na tao ang pinag-uusapan, there’s that point when they would find out that they actually click, that they don’t actually clash, and that they could actually make all their differences work out.

Parang kami ni Shie. We used to have our differences, but now we’re real good friends. Our stepping into the professional world at relatively the same time (as well as all our thoughts about love, life, and leaving) made us “click” after all those clashing housemate years.

Parang kami ni Lord. I used to be so allergic to the “God-thing” and felt uncomfortable about writing and speaking about it, but I am so, so okay with that right now. I guess it was because of that instance wherein God showed me how real and how important He truly is in my life.

Parang kami ng Malaysia. I would never have thought that Mari and Malaysia would go together but look where I am now. I guess it was at that moment when I realized that I loved Malaysia, when I realized and believed na pwede pala, that everything just simply fell into place.

And so it will be with this research. So what if e-commerce and SDL really don’t match? There’s going to be that point wherein e-commerce and SDL would “click”. They will eventually realize that they can actually have a happily ever after together. And then they will have that happily ever after.

Wee. Excited for this. :)

Been a While

It’s been a while since I last blogged out my thoughts. Been a long time since ‘Mari Melancholia’ has made its way to this part of the World Wide Web. I’m sure you all missed me. I’m sure this blog has missed me as well.

I know I have. Missed this blog, I mean.

So allow my fingers to dance upon my keyboard once again. And allow my thoughts and creativity make its way through the Web and into your world.

I guess one big reason why I have chosen to fast on blogging is because (I’m quoting a lot of people here) there are some things better off left unsaid. Oh sure. I’m having my share of adventures here in Malaysia. Been having one practically every week since I got here. But this blog speaks none of it. Well, okay. I have a confession. This blog speaks none about my adventures but I’ve been bombarding some people with emails containing the juicy details of practically all my weekly exploits.

all. But not really all. Because there are just some things that are still too precious to share, things that are still between me and God.

It’s not that I want to keep all these things to myself. It’s not that I don’t want to disclose anything to you either. But there are still some things that are not for public consumption. And there’s beauty in silence. Just as there is beauty in walking away.

Beauty in walking away.
Haha. A perfect song for a farewell video. Last Monday, my IT lecturer talked to our class about database migration. I found the lecture riveting and absorbing. But please forgive me. The lecture didn’t intrigue me because I saw at that point all the possible ways that I could move the databases that I would later on create. Sorry. I’m really not that much of a nerd. But the lecture caught my attention because as I listened, I tried to identify which migration plan best described my ‘moving on’.

Could have been the direct migration plan. Leave everything behind and start off with a clean slate.

Might have been the parallel migration plan. Have a period of adjustment first. When you’re done with that, well then, it’s time to move on.

Or was it possibly the pilot migration plan? Test the new stuff on one aspect of your life. If it works, then let the new stuff overtake the rest of your life as well.

But it was probably the staged migration plan that truly fit the bill.
Hinay-hinay lang muna. (Though God has an incredibly weird definition of the word ‘hinay-hinay‘!) Take it one step at a time. But remember to keep moving forward.

Keep moving forward.
Kasi pag backward, matatapilok ka,’ so quotes a good friend of mine. It’s so true. Right now, I have no other option but to keep moving forward. Because if I would ever even dare to fall back, I’d end up doing just that – FALL. And if I would ever try to remain just the way that I am, merely sticking to the status quo, I’d end up exactly in that state. STUCK.

Well, I’m moving. Have moved on, now I keep on moving forward.

So now where is this blog heading?

Well, it’s heading to this set of ellipses here. Until the next blog. :)

Practicum-slash-Job Interview

(Thank you for your time. Okay, please send in the next applicant.)

Ms. Lubrica… Please have a seat. I see, so you are applying for an internship. I have read your resume and I must say, it’s very impressive. Your grades are not that bad either… But going back to your resume… hmm… I see that you don’t have any experiences working in the field of computer science… am I correct…?

Yes, sir. I believe that you are correct. However, as you can see in my resume, though I didn’t really have any experiences in computer science outside of class, I have, however, managed to accomplish a lot of projects inside class. As you can see, I’ve managed to create an interactive story book, a simple interpreter, a simple game… I’ve also led in a software engineering project –

(Interrupts) I see. Can I ask you a question…?

Yes, sir. After all, this is an interview.

Okay. How did you find those projects? Did you enjoy doing them.

Yes, sir. Especially the interactive story book. I really enjoyed that. It gave me a chance to be creative, to demonstrate my artistic and communication skills.

I see. What about the others?

Oh yes… I enjoyed working on those projects. Though much of those projects cost me a lot of sleeping hours…

That’s the life of a software engineer. Well, going back to the interactive storybook… you mentioned about communication skills. I have also read in your resume about your skills in this area. I see that you have worked as an editor in your school paper. And that you have been awarded as writer of the year… Tell me, what made you decide to take up a carreer writing programs instead of writing books and articles

Actually sir, it’s a long story. To be honest, if I were given a choice, I would probably taking up a course in communication right now. Perhaps Masscom in UPD. Or if not, Communication Arts or Development Communication in UPLB. However, I gave in to my parent’s request to search for another course, so here I am, a computer scientist in the making.

So have you grown to love computer science after almost 3 years of being bombarded with languages and algorithms…

I guess I could say that I have learned to love it… However… Sir, I hope you don’t mind me saying this… Sometimes, I can’t see myself as a computer scientist… Sometimes… I try to see what I’ll become after graduation. At the start of this year, I was somehow inspired to move to the field of education. Somehow I saw myself teaching and inspiring computer science students. However… after that… what? I know I can’t go on teaching forever… And when I move on to the field… (mari naiintindihan ka pa kaya ng interviewer???) I’m not sure if I would GO as a teacher, student or software engineer… You know… When I say I want to be a teacher… I really do want to be a teacher… but some say that I’m putting my “brains” to a waste… But I know I won’t because I would be imparting something to my students, something beyond head knowledge. What I really want to impart is life…

I see. If that is the situation, then why are we conducting this interview? I am, after all looking for a software developer and not an instructor.

I’m sorry, sir. I guess I got a little carried away. I guess.. I don’t know. I’m sorry. I guess… Uhm, can we just end this interview…? I’m so sorry to have wasted your time…

No problem. Come back when you decide to take up a carreer in software engineering…

Note: *Sigh.* Anyway, I won’t be this, uhm… unprofessional when it would come to real interviews… but… well… sigh. anyway.

In the eye of the Storm

Finaly. My much awaited
article containing the details about Milenyo’s aftershock. It’s finaly here. Or
is it?

Hahaha. Sorry. No Milenyos in this entry. Just
a peek into the “storm” that I have found myself caught up in for the
past weeks…

Date: October 17 – 21, 2006 (Pre-storm encounter)

From the wearther forecast: Clouds are a bit
gray.  There’s a slight drizzle. Winds blowing at 100kph.
(Mabilis na
ba ang 100kph??? hehehe). Possibly due to Typhoon Melody coming in from the
east coast and Typhoon Cynde from the west.99.99% possibility of a storm.

What a great week. GREAT. Sorry for the slightly
sarcastic tone. But when you’re loaded with exams (try having one exam per day
for one whole week)… well, being sarcastic is better than being irritated.
Much better than being impatient. And it is during this time that you realize
just how good the Lord is, that He is able to put up with a moody,
unpredictable person like you.

Date: October 21, 2006 (THE STORM HITS)

From the wearther forecast: Typhoon Mari hits.The
storm began coming in at around 1215hrs but reached its climax at 1300hours.
Clouds: black. Wind: 1000kph. Rain: Unstoppable.

This was after the MCOM meeting. God was there to
witness what happened to me in the prayer room, ate Cati and Vanet to witness
the events that occured afterwards. After a whole week of physical and
emotional stress, it was only during this point that I finally broke down. Why?
For the previous week, I was left with no time – no time to rest, no time to
breathe… no time to even cry. But dams just break loose when you can’t keep
it in anymore.

Date: October 22, 2006 (Relocation of Refugees)

From the wearther forecast: The storm shows a
slight chance of improvement. Clouds: Still black. Rain: was unstopable during
the morning, but somehow lessened a bit at 1300hrs. Winds: Slowing down to 120
kph. Refugees Melody, Cynde, and Mari relocated to Rhoda’s,



, and the Lumen residence

Have you ever experienced deja vu? A
feeling that this moment has happened before? I experienced that last Sunday.
Why? Because once again I found myself at the back of the Olivarez Cinema
during the time of worship, unable to make myself go in front (once again due
to my emotional turmoil). And suddenly the worship team begins with the first
song – “I am a friend of God…” Haha. Deja vu alright.
(pardon me if the spelling is incorrect).

And yet… well the events that occurred during
this Sunday were weirder than the last. The last Sunday that this happened –
well that was PAINFUL – but this one – this one was STRESSFUL. And yet the Lord
managed to give me some encouragement…

Encouragement1: A dream of encouragement(?) brought to life. During my few
hours of sleep that night (morning?) I dreamt of seeing some SOD’s and even
some SFC’s (still in the UPLB campus) joining us in our Sunday Worship Service.
Most of them had not been part of the fellowship for a long time. I know they
have their reasons. But in my dream I saw them.. even grabbed the opportunity
to welcome them back. And then that Sunday… I saw some of them. Hallelujah.
Too bad I was to stressed out to approach them and give them the welcome that
they deserved…

Encouragement2: Cynde prayed for me (thanks cyndz). Ate Mara prayed for me.


naman okay
na ako, sa dami ba naman ng nagpray na para sa akin.

Encouragement3: Gold dusts!!! After relocating to vanie’s house, it was
time to get to business. Malyn and I began rushing the project that was due the
following day. I began to simultaneously study for my 141 finals, also
scheduled for the following day. Then, there just came a point when I noticed
something in my arms… something red. Huh. Rashes again. The same rashes that
I experienced during those days before ate fe’s wedding. And then I noticed
something else… something was glittering… and then I realized… GOLD
DUSTS! Hallelujah. I checked my arms… my hands… and just to make sure even
my thighs (hehehe)… and though these parts of my body were also filled with
rashes… I could see those gold dusts… hallelujah. Even after my bath, the
gold dusts were there… even before our initial presentation in 127, they were
there. Hallelujah…

Date: October 23-26, 2006 (The Storm Continues)

From the wearther forecast: The storm still
continues to keep refugees locked up inside their homes. Lack of lighting keeps
the refugees disoriented when it comes to time. Refugees go outside rarely.

Ito ang panahong kawawa na talaga ang mga comsci
student. I-picture mo nalang.

Monday – finals ko ng 141, initial
presentation ng 127, at submission ng 124. 5:00 natataranta na si Carlo. Halos
tumatalon na ata siya sa lobby ng ICS sa sobrang kaba. Mukhang kawawa naman si
malyn. Si mari? Nagpapacholeric na, dahil kelangan may taong choleric sa
panahong ang mga tao ay natataranta na.

Tuesday – Pumasok sina Eva at Joa sa
tahanan ni Vani bilang kapwa kong refugee. Sumunod si malyn makalipas ang ilang
oras. Laptop lamang ang kaharap namin. Si eva nababaliw na sapagka’t ayaw
magconnect ng laptop niya sa oracle. Nagloloko lang pala ang error message ng
oracle. Matagal na pala kaming nakakonek. Lumalabas lang kami para bumili ng
pagkain at humingi ng tulong kay maam ria. Ang pasahan ng aming proyekto ay sa
kinabukasan na.

Tuesday (Gabi) – Umuwi si eva para maligo.
Babalik daw. Kasama niya si Joa. Pagbalik nila, dala dala nila ang mga kape na
aming pinabili.

Wednesday (madaling araw) – Wala pa
gaanong nangyayari sa aming proyekto. Okay naman kami ni Joa , ngunit sa
palagay ko, nag-iinfinite loop lamang sina malyn at eva. Gising pa rin kami, maliwanag
na sa labas. Ni isa sa amin ay di pa nakakaidlip. Pagdating ng ala


heto na ang linya ng
mga tao:

Vanie: “ayoko
na… gusto ko na matulog… aww…”

(tono: nagpapaawa)

Malyn: Tahimik. Tapos, “Paano
kaya kung…”

Eva: “Hindi.
kasi….” (tono: um, choleric)

Uy, wala ba kayong balak na mag-aral ng 131?”

(10:00 ang finals namin doon)

Mari: “Tama
na. 7 na. Aral na tayo. Mamaya nalang natin

ituloy pagkatapos ng exam.”

Wednesday (gabi) – Nalaman ko nalang na
may EXECOM meeting. Di ko kinaya. Nagpaalam ako kay kuya JikJik. Hindi ko pa
kasi nasisimulan ang proyekto ko sa 150. 11:10 kinabukasan ang presentasyon ko

Thursday (madaling araw) – Gising pa rin
si mari. Nababaliw na sa simplex, sa linked list, arrays, Gauss-Jordan at mga

Thursday (umaga) – Natapos ang
presentasyon. Hahaha. Mukha na akong kaawa-awa sa harap ni maam Aguila.
Hanggang first iteration lang ng simplex ang natapos ko. Nakausap ko si maan
pagkatapos. Wala din siyang tulog. Nakakaawa naman kami. Buti nalang na-exempt
kami sa 127. Bawas sa aaralin para sa sabado.

Feels like I’m walking in the rain na pagkatapos.
Di pa kasi ako naliligo.

Date: October 26-27, 2006 (The Eye of the Storm)

From the wearther forecast: The storm begins
to clear. A few clouds still begin  to loom over the horizon but winds
have slowed down and the rain has ended.

I’m in the eye of the storm. Once again there’s
room to sleep, room to breathe… even room to catch up with the ministry (and
post some blogs!) Hahaha. Also room for my atm to be eaten up by a machine and
room to attempt to retrieve it. In other words, I need to get going. hahaha.

Pero diba sabi nila, ang eye of the storm ay gitna pa lamang? So ibig sabihin,
may paparating pang isa… prepare for the outpour….

One… two… three… BREATHE

October is approaching. So are the deadlines, the third long exams and the Finals.

Okay. Stop. Breathe.

By next week I’ll be bombarded with the numerous group meetings, cramming nights and…

Hold on. Breathe again.

This week is my week of rest. I have no exams. (Academically speaking that is. In terms of LIFE exams, God has different things in mind.) Yet, once the next week starts, I won’t be able to stop those exams from coming (ang going… and making way for the next). Sleepless nights, here I come.

It’s not that I’m not used to this. I have already spent three separate nights for three different subjects (CMSC 150, SOSC1, CMSC124), literally working/studying straight without any sleep. I guess I’ll just have to add a couple more to that list.

Lists. Hahaha. I have to learn about lists in java. That’s a laugh. I’m in the third year and I still don’t know how lists work, or even how to declare lists in java.

Java. Mocha java anyone? I’m trying not to become too stressed out this week. I’ve had enough of that for the previous weeks. I mean, what with all the exams, the requirements, the emotianal turmoil, and the “beatings” from the Lord that I had to go through… And now this. Not this. Not this again. Lord, I can’t handle it. Not now. Not now. Can You take my emotions away for a while? I’m tired of being hurt. I’m tired of being unappreciated. I’m tired of being the one who has to apologize. Pero sige lang.

Waaa… And to think that this week is not yet “heavy” compared to those weeks to come.

I’m holding on to a promise though. That this season, things are going to be different. It’s a NEW season. Winter has passed and spring has come. (The weather agrees with me though the calendar doesn’t). That’s why, right now, I’m letting go of everything. I’m free falling. I’m letting go and falling… into the arms of the Father…

Misty Edwards says it well in her song, “Just in time”:

Like a rushing river am I
Like a raging torrent inside
I find that I’m full of knowing nothing
I find that I’m hungry for the fullness of Christ.

Like a rushing river am I
Like a raging torrent inside
I’m LETTING GO of the mountain view
I’m letting go but WHAT INTO???

I’ve been crucified with Christ, I’ve been crucified with Christ
I’ve been crucified with Christ, Yet not I

The one thing I  know
You make all things beautiful
You make all things beautiful
You make all things beautiful

See? Everything will turn out beautifully. Just in time. Just in time.

Sigh. Halfway through my breathing period. Only a few more days to go,

one… two… three… BREATHE.