. . .

Wouldn’t it be so nice having coffee and muffins by the terrace, overlooking the sea? You ought to be kidding me if you don’t agree with me. I mean, come on, it’s summer and that’s how we should be having breakfast or maybe a hefty healthy lunch of seafood-the freshest lobsters, crabs, shrimps, and fish and vegetable salad. Yum Yum! Later in the afternoon it would be great lying in the hammock under the shade of the tree, listening to your favourite “summer songs” which you have on your iPod, and having mango shake or halo-halo. This would really be truly refreshing. Or maybe you could walk by the beach with bare feet, feeling the sun on your skin, the water and the sand on your feet and wait for the beautiful sunset, only beaches in the Philippines can offer. You watch as the sky changes the shades of its colour–from the relaxing hue of blue to yellow to fiery red to cool red violet into the blackness of the star-filled night. You chill out with your friends by the beach, sitting in circle with bonfire at the middle providing you light. You sit, you chill, someone takes out a guitar, he starts to play, you sing. You enjoy, you have fun. You drink, you dance, and you feel free. And you say to yourself: “Summer is love. That’s what”.

Who wouldn’t want that? I sure do. And I want it so badly that I can’t think of anything else.

I had cold coffee and muffins for breakfast. I had seafood for lunch. I am listening to my summer songs from OrtoPilot and Rogue Wave. Everything seems perfect, but sadly, I am not anywhere near the beach, nor am I outside the house. I wake up every day doing the same thing: turn on my laptop, log in to Facebook, check my mails, and prepare breakfast. By 8:00 am, I’m off for office. I stay there until 5:30 pm and go home. I feel like I’m such a loser, just as everyone else had gone to the beach and enjoyed summer; here I am in the room Facebook-ing. I browse through the new uploaded photos of friends-all from their summer outings.

It’s summer and people should be out somewhere-at the beach, at the mountain, or at some friends’ house singing karaoke. But I am not. I want to be out of this confinement called OJT. I want to go to the beach and enjoy summer… even just for a day. I want to go home and stay out all day in the sun even if it means sun burns and heat strokes (well, I hope not). But as they say, quality education takes time. And I’d like to think that OJT is worth my summertime.

I miss the great outdoors. I miss being out in the open. I am not a hardcore outdoor enthusiast, but I enjoy being outside the house, bumming in the beach, hiking a mountain or just plain observing people anywhere I’m at. But most of all I miss the beach-the sand, the sea, the sun, the kites, the wind breeze, the beach bums… everything about the beach-I miss. I have painstakingly asked my friends to change their profile pictures. They can have any summer-themed pictures they want so long as it’s without the beach as their background. Some complied; most of them mocked and said I can have my summer outing when my OJT ends; some even went to the extent of tagging me in their pictures.

It hurts so I succumb to defense mechanisms. I rationalize. I sour grape. I sugar coat.

Doing on-the-job training is good for me. Aside from the fact that it’s a requirement for me to finish school, OJT exposes me to the “real” world. It makes me realize that there is a big difference between theory and reality, that the four walls of the office are not prison cell, but a venue for continued learning, venue for opening my eyes to the real essence of human resource practices in the workplace.

It’s a chance for me to grow and witness what it’s like being outside the comforts of school. It’s a chance to evaluate myself on where I stand compared to people outside my circle. It’s a chance for me to share this summer experience with friends that I don’t usually hang out with-to talk to them about anything; the elections, why we would vote for our candidate, the hopes that our candidate would win the elections, the office hours, the pseudo summer love affairs, the deadlines to meet.

Hanging out with my co-trainees is great, but what’s even greater is talking to people with different backgrounds and knowing what they think about random things and learn from them. So far, I learned that no matter how I try to approach things objectively and logically, it just won’t work because most people rely on their instincts and gut feel in decision-even if it doesn’t make sense. No matter how much I think that my suggestions are logically and feasible, they won’t be accepted immediately by most people, especially the boss if it outwits theirs. That in the real world, I have to be humble because there are a lot of people who are way better than I am, who knows more than I do and who are far more experienced than I am in life.

I learned that every person has a story, and like any other stories, a lesson or two are learned. And I believe that this is what practicum is all about. And yes, it’s worth more than my summertime.