Less Than 24 Hours to the Ultimate Date

March 07, 2007- A date. Just a date. No special meaning. No significance whatsoever. Just another day. Just another ordinary day. Perhaps it is so. It may be just another day to the rest of the world but for six young individuals, this day marks a momentous event in their lives.
New Batch for 2007 for the Beta Chapter: Carlos Consing, Mcgyver Abadilla, Sigrid Ilustre, Dianah Georlin, Jane Aquino, Juneal Sun. At the back is the current OIC chapter president, John Clifton ErmitaƱo

On this fateful day, these six people- three boys and three girls- will be immersing themselves into a new world. They will be starting a new journey in their lives- a journey that will help them develop their skills and uncover their potential for leadership and excellence. This journey will aid in molding them into better students and better people. this journey comes in the form of joining an organization- an organization created 14 years ago- the nursing society called Beta Nu Delta.

Now, don't be fooled by the name. It's not like your ordinary fraternity. It has done away with the senseless violence hiding behind the term "initiation." It has done away with overnight beer sessions that is mistaken for "brotherhood." It is a nursing society which goes without saying that it is not for the masses. It is exclusively for nursing students and not just any nursing student, mind you. It is for those nursing students who not only have the knowledge and skills but most importantly, have the absolute dedication to the profession.

The six individuals will be formally accepted into this society today and any moment from now, each one will have to perform the tasks assigned to them.

3:00 pm: One of the six nervously takes out a piece of paper from his backpack and recites a spiel he wrote. He has not memorized it yet. Another one approaches him and asks if he is ready for the ceremony. The answer was a resounding negative. They both comfort each other. Tense, worried, apprehensive- three adjectives one could use to describe what they were feeling at the moment.

4:30 pm: One of the girls become hesitant to continue. She now wears a sulky and worried look on her face. She hasn't prepared the piece which she is supposed to deliver in front of seven pairs of eyes. She was on the brink of backing out but the leader of the group sat beside her and gave her words of comfort and encouragement.

Hesitation grew in the hearts of some of them as time grew closer to 6 pm. One though of giving up because he hasn't memorized his speech.

"Why spend too much time trying to be perfect when we can't be perfect?", said the leader in an authoritative yet gentle and non-offensive manner. He then leads the rest of them down the hallway of the second floor and then stops in front of a room. He opens the door and tells the five to get inside.

The four white-painted walls of the Fundamental laboratory bore witness as each one silently sat in their chairs and watched on as the leader stood in front and started a mini-ceremony. He began with an icebreaker to beat the tension. After that, he called in the first speaker. She began to speak and her words brought a clear message: Some nurses view the occupation as a means to a financially secure life. They work hard but their hearts aren't in it. There is no passion and they are only driven by the desire to have the monetary benefits. She adds that the members of the BND society should make a difference by providing quality service to the people with an honest heart to preserve the pride and integrity of the nursing profession.

The second speaker was called in. He nervously rose up from his chair and walked towards the center of the room. As he faced his eager audience, his words flowed out like the froth that cascades down a softdrink bottle after you vigorously shake it and immediately pop the cap off. "I don't normally read the newspaper. Months ago, my father handed me a copy of a periodical and there was a story in that publication that caught my eye. It was about a boy with an amputated leg who was teased and taunted by other younger children..." He expressed his disappointment for this act which he deems "immoral" and pointed out that parental guidance and influence could take a child towards a path that will mold him/her into a well-rounded individual or down the road that turns people into cold and apathetic beings who couldn't care less about the world. "We can't hide the fact that some parents are 'kunsintidor', he said with a hint of a smile. It is in the biological instinct of every parent to protect his/her offspring at any cost as manifested by the reaction of some parents towards the decision of a certain school administration to impose punishment upon their children who were involved in the hazing of younger girls. The parents defended their children and said it was a violation of their rights. "I wondered what rights of the girls they were protecting...", the speaker said. "... Is it the right to hurt others?" He then stated a universal truth: "Not everyone can appreciate the beauty of life. Not everyone can accept those that are different like disabled individuals." There are people who are nice but expect a reward for their good deeds. In a world that is flooded with indifference, there are still noble souls that step in to protect the vulnerable. The speaker goes back to the topic of the boy with an amputated leg. He added that there was an older boy who put a stop to all the mockery. The speaker then encouraged his listeners to emulate the action of the boy, that is, to defend the rights of the helpless because "by doing good we establish relationships." As he sat down, he wiped the gargantuan beads of sweat that dripped fom his forehead down to his neck. He smiled nervously and the girl to his right rubbed his back and squeezed his hand to relax him and then proceeded to take down notes.

Th third speaker weakly walked in front. She feels tired as she hasn't slept well during the prior evening. She begins to deliver her impromptu speech. "According to a survey..." Her voice was soft and almost whisper-like but it was still audible because of the utter silence that embraced the entire room. She continues to speak of how teens, majority of which are boys, engage in drinking sprees. This behavior is fueled by a lot of factors but the most prominent of all is the quest for popularity. Most, if not all, people are aware of the fact that alcohol takes away a person's inhibitions, decreases self-control and makes one prone to think bad thoughts and do bad things. She then proceedsto say that the society aims to strenghten individuals morally and spiritually, that it's not your run-of-the-mill fraternity meaning there's no alcohol and no hazing. She continues by saying that there shouldn't be any competition between the members just for popularity's sake. Being a member requires one to help the other members, be a good leader and to serve as a role-model and all this can be achieved without the influence of alcohol. She goes back to her seat and another one replaces her position in front. He is not about to deliver any speech. He closes the mini-program by thanking the speakers and the superior officers of the society for the opportunity given to each one. They were then asked to leave the room.

Outside, the six people could not contain their excitement. Questions were asked. "What's gonna happen next?" "What are we gonna do?" No answers yet but it will come soon. Very soon. One calmly walks downstairs to check on his belongings. Two of them went into the library to sit down while the remaining three stood leaning on the rails that merged with the building walls. They didn't talk. They merely watched the datk sky and enjoyed the cool breeze.

After a few minutes, one of the superior officers called them back in. He's wearing a black robe over his white uniform now. The six lined up alphabetically, went inside silently, and faced the the door to their left as instructed by the other senior officer who was standing between them and a glass cabinet with wooden borders. The rites began with a prayer. "Lord, give me strenght... Lord, give me courage... Lord, give me wisdom... Lord, give me patience... Lord, give me assurance." Like any initiation rite, the secrets of the society were exposed to the young blood. The six pledged themselves into the society with a promise to keep its secrets and uphold its ideals.

Moments later, they were officially members of the society. Still excited, they heaved a sigh of relief. What began with a prayer ended with a prayer.

The newly pledged members along with the 2 supeior officers formed a circle for a discussion of the event. "How was the experience?", asked the superior officer. The answers were almost the same: Unexpected. Shocking. Heart-pounding. Between bites and sips they conversed and after a few minutes they all headed home.

That's what happened on the 7th day of March 2007. That's it. Jubilation. Tribulation. Celebration of a new beginning. Now, how did I come to know all of that? I should know. I'm one of the six.

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Sigrid Ilustre, SN is a sophomore nursing student of Brokenshire College SOCCSKSARGEN in General Santos City. She was recently elected to membership by the Beta Chapter of the Beta Nu Delta Nursing Society. You can reach via her email address scilustre@mail.betanudelta.com