How WELL was your CHEM?

by Inah Marie Q. Rivera from 1-BS Chemistry

“TICK-TOCK”—what time is it?

“Knock knock”—someone is knocking. I am not expecting anyone today and I did not invite my friends to come over my house. I stood up, walked my way to the door and opened it, but, no one was there. There was no person at all, so I closed the door and sat on my chair facing my laptop. That was the time when I realized, the sound was from my laptop—a notification from my Google mail account. The message stated “Good day!

On behalf of the Ateneo Chemistry Department, we [the Ateneo Chemistry Society] congratulate you for qualifying for the BS CH/ BS CH-MSE program!
With this, we cordially invite you to WelChem 2021 on September 4, 2021, 1:00 – 5:00 PM thru ZOOM….” I did not expect that and I did not know that Ateneo has this kind of invitation upon being accepted and enrolled as a freshman. I was on the edge of my seat.

Days passed. Now is the time of the WelChem that the Ateneo has prepared for the freshmen. WelChem is a formal preparatory course for BS CH/ BS CH-MSE freshmen to get to know their course and home department more. This event will orient you on what you can expect during your stay in Ateneo – especially with the sudden transition to online classes – through some of the narratives of your upperclassmen and Chemistry alumni.

Time is running out. Everyone is entering the meeting online. Any minute, the event will finally start. I prepared my snacks and comfortably sat on my chair. I waited for a minute and the program is starting.

“WOW!” was just my only reaction the whole time.

The hosts, Michael and Yvonne begin it with the reminders for the event. To start the main event, Yvonne asked Michael, “How’s quarantine life is for you so far?”. Michael started telling his story and went to the point of this online set up that we had. Both hosts shared some advice and coping mechanisms that they do during this online setup.

Michael then called a person who is an upperclassman and the president of the Ateneo Chemistry Society, Mr. Neilson Abad to share his experience in the campus and to answer the question “What is your favorite onsite class memory?”. He then answered “noong nagkaroon ng earthquake drill, kailangan i-practice at free cut mga class….” Another one is from an upperclassmen, Mary, who was asked the same question. She responded that her favorite onsite class memory is during the tambak week.

To officially start the WelChem 2021, the opening message is prepared and spoken by Rika Cruz (RC), a 3 Biology Student and School of Science and Engineering (SOSE) Sanggunian Representative. RC talks about the SOSE Sanggunian and how life was in the Ateneo. She introduces the services of SOSE Sanggunian to help us, freshmen to live our college life in Ateneo online set up easily and also her experiences of her college life.
After meeting a student who is also from the SOSE Department, the SOSE dean is here to personally welcome us in the Ateneo, Dr. Raphael Guerrero. He is the one who prepared the welcoming message for us, freshmen. We really feel the warm welcome of the SOSE Department for us. We really feel that we belong in this department and in this institution. He also introduces the departments, and programs of SOSE Department, faculty and students, SOSE Research Priority Areas (environment, disaster reduction and management, health, STEM education, and emerging technologies), SOSE Faculty Pledge, opportunities for growth and development, and request for students’ commitment.

Since this event is for Chemistry students, the Chemistry Department Chair, Mr. Armando Jerome H. De Jesus, Jr., PhD, welcomes us, Chemistry freshies and explains the BS Chemistry and BS Chemistry with Materials Science and Engineering programs four major areas of research, introduces faculty members, holistic teaching and training, student awards, student involvements (international programs, organizations, sports), and beyond Ateneo (Alumni: careers). He explains as follows:

“BS Chemistry is a 4-year program that trains students who wish to work as chemists in industry, enter the teaching profession, or pursue further studies. The emphasis is on the acquisition of thorough knowledge on the fundamental principles of chemistry and skills in laboratory practices and modern instrumentation.” I am proud to say that I am a BS Chemistry student that is why I am on the edge of my seat while listening to this event.

“BS Chemistry + Materials Science and Engineering is a 5-year double-degree program where the student obtains a BS Chemistry (after 4 years) and a BS in Materials Science and Engineering after an additional year. The program equips the students with the fundamental and advanced knowledge and skills to investigate why materials behave the way that they do, how they are made, and how they can be improved.”

“BS/MS Chemistry is a 5-year program that allows outstanding students in the BS Chemistry program to complete both a BS and MS within 5 years. The program emphasizes independent research and gives students advanced knowledge and skills in Chemistry.”

After the speakers talk about the SOSE Department and specifically Chemistry Department, the Bonfire Talk starts where in us, freshies can ask questions about the information that has been stated and talked about. The speakers are able to answer the questions very well and also clarify the concerns about SOSE and Chemistry Department.

I got really on the edge of my seat when the hosts said that it’s time for the WelChem Talks— stories worth telling. I am really curious how the life of alumni in Ateneo and in Chemistry was. The event provides this kind of talk because this surely helps for us, freshies. The speakers are as follows:

Ms. Doreen Pua is introduced and she is here to share her experiences about her student life such as the people, resources, and online class. Her recommendations for the freshies are very motivating and inspiring such as make habits, go steady, and be aware. She also welcomes us.
Mr. Neilson Abad is the second one to be introduced and talks about organization life. He shares his experiences in the Ateneo Chemistry Society and how this organization helps him to redefine himself.

Mr. Mujib C. Piang is the third one to be introduced, and talks about work life and his experiences. He explains about the field of Chemistry especially the Forensic Chemistry which deals with the application of chemical principles involved in the solution of problems arising in the administration of justice. He thoroughly explains the chemistry, physics, dangerous drugs, toxicology, biology, and DNA sections under Forensic Chemistry. His goal for his talk is to talk about the life of work of a chemist.

Another session of Bonfire Talk….

The next part actually makes me say to myself “I am a bundle of nerves” because the floor is for freshies! The hosts asked “why did you choose Chemistry?”. The upperclassmen named Mary and Luigi shared their explanations and also two freshies named Robert Bagacina, Nikko Diez, and Chriselle Marie Opeña shared.

Wait… It looks like the event is done. I want moreeee!

But, it looks like the host heard my mind because it is not yet done and there is a lab tour and a Schmitt Hall (which is the second home of every Chem Major) tour. Two upperclassmen named Ron and Nico are going to tour us around the laboratories and Schmitt Hall.


Even if this tour is online, I am still excited because I visited Ateneo, but I was not able to go to the Schmitt Hall. This is a great opportunity for me to learn and know more about my second home as a Chem Major. I cannot wait for me to walk inside this hall.

The last part actually gets my attention. “Lab-at-home”…Lab-at-home kits really help us to execute the experiments that we need to do and experience as a freshie.

“Awww!” The event is almost done. But I really had a great time because this is the best, amazing and unforgettable event I had my whole life in an online setting.

But wait, the event will not be complete if there is no closing remark. It is led by Mr. Luigi Ray Laud, the ACheS Executive Vice President. He says thank you to everyone who participated and joined the WelChem 2021 especially the speakers, hosts and us, freshies.

It’s time… It’s time to have a grouphie picture so that we have a memory for this event.

“Tick-tock”—what time is it? IT’S WELCHEM 2021 TIME! For a freshie like me, it was really a great experience and the event was amazing! I have learned a lot about my course. The only thing that I can say is that my CHEM was super WELL because it had an amazing and amusing event called “WELCHEM”.

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