Insights on how to address uncharted challenges brought by the new normal were discussed by three Cebu Normal University (CNU) alumni in North America through a webinar on three distinct topics of their expertise. 

The session was called Navigating the New Normal (3Ns): A Virtual Colloquium which was live-streamed in the CNU Facebook page last Saturday, August 15.  

These CNU alumni are Dr. Rhigel Jay Tan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of iCarePsychiatry; Atty. Alberto Montefalcon Jr., Immigration Attorney of Montefalcon Law Offices in the USA and the Philippines; and Dr. Nerissa Linell Joie Calub, Founder and CEO of Pathways Education Consultancy. 

Tan talked about Emotional Resilience and Mental Wellness in a Global Pandemic, Montefalcon discussed on Real or Really Fake News: Navigating through the Social Media Pandemic, while Calub shared insights on The 21st Century Professionals in Extraordinary Disruptions. 

The webinar was brought by the Federation of Cebu Normal University Alumni Associations, Inc. (FCNUAAI) in collaboration with CNU and the CNU Alumni in North America.

FCNUAAI President Dr. Ramir Uytico said that CNU has produced brilliant individuals who are doing great in their respective fields of endeavor and the virtual colloquium emphasizes how the alumni care for the Normalite community as one big family. 

CNU President Dr. Filomena Dayagbil said that the University is faced with a great challenge on work-from-home and learning continuity, but what is so motivating in these not so ordinary times is the extraordinary responses in the academic community. 

“With the work combined forces, we are able to bring normalcy in all our operations,” she said.

Dayagbil said that although the alumni have gone their separate ways to pursue their dreams, their roots in this institution are deeply seated and entangled that is why they still connect, help, and serve the alma mater in any way they can.

Tan who shared about mental health stressed that depression is a real illness and it is not about lack of strength, lack of faith, or perhaps just a weak personality.

He said that people who undergo crisis have to undergo the different stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression or sadness, and acceptance to facilitate optimism.

He added that it is common during crises that a person’s emotion, behavior, way of thinking, and activities of daily living change. 

“These are normal reactions that normal people will experience in an abnormal event such as the pandemic,” Tan said. 

He said that people have the power and ability to be mentally resilient. People just have to practice and acknowledge it.

“We just don’t allow our crisis to cover us up and then forget what we can do.” he said. 

Montefalcon who discussed fake news distinguished it from opinion. He said that fake news can easily fall into the Revised Penal Code definition of a crime.

He shared that the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 expanded how libel may be committed by defining cyber libel as one done by way of a computer system.

Montefalcon said that checking faulty spelling, grammar, and punctuation; identifying the news organization; looking for visual clues; identifying and knowing the reputation of the author are some ways to detect fake news. 

“Fake news encourages hatred, hatred breeds division,” he said.

Montefalcon advises verifying sources by searching other articles containing the subject matter. 

He also shared a bonus video afterward on virtual meeting etiquette. 

Calub, the last of the three presenters compiled uplifting words and videos stating that the 21st-century professionals are not on their own in dealing with the extraordinary disruptions.

“There is no way to escape the shift in perspective that the life-changing disruptions have brought in our midst. Let’s take advantage of what the crossroads can offer to us,” she said. 

“Do not doubt yourself. It is only you who can put premium in the value of your life in spite of the uncertainties,” she added.  

She encourages all to put meaning in what we do for ourselves, our families, friends, colleagues, communities, and the world.

She ended her presentation honoring all frontliners for their courage and will to serve their respective communities. 

“CNU leads and cultivates significance in the community that we serve and CNU remains steadfast in our commitment to quality, excellence, and relevance. Indeed, we have countless reasons to be proud of the University,” Dayagbil said.

“Human and community interaction is essential to one’s quality of life even if it is in the middle of the global pandemic. For this reason, I believe we’re all extremely blessed and grateful to have this virtual colloquium,” CNU Presidential Assistant for Alumni Affairs Dr. Glen Pesole said.

Dayagbil calls all CNU alumni to continue helping the mandate of the institution through their expertise and good work. She also asks for their support by helping the University connect with stakeholders, protecting the integrity of their alma mater, and by maintaining an attitude of gratitude. 

“In these volatile and uncertain times, we become stronger because we know that you are there to support our alma mater,” Dayagbil said to all CNU alumni. (JDF)