Monday, April 5, 2010

Words of Inspiration to the Students*

Maayong hapon sa tanan!

It is my great honor to come back here. The last time I stood on this stage was my graduation, delivering the valedictory speech. I remembered seating there. I was a student like you, doe-eyed and eager to receive our medal and cards- yellow or green that recognizes our efforts in our studies.

When I was asked by Ma’am Evelyn Janoya to give a speech, I was adamant. I thought it’s only more experienced people who are invited to be guest speakers and to be an inspiration. But I can’t say to Ma’am Janoya. She’s my former History quiz coach and almost a second mother to me.


With Ma'am Evelyn Janoya, my History quiz coach.


How is it to give inspiration? I guess I just want to share my life and hope it would be a source of inspiration.

I grew up under the care of my lola and aunts. I used to envy my classmates who had their mama and papa pinning their ribbons every recognition day. It was like, “ngaa wala man akong mama and papa?” But as I grew older, I realized I should not envy anyone. My parents got separated before I was born. And so? Would that be my reason to sulk and self-pity? I haven’t met my father not until I reached Grade 3. My family is not the normal form of family. But I learned to work out and enjoy what I have. I am luckier because I have three mothers, a grandmother and other second mothers like Ma'am Janoya who were there and proud of my achievements.

With my aunt, Nanay Nelly who took care of me when my mother went abroad.

I have a Aunt whom we dearly called Mommy Suzette who buy and sells malongs, chorizos and bulad just to help my sister’s and my education. She’s in Iloilo now. She's the one who told me to enjoy learning. Getting the medal or the ribbon is not the end all of everything. It is a recognition of your work but most of all enjoy the process of learning. Do not cheat just because you want to get high grades. Cheating in exams just show how dependent and unconfident person you are.

And always Read. Write about what you have read. Read and write always. Make it your habit because if you enter high school and college, it is a very important trait. You cannot just have to say always your thoughts. You have to write it down. You cannot write substantially if you have haven’t read that much right? Read not just the small pocketbooks. Pursue reading more relevant books.

Befriend your teacher but not to a point of being sipsip. Befriend and be sincere. Befriend older persons because they are more experienced, they can give you advice that would guide you. Befriend your school librarians. They can always tell you what’s the best book to help you in your research.

With Ma'am Ging Bayoneta, my lovely Grade 3 adviser (L) and Ma'am Norie Asaria, my ever sexy HE teacher and Nutrition quiz coach (R).

With my former boss at UP Mindanao CHSS Library. Now I call her Mader Pacz.('0')

And most of all, befriend your parents. You always watch telenovelas, puppy-eyed with the love stories. But do you know how your parents met? How they fell in love? Talk and listen to them. To the parents here, be your children’s best friends.

For the students here, appreciate your parent’s pain in sending you to school. If they are sending you to school, study and make them proud of you. Be grateful because you are very lucky. If they cannot afford to send you to school, find ways to do so. Do not make poverty the main reason to hinder you from pursuing higher education. Hindi ka maghambal nga, ay hindi ko magpadayon eskwela kay wala man igastos si Mama kag si Papa. Ay hindi ko mag-eskwela kay pobre man kami. You should learn to have a sense of independence. If I have that resigned attitude, I won’t be able to go to school and get a degree. I applied to every scholarship, knocked on other people’s doors to ask for help Pabaga ug nawong. I prayed a lot. During my high school at KNCHS, I worked part time. I worked as a tutor, and even do some laundry.

After my high school graduation, my Lola Luz died. She was the one supporting us in our studies. When she died, I felt everything died with her. I passed the entrance exam of UP Manila but the scholarship could not suffice for the everyday needs. I asked to be transferred to UP Mindanao in Davao City.

To prepare for my college entry, I worked during the summer at the Provincial Capitol. I packed my bags and went to Davao City despite I knew no one. Arisgada lang gid ko. I applied for a scholarship and part time job in the library and also tutorials in Kumon center. As the expenses became higher, I had to take private tutorials.

We only have classes from Tuesday to Friday. Saturday and Monday, whole day is allotted for tutorials at the Kumon center. Every Tuesday to Friday from 8:30-10 and 3-5pm I work as a student assistant at the library. By 6-8pm Monday to Thursday nights, it is for my private tutorials to a grade 3 student. By 8-10pm I do my assignments. I wake up at 3AM to study. For Sunday, worship time and my laundry time.

Hindi masyadong busy ano? You might think I have no social life because of that busyness. No. I just choose my friends who understand and accept my life and busy schedule. They take consideration when scheduling our night outs or other excursions. You have to make little sacrifices. A friend interviewed me once, amazed at how I manage my time. I told her that when you have limited time, you’ll learn how to manage and budget it. You’ll appreciate every moment. You will be more focused and determined. You will be disciplined to find time to study. That helped me to be included in the Dean’s list and Honor’s list.

I graduated last April 2008 with highest general weighted average from our college. As I march to get my diploma, I know my Lola is so proud wherever she is right now.

When I look back, I am glad for those hardships because it made me stronger and a better person. We have to take the challenges head on. It is always a matter of perspective. Always dream and be busy making it happen.


*Speech delivered to my elementary alma mater's graduation/recognition day last March 29, 2010.

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