Warning: Long post ahead. Continue reading if interested. Ignore if not.
I’m no summa, magna or cum laude to make long speeches but i just want to voice out my 4-year experience being in college and how it molded me into who i am today.
I was a late enrollee, i never expected that i would enter college in such kind of a rush. Upon admission, i was asked on the spot what course will i take and I came unprepared. I never thought about it so i answered AB English with no idea what will happen next.
I entered college with no aim in life. I was so lost and confused of what’s happening around me. I went to school with the mindset to collect friends, meet new people and please them. It was the ultimate goal in my college life. For someone who was isolated for 3 years, I want to make it memorable enough so I started rebellion. Going home late after my classes or sometimes i don’t go home at all, tripping to bars, skipping classes, attending my classes either drunk or not interested at all, failing my quizzes and exams, missing my reports and assignments, etc. were my routine for the whole first year. I almost failed but God was merciful enough not to let me repeat one subject out of 58 subjects i had for 4 years.
It was in my second year that everything sank in me. I realized how ungrateful i was to my mom’s sacrifices just for me to continue studying so i changed. Some people see me as financially stable but i never acted such way and i tell you i am not. We are not. It was in this year in my college journey that everything were slowly getting hard; I experienced culture shock, discrimination both from classmates and professors, betrayals from friends, isolation from people, and more financial problems. It was in this time that i lost a lot but learned new things in life. I learned to enjoy being alone. I started to eat out on my own. I was no longer concious of what people would think of me. I became the loner that i was so afraid to happen when i was still starting college. It was life-changing to remove people in your life that doesn’t contribute to your progress and achievement. It was hard seeing your old company judging you in every aspect they could. Nevertheless, i shut the world out of me and focused on the change that i want in my life. Now, with all the friends i had in the past gone, i was journeying alone. Then i met you. You helped me in the change i’m trying to achieve. You offered your hand for my school works, frustrations in school and life, and financing me if ever i was short of cash.
Third year was harder but i was not alone. I had the support from my mom and you– morally, emotionally and financially speaking. It’s in this year that i questioned a lot about myself, my capabilities and my value. I started to have thoughts to stop studying and just pursue a career that could sustain me because financially speaking, it’s not going too well. I even questioned God if he really had a plan for me. I could remember the time i was crying silently in the cubicle of the school’s comfort room due to some professors that don’t allow students to take exams without a permit. I was even scolded on how thick-faced i was entering the class knowing that i have no permit on hand. I also was discriminated by one professor that required students without permit to stand up and said, “Kabalo mo ngano wala moy permit? KAY POBRE MO.” Though that professor said it in a joking manner, it still stung me. I was in deep frustration and pressure that i started having anxieties and losing more of my self-esteem. I felt great covet for my original batchmates who were at that time, already graduated. With all of those emotions swirling around my mind and heart, i used all of those as my motivation to continue and just keep going despite the financial crisis and discrimination.
Last year in college was the hardest. Though i gained new friends that aren’t as toxic before, it still didn’t work in solving my personal and financial crisis but it kind of helped in managing my emotions. This was in this year that i experienced going to school with only 20 pesos in hand and i had 5 classes in a day until 9:30 in the evening. It became a habit to me to attend classes with an empty stomach, staying up for almost 72 hours, and sacrificing my personal needs just to finance our thesis and other payment dues. It was the hardest, i swear. I had to endure 3 months with no electricity, going to school at morning and working 8 hours, 5 days in a week during the night, not eating for a whole day and walking a lot just to save money. I took myself for granted and in return, i became sick. January this year, i was diagnosed of gastroenteritis. It happens to someone who don’t eat at the right time. I lost a tremendous amount of weight which i’m happy about. 🤣 I also became deaf to those people who only talks gibberish and i did not regret it. I never had second thoughts.
The change i achieved would not be possible without the help of some remarkable people in my life. I would never have changed or reached this point of my life at all. Of course, no. 1 on the list is God. Without Him, His grace and mercy, i doubt if i’ll ever be able to graduate. Even though there were countable situations where i lost my faith and doing things out of His will, even though i don’t go to church religiously, God knows how i prayed so much for this moment. My eyes were opened to the reality earlier than expected and i was oriented to the kind of life we have–living on daily bread. Poverty almost stopped me.
To my mom, my constant companion from highs and lows since day one. We’ve been together through smile and sorrows. You never got tired listening to my rants about bias professors, people that only befriends me just because they could benefit from me, and the hard things i have to endure that i always complain about. You sometimes let me down with your blunt mouth but i took all of that into heart and made it as my inspiration to thrive more. You might not have given me the things that i wanted but i know, you too, were striving hard to provide what i need. With all the hardships you had to endure just for me to cross the finish line, this success is for you.
To my beloved partner who molded me into someone i never knew i could be, you were the greatest man i ever knew my whole life. Every pain and hardships i had, you were there. You were there when i had problems with school and money. You helped me a lot in ways i didn’t expect. You supported me to the things that i wanted to do. You never failed to motivate me everytime i was in the verge of giving up. You sometimes hurt me but in such ways that i could learn and improve myself. You are not perfect but my gratitude for you is overflowing. You might not be the one-call-away kind of guy but you’re the best crying shoulder and punching bag, giving me money after i weep. 🤣 You were also the constant companion that came out of nowhere. You came unexpectedly and saw the worst in me but you handled me well enough. It’s my turn now. Thank you for being so patient either from my attitude and for the things that i promised you if ever i get a well paying job.
To my friends, real or not, thank you for the friendship. Even though, almost half of my college journey, i felt like i really don’t fit in, you were still one of the reasons why i was able to endure culture shock and hardships at school. I sometimes arrive at school feeling burned out and with low hopes but you were there to make everyone laugh including me. To shiela, we met during the time of my transition of choosing real friends and i never expected we could be this close. Are we really? 🤣 i really look up on how you were able to manage school and work at the same time. I love that you are the go-with-the-flow kind of person. You may look like someone intimidating with that bitchy face of yours but i never felt intimidated around your company. I hope you get the sleep you deserve. To mai, we were not that close too, we met and knew each other more because we were thesismates but you became the ate that i never had. You taught me the processes of the real world and accompanied me to my first ever corporate job. We almost fought over thesis but i was thankful that you were courageous and mature enough to voice out your opinion and handle the situation. I also look up on how you persevered even though we almost had the same situation. We’ve been through the hardest, those sleepless days at school, and all those walking sessions just because we can’t afford to ride a public vehicle. Funny how long we make a decision before buying something just because we are on a tight budget. Lastly, to hazel, ahhh also one of the best person i met. You are the most accomodating person i ever knew. We were not that close too but it just happened in a snap that i just found myself one day sitting at your couch watching Netflix or washing dishes in your house after a grand meal. 🤣
To my college professors, thank you for being merciful and patient. I, to be honest, was not the best student and i experienced cheating and such illegal acts. Thank you for the discrimination, i will take that as an inspiration to improve. You were the greatest critics in my college life but i learned a lot anyways. Maam Luzon, thank you so much for letting us graduate! You’re one of the coolest professor that could be lured for a cup of coffee. 😂 thank you so much ma’am and sir!!! I would not be able to produce this long speech in English if it were not from you.
To my family, kuya and ate, i don’t know what to say. Thank you for the moral support maybe? HAHAHA! To tita zeny, thank you for sewing all of my uniforms, costumes, and gowns for free since kinder.
Lastly, to my relatives, thank you for generously giving me solicits, it helped a lot and i’m also grateful about it. I might not mention all of the people that made a significant part in this chapter but always know that i will forever be thankful and indebted to you.
This is the moment that i was imagining 2 years ago, i felt so hopeless that time and i never thought i would really make it. God indeed is gracious. He listens, sometimes delayed but there is really a purpose why i was always delayed. I’m scared to face the real world but i think i have no choice but manage. I am now officially a professional and upon looking back, i never had a concrete goal in mind. After 4 long years, i am too ambitious of the things i want to achieve and i think that is good.
Things might be overwhelming at times but poverty isn’t the reason to stop you from your goals in life. You just have to endure just like everyone else. Nothing is easy in college. Whether you like it or not, you will have to have experience hardships and i think that makes it worthy and priceless. The pain you are feeling right now won’t equal the joy you’ll experience after.
I finally made it! Real world, next!
VANESSA B. MANULAT
BACHELOR OF ARTS MAJOR IN ENGLISH
EX FIDE AD VERITATEM