Philippine International Convention Center or PICC, the place where mostly all of college, universities and institutions hold their annual commencement exercises—pinaka inaabangan ng bawat parents, pinaka finish line ng bawat estudyante.
5 years ago, I graduated from high school. Entering Technological Institute of the Philippines-Quezon City (T.I.P.) was not in my plan, neither taking up Computer Engineering. I was young and reckless; I suck at decision making, I don’t have concrete plans about myself. All I was thinking back then is when I will graduate, I never thought about the process. Kumbaga, finish line agad. Maybe that’s why I have fallen too hard (or my grades rather).
My first two years as a CpE student can be recognized as crucial and unhappy as it could be. I was not glad with my course, it was barely a struggle. The worst part is gigising ka, trying hard to find the enthusiasm para pumasok, para gawin yung mga bagay na hindi mo naman talaga gusto. Mahirap na nga, di mo pa gusto. So what will be the outcome?
Getting failed grades? Grabe nakakahiya. I was that close to think na “Bobo ba ko?” Shame, shame, shame. That’s my turning point, I cannot stay like this anymore. My sister told me to make a decision, mahirap magsisi sa huli. Ayoko grumaduate sa program na hindi ko gusto. I spent my whole summer vacation deciding and contemplating what will I do. Few months before the first semester, I finally stepped out from my doubts and fears. I told my parents that I’ll shift to another program. But then again, hindi ko parin alam kung ano ang gusto kong ipursue.
I thought of taking Information Technology, halos same lang kasi sa CpE eh, since may background naman na ako. Then I heard about this Information Systems. I was like, “Ano ‘yun?” I don’t have any one to consult, or even someone who will advise me to which program I fit in.
So I take a risk—I shifted to Information Systems.
Back then I keep on telling myself, “What have you done, Kat? Siguraduhin mo lang na matutuwa ka diyan ah.”
And I did! I seriously enjoyed it. However, I was left behind with some CITE minor courses, kaya kailangan ko i-take pa ang mga yun. I was merely left behind. By that time, my high school batchmates are already graduating. On the other hand, my CpE batchmates are already taking up their Project Design courses, while I am here, struggling to reach the Capstone Project stage.
Frustration is evil. Sobrang daming frustrations! I keep on measuring myself based on other people’s achievements; based on their milestones. Thankfully, I had the courage to recover. Nag aral ako ng mabuti. Naging semi-grade conscious ako. Noon na puro 2.75 or may 5 pa talaga, ngayon wala ng 3, 4, or 5. Ngayon, nakakakuha na ko ng GWA not lower than 2.10. Ngayon masasabi ko na I’m doing good. Bragging rights, I believe I will not able to reach this kind of changes without the grace of God. Si Lord nagbigay sakin ng lakas para kayanin lahat. I swear, by keep on praying, nagkaroon ako ng sipag na wala ako noon—na hindi ko alam saan ko nahugot.
My high school batchmates are all working now, some of them are actually starting to build their own families. Meanwhile, my CpE batchmates just graduated this April and few months later they will start working in the industry or in school as professors. Me? Masaya. Kabado, pero masaya. I’m already taking my Capstone Project. Oo, alam ko mahirap ‘to. Thesis eh. But man, I have waited so long for this. I’m so close to the finish line. Konti na lang pupunta na ko ng PICC, hindi para mag cover or hindi para puntahan mga kaibigan ko, pero para ako naman umakyat sa stage na yun habang naka-toga. Oo, mahirap ang Capstone pero hindi ako matitinag ng salitang “mahirap.” Oo, mahirap pero kakayanin ko. Kinaya ko na yung 171 units eh, paano pa kaya yung remaining 18 units? Nakita ko na kung gaano ka-faithful si God sa academics ko for so many semesters, ngayon pa kaya ako manghihina?
Inggit ba ko? Somehow, yes. Who wouldn’t be? In reality, I should have been there too. I should have graduated on time, but I couldn’t. I had so many mistakes before that affected my future—the present. Who to blame? Sino pa ba? Oo, I wasn’t able to graduate on time. Oo, I’m already 21 and still studying. Oo, there are so many people younger than me who are already done with college. Oo, may work na lahat ng friends and batchmates ko. But instead of letting jealousy eat me whole down to the hole; I make use of it as a motivation to work harder. Ang college kasi hindi naman pabilisan makatapos, hindi rin pataasan ng grades. College is about learning everything you need to learn, utilizing that knowledge from books to actions and preparing yourself to greater challenges. Sabi nga ng Tito ko before, okay lang kung ilang years ka mag tagal sa college basta alam mo sa sarili mo na natutunan mo ang lahat ng bagay na dapat mong matutunan. That’s what I always keep on reminding myself. Hindi man ako maka graduate on time, alam ko sa sarili ko na natututunan ko lahat ng kailangan kong matutunan.
One of the things I have learned is to enjoy my season. I don’t need to hurry. Instead of sulking over my past mistakes, I’m rejoicing that I still have the opportunity to make things right—to start over again, to study smart, and to work harder. God made everything perfect in its time.
Yung graduation ko, naka-plano na.