A BSE SCHOLAR SPEAKS ABOUT HIS STRUGGLES
This is the moving testimony of a SCHOLAR who graduated this year and spoke during the Rite of Mission of the School of Education last March 16, 2013.
It is a privilege to give a testimony on how I struggled, overcame and survived every hardship that I had in my entire college life.
Taking Bachelor in Secondary Education was not really my plan when I was in high school. I did not even imagine myself taking a four year course, because of the fact that my family could not support my studies. However, with the help of my aunt, Mrs. Arlene Ledesma, I was able to apply for a scholarship in Ateneo exclusively for Education students.
One of the difficulties that I had was going to town, because at first I did not know where Ateneo is located. I was really scared because I might be lost. But with the help of my aunt, despite her busy schedule, I learned the way from the jeepney terminal to Ateneo campus. From then on, for almost one semester, my route was only from our house to the jeepney terminal and from the jeepney terminal to Ateneo campus. There was even a time that I went to town to buy something for my project and for more than 30 minutes I was only going round and round the city for I could hardly find the terminal, then I just realized that I was already lost.
In my first year in college, I could say that I easily adapted the new environment. Then time came that we have to decide what major to take. It was really sad that only four (4) of us wanted to major in Biological Sciences wherein the requirement is at least five (5). And so it was not offered to us.
Because I love music, art and I am inclined to some sports, I decided to major in MAPEH. I enjoyed being with the rest of the MAPEH majors, however, there were certain instances that we needed to participate in a cultural dance and any other form of dances in which I hate the most. Dancing is not really my interest. I would rather climb the Mount Everest than to perform, or dance in front of the audience. Dancing alone? Maybe yes. Due to that reason, I decided to quit MAPEH and pursue Biological Sciences as my major though the consequence is that I had to wait for the incoming batch who would take Biological Sciences as their major and I would stay five (5) years in college.
With my new major, I had to make an adjustment again since I have my new classmates. In every class discussion or class activity, I was really hesitant to participate because of the fear of being criticized by them. But as time goes by, self -confidence was built including friendship. They did not let me feel that I am inferior.
College life became so difficult and extremely terrible in my 4th and 5th year. When I was in 4th year, it was the time wherein my family experienced to have almost nothing. My mother worked in a Sardines factory. Though her salary was not that big but enough to sustain our primary needs. It was just so unfortunate that she lost her job. And so my family did not have enough income for our daily consumption. My father tried to look for ways and means, yet his daily income as a motorcycle driver was not really enough. I came in to a point wherein, I wanted to stop studying. There were days that before I left home, I would still look for money for my fare so that I could go to school. What I did was, I borrowed certain amount from our relatives and sometimes from our neighbors. There were times that I do not even eat lunch for I would only have fifty pesos in my pocket, forty pesos for my fare and the remaining ten pesos is reserved for some photocopies and I just bought candies sometimes. It was just so funny that when I went out the Ateneo Campus, some beggars would asked for money where in they were holding more coins that I had in my pocket.
I was just so blessed that Ma’am Ana Mae asked me to serve as Student Assistant wherein I would go to the SLA office during my free time and encode or photocopy something for her and in return she will give me certain amount, two hundred or three hundred pesos every weekend. And it was a great help for me.
When I was in my 5th year, I decided to apply for a part time job in order to have a sort of income to lessen my family’s burden. I had to render at least four to six hours per day after my class and eight hours every weekend. Working while studying was a bit difficult, there were times that I went home at 11:00 in the evening and still I had my class on the following day. But I was able to manage my time. Sometimes, when I would not have my duty, I would be lucky if Ma’am Anita would ask me to tutor her granddaughter. After an hour Ma’am Anita would get one hundred pesos or more and is given to me in return, I would just say “Sobra naman ni Ma’am?” Ma’am Anita would just reply “Imuha na na, kay pamasahe pa.”
However, the situation became so difficult when our practice teaching begun. Because of my class and duty schedule, there were many sleepless nights. When I reached home at 11:00 in the evening, I still have to wash my uniform and would spend few hours preparing my lesson plan and teaching materials.
Another thing that made the situation more difficult is that, during our practicum in ADZU High School we need to be at the main campus before 7:00AM. From Talisayan where I am residing, traveling time is an hour or sometimes more so I usually left home at 5:30AM to catch-up the school bus. Because of numerous sleepless nights, several times I fell asleep at the back during Ma’am Anita’s class.
Despite the situation that I was in, I was able to survive. And I am grateful to have my classmates, my co-majors and the rest of the seniors for they have been there to extend a helping hand in making lesson plans and preparing for teaching materials. “Teamwork” has always been the motto.
All these experiences that I had shaped me to be someone that I ought to become, an Atenean. The struggles and the hardships that I had taught me to value every single coin for there will come a time that we would have almost nothing. Yes, I cannot have everything in life but I can always make the most out of what I have.
I am almost there. I am just a step away from my goal and so with the rest of the seniors. But this would not be possible without the persons behind who deserve the highest gratitude. To the parents and guardians who are willing to suffer from hunger just to give us what we need, for their unconditional love and untiring support, “Nanay, daghang salamat”. And for the teachers who have been always there to light our path, who imparted not only knowledge but also values, thank you.
Whatever struggles or hardships we had in the past, they would constantly remind us that in a mountain of sacrifices, there is always a valley of success.