December 5, 2022

Another season of celebration awaits as a new batch of graduates anticipates receiving their diplomas and walking the first steps beyond their education. This generation is often called the “experimental batch.” The first witnesses to the K to 12 curriculum are set for their much-awaited graduation rites. I belong to this batch.
Four long years of college is no easy feat. Change was always constant with every phase of the journey. Whenever tremendous opportunities were grasped, misfortunes would come in return. When we first set foot in college, we were merely by-products of a curriculum that faced many limitations. Our college instructors always had enormous expectations, assuming we were already knowledgeable and needed little guidance only. This change expanded when society faced an unexpected health crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic.
Education was one of the most hard-hit sectors. Faculty, non-faculty, and students were affected. The shift from face-to-face setups to virtual blended learning was abrupt. At the time, higher education institutions were unprepared as shown by the lack of resources to facilitate teaching and learning. The following semesters came with more ease. However, this change was not meant for everyone. Some were forced to temporarily halt their education for being unmotivated and tired. For some, the pandemic took a great toll on their mental health and some had to find jobs to support their education. The lack of opportunities expanded further, which sometimes made us lose hope of the future we had dreamt of and prepared for a long time.
To those of us who remained, fighting through every challenge, the much-anticipated graduation is just around the corner. We should be grateful for how fortunate we were to witness the ambitions and grasp the power that education has in store for us. My experience in the past four years was a culmination of growth, maturity, and perseverance. There will always be an underlying reason why some battles were given to us, mainly caused by problems we never expected. Instead of viewing it as a setback, these moments should be seen as opportunities that allow us to grow and provide us more space to improve ourselves. The changes we witnessed reminded us that no matter how drastic and sudden these may be, we must learn how to adapt to them and mature from them.
There is no denying that the pressure and expectations we set for ourselves could be frightening just to even think about. My message to all the graduates patiently waiting for their much-awaited milestone is to never overthink and be fearful of the road ahead. As they say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We may at times find struggle in the circumstances we encounter, but that should not hinder us from development and progress. As we enter a new and exciting adventure, may we sail the vast ocean filled with bravery and hope. I wish you all a happy graduation!