July 19, 2024

It’s graduation season again. Another batch of graduates is poised to join the workforce. Before they embark on their job search, let’s celebrate their victory! For some, this achievement might seem small, but for the graduates, their parents, and siblings, it could be the first major victory in their lives.
They have dedicated at least 17 years to formal education, and soon, at the not-so-young age of 21 or 22, they’ll proudly walk across the stage in their gowns and caps, diplomas in hand. Graduation is a time of mixed emotions. We see the unbridled pride radiating from graduates and their parents. However, amidst the celebration, let’s not overlook another selfless family member: the siblings (ate, kuya, or ading) who offered much-needed support even though they could have said no.
In many Filipino families, the dream of a college education often follows a sequential path. The eldest child might be prioritized first, with their success paving the way for their younger siblings. This unspoken pact is not even seen as an obligation. It is a selfless act born from witnessing parental struggles and a burning desire to ease their burden.
Supporting a sibling through college is a shared goal among Filipino families. Many, like myself, have walked this path. The support I received from my siblings helped me complete my college education, and in turn, I was able to do the same for my two younger brothers. It’s a cycle that makes graduation a victory for the entire family.
My dream for our bobli or village is for every household to have at least one child graduate from college. I’ve experienced the power of having a college degree and landing a job. It can break the cycle of poverty for a clan. As my mother aptly phrased it, the first college graduate is the family’s hope and model. It’s crucial that the first one who gets to college finishes on time and earn money to help the family. That’s why, for the first generation to attend college, passion sometimes takes a backseat to practicality. Some choose to study nursing because they can work abroad, while others switch to Criminology as the salaries of uniformed personnel doubled.
Dear siblings and parents, the job market can be tough these days, and it might take our loved ones a little longer to find their ideal position. Let’s keep the faith in them. Finding a perfect fit in the formal sector can take time. In the meantime, there are many ways to show support. We can encourage them to explore different options, like repair and construction skills, modern gardening, starting a business venture, or even acquiring new skills to broaden their prospects. Perhaps we can offer to help them with their job search or brainstorm business ideas together. Success comes in many forms, and their determination and your sacrifice will surely pay off.
Dear graduates, remember to express your heartfelt gratitude to your siblings who stood by you throughout your journey. They may have made adjustments and shared their resources, even when things weren’t easy for them. Don’t forget to extend your gratitude to the spouses of your married siblings. Their understanding enabled your sibling to support your education. Remember, a helping hand deserves another in return. When you’re able to, help them back or pay it forward.