June 23, 2024

By now, graduation ceremonies have concluded. This year’s graduation theme is “K to 12 graduates: Pursuing dreams and fostering resilience in the face of adversity”.
A student’s life is full of challenges. One must be tough enough to surmount every adversity while pursuing their dreams. As Aristotle said, “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet”.
As I look back more than 20 years ago, I see myself as a student facing a very difficult situation. I still cannot imagine how I managed to overcome those hard times.
I came from a poor family with four children. Hence, we do not have enough money for education. Payment of school fees and school supplies was a problem most of the time. I even experienced attending classes with empty stomach because my money was just enough for fare and for buying materials for projects. During Saturdays, I baby-sat or did laundry to earn a little amount for school allowance.
Along with financial constraints are inconsiderate people. They are the people, who instead of showing empathy, try to put you down.
It is sad to say but some teachers are very judgmental. They foresee their students’ future base on family background. They utter words of discouragement instead of motivating them to aim high.
Classmates and schoolmates can contribute to a student’s misery. Some are bullies. They make fun of their classmate’s appearance and economic status. When I was in high school, some of my classmates belittled my ability and made fun of me because I wore old clothes and worn-out shoes and our house which is near the school was so small, simple and old. They also accused my family of stealing things that were lost in school.
Another situation that I could never forget was a male classmate who embarrassed me in front of the class several times. Because I got high grades especially in math, he told that I am good in math because my father is a jueteng bet collector. This was true but revealing it in public for the purpose of humiliating a person was perhaps a form of rudeness.
These are only few among the painful experiences I encountered as a student but I did not give up. I took these as a challenge to strive harder to finish a degree. The memories which used to cause tears to roll down my cheeks now bring smile on my lips because these shaped me to be a stronger and better person.
This is not my story alone. It is similar to the story of my sisters and others who conquered all the obstacles on their journey to their dreams.
The road to success is rugged but with determination, perseverance, patience, industry, initiative and faith in God, you can pass through it and finally reach your destination. (RIZA A. BUGHONG)