Hello Gorgeous Reader!
Last March 28, 2014 , I got the rare opportunity to give a speech at the graduation ceremony of my alma mater KM5 now named Fr. William F. Masterson S.J. elementary school.
So a little back story. I gave a speech on my own graduation way back year 2000 and it was miserable. I was very sick that day, I even passed out at school before the program. I was there because I volunteered to help with the preparation stuff. During the program I was puking, the world was spinning and I felt so cold. They had me seated while I gave my speech and well, I cried. But I knew I had the best of friends then because my classmates cried with me.
Although I know that some of my batch-mates are far more successful than I am and thus more credible to give a speech; I didn’t think twice and said ‘yes’ to my former teacher’s invite. After all, not everyone gets a shot at redemption.
(shoutout: *Thank you very much Sir Janeo for the opportunity.*)
Okay, so here’s the speech that I gave. It’s pretty short and not so detailed because I didn’t want to knock everyone off to sleep.
Good morning graduates, parents, teachers, and guests. I am so privileged to be invited to such a memorable occasion in your lives. One that will garner much likes on Facebook and Instagram (#proudmamaandpapa or #thatsmygraduate). This day is as much an achievement for the parents as it is for the graduating students. So graduates; take a look at your parents and say “congratulations”. I’m pretty sure that parents are thinking “Yes! six or seven years down, eight, ten or more years to go”
To be honest, when I was asked to give a speech, I was nervous; especially when my former teacher urged me to cite my achievements and awards. You see my story is not that of a typical success story. I am a simple housewife. I do earn a living from a home-based online job; but I don’t earn much, just enough. What I do consider as my achievements are the following:
- · Completing my college degree of AB English within 4 years.
- · Having a happy married life with my awesome husband.
- · Being able to raise and take care of my little girl by myself.
I only have two advices for the graduates. First is to follow your heart’s desire; figure out what truly makes you happy. Second is to diligently work towards your goal. You will not be “efficient” unless you find your true happiness, and you faithfully work towards it. Efficient means that all the time, money and effort poured into your education and goal is put to good use.
Indecision and failure to recognize your true passion can result to the waste of time, money and effort. As an example, I’ll tell you a story of two students.
After his graduation one student spends his summer soaking in computer games or social networking sites. Then, he floats through high school not knowing what all the lessons are for. He chooses a college degree based on which is popularly chosen by his friends. He ends up spending extended school years in college shifting from course to course. Eventually he settles for a job that is entirely remote from his college degree. He lives his days complaining about his job and feeling unsatisfied.
Another student knew that owning a small business is what truly makes him happy. After graduation, he spends the summer selling ‘balut’ or ‘pandesal’ on a bike around the neighborhood. He spends his high school days appreciating the lessons he is learning knowing that these lessons will be the cornerstones to his dream. In college, he works part-time for a local food chain where he gains experience and even help pay for his education. He lands and job that he is happy to do, gains more experience and saves up money to start his own business. Eventually he realizes his dream.
See what difference decision and dedication can make? So start now, while you are young and ‘the odds are ever on your favor’. And what are these “odds”? Well, from this day forward…
- · You are expected to take on more responsibility as a teenager
- · Peer pressure and social dilemmas will be more perplex
- · There will be greater academic demands
- · There will be stiffer competition for career opportunity
- · And obviously prices of all commodities, especially education, will only grow higher every single year
Now some of you may be thinking “OMG! Life, why are you so harsh? How can I succeed with all of these odds against me?” Well, “keep calm” and remember your graduation’s theme “Hindi Natitinag and Pusong Pilipino”. None can beat the Filipino fighting-spirit. As we say here in CDO “Paningkamot!” or in Korean “Aja!” and in Japanese “Ganbaremasu!”
This theme also celebrates “The ability of the Filipinos to triumph over challenges.” How do we measure triumph or success? In reality, challenges are meant to scare us, bruise us, and even dishearten us at times. However, we can always say “I have gained” something from this challenge when we learn something from it.
After graduating elementary at KM5 fourteen years ago, I’ve faced many challenges that enabled me to acquire important life lessons. Struggling to fit-in during high school taught me to find my own unique personality. The dilemma of choosing a college degree taught me to discover where I can harness my strengths and be truly happy. Financial problems taught me to be an efficient student because every day and every peso counts. Rejection and disappointments taught me to continually work towards my goals. Work related problems taught me that job titles will neither earn you happiness nor respect. It is pride and honesty in service, no matter how big or small they may be, that earns you the respect of others and the true joy of labor. Social relationship issues taught me that people can and will hate on you but at the end of the day you hold the choice of who you let into your life. Health crises taught me that life is too short and that time should be spent on the things that truly matter.
Like I said, my story is not a typical story of success. I did not finish the rest of my education with flying colors or distinctions. I do not hold a fancy job title or earn tons of money. I neither received trophies nor awards. Yet, I still feel that I have triumphed over the challenges I faced, and I am proud to be speaking in front of you; for if I had not experienced hardships, I would have no lessons to impart to you. And what matters more to me is that I spend my days doing what I love to do. I wake up and go to bed feeling happy and inspired. And I know that what I do today is something I will not regret in the future.
So graduates; brace your selves for the many challenges ahead and remember to learn from them. Follow your heart’s desire, diligently work towards your goal and make everyday count. Remember YOLO; you only live once.
Good luck and congratulations!
Some additional info.
All of my siblings are graduates of KM5; my brother is a teacher, my sister a government employee and our youngest brother is a fireman. I had low self-esteem during high school because I’m short and chubby and a failed hipster kind of weird. LOL~ My parents wanted me to be an accountant and I would have wasted years in college had I not chosen to pursue AB English (which suited me better) and stuck with it. My family experienced grave financial problems during my college days. I even considered quitting school but I knew better and I strived hard to finish school as soon as possible to help my family; because additional school days meant additional expense. I wasn’t always a home-based earner. I taught English to Koreans and a Japanese, worked as training associate for a food-chain and even had a short stint at supervising a shop.
I’m not sure if the students got my point but they giggled when I said “computer games and social networking sites”. I hope somehow I’ve given them a spark to start chasing their dreams. As for me, I am exactly where I want to be at this point in my life. But that doesn’t mean I have no other dreams to fulfill. For that day at least I have fulfilled one; and that is to make my parents proud.