“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable” ~ Christopher Reeve
Last Tuesday, March 14, 2017, I received my diploma. I can proudly say that it’s one of the highlights of my life; not because I have achieved something, not because I got to go up the stage with my fancy dress and regalia, not because I got the audience clap for me for about 10 seconds, but it’s because I made it. I made it through those endless deadlines that kept on piling up, I made it through those complicated jargons (my classmates can attest to that), and I made it through those sleepless nights not knowing what to do first. Yes, I made it through all those rush and stress that came with student life and I’m sure any student who has gone all through that and made it will agree with me that this moment is something to be cherished.
I shared the quote above because I think that it’s really applicable to what I’ve experienced. Each one of us has their own struggle and I had mine too. It’s not about studying itself because I love learning, but it’s about finding my own dream. When I was younger, I thought that as long as you study hard and get your degree, you’re already set out for life. So I studied and studied, not minding what I like or what I want to pursue, I just studied diligently without exploring and finding out what’s out there for me. I have my hobbies but I set them aside as past times and part of club activities. In my mind, I’m still focused on the academics. I think it’s a typical mindset of Filipino students that when you get high grades, you’ll get a good job, and when you get a good job, you have a bright future ahead of you. That theory isn’t exactly wrong but it definitely has something lacking, and that’s what I’ve discovered as I grew older.
When I was deciding what course to take in college, my mom suggested Accountancy because it is a stable career with a decent pay. I immediately considered it because I had Bookkeeping and Economics subjects in high school which I really liked. I also considered Architecture because of my love for drawing so I’ve written them both on my college application. After the test, I was interviewed and it turned out, my interviewer was the former dean of the Accountancy department. I’ve written Architecture as my first choice in my application then Accountancy, I passed both of them so I was given the chance to choose. When she asked me, “What course would you like to pursue?” I felt nervous because my future lies on what answer I’ll give her. Perhaps, seeing how troubled I was, she commented, “Your entrance exam is quite impressive, why don’t you challenge yourself and take Accountancy? I know you can do it.” For me who likes to challenge myself once in a while, considering that I also liked our Bookkeeping subject and I can still do art even if I don’t choose Architecture, I gave in. My parents were also happy with my choice so it’s a win-win situation that time.
Before I started college, mom had to leave. She was offered a job in New Zealand and we can’t let that opportunity pass. I was old enough to know that it’s for the better, even if it was hard for us to live apart, I don’t want her to worry so I tried to focus on my studies. It was okay at the beginning, I had good classmates, I can keep up with the lessons, and I pass the tests. It’s just that as time flew by, I’m gradually losing that. .that drive? I guess, to continue with it. I don’t feel that joy anymore when I get the answers right. It felt like I am a robot, only studying and answering because I needed to. I bet if my former classmates read this, they’ll wonder when I felt that way, but I did. I just didn’t want to bother anyone even my parents because I know I can do it, it’s just that it’s not fulfilling for me anymore. The stress really grew on me when my dad also had to leave to join my mom in New Zealand. I was happy that they were reunited but it felt like the days dragged on and I needed to grow up faster because it was only me and my grandpa in the house and I don’t want to be a burden. In the middle of my third year in college, when we were having a video call, my parents happily told me that I can now live in New Zealand with them. Honestly, I didn’t know what to feel that time because a part of me is glad that we will be whole again but another part of me is also sad that I’ll have to leave the Philippines and the life that I’m used to.
After all the preparations and teary goodbyes, I came to New Zealand with a fresh start in mind. I always try to be optimistic in every situation so I didn’t let leaving my homeland to keep me from pursuing greater heights. My parents worked hard to bring me to this greener pasture and I will be forever grateful for that. Living here didn’t feel like I was away from home but instead, I consider it now as my second home. There are a lot of nice people and I’ve gained good friends that made it easier for me to settle. The only struggle that I had to surpass here is what to do next. I knew that I still wanted to study but a lot of questions lingered in my mind like: Should I continue where I left off even though I do not have any ounce of inspiration to do it? If I will not continue Accountancy, what else will I do? I didn’t have any backup plan because I’ve been focused on that course for over three years. I was so lost. Fortunately, there were still few months left before the start of classes so I had time to explore different colleges and their courses. I took a one week course to see what it feels like to study here. When I’m at home, I tried to rediscover the things that I want to do and what I’m good at. After all of my adventures and experiments, I still didn’t have a specific answer. This prolonging indecisiveness also took a toll on my parents. They were worried because it was evident that I have no inspiration at all. So they tried to ask me what I want for the future and gave pieces of advice, they also gave me the blessing to choose what I really wanted to do because they saw how choosing something just stable didn’t sit well with me. That’s when I was determined to find that missing substance.
Through word of mouth, I was given ideas on what courses are in trend and what will continue to be in demand in the future. The one that caught my interest is Information Technology. You can tell that I’m a bit tech-savvy right now but it was not only until my college days. I had computer subjects since grade school (primary school for others), but I didn’t have my own computer until I graduated in high school. Even so, I used that laptop every day from then on and since I’m always curious, I get to play with it and learned a lot of things about it. That’s when I thought that ‘Hey, I can do this, I definitely enjoy using a computer every day so why not do it for a living?’ It was a plus that I can learn more about it and that’s even more exciting. Suddenly, I was filled with ideas on how I can incorporate my creative side to my new found career path. It seemed that I’m already on a roll on what I would like to do but I can never be too sure so I told my parents that I will try it first, so I enrolled for one semester just to see what is in store for me. I’m so glad I did. I had a blast learning new things about technology (my particular favorite is programming); I know I just got all the basics and it will eventually be harder and more complicated but that’s what excited me more. For the first time in years, I felt inspiration fill me. I’ve realized that what I needed is not just a job that can get me through the day, but what I really need is a career that’s fulfilling and enjoyable. It was a huge struggle finding out what I wanted to do but I still got there and I’m grateful for everyone who helped me find it and supported me through my endeavors. I pursued my chosen career and here I am now celebrating what I worked hard for. It was worth all the hard work in the end. Wait. .that end didn’t mean anything more than an end to one chapter in my student life. Yes, I have started yet another journey towards my dreams. I’ve decided to study again for a higher level which my parents agreed on (though it wasn’t easy to convince them from the start). That’s why I’m more determined than before to do my best. After all, they got my back and that is more than enough.
Having my diploma just proves that if I have the will, anything is possible. It doesn’t feel that long since I struggled to get past that invisible wall that stopped me from moving forward and here I am now, taking that one step closer to my dreams. So, to my fellow students who are reading this, don’t worry too much if you get stuck in life, just breathe and let yourself live in the moment. Know that even if you’re stuck there, you have the option to explore what’s right in front of you and that itself is a chance for you to know yourself better. You don’t need to look too far ahead to discover what you want in life. Sometimes what you just need is think with your heart, follow your instincts, and take those baby steps until you can move forward again. It may take a while but when that time comes, believe me, it’s going to be the eureka of your life where all the answers will come flooding in and you’ll realize that all this time, you are where you’re supposed to be. That it was supposed to happen that way because you need to grow and be ready to take that path you want to pursue. Don’t ever give up on yourself, you have what it takes to create the life you want, you just have to take resolve and do it. I myself have still a long way to go, but I’m willing to take that one step towards my dreams and even more steps to get closer, believing that someday, I’ll get there.