Ana, a graduate of UP Diliman, wrote her unofficial graduation speech in social media. Most of the time, people would post about their achievements in their respective colleges, their honors and awards. But for Ana, she focused on what she learned along the way and not how long it took for her to graduate.
No latin honors. No special awards. No competitions won. My biggest achievement is actually getting out of this University alive. I had to let go of my dreams of graduating with latin honors during my freshman year. As time passed, I went from “wanting to pass” to “desperately trying not to fail” to “how many times do I have to repeat this class?” From start to finish, I was constantly at the bottom of my classes—barely passing or even failing. There were so many times I felt undeserving of the kind of education that this country’s people are investing so much of their blood, sweat, and tears in.
I wasn’t lazy. I believe I worked just as hard, if not harder than my classmates, in an attempt to keep up. I would spend hours slaving over books, readings, and problems and still not understand what I’m supposed to. It’s not like I disliked what I was studying. I actually really liked it a lot. I was just really bad at it and my entire being just didn’t know how to deal with that. I experienced getting left behind in two graduation seasons. I am literally the human version of the phrase, “Yung binigay mo na ang lahat pero iniwan ka pa rin.” Rock bottom was a lot lower than I thought it would be. For a long time, my self-esteem was nowhere to be found.
Three. I had to stay three extra semesters to finish all my undergraduate requirements. By this time most of my batchmates would have already started on their careers. I questioned God, “Why?” But then I remembered that God makes all things beautiful in His time. All throughout my stay in the University, I felt weak, because no matter what I did or how hard I tried, many things would still be too difficult for me to handle. But then He reminded me, “…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This semester, I let God be strong enough for me. I gave up trying to do everything myself and depended on Him even for the smallest of things. I don’t know exactly how, but the past semester was probably one of the best ones I’ve had, academics-wise, and in everything else. I can say with complete confidence that it was only because of God’s grace and hand over my life that I was able to finish my stay here in such a fashion.
I praise the Lord for allowing me the privilege of learning in UP. The extra semesters I had to stay proved to be the most valuable. I learned that while we know that excellence takes time, we often forget that it also takes everything we’ve got. I learned that everything I had to go through here was never meant to only make me a better, stronger person—that’s too small a purpose to live for. This degree, my education, was made difficult on purpose because it was never meant for myself—it’s for the people. Never mind that I won’t graduate with honors. Never mind that I don’t have any special awards. I am walking out of this institution not only with a degree, but also with a greater sense of responsibility for the things that happen in this country. God wants me to love my country, and He brought me to the perfect training ground to be able to act on that love with honor and excellence.
Waited 6 years to do this! What a way to end the year, Lord! Thank You!
[Future] Inhinyero para sa bayan,
Ana Claudinne E. Olivas
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
University of the Philippines, Diliman
PS: Prof uploaded my grade today lang talaga HAHA!
We’re proud of you Ana! What you learned along the way was very inspiring. We hope it inspires students like you who struggle to not give up.
What was the best thing you learned in College?