INSPIRING: Fresh Cum Laude graduate took over 8 occupations to finish college

The sunflowers along the University of the Philippines Diliman have blossomed, and so have the graduation photos of UP students bound to sablay (graduate).

Geoselle Dela Cruz is just one of the thousands who recently graduated with an inspiring story to share about her journey in the state university of the country.


She uploaded a recent profile photo of her donning the sablay, a customary graduation photo for those bound to exit the University of the Philippines.

In her caption, she narrated all the hardships she went through university life but is happy how she was able to overcome such – these include not being able to have a jeepney fare, CRS tagged deficiencies because she was unable to pay for the dorm and tuition loan on time, receiving promissory notes for late payments during enrolments, going by days in school without eating because she had no baon, dealing with freeloaders and overwhelming academic requirements, sacrificing sleep, rest and academic to work in order to fend for herself, among others.

She also mentioned her last semester in college where she and her family faced many trials – including her mom being hospitalized, her brother suffering from mental health issues, writing her thesis in the dark because their home had no electricity for months and even saving up to purchase her very own sablay.

Dela Cruz shares that she was “raised & trained to be a “Diskarte (Strategy) Queen”. She grew up having a mindset that “if there’s a will, there’s a way.”

19398855_1382545825116595_981851621_n 19415642_1382546275116550_892821184_n{Above} Dela Cruz as a rappel instructor {below} Dela Cruz as a choreographer for a dance team during Engineering week

Having to juggle living the UP dream and facing the challenges outside university life, she grabbed and maximized every opportunity that came her way in order to get by – that included being a tutor, dance choreographer, transcriber, rappel instructor, research and student assistant, a host, competition judge, host; and even a budding entrepreneur by selling pre-loved clothes and small snacks.

I learned not just to curl myself up but to stretch and go out of the box. When opportunities are offered right in front of me, I gamely take it,” she said.

She admitted, however, that opportunities turned out to be “temporary” as it “drained and didn’t sustain her“.

She owes her success and her growth as a person to God, who made her feel that “she lacked nothing“.

19415900_1382540248450486_1176407680_n 19398047_1382541528450358_1337760702_n 19398686_1382541531783691_2072377576_nDela Cruz as a member of the UP Street Dance Club

Dela Cruz also acknowledged her beloved, fellow graduates and the people who have been there through her journey – including her family, the organizations she was affiliated with as well as the people who have supported her throughout her stay in the university.

She also thanked God for her achievement.

“The greatest thing that happened in my (college) life, the One who holds the universe yet chose to also hold my tomorrow, the One who never left me nor forsake me, the One who pursued me & taught me to pursue things that are not of this world but of eternal value, the One who loved me first, the One who made all of these possible, the One who won it all, my King, my Prince of Peace, my everything—how can I ever thank You enough? I love You. This is all You.”

{Above} Dela Cruz says that half of her college life is half dedicated to “doing volunteer works & outreach programs”. This was also the topic of her thesis – community based tourism in Mt. Pinatubo. {Below} Dela Cruz was the Finance Committee head during the  academic year 2015 – 2016 of UP Lakan, the provincial organization of Bulacan.

WHEN IN MANILA has reached out to Dela Cruz for further details. (As told to the author of this article).

“I have four siblings, and I’m the middle child. Both my parents are teachers, and I’m proud that even if their salary isn’t enough, it was ample enough to sustain us. I entered UP as a BS Mathematics Student, but I realized it wasn’t for me, so I shifted to BS Tourism. Admittedly, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted it, but I grew to love it. Even if I was a scholar of CHED, I never had a smooth enrollment.

I also joined the UP Street Dance Club. I joined for the love of dance, but I didn’t know that they offered scholarships and they were also a dance ministry. For that, I’m very thankful that I joined. UP Street Dance reached out to me and paid for my full tuition for 2 years. This is also where I met the Lord. I also joined the UP Lakan, a provincial organization where I found joy in as well.

I lost myself for almost two years – I let myself hang lose. That was around late 2014 to mid-June of 2016. That’s when my grades started to drop, I dated someone but didn’t turn out well .. I was totally not myself.

Things turned worse when my mother was hospitalized and my brother faced mental issues. We also lost electricity at home. We were in heavy debt. Everything was falling apart.

I decided to walk again with the Lord. It wasn’t easy but I sought refuge in his overflowing love and also used me to reach out to the lost as well. That’s when I also found my calling to serve full time in the campus ministry.

Right now, I’m not sure if I’ll start working, or if I’ll go straight to a school of campus ministry, but I am now certain about that being my calling and being the finale of my life.”

During her free time, when she has no work, Dela Cruz finds joy in discipling women

Dela Cruz ends the caption in her profile photo with a message for students.

“To all of you who are striving for your education, whose dreams are bigger than you, whose goals seem to be impossible, WHATEVER IT TAKES, WAG MONG SUSUKUAN ‘YAN!!! (do not give up!)

And when battles come, when mountains arise, when hard times happen, PLEASE DO NOT ESCAPE. CHOOSE TO ENDURE, ALWAYS.

Yes, you will be knocked down. You’ll get tired, you’ll cry a lot. You will not be okay. You will hurt. You will be weak. You will come to the end of yourself. But you will grow. And you will learn, and you will overcome all these painful processes and you’ll see yourself N times stronger & better than who you used to be before.

So please, do not escape hard times. Do not invalidate your struggles. Do not be afraid to fail. Make your failures your footstool. Do not take shortcuts to success. For in the shortcuts, you might miss wonderful things, people & experiences He has placed in the way for you. The becoming is always more important than the being.

Choose the narrow road. Choose the waiting, the tedious, messy process.
CHOOSE TO ENDURE, ALWAYS. After all, He already won it all.

Whatever school you are in, wherever you are, GOD WILL MEET YOU THERE. Jesus died for you, what else He cannot give you?

Believe me when I say that the same God who delivered you for years will also deliver you for the years to come. Faithful He has been, faithful He will be.

And I promise you:

“When you truly seek first His Kingdom & His righteousness, all things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)”

19398916_1382551158449395_948273053_n 19398050_1382530271784817_17244431_n 19397981_1382535605117617_2126229024_n 19397968_1382551565116021_1295289602_nShe closes:

“To summarize everything, I had a very tight, eventful but solid college experience. Despite all the materials that I lacked, I am still thankful. I gained lots of friends and experienced solid opportunities. God is really sovereign, and is the provider of all things!”

What an inspiration. Congratulations to you, Geoselle! Off to bigger challenges and opportunities in the real world!

What do you think of this story? Let us know in the comments below!

Erratum: Geoselle dela Cruz graduated cum laude, not summa cum laude. extends their sincerest apologies for the error.

Disclaimer: does not own these photos. Credits go to Geoselle dela Cruz. You may view the original post here.


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