INSPIRING: This magna cum laude fresh graduate completed his degree at 30 years old

Dreams are never too late to achieve. No matter how young or how old you are, if your eyes and heart are set towards a goal, you’ll travel all high and low lengths to get to it.

Being able to finish school and earn yourself a degree is one great achievement, especially for fresh graduate Rey Stephen Ortiz. Going through rough patches, even as a young boy, did not stop him from setting his heart and mind towards a goal – to have a better life for himself.

He humbly shares his achievement on Twitter, that even at 30 years old, he was able to earn a degree.

“Age is not a hindrance to learn and to finish your education,” he says. “Never let anyone tell you that you can’t.”

His post has inspired many other netizens. WHEN IN MANILA was able to reach out to him where he shared more about his journey.

“I come from a broken family. My mom raised us four siblings by working as a domestic helper. I graduated elementary at the age of 11 years old, high school at 15. I took two-year Hotel and Restaurant Services course in TESDA and graduated at 17.


Ortiz with his mother

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Ortiz with his mother and sister

However, Ortiz tells WHEN IN MANILA that his father disowned him because of his preferences. That did not discourage him, but instead, allowed him to seek for work in Manila, where he first worked as a ‘barker’ in a jeep.

“Other than that, I also became a store associate at a photography services store at 18 years old. One and a half years later, I decided to apply in the BPO industry where I worked from 2008 until January 2014.”

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BTS of shooting for his thesis

His dreams of earning a bachelor’s degree were still very much alive through the years, so he decided to resign and pursue his studies at STI in Bonifacio Global City, where he took up AB Communication at the age of 26.

“Even after all the work experience, I still wanted to be a Bachelor degree holder,” he says. “To be honest, AB Communication was not my first choice, but Business Management. After seeing the course curriculum, I asked the admissions if they offered a course that had “a few numbers”, so they recommended I took AB Communication. It was a new course back in 2014, and through the years, I’ve grown to love it.”

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What was something memorable for him during his undergraduate years? Being chosen by a professor to host for an event in school, since Ortiz said that it was his first time.

“I’d like to think that I am a competitive student too, a grade conscious one,” he laughs. “So kailangan mataas lagi ang nakukuha kong scores or grades. (So [I felt] that I needed to attain high scores or grades all the time.) That was my mindset.

Ortiz also considered himself lucky that he was able to finish his studies with the help of people who would shoulder some of his tuition fees.

“Sasabihin lang din nila na magfocus lang din ako sa studies ko (They’d also tell me to focus on my studies),” he remarked.

Now that he has officially graduated, he is just waiting to start work at an advertising agency.

“Don’t give your 100% trust to anyone. You need to believe na kaya mo. When in doubt, pray.” Ortiz shared. “I believe that age should not be a hindrance to learn and finish your education. Never let anyone tell you that you cannot!”

Congratulations and more power to you!

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Disclaimer: does not own any of the images above. Credits go to Rey Stephen Ortiz.