I've just finished reading Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie for what seemed like the nth time. Still, the story's effect on me is the same as the first time I've read it. I wish to share with you another story, this time, based on the true accounts of someone I personally know. Let me share with you a story by a friend from my college days.
I can assure you that upon reading her story, you'll be able to learn moral values and reassess your life especially if you're still in school. Here's her inspiring story...
Everybody says you’ve got to embark on a different journey as you enter college. People often make a big deal about reaching “the ripe age of maturity”, that dreaded age when you will no longer be considered a minor but a real adult. It is when you’re at this certain age when you should be committed in all aspects of your life. There’s so much ahead of you, so much to look forward to and a lot to learn. And you must be open to that.
I am the youngest in a brood of four. My parents sent us all to reputable schools for they believed in the quality of education. They’ve really worked hard to send us to the best schools. I went to an all-girls school since high school.
They say the best part about being young is all about having fun even to the hilt and extremes with your entire friends. Even if my father had been very strict, gimmicks have always been my favorite pastime.
For a youngster like me, it could be going to a bar for a night out, picnic at the park, watching movies or simply malling, actually anything as long as it takes my friends and I together. Although most parents won’t allow us to indulge on gimmicks, we find different tactics to pursue our desire, oftentimes disregarding the possible outcome of our foolishness.
My barkada and I had reached a certain point when we would cut classes just so we could go to watch the latest movie flick premiere or we’d get VIP passes to concerts and events.
I was happy, so I thought we were doing the right thing. We were having a grand time as we exposed ourselves in pop culture, the kind that was new to me. Greatly influenced by my so-called clique, I went to try drinking alcohol and learned how to puff cigarettes too.
Later on, committing truancy at school became a habit. When my family would ask me why I’d go home late, “making projects and term papers” had always been my lame excuse. Soon, my grades began to fail.
I may not be the smartest girl in class, but I knew, had I studied seriously I could have passed my subjects with flying colors. I knew I had to do something to conceal or somewhat cover up my grades. It was the end of my senior year and my mother was expecting me to graduate that school year.
A friend had asked someone from the Recto area to make a class card similar to that given by our school. It was the class card I’m going to show my parents and not the real one where some of my grades were failed. My grades back then were composed of incomplete, failure due to absences and the like. You get the picture. That way, I won’t get scolded and be subjected to any disciplinary action by my father.
My siblings knew I would not be graduating that March. They also knew what I was up to and were basically just waiting for the right moment to reveal or divulge the “sad news” to our parents.
I didn’t had the guts to tell them what I’d done. When they’ve learned about it, reality began to sink into my system. A part of me tells me, I’ve been guilty for neglecting my studies. But I guess I didn’t care that much. I went on with my life and vowed not to ask for my parents’ help on financing my studies. June of the same year came and I told my mother I’d stop studying.
Instead of being sorry, I’ve been proud because I told her I want to work hard and earn my own money. I’ve promised my parents, come hell or high water, I’ll finance myself to college. Perhaps, my parents got sick and tired of me. They didn’t utter any word the way they used to. Before I would listen to their sermons and litanies on the importance of education. Then, it hit me…I need to have a vision in life.
I’m no dumb; I was pretty much your average student. Maybe I simply didn’t know what I wanted. But I can’t always have the lame excuse of being young, reckless and crazy anymore. Things have more consequences and time kind of starts zipping by. I need to make something out of my life.
I looked for jobs and worked in hotels and fine dining restaurants. After my failed marriage and working for almost a decade, I thought I’ve saved enough money—I decided to go back to school and get a degree using my own savings.
In June 2000, I went back to school. I’ve enrolled in the same college. I had mixed emotions at that time. I was excited and happy to be back, a little shy because I’m way older than most of my classmates (even some professors) and anxious because of the high expectations from my family. I was an AB Psychology student at the age of 37. But who cares?
I saw some of my old professors and they could still remember me. They were happy to see me and they even said they admired me for my determination to finish my degree. For the first time, after so many years, I felt good.
My memory may not be as sharp as before but I knew I am making steps towards my goal. Sure, I’ve had difficulties during the adjustment period. I got a lot of flak and I’ve been teased by people who would always criticize. But I’ve managed to remain unfazed. I told myself, “this isn’t just for a show”. I am in school because I want to learn. I didn’t want to venture into anything that isn’t useful. I have learned my lesson well from my previous experience.
This time I chose whom to befriend and made my studies my top priority. During those times, my desire to prove my parents that I could get a degree motivated me to do my best. My siblings were all professionals; I had a licensed engineer bother, sister who’s a nurse, another who’s a medical technologist. It would be a shame on my part if I’d end up as an undergraduate.
In March 2002, my most awaited moment came. My mother, who was 81 years old at that time with a grandson in tow, marched with me at the Philippine International Convention Center Plenary Hall during my graduation. I could not contain my joy. I burst into tears knowing fully that I had fulfilled the promise I had given my parents. I’ve waited this for so long. I knew deep in my heart my parents were proud of me. Two months after my graduation, my father passed away. It was as if he simply waited for me to fulfill that promise. At this point in my life, I feel blessed that despite my age, I was able to find a descent job.
One of the greatest journey in life is the journey within. This journey is introspection. Introspection is a mirror to your inner self. The more often you introspect, the clearer you see yourself. The clearer you see yourselves, the more likely you correct yourself.
What you are today is the karma seeds planted in your past and what you will be in the future is a karmic reflection of whatever seeds you plant today. There’s always room to foster new dreams, find new souls and it’s never too late to clear up your mistake.