A Ray of Hope Amid Stormy Weather

Bernadeth Estacio is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at Central Luzon State University

The unpredictability of events happening in one’s personal life and school works demonstrates the drive and endurance of us students, and working on how you view the things around you is extremely essential to us. This semester has taught me that despite the difficulties we’ve encountered, there is always a glimmer of hope to keep going and an abundance of reasons to be grateful in life.

Our university embraced blended learning implemented in September 2022, with face-to-face sessions for laboratory classes and online setup for lecture classes. I have three face-to-face classes, and this is the first time since the lockdown that I’ve engaged in conventional learning that involves studying in the classroom. The fear and excitement I had about returning to school as a student to learn in the classroom are insufficient to describe how I felt at the time. Still, I prefer face-to-face classes over online classes because one-on-one and interactive training from you and your classmates to the instructors is the greatest way for me to learn. However, the majority of my subjects are online classes; I have nine subjects, and to conclude, blended learning is more exhausting for me than full face to face or full online classes because even when you are in the classroom for your laboratory session, some instructors are posting exercises, modules, and video lectures that you need to catch up on. And it’s quite draining because you have to travel and commute to attend your face-to-face class, and then when you get home you still have to work on your online studies, which is an overwhelming task for us students in these times. And I’m grateful to the PCAFPD family for their assistance as well as the internet load they supplied us; it’s extremely helpful to us.

I’m also delighted to share that I was appointed as vice governor of our college’s top governing body, the College of Agriculture Student Government of Central Luzon State University. This organization taught me a lot and helped me grow as a person over my college experience. As the saying goes, when you are in the right circle, you grow, and after only a few months, I must say that my college journey has become more enjoyable by engaging with other agriculture students, other colleges in partnership, talking to the professors and dean, traveling and talking to our dear farmers.

Along with the new experiences and lessons I’ve learned this semester, it gives me more motivation to carry on, work harder, and concentrate on the things I would improve myself as a student and a responsible citizen to the community. Despite the unpredictability of the circumstances, there is always a glimmer of hope for moving forward in life.

College Life Hits Different 

Lea Birad is pursuing a Bachelor degree in Education at Siquijor State College

When I was in high school, I heard different gossips about college. According to them, college life hits different. This is the stage where we can experience such difficulties in life like financial matter, family and personal problem and academic breakdown. This is the time where we need to sacrifice ourselves, give our time to the most important thing and we need to exert more effort in order to reach our goal in life. After I heard that, I was thinking before how can I enter college if I still experiencing the impact of poverty? How can I help myself if I see my parents started losing hopes on how they raised their four children? I was also thinking before if I will continue in college how and where I can get money to provide my needs? Do I need to become a working student to sustain my studies? Or I need to stop my studies for the meantime?

All of these thinking are just my options if I will continue my studies or not. That time, I decided to apply different scholarships including Peace Corps. Sad to say, I’m not accepted. Despite of what happened, I decided to enroll in college without knowing how I can sustain my studies. I worked hard and trying to prove to myself that I can do this despite of my situation. When PCAFPD gives me a second chance, I accept it immediately and comply the needed requirements. Meanwhile, I received good news and luckily, I’m now officially part of the said scholarship. This year, I’m now in third year level pursuing the degree of Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Filipino. This is my second time being a scholar of the said foundation. This is also the second time where PCAFPD saves me again. 

Through the help of this scholarship, I survived the very challenging first semester. Wherein I witnessed how difficult being a college student during face-to-face classes. There are a lot of expenses to be prioritized like for printed materials, school supplies, school uniform, monthly load for research, groceries and for monthly payments in renting boarding house that cost P800.00. I can’t imagine what will be my situation without the help of this scholarship. That’s why I always thrive hard in school and continue doing great things as an exchange for what PCAFPD did to me.  I am very thankful for what God gave me. I am forever grateful for being part of this wonderful family and I am proud to say that I AM A PCAFPD SCHOLAR”.

Lifting Up My Community

Jaquelyn Velez is pursuing Bachelor of Secondary Education, Major In Social Studies at the Technical University of St. La Salle

This semester was a very challenging yet inspiring experience of my life as a student. Because I felt that school is getting harder, its being more specific and more difficult to handle. However, this semester also makes me realize something I never expected myself to learn and involve with. As you have known me, I am an Indigenous youth. I am an Ata, a tribe of Don Salvador Benedicto. Because of who I am, what my personality and tradition is, I’d become different in many eyes in school especially that I am studying in a university. I had fear, regrets, insecurities and low self-esteem because of who I am and what I look like. But this semester is a gift. I’ve become more of myself. I understand my value, the beauty in me that everyone never sees. I developed a lot not just as a student but as a person.

You may wonder why? And how? Well, this semester, I am already in my third year in college. I am learning how to act, think and decide as a professional. As part of it and as part growing, I am now working on my dreams. I’ve become consistent about it and I saw improvement. Everything I have said during my interview for this scholarship is starting to happen. Yes, this semester molded me a lot to become a leader not just in school but in my community. 

I’ve become an advocate and inspire a lot of Ata indigenous children to proceed to college. I remember when I suggested an event in the college council of education to let Ata kids go to the university and have some tour. The reason for this is to let Ata indigenous children to achieve their dreams and not be afraid to work for it and to show how welcoming is the school for them and how the school appreciate them as who they are, where they can be confident to pursue a degree in the future. Ata kids, the indigenous kids, are being discriminated and bullied in schools, and that makes them decide not to study anymore. I want to inspire them and give them hope. Because I am one of that discriminated and bullied before. I want to make my Ata community think that we can be more than ourselves. We can achieve our dreams in life.

Moreover, this semester makes me face also my fears. I began to join extracurricular activities such as swimming. I became brave enough to make people see what I’ve got. I am lifting myself up. I become also a leader in my barangay and motivate other youth to be part of the community as a contributor of change. I now know how to solve some community issues, how to improve my community through communication and skills. But the most important learning I have learned this semester, is the gratitude. That despite of all the challenges I have face in studying and in serving my community, I remain joyful and happy because I bring inspiration to others. Also, this vision I have will be my strength on pursuing what I know will be better for everyone especially those in need. I will continue to do this, motivate more people to proceed a degree because I believe that education will lift up ourselves and help our country to become better.

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Scholar Essays Spring 2023, Circular 1