By Ben Serrano
Forty two fresh graduates as Department of Science and Technology (DOST) scholars in Caraga now face greater, real challenges in life as they stepped out in their colleges, university rooms to face realities in life head on.
Are they ready on scholarships larger than life? Are the diplomas enough?
Unlike in four cornered rooms where the walls are the only ones that divide and covered them, in real life, out the classrooms looming are, how to cope up, adjust the day to day challenges, very far and different on what was taught by the books.
Scholars shared stories of personal transformation, of how being a scholar changed their mindset in life.
Arnold Abadiano, magna cum laude, developed his interest in research through the DOST scholarship.
“There is a pressure in me because my boss was also a DOST scholar in both her undergraduate and graduate programs. Thus, I have only Sundays to relax,” he revealed.
“I’m glad that as a DOST scholar, I was able to help and serve not just the university but also (in promoting research) by being a contributor in developing research in our institution. An educator’s role does not end in passing knowledge to students. Mentors have to expand knowledge through research to improve curricular programs in universities on the countryside,” Arnold explains.
Similarly, like how Arnold developed his passion for research, Chris John Cagas, another DOST scholar, also developed passion in his course after passing the DOST scholarship.
As to the case of Marion Jane Montilla, a scholar who is a teenage mother.
She dropped out of school after discovering her pregnancy. However, she was able to gather up the courage to re-enroll and apply for the scholarship.
“My life as a student is full of regrets. I went through so many courses in different universities and finally settled at PNU. But I became pregnant right after getting admitted. Depression hit me for a year but I didn’t give up, I still sought the positive side of my situation and enrolled again after giving birth,” said Marion.
“I did not even expect to become a DOST scholar. The idea of being the scholar pushed me to do more in my life, to not settle for less. Now, I can see myself as an inspiration to other students to work hard and not settle with mediocrity.”
The scholars from Philippine Normal University Mindanao shared their experiences on how the DOST scholarship helped them achieve amid their individual stories of struggle and survival as they juggled academic life, family, and even jobs.
Marinelle Ramos, magna cum laude, revealed unassumingly that the DOST scholarship gave her a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
“Being a DOST scholar is a great privilege since it did not only help us financially but also personally,” said Marinelle.
The president of the DOST Scholars Society, Marinelle acknowledged that her position “taught me to govern the group, coordinated with high ranking officials, and boosted my self-confidence.”
Aside from the confidence boost, Marinelle admits that the financial assistance of the DOST Scholarship also taught her to become thrifty and develop sense of humility.
“That time (when I was a scholar), my family could not afford to pay the tuition of my sister who was studying in medical school. Having that amount of money (from the DOST scholarship)helped my family to get through. I was not forced by my parents but it (the scholarship) taught me to prioritize my needs and use my money responsibly instead of spending it on leisure activities,” she shared.
This was also true for Kimberly Besas and Fevwileane Padalapat, both graduated cum laude, who served as bread winners of their family all throughout their college life.
“I am so thankful that I became a scholar. The DOST scholarship not only changed me but it also moved my parents to change their habits on arguing over money when they saw me taking over the family’s finances. They saw me writing a long list of expenses and felt how I managed our situation. They witnessed how I was able to balance my academic and financial responsibilities. Over time, I became the family’s inspiration,” Fevwileane explained.
“My mom and dad are separated. My mom migrated to Manila and my dad has another family to feed,” disclosed Kimberly.
“Being the eldest, I have been through many jobs just to provide the basic needs of my six younger siblings. The DOST scholarship eased the burden, it was not just for me but for my whole family,” Kimberly added.
Honor, humility and confidence— these are the three words that mark the seven magna cum laude and 10 cum laude scholars of the Department of Science and Technology them as they proudly marched on stage to receive their diplomas, awards, and medals in separate commencement exercises at the Philippine Normal University (PNU) Mindanao, Surigao State College of Technology (SSCT), and Agusan del Sur State College of Agriculture and Technology (ASSCAT) in the Caraga region.