Honor and excellence | Inquirer Opinion
Commentary

Honor and excellence

AS AN ordinary probinsyano from Bulacan, I had no plans of enrolling in any university here in Metro Manila. The simple life in the province was enough for me. My dream then was to graduate from the best school in our town and get a high-paying job in Baliwag so that I could help improve my family’s standard of living. If not for the guidance counselor in our high school who oriented us on the opportunities we may get when we study in Manila, I would not have applied for UPCAT, studied in UP and be speaking in front of all of you this morning.

It was not just once that I doubted the possibility that I could study in UP. For instance, I might not be able to make it to the quota courses which would surely be filled with examinees from prominent science high schools in Metro Manila. Also, even if I did pass and got a slot in the courses I applied for, my parents would surely balk at the idea since it would mean renting a room and asking for a weekly allowance, which my parents couldn’t afford to give me. Sabihin mang ang binabayaran namin sa UP ay barya lamang kung ikukumpara sa tuition fee ng mga estudyante sa ibang unibersidad, hindi pa rin naging madali ang aking pag-aaral. Talagang can’t afford kami at hindi miminsang sinabi ng aking mga magulang na edukasyon lang talaga ang maaari nilang maipamana sa amin. (You could say that UP’s tuition fees are small change compared to other universities. Still, my going to UP was no less difficult because we really didn’t have money. More than once, my parents told me that a good education was the only thing that they could give me.)

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Most of you might relate to my story. But one thing for sure is common to all of us, and that is Metrobank Foundation Incorporated, as one of the country’s most respected and successful corporate foundations, served as our stepping stone to our success as graduates today. The foundation believed in our potential more than we did.

I was in my fourth year in college when I came to know of the Metrobank Foundation Scholarship that was made available through the Office of Scholarships and Student Services in UP Diliman. Through the financial help the foundation has given me, I was able to continue my education without having to worry where I would get money for my daily expenses.

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Metrobank Foundation has shown us that it is not enough that we achieve academic excellence but also develop leadership so that we may more effectively contribute to society.

In the five years that I have stayed in our university, I was faced with life’s realities that weren’t really obvious to me way back in my early days. One, education should have been a right, but in reality, it is a privilege. I have faced different people in college, of different backgrounds and personalities. It’s true that you cannot please everybody, but what’s important is that you tried to please them in the first place. I’ve had friends and some acquaintances as well. And they all contributed to what I am today. My professors were so great that they did not only teach me lessons in textbooks—how to analyze the stability of structures or how to design a retaining wall or foundation system—but more importantly, they taught me to “learn how to learn.” They often told us that what set us apart from other graduates was that we were like mushrooms, left in the dark, fed with dirt, but still, we grew somehow.

As graduates of the Metrobank Foundation, we are all privileged to have been given the gift of scholarship. We enjoyed free education in our respective universities. It is then our responsibility to continue improving ourselves, to be one of the best, if not the best, in our respective chosen careers and serve this nation with utmost patriotism and integrity.

Ang tunay na sukatan ay kung paano mo ginagamit ang buhay mo at ang mga pagkakataong ibinibigay sa iyo. Hindi man pantay ang buhay, kung magsusumikap at magtitiyaga lamang ako, kahit gaano man ito kalayo, ay tiyak mararating ko rin.

Sa UP, hindi maaaring makagraduate ka nang hindi mo alam na laging nauuna ang honor sa excellence, dahil kailanman, hindi maaring isakripisyo ang integridad sa pagkakamit ng karangalan.

(The true measure of your worth is how you use the opportunities that life gives you. The world might not be fair, but with patience and perseverance you will certainly get to where you need to be. At UP, you won’t graduate unless you understand that honor comes first before excellence because you cannot sacrifice your integrity in the pursuit of glory.)

The above are excerpts from the response delivered by Elvin B. Cruz on behalf of the Class 2011 MBFI Scholars at the 13th Graduates Forum of the Metrobank Foundation Inc.  Elvin graduated magna cum laude with a BS Civil Engineering from the University of the Philippines Diliman.

The Graduate’s Forum is an event enabling the students from different scholarship programs to interact with one another as well as with their benefactors.

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TAGS: education, excellence, honor, Metrobank Foundation, opinion
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