Still Going S.T.R.O.N.G.: Four Inspiring Student Stories
Mar 05, 2021
When hope fizzles, the light dims, and time seems to have run out, we say “bahala na”—a silent scream to the universe, hoping for something positive to happen despite whatever unfortunate circumstance we have found ourselves in. It’s a form of surrender more than it is a sign of hopefulness, but it is still some sort of comfort. Either way, getting used to the feeling of defeat does no one good—especially when you’re trying to get through school. No matter how difficult student life can be, you will find some kind of a break here and there, basically anywhere you’re willing to look!
Here are four testimonials from real students that might inspire you through the hardest “bahala na” moments of your student life:
“Hindi mo makukuha kung hindi mo aangkinin.”
I was never the smartest. Everything I wanted to achieve in school, I had to do with hours of hard work, patience, and perseverance. If I had to understand a certain topic, I had to read for hours to understand them. If I had to answer a Math problem, I had to practice countless times to pass my exams. If I had to read out loud, I had to rehearse five times in my head so I didn’t stutter once it was my turn. While I wasn’t as smart as the others, I was surely diligent and determined. When I graduated, I realized that it was never about me being the smartest. It was just about me knowing what I wanted and learning how to get there. I wasn’t naturally smart but I owned being a hard worker. I wanted to conquer school, and so I did—with honors.
“Sarili mo lang ang kailangan mong talunin.”
When I was a transferee to this new school, everyone around me seemed brighter, more articulate, and overall just more confident with themselves and their abilities. In class, everyone would get involved in debates and would have something to contribute to our discussions while I was always seated in the back with nothing to say. This happened every day, and it ate at my confidence. I was constantly beating myself up, comparing myself with my classmates. Everyone just seemed to be better than me. One day in class, our professor was giving back one of our projects. Usually, the student with the highest grade gets called first. To my surprise, I was the first to get called. I stared at a perfect 1.0 written on red ink at the top right corner of my paper. I couldn’t believe it. All along I thought I was doing the worst out of everyone, turns out I was only thinking the worst of myself.
“Kung walang matanaw sa harap, lumingon sa likod.”
Once, I failed a class. I was sad, angry, and scared. It meant I wasn’t going to graduate with honors, that I was a disappointment, and that I was stupid and a failure. I didn’t even know I was failing. I swear I could’ve done something, anything to compensate where I needed to. But it was done and I sat in an empty classroom, report card with a failing grade in hand. When I told my mother, I thought she’d get mad. Instead, she said “So what if they gave you a failing grade? I know you’re not stupid.” I cried then and there. “Matalino ka anak, alam ko. It is them who failed you”. It was the reassurance I didn’t know I needed. When you feel that you’ve failed and that there’s no more hope, sometimes you only need to look at everything in a new perspective. Maybe it’s you who needs to change, or maybe you need to change what surrounds you. For me, I actually only needed a better teacher.
“Ang takot ay takot lang.”
The most terrifying thing about being a student? To me, it’s not failing a class, getting delayed for graduation, or even getting kicked out. It’s not knowing what to do with my life once I graduate. When you’re a student, all you think about is getting through this semester onto the next. But I had moments where all I could think of was my future. There were so many possibilities, just too many things that could go wrong for me. What if I ended up taking a course, hating it, shifting to another one, then ending up spending ten years in college? What if I never graduate at all? What if I do graduate, get a job, hate that job, and then end up regretting all my decisions? This fear would come and go. But whenever it visited, I had to talk myself into calming down—and I would end up with this self-assuring conclusion every single time: Wherever I may end up, whether I plan to be there or not, it’s always going to be borne out of the best decisions I can make at that moment. And if I had to go back in time, I know I would make those same decisions again… because I was only doing the best I could at the time I was doing them. When you’re doing your best, it’s easier to stay optimistic.
There you go, folks! There sure is nothing like reading wise words from people who have gone through the same student woes as you. Just remember, you’re not alone. So stay inspired and stay strong!
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