Speech of Ms. Kriza Faye A. Calumba, Motivational Speaker, Recognition Ceremony, 19 February 2016
To the UP Mindanao Chancellor Dr. Sylvia Concepcion, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Nilo Oponda, Vice Chancellor for Administration Dr. Antonio Obsioma, deans, college secretaries, faculty, staff, awardees, parents, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
Let me begin with a line that we often hear nowadays – Walang forever. Usually it pertains to relationship breakups and ruined friendships, but on a positive note, this line also means being open to change. Dili ka forever magpulaw para sa acads. Sa mga graduating, dili mo forever magthesis. Dili mo forever mahimong studyante. Despite its negative connotation especially when broken people make hugot, walang forever implies change – change for the better, in particular – and that is what I want to stress today.
First, hindi ka forever nasa UP. You will all graduate and leave the university, in the right time. And when that right time comes, you might want to ask yourself: “How was I as a student? Did I make the most of my stay in the university and was my roller coaster ride worth it? Did I stay true to being an Iskolar ng Bayan?” Well you can ask these questions and challenge yourself right now. My tip for you is to grab more opportunities.
UP Mindanao offers you various occasions for you to grow into more socially aware, more culturally sensitive, and more open-minded individuals. Join organizations that serve your best interest. Pursue your passion – dance, sing, draw, speak, play – and let this be a means of self-expression. Be more participative in activities organized by the university and by the students. Be more informed. And importantly, never miss any student exchange opportunity.
I still remember how, in August 2012, I managed to travel outside the Philippines for the first time. Not for a short vacation, but for a semester of student exchange to the National University of Singapore. I had doubts that time kasi wala pang academic calendar shift, so going on exchange meant not graduating on time. And despite the sepanx, I still pursued it, as I was confident that I will always be thankful for the experiences, and I was right. I was the sole exchange student from the UP system under the Temasek Foundation Leadership Enrichment and Regional Networking Programme, along with 34 other exchange students from 13 Asian countries. Now what did I gain? I met people with different backgrounds and personalities. I felt home in their companionship even for a short period of four months. I got to explore new places and new food; in fact I gained 5 kilos when I was there. Ana pa sila, ang lawas mabawi, ang experiences once in a lifetime ra. Studying in a foreign university will also let you grow intellectually as you have to adjust to the academic standards, especially in a country like Singapore where people are so “kiasu”/”gahot”/competitive. Yet, despite these challenges, being an exchange student will make you a better person in many ways. And don’t forget to use your learning and experiences to give back to the Filipino community. I am sharing this because right now, there are a lot of student exchange opportunities for UP students. One BS Food Technology student, Viena Monterde, is now at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in the United States for one year of student exchange. Hindi forever may opportunities na ganyan, so you, don’t miss your chance.
Second and last, hindi ka forever nasa taas. We all fail, but you must have a high threshold for frustration. Accept failure inasmuch as you accept success, because you won’t realize success without failure. Use these let-downs as stepping stones toward improving yourself. Rest if you must, but don’t you quit. It’s okay to cry after failing an exam, it’s okay to sleep for 10 hours before an exam or deadline the following day, it’s okay to cram sometimes, as long as you know what you are doing. Prioritize your tasks more efficiently, work harder, manage your time better, and believe in yourself more. Also stay grounded and keep in mind that despite your success, you still have a lot to learn.
Today I am in front of the brightest students in UP Mindanao, and I would like to congratulate you all for reaping the fruit of your labor for the previous semesters. Nagbunga ang inyong mga eyebags, gi-dilian na mga laag and party para magstudy, and even the relationships you gave up kasi nga daw, acads first. You all have a long way to go. Be more inspired and keep yourself motivated. You are the future leaders of the country; gratify the Filipino people that you are serving, especially the marginalized. To the parents, I am certain of how proud you are of your son/daughter and their success would not have been possible without your support.
To end this, I would like to reiterate na walang forever sa UP. Hindi kayo forever magiging studyante, so make the most of it. Again, congratulations to all awardees!