A fresh graduate from Jose Rizal University is making the rounds on social media for his now viral graduation message of hope and perseverance, sharing how he survived college by making ends meet one day at a time, mostly by seeking financial help from other people.
Christian Jeanoe Losa, who took up BSHRM Major in Cruise Management, shared his difficulties that he had to endure after losing his mother at an early age.
His father is an overseas Filipino worker in Saudi Arabia.
"My elder sister and I have to make ends meet. We borrowed money. I must not lose courage. Nothing will happen to you if you get scared or become shy. There are times you will have to do menial jobs for your daily survival. I tried retailing. I sold a variety of products, especially the contemporary ones. I went to remote places to sell. I braved the heat, pollution, heavy traffic and demanding customers. Sometimes you'll have to stretch your patience for a few dollars and you must be diligent and have guts.
"Yes, I have a father who toils overseas but that does not mean we have a good life. When a crisis hit Saudi Arabia, my father failed to send money for six months so we had to borrow money and find ways to survive. Imagine, at 16 years old I borrowed P20,000 to P30,000 (S$557 to S$836). I was wondering where I drew strength to overcome the odds."
Losa said he had to resort to buy and sell and other activities just to earn money to sustain his educational needs, adding that there were instances where he had to skip classes and important exams.
"There were times I did not go to school because I was so broke. Those moments when you wake up and start thinking so much. There were times that some of my classmates will give me money for my meals. Many times I did not take the exams because the school's 'No permit No Exam' policy. During these cases you'll have to find someone willing to lend money so you can catch up for the exam. Sometimes I have to leave the classroom to avoid embarrassment in case I would be asked to produce the receipt for the exam fee. You're lucky if the professor will listen to your plea.
"There were times when I really had nothing, but when I had money I used it wisely. I engaged in buying and selling gadgets. I can pawn these in times of need. I bought shoes and paid in installments," Losa added.
The new graduate said he was able to pay everyone whom he had asked money from with the help of his father, expressing gratitude to those who assisted him in his education.
"Today is graduation day. I'm so happy and I know Papa is happy, too, as well as my sister and mother. But it's sad that mama is gone and I cannot share this with her. I dedicate my perserverence to my mother. Especially to you, Pa! I love you and thank you for everything," he said.
"Although I did not graduate as a cum laude or as an honour student, and even though I won't receive anything like those who go viral on Facebook, I'm happy to share my story."
As of writing, Losa's post has garnered more than 47,000 shares and 259,000 reactions on Facebook.