We all have different struggles in life. But one woman who spent 15 years before completing her college education shared her inspiring story and proves to herself as well as to many struggling students that everyone can overcome their struggles as long as they really try…
Calling herself as the ‘odd one out’, Au Flores shared that her life had always been different from most of her peers. As a preschool pupil, she had a different way of coloring her work as she prefers putting colors beyond the lines. Her classmates laughed at her because of that, particularly because she also didn’t like playing with them at the swing because it makes her dizzy.
In elementary, she would make remarks that earned her the reputation of the girl whose brain runs a little too differently than the others. Because everyone thought she was strange, she decided to stop speaking out her mind.
But that was short-lived. She decided to be the outspoken student in high school, but eventually got ‘bored’ with being smart and good at sports. She became the ‘cool kid’, the one who cut classes to play billiards. She called that as ‘small town stuff’ and wasn’t really bothered much until she passed the UPCAT and was accepted in UP.
“Suddenly, I am surrounded with people who were valedictorians, salutatorians, members of the debate team, editors-in-chief of their school paper, people who passed projects on time. I look at them and realize, I am still the odd-one-out even in college,” Au wrote.
“But here I was, struggling to make it out here in the big city. Maybe that was a good thing. It was not easy, though. We are not rich. We live in a house that has not been changed since I was born and my mom would sometimes go to the bank on a daily basis for a week to send me P100 to survive the day.”
As the odd one out, she changed from the ‘cool kid’ to the ‘angry kid’. She blamed her parents for not being able to provide her with a better life, her relatives for not helping enough, and even at herself for choosing UP.
Then, she got pregnant. She tried her best to complete all her lessons so she could graduate despite being pregnant, but fate had other plans. Just 1 week before the finals, she gave birth to her baby.
“With a baby, no paternal support, and no degree, I was this close to just giving up on UP. So here I was again. The odd one out. The anomaly. The girl who would have been,” Au mused.
She nearly gave up on her studies, putting off school to work for her baby. The next 8 years were a blur, but she spent them away from school. Time came, however, when she finally realized that it wasn’t too late for her to complete her degree and that she had wasted an opportunity.
“But while I never understood why I passed the UPCAT, I still cannot deny the truth that I wasted an opportunity. That in fact, I was privileged. That my adolescent angst, while some were valid, will not get me anywhere,” Au admitted.
So, Au went back to school. As a 30-something student, she was once again the odd one out. Most of her classmates were nearly half her age – and many teachers are a decade younger! But she was determined to do it this time. She didn’t quit.
Two years later, she was finally able to graduate with her course in Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication. She joked that her award is “CumInse Años sa Kolehiyo”.
As she finally graduated from college, after 15 years, she shared some of the life lessons she learned in the experience and explained why she finally got her dream back.
“So what happened along the way? Acceptance. That I will always be different. I am weird. I am an anomaly. And that is okay. These things have taught me to be open. Because I know what it feels like to be singled out, I realized I am capable of making people feel that they belong. It has taught me to be more observant. Being different made me capable of seeing things in people that they otherwise miss to see in themselves. That the third person point of view is also a necessary view,” Au shared.
Learn more about the life lessons she wants to share in her post. It’s a lengthy but worthwhile read…