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College and career could still be years away, but instilling in them the life skills that matter should start now.
According to The Fresh Graduate Survey conducted by Jobstreet.com Philippines, state-run Philippines Polytechnic University (PUP) has emerged as the top choice of employers when it comes to hiring fresh graduates. PUP beat University of the Philippines (UP) and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), both tied at third place. The second spot went to the University of the Santo Tomas (UST). De La Salle University (DLSU) took sixth place, behind Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and Far Eastern University (FEU).
The results from the survey, which involved 550 companies, showed that PUP graduates have many of the qualities that employers were looking for: trainability, communication skills, competence, willingness to learn, initiative, honesty and integrity. "More than a preference for particular colleges and universities, employers prioritize applicants who show willingness to be trained and to learn. Companies need new employees who can easily adapt to their processes and systems, learn their products and services, the dynamics of the industry that they are a part of, and what drives their success,” explained Philip Gioca, Jobstreet.com Philippines country manager.
The survey again goes to show that finding a good job is about having the right attitude, and not so much where you graduated. Need more proof? These four inspiring young adults share how they hurdled challenges to complete their studies.
Jefferson Dave Gayumpayan, Accountancy graduate (cum laude), Lyceum of the Philippines University Manila; 2015 Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) National Capital Region (NCR) awardee:
1. Be proud of your roots. “Everywhere I go, [I’m proud to] say that I’m Ifugao. When I can, I wear the bayaong (sash). I also try to change other people’s notion that we are headhunters and uncivilized. Our culture is values-driven. We truly care for our family members. For us, family isn’t just defined by blood—that’s why there are no beggars where I’m from. Wala sa amin ang nagtatakwil ng kapamilya.”
2. Follow a balanced schedule. “When I’m in class, I focus. When I’m with my friends, I enjoy the moment. If you study the whole day, only two hours would actually be productive. That’s why I don’t believe in studying for long periods. Instead, I maximize those two hours.”
3. Let your child learn on his own. “My parents say to my siblings and me, ‘We won’t always be there for you, but if you need us, we’ll be here.’ They let us learn on our own; learning is different when you discover something yourself. When there’s something wrong, that’s the only time they step in.”
4. Use positive reinforcement. “One of my younger brothers was not an honor student in grade school, unlike our other siblings and myself. Others said he couldn’t [become a top student], but our parents said, ‘Marunong ka. Naniniwala kami sa ’yo.’ They also offered [to give] him a prize if he’d become an honor student—and he did.”
5. Just join. “I’ve always wanted to do what others have not yet done before. I’d join competitions and run for positions when others were hesitant because the competitors were apparently better. I try to prove that we can [win]. When I was in grade five, I was the first Ifugao to qualify for the National Schools Press Conference (a campus journalism competition conducted by the Department of Education). My parents never stopped me from joining competitions. They would always say, ‘Never fear failure—it will make you stronger.’ Kung magkamali man ako, natuto naman ako.”
Gianna Joy Nathania Napo, programs development officer, Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (Go Negosyo) and 2013 TOSP national finalist:
6. Believe in yourself. “When I began studying in a private Catholic school in Manila as a scholar, I didn’t even know how to use a computer. I came from a public school in Sorsogon, where three students shared one book. I adjusted and worked double-time to catch up. “I heard some people in our province say, ‘Hanggang dito na lang ako. Hindi ko kayang makisabay.’ I would tell them, ‘Ang tatay ko ay pedicab driver at ang nanay ko ay nagtitinda lang sa bangketa noon, pero naigapang nila ako. Huwag kayo panghinaan ng loob.’”
7. Share your story. “It feels good to inspire others when you’re simply sharing a piece of yourself; it also fuels me to do my best. In our office, we have a staffer who’s an out-of-school youth. I shared my story with her and said, ‘Huwag mo sasabihin sa sarili mo na hanggang dito ka na lang.’ Now, she’s getting ready to go back to school.”
8. Do your share. “I pushed myself to do my best, because I saw my parents doing everything they could for me. They said, ‘Mag-aral ka nang mabuti at gagawin namin ang lahat para sa ’yo.’ It wouldn’t be fair to them if I didn’t study hard. They didn’t have to force me, but when I was a kid, they made me finish my homework first before letting me play.”
9. Work hard. “When it comes to academic success, it’s just a bonus if you’re intelligent. You still need to work hard and exert effort.”
10. Find ways. “Given the lack of resources, you need to think of ways to achieve your goals. When I was a kid, I sold candy to my relatives so I could earn money to buy a toy. I believe it’s important to be enterprising and entrepreneurial—ang pagiging madiskarte kahit empleyado ka.”
Irish M. Dizon, Filipino instructor, University of the Philippines Rural High School at UP Los Baños; graduate student, UP Diliman; and 2014 TOSP NCR finalist:
11. Do your best, but don't be a perfectionist. “I make it a point to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way. Don’t waste your time producing [mediocre output]. This is one of the things I learned from being a girl scout.”
12. Give back. “It was hard when my parents’ business failed. My oldest sibling—and late brother—had to stop studying and start working so I could go to school. I really want to give back and make my parents feel that everything they have done is worth it. I plan to give them a stable business so I could pursue my plan to do community-based teaching in [far-flung places].”
13. Let the kids be. “My parents just let me join various school activities. They didn’t pressure me to excel and bring home medals. It was my own choice whether to be at the top of my class.“I have students who are pressured by their parents to get high grades. Some of these grade-conscious students even resort to cheating. They’re afraid of disappointing their parents, who have high expectations of them. They are unhappy and sometimes even hurt themselves.”
14. Think positive. “Following the law of attraction has taught me to look at things positively and to believe that every problem has a solution. To fund my college education, I applied for scholarships and took on part-time jobs.”
15. Filipino is very important. “Ang wikang Filipino ay may bitbit na kultura. Halimbawa ay ang salitang ‘bayanihan.’ Kung hindi mo alam ang ating wika, may bahagi ng ating kultura na nawawala sa iyo.”
Christopher Valentin, Psychology graduate (summa cum laude), Far Eastern University (FEU); incoming freshman, FEU-NRMF Institute of Medicine; and 2015 TOSP NCR finalist:
16. Have a vision. “My dream is to become a doctor—an oncologist and general surgeon. I’d be the first doctor in our family. I want to give them quality healthcare, which we’re deprived of because we can’t afford it.”
17. Education is a means to a better life. “My mom always says, ‘Pag-aaral na lang ang paraan para makaalis tayo sa bahay na ito.’ That’s why my siblings and I have a vision: Ten years from now, we’ll have our own house. Hindi na kami manghihingi at manghihiram.”
18. Just try. “Back in first year, I thought I had to stop studying. I wasn’t able to maintain my merit scholarship because my final grade was short of 0.04. My mom, though, encouraged me to approach our dean. I then found out about the FEU Long-term Education Assistance Program (LEAP), which covered [all expenses]; I only had to pass all my subjects. I became the first FEU LEAP scholar.”
19. Be self-sufficient. “I print and design T-shirts. I learned screen printing in high school, and an uncle gave me the tools and materials as a gift. I don’t ask my parents for allowance anymore. I’m also turning my hobby into a sideline: performing magic tricks in parties. I study card tricks during my free time.”
20. Leave your confort zone. “[Doing so] opens doors for you and lets you know better what you can do and what you can become. I joined organizations in college that helped me better understand myself and [my capabilities]. They also helped me realize my passion to serve those in need. When I become a doctor, I’ll devote some days of the week to running a free clinic [for the poor].”
Interviews by Maika Q. Bernardo