The Boy Who Held A 'Reconsider Me?' Sign At UP Graduates Magna Cum Laude At PLMDo you remember him?by Maan D'Asis Pamaran .
This is a story about determination, resilience, and love for family.
Four years ago, my eldest son stood under the sun in front of the Admissions Office of the University of the Philippines Diliman with a sign that read “Reconsider Me?” It was just his initiative of trying to obtain a quality college education, one that he knew that I as a single mom with three other sons who could not afford any of the other big schools.
This move of a young man who simply wanted to reach for his dreams blew up on social media. It was only on social media that I found out what he was up to. He told me that morning that he was going to attend his senior high school graduation practice, so, imagine my surprise when one of my friends sent me a photo of a boy who held up a sign on a campus that I had only been to once or twice in my life.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
“Si Ino ba yan?” A friend sent me a Facebook post with his picture at the UP campus. I checked, and yes, that was what he was wearing when he left that morning. That homemade signboard explained the noise that he was making in the garage that night. Each strike of the hammer symbolizes his determination to go after something he hoped for with all his heart.CONTINUE READING BELOWwatch now
My mother’s heart cried out for him, but knowing my son, it was something he felt he needed to do. I called him to make sure he was safe, and he assured me he was. The students he met there were really nice to him, he reported.
However, the people on social media were not so kind. We received many encouraging messages from friends and strangers after my first article in Smart Parenting about what happened came out. He also wrote about his own experience for another site. We came out in a Teleradyo report, courtesy of another friend. But for all the encouraging messages, we also got hateful ones. Ones that called him entitled, ones that questioned my parenting, ones that even red-tagged him. We didn’t pay any attention to them. We have been through worse abuse and survived. We did not listen to these awful, nasty people who think they know us from just one Facebook post.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
We had a long talk the night he came home. I hugged him and told him that whatever happened, I will make sure that he will continue his studies. Long story short, he did not get into UP. The good news is that he got accepted into the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM), and that was where he found his footing. In his first year, he joined and won in a debate competition. He consistently received good grades.
It did not come with its own set of challenges. For one, it meant he had to stay in a boarding house. My son, who never spent extended time away from home, had to learn to survive on his own, budgeting whatever I could send him for his meals and school needs. I worried constantly, and his brothers missed having him around. It helped that one of his roommates, Nino, was a friend from Senior High School, and I knew him as a studious kid. That somewhat allayed my fears about his safety.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
He did get to stay home when the pandemic forced the school system to conduct online classes. I admit that I got angry at him sometimes because he would stay up late, holding online meetings with classmates on group projects. However determined he was to get high grades, he still needed to take care of his health. He did all of his schoolwork along with household chores and even managed to rescue a couple of stray cats from the street.
One day, Ino comes to my room—a safe space where all my sons can enter anytime for serious and not-so-serious talks. He says, “Ma, I might graduate with honors.” My heart burst with joy. This was the product of all his hard work.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
What made me even prouder was what his professor and their department secretary told me. You see, I went with him to PLM a few weeks ago when he was getting his graduation clearance. It was lunch break by the time we arrived, and one of the signatures he needed on his clearance card was of the department secretary’s. I had an interview to go to in the area, so he decided to drop me off at my venue and go back to the school. We spotted the secretary, Ms. Emma having lunch with his Economics professor Romark Resuello under one of the trees on campus as we were about to exit.
"If there is anything that can be gleaned from our experience, it is to never lose hope. As they say, when God closes a door, He opens a window somewhere." —Maan D' Asis Pamaran
Ino saw the opportunity to introduce me to them and let Ms. Emma know he would be back. What they told me brought me to tears. “Napaka-galang ng anak ninyo. Isa lang siya sa kaunting estudyante na marunong pa mag ‘po’ at ‘opo’,” Ms. Emma said. Prof. Resuello agreed and also remarked on how respectful and kind Ino is. Without any hesitation, she signed his clearance, although we protested that we were disturbing their lunch.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
On September 7, 2023, Rufino Pamaran III graduated Magna cum Laude from his college course of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Major in Economics. It took all my willpower not to ugly-cry at the ceremony.
I know that it was God’s grace at work, and Ino’s determination to succeed that made this possible. If there is anything that can be gleaned from our experience, it is to never lose hope. As they say, when God closes a door, He opens a window somewhere.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Please indulge me as I end my article with a few thank yous – Thank you to my family and friends who supported us: financially (through work assignments for me), emotionally, and spiritually. Thank you to his brothers, Carmelo, Matteo, and Alejandro, for supporting their kuya by ensuring that all chores are done and for making him feel loved and supported at home.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Thank you to the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila for taking a chance on my son. Thank you to his former teachers from preschool to university who molded him academically. And yes, thank you to UP, even though he was not reconsidered.
Whatever path he decides to take going forward, I know that he has been equipped and shaped by his experiences and the people he has met along the way.
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