That Bittersweet Achievement: Graduation
|not my photo: credit to owner.|
This coming April 22, 2012 my name would be listed as one of the graduates of Masters of Industrial Relations (Major in Human Resources Management) from University of the Philippines School of Labor and Industrial Relations. For almost four years (from 2007 second semester – November to 2010 second semester). I have sat in number of classes for 3 long hours each. Armed with only my pen and notebook and what I know from actual experience in the industry, guided by courses I took back in my undergrad and some articles assigned to us by our grad school professors – I survived.
Not without hardships mind you. You see I have decided to take classes back in 2007 because I felt like I have no direction in life at all. It seemed that my undergraduate degree was not enough to get me where I hoped to be, that the degree I have would only get me two steps forward. I wanted more but I was afraid of what that more would be. I chose between Organizational Psychology from a different school to Industrial Relations in UP SOLAIR. I took the entrance exam for the latter as I was urged to be a “through and through maroon blooded individual”. I prepared my documents, called my professors back in my undergraduate to give me a recommendation (yes I chose the professor who gave me one of my highest remarks so that it wouldn’t be that hard for her to recommend me haha) and she did. I remember the day I took that entrance exam. I was shittin’ myself in my math part. Haha. I never thought there was a need for the math part in that exam as we were to take mostly about national and industrial matters of human development. I cursed as much as I could and tapped my pen as fast as I could. The other person sitting beside me was looking at me angrily (he turned out to be one of my buddies in school from then and now is working with me here in the office).
I braced myself for the disappointment of not passing the exam and getting in after all it is still the University of the Philippines. A month later I saw my examinee number on the website stating that I got in the program. Two years after graduating from my undergraduate, there I was again, eagerly getting back to school which was ironic because back when I was in my senior year, I couldn’t wait to graduate and stay away from theories and term papers. Balancing school and work was a bit challenging, there would be Saturdays that I just wanted to sleep the whole day. There would be days that I couldn’t put my finger on my readings. There would be classes that I would just want to ditch because I was too sleepy to wake up at 5am to get ready for my 9am class. There would be papers that I would write just in the nick of time because I got lazy or I just got a tad bit busy. There would be professors that I had to argue with because our opinions wouldnt just meet the middle. Classmates that I disagree with or agree with. Presentations that we had to make for the articles that we read. Articles, book chapters, researches, and all of the things that we needed to read and recite about, they were all there.
After all the classes that I had to complete so I could get all the units I needed to earn my graduate degree, I studied for my comprehensive exam. January 2011 was a bit challenging for me. There were so many demands at work during that period and I needed to study the whole 3 years of my graduate school life again for the 8 hour exam for two days. To cut the story short, I passed my first day exam and failed my second day exam. I accepted it wholeheartedly because I knew from the second I forwarded my second part exam, I missed something. There was no room for blaming, for regret, for excuses just acceptance. After all it was I and I alone who had caused that failure. I always keep this in mind: I wouldn’t know the true meaning of success unless I know the true meaning of failure. Failing is an integral part of life; it is how you rise from it that defines you.
Seven months later, I had to retake the second part of my comprehensive exam. Again with so much work to be done, I couldn’t juggle studying and working anymore. I had to take a leave from work for one day and focus on studying for the next day’s exam. I have already scanned through my reviewers for the past weeks. I just needed the un-interrupted review day for everything. After one month, I saw my examiner number with a “high pass” rating on it. This was such a relief for me because it was my redeeming moment. You see, most of the people I know from school did not expect me to fail back in January. They already had assumed in their minds that I would be passing the exam back then with flying colors, I wanted to tell them that expectations lead to terrible disappointments, hahaha. That result erased all my worries away and that I am to graduate in April 2012.
Now that I have finally cleared everything in school, got my clearance from UP. Paid all the fees I have to settle for graduation and settled everything. Inching away from the actual graduation date, it is a bittersweet moment. With all the challenges to get to this with all the fun with all the hesitations with all the craziness, I am to graduate this coming April 22, 2012 – sweetest part of it. Bitter part is that, I will not be marching that day and receiving my diploma in front of the school because I have to be somewhere (which I will write about after). Nonetheless, it is still such a fulfillment. I don’t want to carry my own self in the pedestal, but this time I will. I can say I am proud that I survived it. I made mistakes but I learned from them.
If you guys are ever hesitating on getting into a graduate program just because you think it is hard, don’t. Yes it is hard, yes it takes some time away from your precious families and friends but at the end of it all – it is worth it. It is all worth it. The feeling of fulfillment is one of the best gifts you could ever give yourself.