the urge to quit.. I fight

It may not be news anymore now, but some time ago there was a young behavioral science student in a state university who took her own life using silver cleaner and allegedly because she did not have the money to pay her matriculation. And I feel saddened by the story and can relate to it not only because I believe that every life is precious, but because it reminds me of my own struggles when I was also a student.

Now I may not have been the product of the public school system, being in private school until my medical education, but please do allow me to elaborate. It was not without sacrifices not only on myself, but with the people around me as well. In a graduation speech I gave recently, I recalled the time when I came to school and had fifteen pesos for my daily allowance, half of that amount was for transportation.  The rest was for my food and other school needs. I survived this until high school. College was different altogether because my father had the foresight to get a college education plan, at 400 pesos a month for 5 years not much now, but back then, it meant he had to forgo a lot of other personal gratifications. The face value of the plan was 16,000 pesos. My tuition fee for the first semester alone was 12,000 pesos. But of course unlike before, I had to rent a place to stay, books to buy and other expenses as well. There was even a point in time when friends had to pitch in and sponsored my lunch (1 friend = 1 meal) for weeks on end to tide me over. I am forever grateful for them.

But survive college I did and earned my degree in Biology. I could have opted to take the opening at the soon to be constructed research lab, but instead took a leap of faith and substantial risk when I told my parents that I wanted to take up Doctor of Medicine. It took a while and a long talk with them. We assessed our situation: I still had 3 other college bound siblings. My father said he had some money for house restoration and he could still take out a loan if ever, but all in all, it would only be enough to cover one year of medical school. I said, I’ll take it. And after 1 year of medical school where I had to augment books borrowed from the library with the one from roommates and upper classmen, I was fortunate enough to be qualified for the school’s grants-in-aid. My other classmates sought more creative ways to earn. Like one classmate who taught Math and English to the growing Korean population then to see her through. And on my last year of med school, I was fortunate enough to have been chosen to be the first recipient of a newly funded scholarship grant.

Looking back, it was easy to have just given up. But in hindsight, I am thankful that I have been blessed with a good and ample support group in my times of dire need, not just financially but emotionally as well in those trying and difficult times.

~ by allen mallari on May 1, 2013.

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