An Open Letter to My 16-Year-Self Old - Edukasyon PH
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An Open Letter to My 16-Year-Self Old : Thoughts for a Scholar Wannabe

Dearest self,

Hang in there. You’ve just entered university and you’re still navigating the halls of your first one. As you enter university, remember that UP Diliman will teach you valuable things like academic rigor, the pursuit of excellence, and above all – service to the nation. Keep those lessons close to your heart because they will help guide you. Be inspired by your classmates and your professors but know that your journey is your own.

You’ll study abroad!
Despite the lack of financial safety and the average grades or a revered background, you’ll be able to fulfill your dream and study abroad in Japan! You’ll be a scholar but you’ll also need to work hard to support yourself. It will be a mixture of amazing experiences and many challenges. You will enter this new university and have to face a completely new culture and a society filled with interesting people. You’ll learn to adapt and soon learn that people are really not that different from each other.

Life is tough and it will get tougher.
The truth of the matter is, life is a whole lot tougher than we expected. Leaving the Philippines will turn out to be a lot more difficult than you imagined. You’ll have to work harder than most almost every single day of college life. You’ll take way more part-time jobs than you can count. You will have multiple instances where you might not survive the month but you will eventually survive. You’ll learn to budget, cook at home, pay the bills, and let go of your wants for your own needs. Your family will be there a countless number of times Skypeing you to give you encouragement. There will be many weeks of you studying full time and still work six days a week but you’ll thrive right through it.

With independence comes sacrifice.
It will take a lot of effort and occasionally pain to get through each month of school but it will be totally worth the lessons learned. You’ll be mature enough to know that independence comes with many sacrifices. You might doubt yourself constantly but believe me when I tell you that you’ll defy all odds and come out stronger than ever. You’ll make many mistakes too, so remember to give yourself a break. Learn to forgive you.

There’s always an overwhelming pressure to date some people whether you’re in the Philippines or Japan. Don’t worry about that, because that time will come. There will be men (some from different countries) that you’ll fall in love with and they with you too. Some of them will show you what kindness is, take you on adventures, and show you other beautiful sides of yourself and of this world that you never knew before. Some will love you at first and sometimes they’ll break your heart. Learn from those experiences. Learn to forgive and love again.

Be passionate about something and keep fighting.
Being in a new country, you’ll be introduced to new ideas. You’ll find things you believe in, and you’ll find yourself not believing in others anymore. Find the causes that make you wake up in the morning and make you sleepless at night. Make them your own fight. Learn to adapt to the society that you’re in but you’ll also have to stand up for yourself. Choose your battles wisely. You’ll discover that many others will go out of their way to help you out when they understand your cause. You’ll be amazed at what can be accomplished.

Choose to be open, choose to let in, and choose to forgive.
There will be many people who will disappoint you. Even, people, you look up to. Learn to cry and grieve but also choose to believe in yourself. Know your own truths and stand by them. Choose to forgive and sometimes you will have to let go of those who have wronged you. Despite all the disappointment, remember to let others in too. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’ll be surprised at how many people are immensely kind and how much you are loved.

You will spread your wings and fly.
My dearest, despite all the uncertainties and trials, you’ll overcome all of them in time and become a warrior. Take calculated risks and take the plunge in pursuit of something greater than yourself. In time, you will accomplish great things. You will graduate with a sense of accomplishment knowing that you’ve worked hard every day towards that goal. You are an amazing person and don’t ever lose hope within yourself.

Camille Armas entered UP Diliman in 2008 as a freshman but craving an international environment for learning, she applied as a scholar and transferred to Ritsumeikan Asia-Pacific University (APU) in Japan in 2010. She had to do part-time work during her time there in order to support her living expenses. It took her four years to complete her degree in International Relations at APU where she was able to participate in fundraising activities and charity projects for the Philippines and for other countries. She is now working for Edukasyon.ph in promoting study abroad opportunities to other Filipino youth.

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2 thoughts on “An Open Letter to My 16-Year-Self Old : Thoughts for a Scholar Wannabe”

  1. I will graduate senior high next school year and i would like to study abroad for college but unfortunately my parents cant support me financially, where could I get scholarship for me to study abroad cause its really my dream to study abroad specifically in korea

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