Earlier during the recognition program of the Faculty of Management and Development Studies of the University of the Philippines Open University, I was given the opportunity to give the message on behalf of the graduating students.
I will be forever grateful for the chance given to me. I hope I live up to the expectations for an Iskolar ng Bayan. :)
Allow me to share the speech I delivered earlier:
FMDS officials and staff, dear professors, fellow graduates, families and friends in attendance, good morning.
It’s fascinating to be here, standing before you all, particularly my classmates and professors whom I only interacted with online for the past two years. It’s funny that we only get to meet and bond on our day of recognition and graduation. A few weeks ago we were just joking among ourselves in our FB group what award we would give each other. I got the “Master Procrastinator award”. One had the “Master Crammer’” and another had the “Comments only during school season” award. Such is the testament that today education and establishing relationships know no boundary. And we are blessed that UPOU and our professors are here to help us take advantage of how modern technology can revolutionize education.
Two years ago, when I first learned that FMDS already offered DIH, I did not hesitate to apply as distance learning can provide me the most flexible environment in pursing graduate studies while having full time work. I think most of you would agree with me that when we say we are in UPOU, we would often be asked, “What is it? How does it work”? And when we say ‘distance learning’ and ‘online classes’, we get a reply of ‘it must be easier then’. Probably. After all, we can access our lessons online while waiting in an airport, write a paper while waiting for a pregnant mom to experience contractions, or squeeze in some readings on our way to a remote health service facility.Upon careful scrutiny though, behind these “fascinating” scenarios are the stories of people who chose to exhaust every possible means to advance further even it means coming at the expense of sleep, bonding time with family or simply by choosing the less paved road in learning.
So contrary to what most people think, distance learning is a lot more challenging. In OU, because we “own” or determine our pace and study time, more than intelligence, it’s more of discipline, resourcefulness and time-management that will eventually determine how far we will come as a UPOU student. I know that the knowledge we learn and the skills we develop in such a unique learning environment will not only help us become better versions of ourselves, but also be more capable in our respective careers and in fulfilling our roles as “Iskolar ng Bayan”.
As graduates of FMDS, we are among those in the best position to improve processes, develop capacities and initiate changes that can benefit our society. As graduates of UPOU, we are even expected to be more innovative, as we know the grip and feel of utilizing technology and alternative learning tools. Tomorrow, as we stand with our fellow UPOU graduates, I hope we do not only become experts or advocates of the respective fields we are pursuing, but also in pushing how open university and distance learning are among the most crucial tools in addressing gaps in access to education.
In closing, I would like to cite a saying that all of us are probably familiar with: “if there’s a will, there’s a way. “ I’d like to share my better version of it: As long as there is a will, there will always be a way. For most of us here who probably considers time and opportunity to be already fleeting concepts, I hope I, my fellow students and the very existence of UPOU always serve as a reminder of finding possibilities amidst difficulties.
Thank you once again for this opportunity. It was not an easy two years but it felt so fast thanks to the guidance of our brilliant professors, the support of my crazy classmates and the understanding of family and friends of our eccentric lifestyle. I hope next year I would be in this hall earning my masters degree in international health.
Magandang araw po sa ating lahat.