A UST graduate’s Facebook post has gone viral for all the right reasons.
Hard work paid off for Erald Pecson, 23 , who spent seven years in college.
His parents unable to send him to school, Pecson worked as a call center agent to pay for his tuition.
He earned a degree in secondary education and is now teaching at San Beda College in Manila.
Pecson recounted his journey in a June 3 post that has garnered more than 40,000 likes and has been shared more than 6,300 times.
The post mentioned no regrets, only optimism and gratitude from someone who had to go through so much hardship.
“Ito na talaga! After seven years! Ga-graduate na and call center boy!” Pecson wrote.
Addressing his mom Erlisa and dad Eduardo, he wrote: “Tandaan niyo na hindi sumama loob ko noong sinabi niyong hindi niyo na ako kayang pag-aralin.”
Pecson said he was proud despite taking that long to finish college. “Natutunan ko pa lalong bigyan halaga ang edukasyon, lalo na sa bulsa ko galing ang pangtuition ko. Masasabi kong proud ako dahil sa kabila ng pagiging working student ay mataas pa din na grado na aking nakukuha, at nagamit ko ang aking karanasan upang magbigay inspirasyon sa mga kaibigan at mga mag-aaral ko,” he said.
Pecson began working at 18 when told his parent could no longer afford to send him to school.
He landed a job at a call center company, working the night shift. This meant usually going straight to his morning classes with very little sleep.
“Medyo struggle sa ‘kin kasi buong gabi ang trabaho tapos umaga naman ang pasok sa school. ‘Yong tulog ko two to three hours lang. Pagpasok ko ng klase, wala nang pumapasok sa utak ko,” he said.
Beside that, he had to worry constantly about money. Often times he would go to the vice rector for finance for promissory notes.
He also sold some of his belongings, including a watch given by his uncle.
“Naghahanap ako ng uutangan para lang makapagbayad ng tuition. Tuwing finals, wala akong test permit kasi ‘yong kinikita ko pinangbabayad ko lang din sa mga utang ko,” he said.
“Kung hindi ko rin tutulungan sarili ko, hindi talaga ako makakatapos ng pag-aaral. Hindi na ako umaasa natutulungan ako ng parents ko financially kasi sinabi nila na kung magkakaipon man sila, ilalaan nila ‘yun para sa basic needs namin.”
He also got support from classmates and colleagues. Cherizh Lim, whom we worked in the BPO industry would sometimes lend him money.
“Gusto kong makatapos siya. Little brother ang tingin ko sa kanya and nakikita ko ‘yong gusto niya talagang mag-aral,” Lim said.
Pecson’s mom is proud of his hard work.
“Pumapasok siya sa call center sa umaga, naka-uniform na siya para hindi na siya magdala ng extra na bihisan. Pag-uwi niya galing sa school pagod at gutom na siya. Kitang kita ko sa anak ko na pagod na pagod,” she said in an interview.
Pecson’s seven-year journey through college taught him valuable lessons. “Na-motivate akong mag-aral para hindi naman ako manghinayang sa pinang-aaral ko. Doon ko nabigyan ng value lalo ‘yung pag-aaral. Hindi kasi ako pala-aral before ako mag work sa call center,” he said.
Now a teacher, he hopes to inspire students to put more value in their education. On social media, he did just that.