“Ayoko na pare, suko na’ko…talagang hindi ko kaya eh,” said a friend of mine from the College of Architecture. It was his third time to take a Math 4 class, and he failed it also for three times. He was so depressed and afraid. He wasn’t afraid of the humiliation he could and might receive from his friends. He was afraid of telling the bad news, again, to his parents.

This friend belongs to the “upper class” of society, the “rich guys.” I couldn’t say anything else to him but, “Alam mo pre’, tiyaga lang ‘yan at saka konting paniniwala….” After that, he looked up to me and replied, “Meron ka nun ‘tol, ako,wala”. A week passed, and unknown to us, his friends, he was debarred from the university. He had already failed a total of 12 units in the same semester. I never saw him again. People who were close to him told me that he had transferred to a computer school just across the street. I really wish him well.

* * *

Failure doesn’t mean a person is not that good at anything. It is supposed to make the person try harder. It is not a signal for a person to quit. All people make mistakes. Even the person one idolizes has a story to tell absent his or her failure, and how he or she dealt with it.

We learn from the past to be able to live for the future. What we’re going to be depends on how we handle our failures and how we learn from them. Success is often achieved by experiencing various mistakes and failures. If one sees one’s failures as windows of opportunities to change, then one has made the first step.

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* * *

As students, we should make use of all the opportunities that come our way.

Yes, we are lucky just to be studying in college, here, in UST. Many of us may have all the financial means to stay studying here, many of us may even have the connections needed to be accepted here in the first place. But despite the advantages some people may have, have they ever their counted blessings? Other students have.

Many students suffer failures. Architecture students, for example, get failures in Design, Math and Science, and Thesis. A classmate of mine in Calculus first enrolled in the university in 1989. His student number showed that. This means, he was well over 25 years old and he was still taking a second-year subject. Whatever the reason might be for his long stay here in UST, what amazed me was his will and perseverance to graduate and finish his education.

* * *

There are almost 75 million Filipinos. This means 75 million different stories to tell, 75 million reasons not to quit with a simple, one-time failure. We must treasure all our blessings. It’s not about the name of your university, or how much your tuition fee is. What counts the most is that we’re making the best out of what we have today. We must do ourselves a favor and do the best that we can in whatever we do. We must value anything given to us and grab all the opportunities that come our way. If not, there’s no one else to blame, but us.

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“A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant trees.”

(Frank Lloyd Wright)

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