FROM the Freshmen Walk to ceremonial exit at the Arch of the Centuries and everything that comes in between, nothing compares to the Thomasian experience.

But the real test comes outside of UST, in the real world: Are Thomasian graduates ready?

“You are now empowered to make your dream a reality and [with you] having a good Thomasian education, we believe that you can face the challenges of today’s world,” Father Rector Herminio Dagohoy, OP told this year's 8,236 graduates during the Bacalaureate Mass last March 21.

Graduates said they felt mixed emotions.

“It’s a bit scary to think that we’ll be leaving the comfort zone of the four corners of the classroom to enter the big realm of the real world," said Stefanie Tsoi of the College of Commerce and Business Administration.

A recent survey conducted by Jobstreet Philippines, an employment search engine, showed that among 400 participant companies interviewed, 77 percent said they would give priority to fresh graduates from the “Top Four” universities: UST, University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University,the only Philippine educational institutions that made it to the 2013 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Asian University Rankings.

The employability survey supported the QS Rankings as it stated the “Top Four” universities “maintain a high level of competence,” which most companies look for.

Grace Colet, Jobstreet Philippines’ country manager, emphasized the importance of quality education and comprehensive on-the-job training in landing jobs.

“We were treated as professionals being given real job opportunities and freedom to execute them based on our ability to apply our skills and abilities,” said Aila Mallari, a Psychology graduate from the College of Science.

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As early as January this year, Charriz Dominique Babao, a fresh Journalism graduate, got a job as a communications specialist for Comm & Sense Inc., a marketing communications company.

“In my opinion, the edge that every Thomasian has is his/her ability to observe, learn, and get things done beyond people’s expectations," said Babao. "They also remain humble even though people place UST graduates on a higher pedestal than most.”

Another Artlets student, Kamille Untalan, recalled her interview when she was applying for defense researcher of the Philippine Army.

“I was really tempted to say waterproof," she said, "but then that would cost me my interview. [Thomasians are] efficient and adaptable. Kahit saan niyo po ilagay ang Thomasian, we are capable of adapting and getting the job done."

“UST has a very diverse student body and through this we learned how to adapt to different people from all walks of life," added Untalan, who graduated with a degree in Asian Studies.

Communication Arts graduate Ivana Bito, cited the challenge of living up to Thomasian excellence.

“It definitely is a challenge to be a graduate of UST, knowing that it has produced countless alumni who have excelled in the respective fields and have built great names for themselves. But this challenge proves to be an edge as it gives people a glimpse of what every Thomasian is capable of.”

Bito, who was recently employed as an account manager for DDB Group Philippines, stressed the importance of being more than just “book-smart."

"UST made me a strong person. I believe it’s not just about your Intelligence Quotient. It’s also about your Emotional Quotient–your ability to react and respond to various situations most especially the difficult ones,” she said.

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Thank you, PDAF—and good riddance!

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