John Julius Santos
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
To the FEU president, Dr. Michael M. Alba; our guest speaker, Dr. Maria Catalina Cabral; our Senior Directors, our college registrar, Dr. Remella A. Cabreros; directors, professors, proud parents, my fellow graduates, ladies and gentlemen, a pleasant afternoon.
During our college years, we have encountered a lot of questions that are almost impossible to answer, from those out-of-this-world examinations, thesis defense questions, to those simple everyday questions like "May quiz ba?", "May assignment ka na ba?", "Nag-aral ka na ba?", or "Pre, papasok ka ba?". But one of the hardest questions to answer is the one asked by our relatives and friends: "Kailan ka ba ga-graduate?" After years of sleepless nights, we are thankful because that day has finally arrived.
As we reach this milestone, on behalf of my fellow graduates, I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who helped, guided, motivated, and inspired us throughout our college years.
First, to our dearest Lord, thank you for granting us courage and strength especially during the times that we are struggling. Thank you for being there all the time to guide us. It is true that the Lord never gives us any challenge that we cannot conquer. We made it, Lord. Thank you.
We would also like to thank the FEU Tech family, including the administrators, professors, and former classmates. To the administrators, thank you for the special FEU Tech experience that you have offered. To our professors, thank you for giving an excellent quality of education. To our handsome and beautiful classmates and friends, thank you for making us feel that we are never alone in this journey, and for those small but helpful gestures such as sharing notes, participating in group activities, and even donating a clean piece of paper during quizzes. Let us be honest, graduates. Some of us do not know what we are going to go through when we started college. These people showed us the path and guided us along the way. Most importantly, they treated us not only as students, but also as family. This is the reason why we'll always remember those two state-of-the-art buildings as our homes, and we'll always be proud to be an iTamaraw.
To our beloved families, thank you for supporting us on our dreams. Thank you for selflessly giving us all that we need, and for all the sacrifices that you have made for us. Thank you for understanding us when we are going home late or staying up late. Most of all, thank you for being our ultimate inspiration and motivation. No word can ever describe how much we are grateful and proud of you. Ma, Pa, this is for you.
You know, making this message of gratitude makes me feel thankful about three things. Aside from the people who helped me reach this far, I am also thankful for the lessons that I have learned and the challenges that I experienced to learn those lessons.
Before I encountered “Kailan ka ba gagraduate?”, I encountered this tough question during my final year in high school, “Saan ka mag-aaral ng college?” To be honest, I'm not supposed to be here. I'm just an average student in high school. I'm not financially capable to study in a prestigious school like FEU Tech. It takes two hours per ride from Pasig to Manila. These are the tests of mental toughness that I've faced even before enrolling here, but those obstacles did not stop me from trying to reach my dream to become an engineer someday.
So, I applied for the SM Foundation Scholarship. Since there are thousands of applicants, I waited for 5 hours just to get interviewed. I also answered an 80-item examination of different subjects, and eventually got the scholarship. With this, to the SM Foundation Inc., especially to the Sy family, thank you very much.
But what's harder than getting a scholarship was maintaining it. There are a lot of expectations on a scholar, so I did not treat any subject as a minor subject. It's not easy, but I did my best in every activity. At first, it paid off with high grades, so I was thinking about aiming for a Latin Award when I graduate. However, on the following school year, a six-unit subject came into my life, and it was a life-changing experience.
I will always remember that term as the toughest days of my college life. I always end up choosing whether to do my plates, review for the quizzes or just sleep and pretend that life is so easy. My test scores were my lowest, ever. I did my best, but my best wasn't good enough. I received a failing grade, so goodbye Latin honors, and that's +1 term for you, Julius.
If there is one silver lining on this gloomy situation, it's that I did not lose my scholarship even though I failed. I must pay for the failed subject, though. But I did not see 0.5 as a "stop" button, I saw it as a "restart" button. I saw it as an opportunity to do better next time. I saw it as a chance to train for quiz bees. I saw it as a wake-up call that the main goal is not to get the Latin honors, but to graduate and be an engineer. I stood up and proved that come back is real, and I received a 3.5 grade on my second take.
It was a learning experience that I will never forget, and I used those lessons until the end of my college journey. But what exactly did I learn from my FEU Tech experience? Aside from concepts, principles, and a lot of formulas, this school has taught us a formula that is essential for us to be ready for the professional world. That formula is the formula for success: Success = Fortitude + Excellence + Uprightness. Sounds familiar right? These are the core values of FEU, but they are more than just words that we memorize during our Values Education subject.
Fortitude is optimistically accepting the challenge of our degree programs. It is having a positive mindset even if we are facing adversities. I actually have this "stage fright," so it's very hard for me to speak in front of people. But with fortitude, I became brave enough to stand in front of you today.
Excellence is what separates the normal from the extraordinary. It is our desire to do greater things, even under pressure. Excellence is the main reason why FEU Tech has been the home of great leaders, innovators, champions, and topnotchers. This is also the reason why I am confident that every single graduate in this auditorium will be successful professionals someday.
Uprightness is doing everything with honor and good conscience. I can just cheat on that subject to pass on my first take, but I fully understand that cheating will never bring honor to my name. It is understanding that honesty and integrity is essential, and that good character will always be as important as talent.
Having fortitude, excellence, and uprightness has been life-changing for me, and if we can influence others to acquire these values, we can change the world for the better. Therefore, fellow graduates, as future leaders of Engineering and IT industries, let us always remember and apply these values as we head on to the corporate world.