Its graduation season again!

It seems like the deep, orchestral sound of the classic graduation march that we so often hear during the months of March and April is in the air once again. Here and there we see students of all ages, wearing togas that signify their schools or their educational levels. We see the occasional vendor her and there, selling garlands and leis of all kinds.

Filipinos have always put a special value to education. A staple quote among our elders often include things along the lines of the following:

1. Bahala na kahit wala tayong pera basta mag-aaral ka.

2. Edukasyon ang susi sa mga pangarap mo

3. Walang makakapagnakaw ng edukasyon mo

It is not uncommon to hear about families going into debt just to send their kids to big universities, or poor parents working double time just to support their children’s education.

This, in turn, makes graduation season a very special occasion for Filipinos because it serves as a new beginning for students. To elementary graduates, it serves as a rite of passage to adolescence; to highschool students, a coming-of-age preceding their 4 to 6 years of preparation for adulthood; and to college students, a passage to adulthood, maturity and security.

Oftentimes, graduation feels like a deadline to all the things we haven’t been able to do yet. Sometimes it feels like being thrust into a finishline that we did not ask for. Nonetheless, it comes, and as the countdown to the remaining days of our graduation trickle down to D-day, our fears rise and the nagging feeling of being lost keep knocking on the back of our heads. What if we’re not ready yet? What if we don’t achieve what people expect us to achieve? What if we were meant for a different path?

But after the finishline comes one thing.

Hope. In the form of a voice telling us that one day we will be able to find ourselves and the places we’re meant to be — a voice that tells us that out there in a world that’s both hostile and kind is a place meant just for us.

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