Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Opinion - BEYOND THE CLASS­ROOM

ast week, I got the chance to meet my stu­dents who are al­ready study­ing in Manila. I was elated and in­spired since de­spite their busy sched­ule they took the time off from their stud­ies to meet me.

Upon hear­ing their sto­ries, I re­al­ized how dif­fi­cult it is to be a stu­dent com­ing from the prov­inces. Aside from mak­ing sure that they are able to max­i­mize the qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion that they wish to pur­sue miles away from home, they need to hur­dle var­i­ous chal­lenges to at­tain the qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion they as­pire.

One of the things they shared was home­sick­ness. This has been com­mon among stu­dents of their age com­ing from var­i­ous prov­inces. This cir­cum­stance can both be an in­spi­ra­tion for them to keep on striv­ing or it could pos­si­bly drain them emo­tion­ally. But what amazes me is the level of grit these stu­dents are hav­ing, ris­ing up to the chal­lenges they ex­pe­ri­ence and still striv­ing for ex­cel­lence.

So­cially, I also re­al­ized that lan­guage seems to be a chal­lenge to these stu­dents most es­pe­cially if there are only few stu­dents who speak their lan­guage. As one of our alumni would say, there were times that he wanted to lock him­self in his room be­cause he was tired speak­ing English or even Filipino. He added that some­times, while he can cope with their lan­guage, there seems to be some­thing un­nat­u­ral and awk­ward about the idea of try­ing hard to speak some­one else’s lan­guage.

How­ever, they also re­al­ize that by try­ing to adapt to the dif­fer­ences that they ex­pe­ri­ence they are given a great ad­van­tage as to their level of cul­tural aware­ness and di­ver­sity of peo­ple they in­ter­act with, which can be of great help in their fu­ture ca­reers.

Fi­nan­cially, on the other hand, it seems quite of an ad­just­ment as well since study­ing in a place far from home re­quires a lot of ad­di­tional ex­penses aside from the tu­ition that their par­ents pay. For one their pay­ment for dor­mi­to­ries, their plane fare when they wish to spend some va­ca­tion time back home, and even with their food. They have ob­served that the cost of liv­ing in Manila is def­i­nitely higher and would re­quire them to spend more for their food pur­chases.

This al­lows them to be thrifty and per­haps more dis­cern­ing of how they are go­ing to use their money. It may be a valu­able les­son that they can learn, es­pe­cially when the level of in­fla­tion is quite high just as what we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing now.

In my lim­ited yet valu­able in­ter­ac­tion with them, I am very for­tu­nate to wit­ness first­hand the level of growth that they have achieved in a short amount of time. I re­al­ized that the kind of ed­u­ca­tion that we are pro­vid­ing our stu­dents not only pre­pares them in­tel­lec­tu­ally but also pro­vid­ing them the nec­es­sary skills for them to thrive and flour­ish es­pe­cially when the en­vi­ron­ment they are in is un­fa­mil­iar.

How­ever, one of the ques­tions that lingers in my mind is, “Do our stu­dents re­ally need to go to other places just to get the qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion they as­pire? When will be the time that the ed­u­ca­tion that we give in the city be­comes at par with the ed­u­ca­tional ser­vices that other schools pro­vide?”

Clearly, the very rea­son our stu­dents’ pref­er­ence to go out­side of the city for a cost shows a dis­par­ity in the level of our ed­u­ca­tional sys­tems. Solv­ing this gap may be far from re­al­ity. What we can do as ed­u­ca­tors is to pro­vide our stu­dents with the life skills and com­pe­ten­cies nec­es­sary for them to make de­ci­sions and pre­pare for life’s chal­lenges so that wher­ever they are thrown to a chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tion, they’d be able to tran­scend from it.

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