Never stop dreaming

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The biggest lesson I learned is that you don’t have to be ashamed of your weaknesses because there would always be people who will help you overcome it

In a couple of weeks, my friends and former teammates will be joining thousands of De La Salle University students in their march to receive their college diplomas.

Graduation is truly the most remarkable occasion for students, especially to student-athletes like the members of the Lady Spikers.

Aside from kissing our student life and college friends goodbye, graduation also brings a special feeling as it is the culmination of all the hard work, sacrifices and perseverance throughout our four years or so of studies.

It makes us realize that the diploma is more than just a mere sheet of paper but a weapon that we could use outside the august halls of the university.

I couldn’t help but smile whenever I look back into my college life.

When I was still in high school at St. Scholastica’s College, I used to think that college is the time when you get to meet a lot of people, be free from your parents, attend school and social activities and party to your heart’s desire.

I was wrong.

Being a student-athlete, I have to discipline myself and identify my priorities, which are academics and playing volleyball for the school.

I have to admit: I wasn’t an A-1 student — not even honorable mention.

Like an ordinary person, I was just an average student.

In fact, I couldn’t forget the time when I failed a subject, come late for classes, got called out by the professor and missed the deadline for submission of certain projects. Fortunately, it wasn’t a qualifying term, so there’s a little excuse for slacking around (LOL!).

But I learned my lessons.

For me, if you really want to play, you have to work hard not only inside the court, but also in the classroom.

Life as a student-athlete wasn’t easy.

Sure, there were a lot of perks like scholarship, sometimes, flattering treatment from your friends and classmates.

But everything comes with a price.

I had to wake up very early for training before attending school in the afternoon. In the evening, I had to train again and make sure you get enough rest for another grueling grind the following day.

In the process, I lost a lot of time for my friends and family. I missed a lot of important occasions as I used to go home very late at night only to wake very early in the morning.

More than that, I got a lot of irregular subjects and — if your luck won’t smile your way — your professors will hate you, especially if those who classify student-athletes as “easy-go-lucky” individuals who charm their way to get good grades (LOL!).

But I treated them more as challenges.

Instead of feeling down, I did my best to erase that impression and displayed my willingness to pass subjects with flying colors. I also made it a habit of giving them an advance notice — a heads up — whenever I miss classes due to training and games.

And I don’t have any regrets.

I know I won’t be the same person I am today if those challenges didn’t come my way.

It made me stronger and more disciplined.

It made me realize my priorities and the things I need to do to accomplish it.

That’s why I’m so thankful to the entire La Salle community from the women’s volleyball team to those who composed the Office of Sports Development, especially our sports coordinator Mrs. Joy Lanting-Cenarosa and our student managers who helped us with our academics when we needed help.

The biggest lesson I learned is that you don’t have to be ashamed of your weaknesses because there would always be people who will help you overcome it.

It’s just a matter of having faith in them and believing in yourself.

It may sound cliché, but my advice to the new graduates is to always believe that things would get worse before they could get better.

Always trust the process.

If you feel that you’re giving up, always remind yourself all why you’re doing it and all the obstacles you had overcome to be where you are right now.

And most importantly, never stop dreaming.

If you can dream it, you can definitely do it.

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