By Gelyka Dumaraos, Contributor
For celebrity Valerie Concepcion, finishing college on top of being an actress and a single mom makes her a survivor of life.
The 30-year-old actress recently finished her BA Psychology degree under the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program of Arellano University, after more than a decade.
“I can’t believe I would be able to finish because when I got pregnant at 16, I just graduated from high school, and I had to work already because you have the responsibility of being a single mom. I have to work for my kid, to provide for her,” she said in an interview with Daily Tribune.
In 2014, 10 years after she graduated from high school, Valerie decided to pursue higher studies at AMA University.
“I thought, why not?” the actress said. “Why don’t I continue with college? If others can do it… You know, especially me, I feel like I am a survivor. So I said to myself that I can do it.”
However, at a time when she had to balance being a single mom to her child Heather Fiona and her acting projects, school had to be set aside again.
Three years after, her Guam-based boyfriend, Francis Sunga, encouraged her to finish studies.
“My boyfriend now found out about it, and he said ‘Why don’t you finish it?’ He’s from Guam. He’s been telling me that if I were to move to Guam in the future, what am I going to do there? I can’t be an actress there thus if I finish college, I still have a degree,” she explained.
In times when she just wanted to give up due to her busy schedule, Valerie’s boyfriend was there to comfort her and push her to not give up.
“But you know, I’m really thankful that my boyfriend really inspired and pushed me so hard. He was saying, ‘No babe, this is for you. This is for Heather. You can do it. I believe in you,’” she related.
Despite juggling many jobs, Valerie found time to do her studies, especially during her last year in school when she had to write her thesis and undergo on-the-job trainings. She’s thankful to her group mates who have been very supportive and understanding.
“Everything that has happened is really in God’s perfect timing. Finally I did it, and finally I have a degree,” she said.
The actress plans to “go with the flow” when asked about prospects after college. She also plans to take up the licensure examination as she plans to move to Guam with her 13-yar-old daughter in the future.
Right now, Valerie is focused on her new show Ika-5 Utos, which stars Jake Vargas and Inah de Belen. The cast also includes Jean Garcia, Tonton Gutierrez, Antonio Aquintania, Jeric Gonzales, Klea Pineda and Migo Adecer.