Around three years ago, I had undergone a dilemma typical with high school students: choosing the right program. As the end of the school year drew near, I frantically searched for possible options. I was one of the majority who don’t actually have a specific field of interest in mind, it became mentally exhausting to the point where I jokingly convinced myself that living a freelancer’s life isn’t bad after all.
The main criteria which holds the largest influence with my choice was practicality. I even made a checklists to help me narrow down my search. The list included questions like:
- How much is the salary?
- Will my parents be able to afford it?
- Is my mental capacity appropriate for the program?
- Will I easily land a job after graduation?
I won’t lie. Salary comes first in the list. The money my father earned was just enough for the entire household’s needs. We were only able to buy stuff we want when he receives his mid-year and Christmas bonus. My brother and I are really low-maintenance even to this time when we are already financially stable.
Going back. I stumbled upon on the webpage of Yahoo! Philippines where one of the headlines was a list of the highest paying jobs for fresh graduates. The first on the list really piqued my interest.
I didn’t really have any idea about the program or what a petroleum engineer does. To be honest, the only thing which caught my attention was the number of zeroes reaching the hundred thousands place. Don’t judge me! My standpoint during that time was “Living on earth is coupled with problems. Money can make it easier though.”
I showed the article to my parents. That time, I didn’t entertain the thought of taking the program because of a lot of reasons: (1) no school was offering the program in Negros Occidental, my province, (2) Palawan, the only province offering the program in my country, is two airplane rides away, (3) I’m not used to being apart with my family, (4) I’m a stranger to Palawan; I don’t know the place or anyone.
I remember reading certain parts of the article to them making sure I emphasize the job opportunities after graduation and the staggering amount of salary. Considering these two factors alone would make me choose the program if not for its accessibility. I was more than willing to take the risk but I was too shy to ask my parents about it.
Destiny must have chosen me to play the fool that day. Please picture my perplexed face when my father suggested that I should take the program. At first I thought he was joking and quizzically studied him. Yep, he was dead serious!
The whole family took a trip to Palawan. I immediately fell in love with the place and the people. It lived up to the expectation as the best island in the world. Pollution was at a minimum, the locals are friendlier and more docile than other provinces. After our island hopping in Honda Bay, I said to myself that my fate is decided. I will take the next milestone in my life here. I took the entrance test at Palawan State University and passed.
Everything was a blur after. School started. I made new amazing friends, developed a new routine away from family, and experienced a lot of firsts. I can’t help but smile while I write as all the memories of my stay here revolve around my head. Indeed, a lot of memorable things happened. My stay here in Palawan is certainly the best thing that happened in my life so far. This is where I grew as a person and where my journey to self-discovery actually made progress.
I consider Palawan as my second home. If could travel back in time to give myself a good hug and a pat on the back, I definitely would. Every minute I spend here, the more I tell myself that I made the right decision. I can’t wait what it will bring me in the future!