Humans of UPAAS Scholarship Programme

Humans of UPAAS Scholarship Programme

As a pioneer member of UPAAS and current Mancom, I appreciated the opportunity to volunteer for the Scholarship Committee. Supporting scholars has been a long-standing project of the organisation. It has not changed or wavered in that commitment.

Meeting the scholars brought back memories of university days. I was one of the fortunate students with STFAP benefits (subsidised tuition fees). It is true that securing a good education as a stepping stone to a better life meant more to those who are in need.  As I read and listened to their stories, I felt a greater sense of mission to help more, and continue to rally people in this cause. I hope that when you read their stories, you will see what I see and believe that you have the power to uplift others.

Ryan Dave F. Fabreag, BA Philosophy, UPLB

“I knew nothing of Philosophy when I joined UPLB. Being a science-oriented person in high school, Philosophy was a blank space. Perhaps that was part of the adventure. As I immersed myself in the course I began picturing myself practising Law and arguing cases. In UP, I realised the value of education beyond the classroom walls. I actively participated or maybe even got dragged into many UP Tambayans, which to my amazement became platforms for philosophical discussions. Well, yes there was mindless chatter here and there but the connections were real for that moment. Those connections were sorely missed as classes moved to virtual format. Like many other students, I struggled with adjusting to the virtual school. I miss the campus and the Tambayans.

Everyone knows that it was tough to get into UP but no one says it was tougher to stay. Even with low school fees, I was still struggling financially. Thankfully, I secured a scholarship from UPAAS, which allowed me to focus on my studies. It was such a huge relief knowing I can complete my studies and ease the pressure on my mom. I am her biggest fan as she single-handedly strived to give me and my siblings a good education. So as I sleep at night, I dreamt of the things that I will give my mom and siblings when I reap the fruits of my hardships. I will give them the best life they absolutely deserve.”

 Musings: I want you to know that life is always a crossroad of choices. It is never easy. I sometimes choose a door that is not meant for me. I think of life as a repository of learning. I try not to be just wise, but also to be decisive and firm. One day, I want to see myself as someone who inspires people to do great things. I want to see greatness and kindness in other people.

My name is Ryan.

Aya Lamadrid (Dan Cuesta), BS Business Administration and Accountancy, UP Diliman

“My mom aspired to be an Accountant but she did not have the means to fulfil her dream. So I took it upon myself to make this happen for my mom, and eventually realised it was my calling. I was one of the lucky ones who got into the BA course in CBA, UP Diliman. This was the first step on a very high hill. I applied to the BAA program twice and got rejected. In my dispirited state, I wondered if this was the right path. I thought that maybe I was way over my head dreaming too high. Old and very deep wounds came back to the surface. I overcame so much more for being a trans woman and this set back will not stop me.

So I held on to my dream, to my mom’s unfinished business, and to my sister’s biggest ‘what if’. Realising that this battle I needed to win was not only for myself but also for those who made me feel refuelled and motivated. And from there, I attempted a 3rd time and got in. But boy oh boy, the competition among BAA students was fierce! I consider myself as a GC (grade conscious) student but ironically, I feel like I do not work as hard as other students do. I needed to up my game to survive.

During the UPAAS Virtual Tambayan, one of the UPAAS members offered some wise words… the competition out there in the real world is many times tougher so use this time in school to practice, and choose to be a little bit better each day.”

Musings: My professor in Stat 101 had a tradition of giving chocolates to the top students. My first exam was only 60% so I told myself this subject was not my forte. But much to my surprise on the last day of class, my professor gave me a chocolate. It was the sweetest chocolate I’ve ever had.

My name is Aya.

Christine Nicole C. Milca, BA Communication, UP Cebu

“What I thought I wanted versus what was present and offered – a dilemma most students face when applying to UP.  I had to let go of Psychology and pressed on to study Communications. As cliché as it might sound, I thought it was divine intervention. I remembered all those years when I was younger, I would always watch MYX Daily Top 10 early in the morning, not because of the music videos, but because I try to imitate whatever the VJ/host would say in introducing the songs. And that’s when I realised that I want to talk, express myself and communicate through writing or speaking. I am in my element. 

In life, I meet a lot of people that inspire me, but I also find inspiration within me. We often look far and beyond to look for something or someone to inspire us when all we had to do was look in the mirror. Start there and count your blessings.

Success, for me, is me living a life where I am content, in good physical and mental state, and surrounded with the people that I love.” 

Musings: When days go weary I sing my favourite song… “I don’t know why all the trees change in the fall. But I know you’re not scared of anything at all. Don’t know if Snow White’s house is near or far away. But I know I had the best day with you today.” (Taylor Swift, The Best Day)

My name is Nicole.

Arth Bryan T. Estrella, Bachelor of Science in Biology, UP Mindanao

“Growing up with 5 older siblings, one might think that I was singled out as the favourite – receiver of tender affections or the target of pranks. It was a happy combination of both.  The sense of pride swells in me whenever I think of my family. I saw my parents’ daily struggles in providing for us. They worked as farm labourers throughout the day under the scorching heat of the sun. Despite the financial struggles, they raised us excellently and with honour. So you see, I grew up wanting to do more and achieve more but not just for myself but also for my parents.

Being highly driven and curious about life, I was drawn to studying living organisms that cannot be seen by our naked eye. I want to cure and heal people. So I took BS Biology in preparation towards my dream of becoming a medical doctor someday. Coming from a less fortunate family, I knew what it means to struggle to get medical care. Getting a good education and scholarship for someone like me is a lifeline that I will treasure. Failing is not an option.”

Musings: The very first time I travelled on an airplane was in 2019 and it was not entirely a vacation.  I was competing for a national science quiz bowl in Batangas. The competition was fierce and I was nervous. But what I loved most about that trip was not just winning the competition but also the chance to explore Luzon. In my mind, I knew I could achieve more.

My name is Bryan.

Christian Jimenez, BS Geology, June 2019 (UPAAS Scholar) and MS Geology (started in March 2021), UP Diliman

“As a child, I was fascinated by stars and the way it twinkles from the sky. Next thing I knew I was gazing in awe at rock formations and mesmerised by the shapes, curves and textures. This innate curiosity of the natural environment led me to study Geology.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the company of people as much as I enjoy observing the Earth. I consider my best memories of student life were those spent with friends having fun at various activities of student organisations. It is that same curiosity that would always draw me to meet new people and make friends in each class. I listened and observed because their story mattered.

My own story while in UP was nearly cut short not because of poor marks but unfortunately due to lack of finances. I did part-time tutorial services for elementary and high school students to earn extra money. Fortunately, a staff from the then Office of Scholarship and Student Services (now Office of Scholarships and Grants) called and informed me that my scholarship application under UPAAS was accepted. My family and I will never forget that day.” 

Musings: My home was a classroom. My mom, a public school teacher, expertly juggled preparations for her classes while caring for me and my siblings. No school assignment was left undone. Mom would always encourage us to ask questions and be curious. I love her immensely for that and more.

My name is Christian.

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