All things possible

December 23, 2013, I remember that faithful day as if it were yesterday.

There I was, sitting in front of my laptop, mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when a message tab suddenly popped up and caught my attention. It was a group chat made by my elementary classmates. All of them congratulated me and that made me confused. Why are they congratulating me? What is it to celebrate? I scrolled to read the previous messages and that was when I realized that the UPCAT 2013 Results were out and the group chat is composed of all the people in our circle that were blessed enough to pass and get into the most prestigious university in the country — University of the Philippines.

It was as if my world stopped. I wasn’t expecting for the results to be released ahead of time, it was an early Christmas gift for me and my family. Once I recovered, I immediately searched and looked at the list of the passers myself. There it was, my name along with the degree and campus — BS Business Economics and Diliman campus. I was so happy I can’t help but giddily jump as I called my mother to announce the good news.

There was one problem, however. My family still hasn’t recovered from all the expenses we had to pay the private hospital that my dad and grandma got confined in. We have a source of income, but we weren’t sure if it can cover all of my college expenses, since my cousin (who lives with us) was currently studying in a private school. I didn’t want to add financial stress to my family, so I used my internet surfing powers to find scholarships offered to incoming freshman students as well as private scholarships. That was the time when I stumbled upon the UPD Office of Scholarships and Student Services (OSSS).

After we submitted the necessary requirements to secure my slot, I convinced my mother to pass by OSSS and asked for the list of scholarships that I can apply to. That was when and where I discovered ACI. I applied for 3 —Toyota, Sun Life and ACI— and got accepted to ACI and Toyota. The admin made me choose and I picked ACI because of the better benefits (book and monthly allowance). And that was the start of my journey as an ACI scholar.

Entering college as a scholar gave me new perspectives. It made me very happy and proud that I no longer have to rely too much on my family to financially provide for my education, and in a way, I am helping them by lessening expenses. I also learned how to budget my allowance to cover both academic and travel expenses, even saving some bucks for emergency. The scholarship heads were very supportive and approachable, which is very important because they also motivate us scholars to do our best.

Being a scholar made me understand and empathize with others with a similar situation. Seeing how an organization such as ACI changed and made our lives better, I became inspired to one day also support fellow scholars and encourage them to do the same once they already established their career. It made me realize how precious education is and how it can change the course of an individual’s life for the better.

During my first year, I joined the USC Taskforce team and became a director and officer. On the other hand, I became a marketing officer and chairperson in my orgs. I was also able to explore my interests that will help shape me as a person. I was able to get quality education for free. I might not be able to do all these things — be a part of the student council, explore and discover my passion, learn from the best professors and faculty, help my family, and ultimately, study in UP — without ACI.

– Patricia Mae L. Ybanez

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