Three years ago while I was “on board” at RPN-DZBS, I received a text message from a friend. She was asking if I would attend the Baccalaureate Mass at Saint Louis University Burgos Gym (now Prince Bernard Hall).

I was shocked. I forgot that I was “graduating”. I then informed Ms. Malou Pascual, station manager of the radio station, that I won’t be doing any task in the coming days because of my graduation ceremony.

When I reached our apartment, I rushed to check my toga. I washed it hoping it would be dry by the next day.

In the next day when I reached SLU, the mass has already started. I did not enter the gym. Instead, I waited for the mass to finish before texting my friends who were inside the gym that time. We ended up eating out at SM City Baguio with full smiles and high energy.

Graduating from College

I was nervous when the list of “sure” people to graduate was released by the dean’s office. I have spent four years of hard work and fewer vices, and to see no “Christian Lizardo Aligo” on the list would kill me!

I enrolled at SLU as a Commission on Higher Education (CHED) scholar after successfully passing the agency’s qualification exam. I was directed to take Communications in SLU because the Catholic school is the only “recommended” school in the region for Communication education.

Thus, I had to maintain good grades (yeah just good, no better grades). I never had a failing grade, despite of my numerous extra-curricular activities. I knew I was part of the list, but I was still anxious because anything bad can happen anytime to anyone.

Then I saw my name. Congrats myself!

My parents and brothers came to Baguio City from Sagada in Mountain Province to witness the graduation ceremony. My late aunt Esther who was very ill that time promised to take charge of the food expenses.

The graduation was a simple rite. My parents and a relative were seated on the benches with other parents, while we marched to the stage. I received a medal for finishing my degree as a government scholar.

Upon seeing that our co-graduates were receiving gifts while inside the gym, my relative was worried I would be embarrassed to be holding nothing when I go out of the gym. They bought a bouquet of flowers for me from nowhere; so when the photo session ended at the Giant Steps, I was holding the on-the-spot present!

We went to my aunt’s house. We spent the evening there with lots of joy! My cousins came and we ate simple foods that we prepared for everybody. Undeniably, my parents were happy because finally we have someone who has a college diploma. But deep inside me, gloominess was starting to fire.

Welcome Depression

To finish college education in four years without giving any trouble to other people may be a big achievement.

As a scholar, I was receiving an amount from taxpayers to pay my school fees. A friend vowed to give me allowance every month and he never disappointed me. He understood my condition.
Some cousins learned about my journey and they never failed to feed me every time I crashed into their homes during weekends. They helped me financially as well.

I was an ugly duckling when I was starting in the city. All my classmates in first year know about that. I had no cell phone (that is why my Filipino teacher Ms. Marilyn Peralta was shocked to see no contact number on my submitted directory paper).

I was thankful I had many cousins and friends who never failed to assist me while I was starting a new life as a struggling college student. Without them, I would have transferred to a community college in Bontoc, Mountain Province. God is really good, always good!

Having all the people who deserve to be paid afterwards, the pressure was very heavy. Look for a good job and pay back! I turned very depressed- suffering from morning headaches, no concentration, extreme loneliness, fear, and evidently sad eyes.

I was hoping that the real world would be on my side.

The New Day Has Begun

I first started as a volunteer at RPN-DZBS. I handled a lifestyle program there. I applied for a Call Center job and joined all the lengthy screening activities. I made it.

Without personally talking to the station manager, I left RPN and started with the “paying job”. The station manager was very disappointed; I understood her response.

After weeks of taking calls, my body went worse. I was totally weak and realized I was not enjoying the “night” job. I left with a note on my mind that I am a college grad and I do not deserve to sit on a chair talking to Americans convincing them to attend a job orientation! I can do better than that!

After some days, I was starting with a new job as an English as A Second Language teacher. There I started to regain my health back. I was recovering emotionally and morally. My co-teachers at Pines Montessori Academy were all awesome. I made good friends with them and until now, we still communicate via Facebook.

I was offered to take another degree by the same person who supported me during my undergrad days. Instead, we ended up with a deal to take Education units then take that degree afterwards. I was back in school again, while working.

After a few months, an uncle asked me if I could work for him as a medical writer. I then quit my teaching job and moved on to become a writer- my first love. However, I started to hate the medical terms and realized I was not doing well with a relative as my employer.

The start is really a trial-and-error session!

I finished my Education units while working. The pressure to get a high-paying job to support my family and pay back everyone is still there, even though I asserted that I am just starting with my career so I am not getting any extras.

Two days after my final exam in school, I was called to join the screening for a writing position at Rossking Pty Ltd. Thankfully, I made it and was given a weekend to decide whether to join the IT company or not.

The pressure was there again. The offer was a part-time job, but I still took it for the sake of getting employed. Three months after, the company let me handle a full-time position. This month, I am turning two years with them.

Currently, I work as a Public Relations Supervisor. I am very thankful to have the chance to work in my field of expertise and to turn all the theories I learned in school into practice.

Ever since the world began, I knew I was born for a PR position. In elementary, I was elected to be the Public Relations Officer of the student government. In college, my PR class was the most enjoyable one. It’s the world that I’ll never graduate from.