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This Girl Was Told She's Bobo When She Was Actually Finishing Three College Degrees

We got to talk to her and asked her about the story behind her story.
IMAGE Wynona Pauline Catapang | facebook.com/wynonapauline

We know that, normally, college students finish their degrees in four years. However, there are cases when it's difficult to do so, especially when there are seasonal courses or when the subjects are just too deadly or when there are a ton of things to prioritize instead. However, we believe that it really doesn't matter how long you've finished college. There are other factors to consider during your study and it's not the same for all students.

This is why we can perfectly understand how hard 21-year-old Wynona Pauline Catapang must have felt when she was on the receiving end of comments like "Ang bobo, five years na sa college." But she never let these words get the best of her. Instead, the St. Scholastica's College graduate went on and gave her best to the three (yes, you read that right!) courses she's finishing.

In her graduation post, Wynona looked back on those tough days when she felt like giving up. 

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"I was then questioning myself, worth it pa ba lahat? I was about to give up and drop my other course," she wrote. "It was so hard to maintain a cut-off grade especially [because] both of my courses have quota grade of B-. Ang taas, beshie. Both courses pa. There was a time na na-on probation na 'ko kasi nale-left behind ko na 'yung isang course. Tapos this Feb, I was so stressed sa thesis because of the deadline tapos my lola died pa."

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She then went on and shared her secret: Diskarte

"But then I guess God took me to this path and I had to deal with it," she continued. "Kahit sabi ng iba wala pa kong napapatunayan sa mundo, na ambisyosa ako, I believe this would have been my greatest achievement in life as of now—to receive three degrees at the age of 21. And our secret? Diskarte."

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But she also acknowledged how difficult it would have been if she didn't keep the right people around her. Wynona thanked her thesis partner, friends and best friends, sister, and her parents. Now, she has three college degrees at the age of 21: B.A. Mass Communication minor in Development Communication, B.S. Psychology, and B.A. Guidance and Counseling. 

After reading her story, we got in touch with Wynona and asked her about the story behind her story. Here's what we found out:

She didn't really intend on studying a double major.

"It's funny that I really did not choose the program before I went to college. During high school, the career tests that I have taken always matched communication-related jobs. Then my term paper back then was related to Psychology so I became interested in it. When I was filling up the application form, I wrote Mass Communication and Psychology, only to find out that the school has a double major program. So I took the risk even if I didn't know what I was doing, haha."

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She studied both courses at the same time.

"I finished Mass Communication first. For example, 3rd year college ako sa Mass Comm, then 2nd year ako sa Psych. That's how the curriculum works. 

Taking a double major affected her social life.

"I rarely meet my friends because of it. Although I'm the type of girl who doesn't go to parties, my social life was still affected, especially pag may family reunions or short vacation in Batangas (my province). 

She's had her fair share of hurtful comments.

"The most hurtful one I got was that I wouldn't achieve anything because I'm naïve, immature, and too ambitious. That I should drop my other course because I will just fail at it in the future. But it's okay. You really can't please everyone and there are people who will bring you down. I just pray for them instead. Si God na bahala."

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Her advice for students who plan to take a double major degree.

"Multitasking. That's one skill you should have to balance two courses. I remember attending a class in Mass Comm then I will be asking my professor to use the bathroom pero yung totoo pupunta kami sa computer shop just to finish our homework, magpa-print, etc. Hahaha. I guess everyone can do it too, if you're dedicated, strategic, and committed enough that you could do anything. Everything's possible.

Read her full story below:

We couldn't help but feel happy for her and proud of her. Congratulations, Wynona! You are an inspiration.

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Know more inspiring stories we should share on the site? Leave a comment below or talk to us via Twitter @candymagdotcom. We always love hearing from you. :)

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Ayessa De La Peña
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I am Candymag.com's resident fangirl and ~*feelings*~ girl. When I'm not busy researching about what to write next on the website, I sleep, read books, and re-watch episodes of Friends.
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Cold Food

The most thrilling and delightful moment of any school day is opening up your baon during breaks. There is always so much excitement in unveiling your homemade meal and snacks housed inside matching heat-insulating containers. Because preparing packed meals is an age-old tradition of showing parental love, loved ones pour effort into curating a nutritious meal accompanied by a selection of side dishes, desserts, and beverages daily; it reminds us that we are being taken care of, even from far away.

Baon plays a significant role in a Filipino childhood. Almost every Filipino child comes to school with baon made especially for them by their parents or household helpers. Even Filipinos in the labor force continue to bring baon for varying reasons: to save money, recycle leftovers, cater to personal taste, or attend to special needs. Nonetheless, eating your baon is a heart-warming experience that allows Filipinos to bring a piece of home along with them wherever they go.

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Even other cultures practice making packed lunch. In Japan, mothers create bento--Japanese meals in partitioned boxes. Because of the popularity of bento, trends have emerged, such as the Kyaraben, or character-themed bento. Naturally, Japanese parents and students began competing for who had the cutest and tastiest bento, and this is similar to what I have witnessed in my own childhood. I remember seeing my classmates sharing their snacks and lunches. They would compare and boast about their parents' or yayas’ cooking. In my case, I never had the chance to join in the competition or indulge in homemade cooking. Up until this day, I have never brought any baon to school.

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For a long time, I envied others. As trivial or petty as it may seem, not having baon became a problem for my grade school self. During that time, I had to sit in a separate cafeteria away from my friends because the kids who bought food were assigned to sit elsewhere. You could consider me spoiled, but I wanted to experience something most kids did. I had food at home, so what made it so hard to bring some with me to school?

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Now that I am on my final year in high school I have come to realize the benefits of purchasing my own food. Since I spent on food everyday, I learned to budget my allowance at a young age. Over the years, I learned to practice self-control whenever I wanted to eat more greasy fries and drink sweetened beverages. I have tasted the strangest viands at the school cafeterias, and I have repeatedly satiated myself over my latest delicious discoveries. Despite the struggles, I am thankful that I have never had baon because of what I have learned. Not to mention, I never had to experience eating cold food.

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Choosing between dreams and practicality is never easy. My CETs season just ended with the release of the UPCAT results. Anxious as I logged on the website, I started to think about what would happen if I didn't pass UP. Ever since I was six years old, I fixated on the idea that I will become an iska, serving the country and studying at my dream school, which is UP. I strived and studied hard for the UPCAT, sacrificing a lot of things like hang-outs and gala weekends for reviews.

Throughout my CETs journey, I started seeing myself studying only in UP, and while there were no results yet, my friends and I already started planning our lives around the fact that we're gonna study in UP. It was a big deal for me, my friends and my family that I get the chance to study in UP since it's so far from my hometown which is Benguet, and better yet, it's a very well known university.

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January 2020 came and universities started releasing CETs results. I was expecting my DCAT and ACET results that month. I passed DCAT but brushed it off because even though I liked the school, I never really saw myself studying there. Same thoughts with Ateneo, since it never really crossed my mind that I might study in ADMU. In fact, Ateneo was never really a choice for me, I only took it just to have another choice in case I failed the UPCAT. I also applied for financial aid not because I was really planning on studying there, but more of "para lang sure na may college ako". I know it's a bad thing but they were just my back-up schools because my main goal was really UP.

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One Friday afternoon, ACET results came out. I passed, managed to get a scholarship, and in that moment, my plans just started to crumble.

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Seeing that I got a 100% tuition and fees discount, free dorm fees, and an additional book allowance got me into considering studying to Ateneo. Suddenly, I got torn between UP, my dream school, and Ateneo, which offers so much more.

As the months passed, and after talking to my parents, my plans and decisions got more jumbled and messy. I still wanted to go to UP even if there were no results yet but Ateneo offering so much would mean a lesser burden to my parents in terms of finances.

Even though my parents told me that they'll support me no matter where I choose to go, the practicality that Ateneo offers in terms of finances was not an easy thing to waive. Sometimes I would laugh at the fact that I'd spend less on a private school than on a state university. Talking to my friends helped somehow, but they also have various opinions about the two universities. I managed to tell myself to hold off the problem until UPCAT results get released, and so I did.

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UP released the UPCAT results and seeing that I passed made me scream and cry, literally. At that moment, all I was thinking was that I passed my dream school and I'm officially a QC college student.

My parents were so proud of me even though they got scared because I screamed, but ultimately, they were happy for me. The next day, I sat down, stared at my UPCAT and ACET results, and told myself that I needed to decide. This was the hardest part. I tried deciding using the pros and cons method but it didn't really work. Talking to my parents also didn't help because they'd support me either way, so their judgement was not a factor at all. I also had the same course in both schools so that wasn't a big help. I was 99% close to letting go of my dream university and decide to go to Ateneo.

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I weighed options and Ateneo was the cheaper and more practical option. I also started to see myself studying as a blue eagle, roaming around the campus etc. And financially, I didn't need to worry much except for food. At that point, I started to really like the idea of going to Ateneo more than studying in UP. But then, as the weeks went by, the Ateneo Plan started to lose my interest.

I realized that studying in Ateneo would be a great opportunity, but not something that will really make me happy. The finances and all would be so much better but I wouldn't be happy and content, and I felt that Ateneo couldn't give me everything that I wanted and needed. Then a light bulb lit up.

As I was imagining myself at UP, I ultimately felt that happiness and content that I didn't feel with Ateneo. I realized that, if I didn't study in UP, I know later in my life, I would regret it. I would regret not choosing my dream university because I didn't choose what would make me happy.

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In short, I chose my dream over practicality. I know that I would be successful in both tracks, but I simply chose my dream because it is where I'm happier and more content. Besides, we can make our dreams practical but not all the time can the practical choice equate to our dreams. So to those having a hard time choosing between dreams and practicality, weigh it out and always remember to put yourself and your happiness first. And of course, choose the choice that you know you'll not regret later on.

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