Hello Fellow Dreamers,

My name is Josh, and just like you, I’ve always dreamt of obtaining a college degree. However, due to financial issues I was unable to pursue my college education after I graduated high-school in 2006. I’ve waited 16 years para ma-achieve ko to.

Tuwang-tuwa ako pag makakabasa ako ng mga inspiring graduation stories before. I actually ended up crying nadadala lagi ako sa story. Now, I’ll grab this opportunity to share my story with you. I want to inspire other people like what I felt before. I know, some of you may say that pwede naman mag “working student’. Yes your right, pwede naman talaga kung ang salary mo pang tuition and school expense, baon, and transportation. But No! In my case my salary is for everybody. I need to pay house rent, need to give my mother her allowance, sometimes my siblings ask for a little amount of money. I need to save for my allowance and for my transportation. So in short, my salary was not enough to pay tuition fees and monthly expenses.

Noong 2008, At the age of 18. I moved to Manila. I’m a proud Bisaya! Tubong probinsya ng Cebu. I’ve always prayed to God na makahanap agad ako ng work when I was in Manila. And God never failed to answer my prayers – dininig niya yung panalangin ko! Out of 15 resumes na pinasa ko sa mga fastfoods around Marikina, only one company contacted me for an interview. JB Bluewave Marikina. That’s where I met my amazing managers.

So, got my first job in Manila as a service crew sa Jollibee Bluewave Marikina. Hindi ako masyadong nahirapan kasi sanay na ako sa province before. Nagtitinda ako dati ng kung ano-ano after ng klase ko nung high school. Shout out to my high school classmates TLE Ms. Chiong sa (ANS Batch 2006) Abellana National School. Nagtitinda din kame ng ulam-ulam at snacks sa kalsada sa lugar namin sa Cebu. It was then I realized na kapag magsusumikap ka, may aanihin ka. Hindi ko sinayang yung mga panahon na yun. Ayokong tambay lang ako sa bahay. Gusto ko may gagawin ako. Kasi para sakin, bawat segundo mahalaga.

In 2012, super gusto ko na talaga mag aral. As an initiative, I have decided to be a working student. So, nag enrol ako sa Access Computer College Cubao. Hello sa mga classmates ko graduate na din sila ayun nga naiwanan na naman ako. Pero laban lang! Isang sem lang nakayanan ko that time kasi nasa call center industry na ako di ko kaya ang papasok ng umaga at galing ka sa puyat sa gabi. From 2014 till now ako ay isang OFW previously worked in Saudi Arabia and now working here in the United Arab Emirates.

This is where I met my Supervisor who was also an ETEEAP graduate from the same school, St. Paul University Philippines. Since I’m from Cebu, I inquired in University of Cebu and Cebu Institute Of Technology-University but it’s quite expensive for me. Hindi kaya ng budget ko dahil mataas din ang cost of living sa Dubai. Daily gastos, rent sa bahay, transportation, and padala sa Pinas.

Then, I asked my supervisor to give me the contact information of the person who is in charge of ETEEAP students. That time I messaged Dr. Jeremy Morales from ETEEAP St. Paul University Philippines and he assisted me for assessment, for documents required until I started my online class with my professors. I started my class in October 2021 then completed it in January of 2022. Yung class ko 4:00 AM Dubai time kasi 9:00 AM sa Pilipinas. I really needed to wake up early, but sometimes di po talaga kaya nag check na lang ako nga recording tas pag exam na lang ako attend and may mga pinapagawa din mga reasearch ang activities.

Kaya I’m super thankful ko sa mga professors ko sa SPUP na napakabait, understanding, and very helpful kasi nahihirapan ako sa schedule ko sa work and class. To all working students out there, saludo po ako sa inyo! It is a living testimony na dahil sa pagsusumikap natin, hindi lang tayo makakapagtapos ng pagaaral. But more than that, kaya pa nating mag excel sa mga acads at extra curricular natin. Sipag, tiyaga at pananampalataya. Yan tatlong yan ang tanging sandata natin sa laban. Gugulong pero gagraduate! Now, a new chapter begins and I welcome myself back into the real world.

This hasn’t been a success yet. However, congrats Self because you have made it this far! I look forward to more success in the future. Ito na ang tunay na laban! Naghirap man tayo now, pero another opportunity opens para giginhawa tayo later.

“I have fought a good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.” – 2 Timothy 4:7

Calanda, Joshua Cabahug
Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management (BS-HRM)
Saint Paul University Philippines
Class of 2022
Proud Working Student Proud OFW

Joshua C. Calanda, Dubai (BS-HRM)

Designation: Alumnus