By Marjaleen Ramos
"When two of our children were about to graduate in the same university that brought me and my husband together many years ago, I decided to take a leap of faith and enroll in Math 100. I’ve been thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if the three of us all graduate at the same time?"
(Lorelei Aquino / MANILA BULLETIN)
Two decades in the making, Lorelei Aquino joyfully marched in her “sablay”, alongside her two children, after she finally got hold of her most desirable undergraduate degree from the University of the Philippines on Sunday.
Earning the Business Management degree wasn’t easy for the 44-year old mother as she had to balance her time between being a parent and studying in the university for two semesters. “Going back to school had not been easy for me, though. It was, in fact, extremely difficult and challenging.”
Aquino first enrolled in UP Diliman Extension Program in Clark, Pampanga, but as soon as she failed her calculus class in her last semester, she decided to drop out of school. At that time, she was also pregnant with her first child, Mark Romeo.
Her children, Mark Romeo and Lorielle Ann, who studied chemical engineering and biology, respectively, both graduated as cum laude.
After more than 20 years, which also marked her children’s final year at the university, she finally decided it was time for her comeback and to face one of her biggest fears: Math.
She then also decided to make her son as her tutor.
Pursuing the degree wasn’t easy as she was still unable to pass the subject.
With the endless support of her family, Aquino did not stop and re-enrolled at UP Diliman. "I found comfort in my husband and children’s assurance that there was no shame in what happened. I did my best, and that was what’s most important, they said," she stated.
Aquino attended a one-hour class four times a week in the university.
"My children could take as many as seven subjects in a sem, and I would expect them to bring home impeccable grades, while there I was, allowing myself to abandon my long-time dream of earning a diploma, to give up the fight even before it started, to be daunted by the obstacles that a single subject entailed," she said.
"And so, with my children as my inspiration, I went ahead and kept going," she wrote.
Despite getting more white hair and reacquired migraine, nightmares and panic attacks, losing weights and endless sight of square roots and absolute values or greater integer functions, Aquino still chose to look at the brighter side. “I have come to appreciate more the effort that my children have been putting into their studies. But, most importantly, I was able to accomplish my goal.”