Kathrine Malicdem: On Overcoming Life’s Struggles and Challenges
We’d like to share another inspiring letter from one of our college graduates, Kathrine Malicdem. Kathrine was our Night High Scholar since Night High School at Siena College, Quezon City, and became one of our college scholars.
She recently graduated cum laude from the Technological University of the Philippines last March 20, 2014.
Here is her remarkable story:
My name is Kathrine Malicdem. My family and friends call me ‘Kath’. It is graduation season; I am lucky and proud to say that I am one of the graduating college scholars of A Better Chance Foundation. Last March 28, I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Food Technology and graduated as Cum Laude from the Technological University of the Philippines, Manila.
Just like any other graduate, my ultimate priority is to land a job right after graduation. After I had completed all my requirements for graduation, I immediately applied for a job through the internet; I was interviewed and got hired. I felt so fulfilled and excited at the time because that was the first interview and examination I attended and I was hired right away. But I know that certain things happen for a reason, and all the joy, fulfillment and excitement I felt was gone when I found out that I have a problem with my lungs and am not yet fit to work. With the help of my family, friends and everyone who believes in me, including ABC Foundation and my supportive sponsors Mr. Bob and Beverly Sellar, I know that I can get through this and it will not be a hindrance for me to pursue my dreams.
I am the youngest in my family. When my mother was still with us, she worked as a dressmaker, and my father was a former bank messenger. After I graduated from the 6th grade in a public school, I took entrance examinations at various schools where I could possibly enroll for High School, all of which, I passed. But my parents argued because of the distance of those schools from our home, so they decided to find a school nearby. At the time, we had a neighbor who worked as maintenance staff in Siena College, Quezon City, and he told me to take the examination for their Night High School Scholarship Program. Together with our neighbor’s son and my other cousins we grabbed the chance and took the examination. Luckily, I passed and had the opportunity to study in a private high school for free.
My first year in Siena Quezon City was not so easy for me because I was a very shy and quiet person. I was just a normal student who studied and did my school work and complied with the school requirements. But as time went by, I became different. I became less shy and gained enough confidence with the help of my teachers and my classmates. My classmates influenced me a lot to do well in school and we found the joy of studying together which kept us motivated.
At the time, we were introduced to A Better Chance Foundation. Eight (8) of us in our batch were given sponsors – Mr. Bob and Beverly Sellar. Through ABC Foundation, I was able to meet the kindest sponsors. I even had the chance to know their granddaughter, Ellie Jurich, who came to be my pen pal when I was in second year high school, and until now we still keep in touch through Facebook. I am so happy to witness changes in us as we got older even though we have never actually met. When Mr. Bob and Ms. Beverly Sellar came here to the Philippines to meet us for the first time, we were so excited not knowing that they are going to screen the 8 of us to be their college scholars. When I personally met them, I was quite shy but I was comfortable talking to them maybe because we constantly communicated through letters that we sent through ABC.
My classmate Berryl and I were chosen to be their college scholars and we were very happy because we were assured of getting a tertiary education. As I graduated high school, I became closer to God and learned how to value education, persevere more and trust in myself.
My high school years were very remarkable for me because during those years our family faced different kinds of challenges and losses. During my third year at Siena College, Quezon City, my father lost his job as a bank messenger because the bank had to lessen their employees. On the same year, my sister who was only one year older than me got pregnant. My father got depressed and anxious with what was happening to us. He couldn’t bear the situation and decided to stay with my grandmother in the province. My mother back then who was a dressmaker, met our everyday needs by making ordered clothes and sometimes she didn’t sleep because of rush orders. One time, while working, my mother fell off her sewing machine and was brought to the hospital by her co-workers. My mother also got a stroke for the first time and was hospitalized for about 3 weeks. Since my father didn’t have a job and my mother was incapable of working, they decided to go to our province and stay there for good until my mother recovered. This is the reason why I had to live with my Aunt. My Aunt paid for the hospital bills and she asked me to live with them so I could continue and finish my high school education at Siena QC.
My aunt and uncle were very kind and treated me like their own daughter. So I continued high school with the help of my Aunt and cousins. There were still times that I cried because I realized that we seemed to not be a complete family since my sister already lived with her husband and my parents were in the province.
As I finished my high school, I thought everything was going to be okay and I was very much excited to go to college, but my father called me and asked me to go to move to the province because my mother had a stroke for the second time. I went to our province and took care of my mother in the hospital for 1 month. She was bed-ridden and couldn’t talk clearly. By that time I was really losing hope that she would be okay but I continued praying and hoping for her recovery.
After a certain time, I went back in Manila to enroll for college. A day after I enrolled my father called again and told me that my mother had passed away. I immediately packed my things and went to the bus terminal to catch a bus to our province. I was crying the entire trip because I felt guilty because I wasn’t there when she died. When I arrived, all I felt was sadness and sorrow. My family mourned for her but eventually needed to accept what happened and move on.
All of the struggles and losses my family and I faced during my high school years didn’t affect my determination in life. Even though my mother had left us, I didn’t find it as a reason to give up. Instead I always think of my mother as my inspiration in life. As I entered college, life became different. I met new people and had my own set of friends. This time I told myself that I should not be like the shy girl in high school. I know that college is very different from high school that is why I set my goals and studied hard, because for me it’s the least that I can do to pay for every cent my sponsors was providing me.
In college, you will encounter different problems which are not only school-related, but financial as well. I remember my father always used to say that it was hard to go to college when you don’t have enough money. It is based from his own experiences; he was forced to drop-out of college because they didn’t have enough money to support him in school. Through my ever generous sponsors, Mr. Bob and Ms. Bev Sellar I did not experience the difficulties experienced by my father. Aside from the tuition fee every semester, I was also given a monthly allowance of P2,000. I was able to save money and pay for seminars, educational trips, research projects and other necessary payments in school. Mr. Bob and Ms. Beverly Sellar knew me very well and never left my side, even now with my current health problems. That is really how good they are to me and to the others they are helping. I do not just consider them my sponsors, but as part of my family and my good friends too.
My college life really opened a huge development in my personality and abilities; I became more responsible because I was always elected as one of the class officers and organizations. For me, college is not that hard if you can manage to balance school and fun; you just need to make the right choices and make good decisions. No words can express how thankful I am to ABC Foundation and my sponsors for giving me the chance to be their scholar because education molded me into a better person.
When I graduated as Cum Laude I felt that my education has changed my personality and endeavors in life. All those sleepless nights and stressful situations have paid off. Right now I am facing one of the greatest challenges in my life; I have a lung ailment and this is the reason why I can’t start working. I was advised by the doctor to rest for 2 months and I cannot work until he gives me clearance. This is really depressing and I cried when I had to turn down the job opportunity. Two months is way too long but I will just use it to prepare myself for better opportunities. As the saying says, ‘Good things come to those who wait’. Now that I am about to face the reality of the industry, I believe that I am equipped with all of the values and learnings I gained from school. I know that I can get through this with God’s guidance and with the best support system, my family, friends, Mr. Bob and Ms. Beverly Sellar and ABC Foundation. Again, thank you very much to A Better Chance Foundation and Mr. Bob and Ms. Beverly Sellar for the 9 life changing years of guidance and education.