June 2013, was the day I started college. My family wasn’t well off, so it was really a great relief when by such miraculous means, I passed UPCAT. But just when I thought that the battle is over, UP showed me otherwise. It has been tough. The path to graduation is full of temptations, delays, and anxiety over grades, time, and resource availability. There were days when I doubted every single ability in me. There were times I failed a little, sometimes a lot. A cycle of depressing, mind wrecking lapses constitute my experience in the university. But these same failures made me realize that it was okay to fail. It’s perfectly fine, everyone has, at some in their lives failed a little. Failure is an avenue for you to discover what other things should you be doing, instead of staying in comfort where you are. It tells you when you have to move a little and lets you shift your point of view to other things which actually matters to you.
“Choose your battles. Fighting every battle will leave you exhausted and lost.” As one of my professors told me, life is full of what ifs and whatnot. It depends on you to choose where you should focus. Think it through, think it wisely, so you’ll never regret.
And so I did.
I did what I enjoyed the most— learning business in every aspect, and applying it in our school organizations and in any other opportunities. I applied through multiple internships while taking classes at the same time. I joined competitions and met different kinds of people. Just recently I decided to take on online courses available for free. It was exhausting—taking classes and doing a lot other things as well. But I enjoyed it, so I went through and through and through until I found an ad online about an opportunity to participate in Massachusetts Institute of Technology Global Entrepreneurship bootcamp. The bootcamp is a week-long test of rigor, communication, creativity, innovation, community development, and entrepreneurship among chosen applicants under mentorship of MIT professors, alumni, and entrepreneurs around the world.
I knew I wouldn’t pass. But I thought: so what? I had to try anyway.
A couple of days later, the bootcamp admission team emailed me, telling me I am eligible to proceed to the next round of screening. I tried again, without expecting anything in return. Fast forward to Feb 19, 2017, several minutes before the clock hits 12 am, an email popped up.
“On behalf of the MIT Bootcamp admissions committee, I am delighted to inform you of you admission to the next MIT Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in Brisbane, March 26-31, 2017.”
I immediately showed it to my mom, who, with the same amount of shock, was not able to respond as well.
I went back inside our room with a satisfied heart. But at the same time, reality came flooding in my mind. I can’t pay for the bootcamp tuition. My dad barely gets enough for food and education for his two daughters, and my mom stays at home. I know some of my relatives would extend help, but it would definitely not add up to the requirement of the bootcamp. In order to be able to go to Brisbane and continue with the bootcamp, I will be needing a total of Php 300,000 (USD 6000). The MIT Admission team also requires us to deliver a prepayment of Php 100,000 (USD 2000) by 24 February 2017. The rest of the fee shall be remitted by 3 March 2017. With our current condition, it was simply impossible to go.
Only around 50-70 people around the world are chosen to participate in this bootcamp every year. Applicants go through a rigorous multiple-round screening tests in order to pass. The bootcamp will be a once in a lifetime experience for me and for the country as I am the first Filipino to ever get through the series of application. But I can’t go since I don’t have the money. I don’t even have my own passport yet.