Working student who waited a decade to graduate from UP inspires netizens

MANILA, Philippines - A University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman graduate’s heartwarming story is inspiring netizens, particularly students who have to work just to support their studies. His Facebook post on January 11 has gone viral amassing 890 shares and at least 5,000 positive reactions as of this writing.

Jay Torres Solitana Facebook
Jay Torres Solitana: "Walang mahirap sa taong may pangarap!"
Unlike other students who usually spend four to five years in college, Jay Torres Solitana waited 10 years to earn his bachelor’s degree. It was a decade filled with challenges as Solitana struggled to finish his studies while providing for his family.

Coming from a family with a limited income, Solitana knew back then that entering college was close to impossible.

He wrote on his Facebook post: “I had to strive hard to finish high school to help the family but my hopes of earning a college degree remained, at least in my dreams.”

In 2006, Solitana failed to qualify in the University of the Philippines College Admission Test, commonly known as UPCAT. At that point, continuing his studies became dubious as all the public universities in the country had already carried out their respective entrance examinations. Luckily, Mr. Alfredo N. Sarabusab, his high school research adviser whom he also considers his mentor, pushed him to pursue college.

Sarabusab even paid for his fares and examination fee just for Solitana to get a scholarship for a nursing degree at the Far Eastern University (FEU).

However, Solitana was forced to stop from schooling two years later as his parents didn’t have enough resources to support his education. Although Solitana was devastated by his situation, he never blamed his parents as they were also “deprived of their rights to education.”

In 2008, Solitana was able to turn his family’s life around when he started working. The experience allowed him to pay the bills, learn to budget his money, and let his family live a comfortable life.

With all the hardwork, Solitana realized he should reward himself. He was certain that earning a college degree was the best gift he could give himself.

With his savings, Solitana paid his remaining balance in FEU in order to transfer to UP, his dream university. He finally got accepted in 2012.

“I love my course. I had fun the entire time while learning so much. But it was not a smooth road. It was really hard being a working student,” Solitana recalled.

Fortunately, Solitana’s hard work and sacrifices paid off. After years of struggle, Solitana finally earned his degree in Speech Communication with the help of a lot of people.

See his full story below.

Ten years. Yes, it was a looong wait but I don't care because I did it in UP!!! Growing up in a family with a limited...
Posted by Jay Torres Solitana on Monday, January 11, 2016

--Mini, The Summit Express

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