Last Friday afternoon, students from Maynilad Study Center, went to Manila Science High School to conduct the Manila Science Professional. (Click here for more photos)
First things first, Maynilad Study Center is not in anyway related to the water company. Maynilad is a study center which offers holistic personal development for male university students through talks, get-togethers and other academic and cultural activities.
Manila Science Professional on the other hand is a project of Maynilad, a two-day seminar designed to gather selected top 3rd year and 4th year highschool students and provide a career and leadership program designed to help these students decide what course to take in the university and choose which university to go to.
The program was supposed to start at 3:00pm. At 2:45 all the staff, were at panic-mode since there were no highschool students in sight. At 3:00, only 3rd year students were present in the 3rd floor multimedia room of MaSci. We were informed that the 4th year students had to attend another activity before this one but they promised to come immediately right after it. We didn’t have the whole afternoon so we had to start at 3:15. By 3:30 all the expected paticipants were there just in time to listen to the keynote speaker.
The speaker Mr. John Paul Juliano talked about goal setting as an important tool in surviving college life. He’s a graduate of the University of Asia and the Pacific and now working in Fujitsu Philippines. He’s been in the Information Technology industry for almost a decade and is now currently dealing with clients across Asia Pacific and has handled numerous amounts of projects as infrastructure service delivery manager.
The title of his talk was Managing Oneself: Goal Setting for the Real World. The talk was very appropriate for the audience because now they are just highschool students, but within a span of five years or so, they are expected to be in the real world, maybe some will go to the academe, some to research but a large chunk I bet would end up in the corporate world. Having some thoughts shared by a man who has been in the corporate world surely brought forth insights which are very useful.
Mr. Juliano talked about choosing, working and checking your goals. He called a student and asked him what he wanted to be, the student being the shy-type took us a few seconds to get an answer from him but in the end, he said he wanted to be a doctor. So John asked if they had medicine subjects in Manila Science, of course none, but I’m sure they have biology classes. What John wanted to point out is at their stage in life, being high school students; they only have a certain amount of resources where they can use to excel. And in order for them to step into college those resources should be maximized and grades in high school is one of them. Did I hear someone say that grades aren’t everything? True! But let’s face it. You have to have good grades to get into you chosen school and if you want to get to a university with a scholarship, the more you need to perform well and your transcript of records is a very concrete tool you can use to get into that new stage in life.
Being the host of the program, for sure, I also learned a lot from John. One thing which John pointed out is this thing we call attitude. I can’t really describe exactly what attitude is but he is saying attitude should be the foundation. Using attitude in the right way can be very helpful to us specially if while working with goals we assess all the variables of a given problem or situation that’s facing us and judge what counts most such that we can use these to successfully hit the goal.
After the very informative talk given by Mr. Juliano, we moved on to the panel discussion. In this part of the program we invited outstanding students from all the top five universities in Metro Manila to share their experience entering and surviving college. Unfortunately Gino Trinidad from Atone wasn’t unable to come but nevertheless we still had four guys who willingly imparted their experiences in college.
The student guest from DLSU was Amado Miguel De Jesus a 5th year Star Scholar now taking his double degree in BS and MS in Industrial Engineering. From UP Diliman, we had James Gabrillo a fourth year Broadcast Communication student, Magna Cum Laude Standing and is currently writing for the Philippine Daily Inquirer. From the University of Asia and the Pacific we had Dante Estepa Jr. a university scholar taking up Indutrial Economics. In 2007 he was one of the recipients of the University Excellence Award for having the highest grade in his batch. And the student guest from UST was Patrick Averilla, a consistent dean’s lister and currently the treasurer of the School of Accountancy Student Council.
I told the Masci students that of course the guests will tell the audience that their own school is the best but they shouldn’t bother because the best school is really DLSU. (Coming from DLSU, I really had to crack this one, but again I reiterate that this was only a joke. Haha! This program didn’t have any bias with any school. We’re there to truthfully advice the students regarding what course to take and in which university is the best choice for that course.)
Patrick Averilla shared his thoughts in choosing a course. He said that now he is taking BS Accountancy but he is still not sure if it is indeed the course for him. Until now he thinks that he should be in Engineering. It was very honest of him. In fact judging on how he performs in school, I can say that he really is a very good student. Why? Because it’s very hard to accomplish things when you are thinking that you should be doing a totally different thing. Pursuing something which you are not really convinced but still consistently being in the Dean’s list is very uncommon. What we can learn from this is that there will come a time when you have to decide on things which you can’t delay. You have to arrive at a decision after assessing all the variables and make sure that you make the best out of it. It would be great if you land at something you really want but most of the times you don’t that’s why making the best out of what you have right now is an attitude that will surely open up the horizons for you.
Amado De Jesus said that grades aren’t the only thing needed in college. It is expected that students coming from Science High Schools will not have problems academically but it’s not all grades. He told his experience in a certain company where he did his OJT that they seriously look at extra-curricular activities and specially leadership skills as part of their criteria in accepting job applicants. In the real world, it’s a given that you should know how to think, but dealing with people is another thing and your experience in the extra-curricular activities can prove something about it.
Dante Estepa Jr. said that it all started when he wanted to prove that coming from Iloilo National Science High School, he can prove his parents that he can go to Manila and study on his own. With that goal in mind, he was deserving to get a full scholarship from UA&P. Aside from the famous faculty members of the economics department of UA&P, he values the culture in his school which is geared towards the corporate world. Studying in the heart of Ortigas, you can’t really take that away from them. But what he admires UA&P for is their personal mentoring. Banking on the small population of their students, the school makes it a point that everyone will have their personal mentors who guides them in academics and personal development. It’s true that not everything is learned from class and most of the things you may need, you can learn just by chatting with someone better than you. Much more if that someone can guide you as you mature throughout your stay in the university.
And for James, I really have to narrate his funny experience going into college. The day the UPCAT results came out, knowing that his heart will not be able to handle seeing with his own eyes if he got in or not, he asked his friend to inform him if he was accepted. He waited for his friend’s news that morning but he received no means of communication from his friend whatsoever. At noon time he already accepted that UP was not for him. In the afternoon he already went to UA&P to reserve his slot for enrollment. And after getting the receipt from the counter, a text message came in. Guess what?! Yeah. There’s no other way but UP.
One thing, I think is a very good advice for the incoming freshmen that James said was that although extra-curricular activities and organizations may help a lot in getting you a job, you must first assess or feel your performance in your first semester in college. If you feel that you can handle more then go for the extras but if you think acads is enough, then no worries because excelling in class is better as compared to excelling in the extras because the true purpose of school is knowledge which you learn from your classes and the grades you earn from it.
The last part of the program was the coat of arms where the audience was asked using the frame we provided them to draw their goals in life. The whole group was divided into subgroups and were assigned their own facilitators. The facilitators were also university students tasked to guide them in setting their goals. This period was also used for the highschool students to ask their facilitators anything about the university.
Lastly, I want to go back to John when he mentioned that in order to be successful sacrifice would be one of the very big factors. Being successful is something we project in a future scenario which is wanted by everyone. Michelangelo said that “If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all.” My friend also said that, “If something is easy, then where can we find the virtue there?” These sayings hit the bull’s eye regarding attitude towards work. If you desire perfection and you feel that what you are doing is easy then there must be something wrong with it. If you want to get the highest grade in your class, if you want to top the board exams, if you want to finish the race first then feeling the tiredness and difficulty of work is something you can’t remove. There is no easy way out. You can’t cheat in order to accomplish things. You can’t do things in just one big go. You have to do it step-by-step, one at a time small and steady.
The event was very tiring but very informative and I’m very sure the students benefitted a lot from it. We’ll be back next week for the second day of the program with a new set of speakers so expect me to write something about the event a week from now.