“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
The oldest memory she has of wanting to learn is of when she was around 3 years old. She was writing something unintelligible while playing on the dirt ground surrounding her grandma’s house. When her cousin asked her what it was, she told her, “Lagyu queng tayid tayid yan,” (It was her name in cursive). Her cousin, who was as young as her, would believe her and be
amazed by how much she can write, when in reality, someone who can read would not really make something out of the random curves and lines she was trying to connect back then.
Why am I telling you this story? Because that scene of the girl’s younger years is an early indicator of what she was going to be pursuing for the next 22 years.
She was a learner in the academics—nothing unusual for someone who has spent more than 2 decades of her life in the academe just like everyone else. What’s unusual is that when everyone else decided to stop learning, she chose otherwise and pursued higher learning. When everyone was happy to have escaped the university, she planned on ways to get back and continue. She was a learner in life, in general. Every person has a story to tell, and hers was no different. What separated her from the rest was her drive to continue moving forward regardless of any personal, professional, and circumstantial conflicts. When everyone else decided to quit, she kept her fight to move on in life and learn in the process. She has evolved into a woman making her own opportunities rather than waiting for them to happen. She was a learner in the public service. In an industry of ageing specialists, she was the deviant. She was young, an idealist who introduced system improvements to a rather dragging culture of service, further learning that there is more to life than her own ambitions and aspirations. And all that she has learned only made her hungry for more.
My story about unintelligible writing on dirt may make you smile and reminisce your personal, old ways yourselves. But to me, it was a manifestation of an inner personal drive to be ahead, to be a deviant in a positive way, to have dreams bigger than ourselves, ambitious as they may seem. As early as my toddler years, I have been at a state of unrest to always learn, to always improve, to be part of something big, to always be in a hustle to run towards something fulfilling—which for me, as I realized, is making the life of people around me work for the better.
I graduated college at 19, served as the breadwinner to a family of 7 on that same age, earned my Master’s degree at 24, and have been in the public service since 2011.
My life, as I have told above, and in its entirety so far, is my path less travelled. And it has been the best learning experience, with no ending yet in sight that I will not get tired telling people about.