Words of Appreciation from 50th Commencement Exercises Leadership Awardee Joseph Matawaran

Posted: February 1, 2019

To the FEU President, Dr. Michael M. Alba; our guest speaker, Mr. George Chua; our Senior Executive Director, Dr. Benson T. Tan; our Senior Directors, our college registrar – Dr. Remella A. Cabreros; directors, professors, proud parents, and my fellow graduates of class 2019, good afternoon!

First and foremost, congratulations to everyone for graduating today. It has not been an easy drive, but we made it through. Let us give ourselves and our parents a big round of applause for that. Words cannot describe how grateful I am right now. This graduation is not just about the graduates but also for all the people who has been part of our amazing journey. The people who have motivated, encouraged, and supported us, we are extremely grateful. You are all our inspirations.

Before I continue, may I request everybody, including the parents, to tap their seatmates, maybe on your left or on your right, and say “Congratulations, you are the best.”

Four years and one term in college went by so fast. After this, we will set out for the biggest test, albeit not graded – building our path. I have these questions in mind: Have we experienced what we need to experience? Have we learned what we are supposed to learn? Most importantly, are we really ready to build our future? This might be the end of being an undergraduate student, but I strongly believe that this is just the first step in achieving our dreams to be our future self.

For me the answer to these questions came in the form of my one experience that I have learned during my stay here in FEU Tech. Being a student and a leader at the same time, or should I say a Student Leader. And this is the experience that I will never forget. It is very tiring. Those are the best words that I can use to describe being a student leader.  Yes, it’s very tiring. I have to travel most of the weekends arriving home very late just to attend meetings, even during my rest day I cannot afford to rest in order to conduct events and coordinate with other schools to encourage and inspire our fellow students about their advocacies in life, it is tiring to train new student leaders because most of them, they just want to be look “cool” on social media.  But it is very fulfilling at the same time when there is someone who is wholeheartedly thankful about the things that you have done in inspiring them. Being tired really paid off.

Being a student leader with emphasis on the word “student”. I am a mediocre student. While reviewing for quizzes, exams, burning the midnight oil for projects and our thesis, I was also conceptualizing for events, volunteering and preparing proposals. College felt like a long juggling act.

In my 2nd term of 2016-2017, I was facing the biggest hurdle of becoming an Engineer because of that one subject and at the same time I was elected in 2 major organizations. Obviously, what I did was to study hard, focused on my academics, stayed up late almost every night trying to solve problems, I even borrowed this huge book (for those who are unfamiliar, it’s like google in paper form) from the library and took it home just so I would pass. While actively doing my duties as an officer of 2 organizations. At the end of the term my professor in that subject told me, “Wow you got a 4.0 grade in my subject, congratulations!” And then I woke up, as I’ve said, I’m just a mediocre student and that scenario only applies to unicorns, of course it was the exact opposite of what really happened.

That was the story on how I lost my scholarship. I even had to choose between my organizations in order to focus more on my studies, otherwise, there was a big chance that I would not be able to continue my studies. I tried my very best but sometimes it wasn’t enough.

Aside from juggling, my journey in college is a one big jigsaw puzzle, today is indeed a special day and we wouldn’t be here without the pieces of that puzzle. So to our friends/barkada/tropa and to the whole Computer Engineering community who became an anytime support group and pseudo-family, maraming salamat po. To our very supportive Professors, Mentors, Computer Engineering Department, and Student Activities and Development Unit, maraming salamat po. To our security guards and service crew of FEU Tech, maraming salamat po. Most importantly, to our dearest parents, to my Nanay and Tatay who gave never-ending support and never stopped believing, from the bottom of my heart maraming salamat po.  And of course without the strength and knowledge given by God that empowered us to continue despite the challenges the came along in this journey. To God be the glory!

Nelson Mandela once said that the most powerful weapon which we can use is education, and this will not be limited to the knowledge we gained in the four corners of the classroom but also from our failures. Keep moving forward, get up and work for what you want. And through these experiences, we can develop ourselves holistically. This will equip us once we leave this school, utilize what we have learned not just for self-betterment but, more importantly, for nation-building. Let us be the change that we want to see in the world by striving to make a positive impact in the lives of others. Let us prove to everyone that we, the millennials are still the hope of our nation by embodying the core values of our school. Fortitude, Excellence, and Uprightness.

And to FEU Institute of Technology you will be treasured in our hearts! Congratulations again graduates!

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Joseph Matawaran is one of the Ten Jose Rizal Model Students of the Philippines. He is the former President of Institute of Computer Engineers of the Philippines Student Edition NCR, Institute of Computer Engineers of the Philippines Leadership Awardee, and Outstanding organization officer of SY1718. He was also the Top 1 CpE student for SY1718.