Lining up for a hopeful and bright future

Waiting in long queues of lines is probably one of the most irritating scenes a person can be into. 

Imagine standing for hours pending your meals just so you can be assured that your name will be called next, but you were cut short for the office hours. 

Since February 2019, thousands of students line up at the CHED Regional Office to submit their StuFAP application and requirements. (CHED)

When in stores, you would have to line up with buyers having purchases with carts even if you are just buying a single item. Lucky are you if someone would consider your groceries and let you go before them. 

Even longing for your comfy bed and hugging your fluffy pillows after a hard day’s work involve lining up, too. You would have to wait up with swarming passengers until the next jeepney, taxi, bus or train arrives. The journey does not stop there, though. Hurdling the heavy traffic in the rush hour is another thing. 

Well lining up and waiting for aspiring scholars is way different. This was evident from the submission of requirements of the Student Financial Assistance Program (StuFAP) of the Commission on Higher of Education (CHED). 

Qualifications for the scholarship include being a high school graduate, a candidate for graduation or with units earned in college, or a passer of Alternative Learning System or Philippine Educational Placement Test, a combined annual gross income of parents or guardian not exceeding PhP300,000.

Hopefuls from all provinces in Central Luzon had travelled at dawn to be able to get to the regional office on time. They endured long standing hours under the scorching heat so they could submit requirements for the scholarship. They did not mind having stomachs as hungry as bears just to have at least a bit of hope for a slot in the tuition assistance. 

Ms. Ezza Gape, 21, who hails from Bulacan is among youngsters in the pool of aspiring scholars for the StuFAP. Having been raised in women’s institutions, she and her sister were enthused to achieve more in life. 

“There are two things which inspires me to go for the extra mile: one is a gift for my late mother who encouraged us to finish schooling because she was not able to; second is that a degree is a key to doors of opportunities and growth in life,” she said.

At present, she is an incoming BS Criminology sophomore who hopes to be included in the service of the honorable Police force after graduation. It has been a childhood dream which she is now pursuing.

Prior her collegiate studies, she graduated with honors in senior high and still continues to excel. Being a woman was a plus in achieving competency and certification in Welding— a skill commonly associated with males. 

She encourages students alike to not give up on their dreams even if there are challenges that continue to come along their lives. These blocks are not meant to dishearten us but urge us to leap to the finish line.

Meanwhile, behind the hustle and bustle of the entire StuFAP application process was the CHED Regional Office Staff whose patience were unfathomable by words and the best adjectives. Smiles on their faces were never washed out even if they had to start their office hours earlier than 6 in the morning, process thousands of applications daily under the heat and work beyond the standard office hours. 

They too had waited to finish the wiggles of lines in assisting students in their queries and processing of their requirements. They were urged to render the best service they could offer to clients. 

The government is really extending its hands to more people now.  After years of waiting, Filipinos have now access to free tertiary education that is envisioned to at least alleviate poverty in the country. Education will help increase level of comfortable living through jobs that are aligned with our competencies. 

Education primarily aims to empower and equip people in the challenging reality. 

Patience is a virtue. – Cliché as it may sound but this should be a living mantra among us. 

We will not get to the cliff of triumph if we will not learn to pass by rocky roads and steep slopes. We will not be able to get the best results if we will not be willing to wait.