Lesson # 24: From the farm
All it took was a 30 minute talk from Tony Meloto to make me realize that as of now, I’ve been living a dream not of my own and that I’ve ever since I graduated, I’ve been doing nothing to give back to the society.
Sure when we were in college we all thought we were building the nation, that every trip to the “area” was tantamount to giving back to the poor, that the immersions, outreaches, and other “social awareness” activities that we had made us men and women for and with others.
The brutal truth is that those aren’t enough.
I am not discounting the formative value of all those activities that we were made to go through while studying, I’m just saying that 1) It’s not working and that 2) Something needs to be done to make the vision of having “men and women for others” or “professionals for others” more realistic.
A lot of things were said within that 30-minute time-frame but nothing struck me more that the fact that the Top Graduates of this country (ADMU, DLSU, UP.. etc) are so disconnected from reality that they know little or nothing about the plights of the poor and to make it much worse? They couldn’t care less.
Why? Because the very system that we all go through perpetuate the ideals that greatly contribute to this societal divide.
The top universities promise us the best jobs, the best opportunities upon graduation.
The top universities promise to make our lives so much “better”.
Look at us now. Most of us are living the corporate dream, are, pardon the term, “sellouts” to the top multi-national companies whose profits go to back to their home countries, not ours. This, according to Tito Tony, is the “American Dream” – to earn money, to get a raise, to get a promotion and to retire with lots of money in the bank. Anyare sa Philippine Dream? Is there even such a thing?
We strive to get masters degrees and PhD’s to get that promotion we so badly want and to get the raise we’ve been dreaming of.
We strive to get the highest grades to get the highest paying jobs.
We hardly strive to give back; always saying that “pag-mayaman na ako, tutulungan ko sila”. Eh paano kung hindi ka yumaman? So wala na lang? Or baka makakalimutan mo na lang din. Maybe it should be a matter of thinking that you could get rich by making others rich as well.
Did the schools ever give us a promise that we’ll become nation builders? That we’ll someday be able to help alleviate poverty? Nope. Those things aren’t mentioned in our classes.
The educational system, all 15 or so years that we go through, is disappointingly centered on the “self” (with occasional events that give us the opportunity to learn and interact with those who have less). It’s about getting the best education to get the best possible life for yourself and your inner circles and it stops there.
Spending half of your saturdays for NSTP, going to outreaches and spending a whole weekend with the Aetas, fishermen, farmers or urban poor are certainly not enough to make us “nation-builders”. 90% of the time, we were being taught how to become corporate slaves, how to earn the biggest paycheck, how to impress our bosses with flashy presentations, how to organize events and parties that would reap the biggest profit.
The sadder part, most of us did those (social awareness activities) for the grade. I myself have written many papers, heck even my thesis, revolving around the problems of society and what we must do about it. I aced most of those papers. But if doing something about the problems was being graded, I’m sure I’d get a BIG FAT F.
So let me ask you this: Now that it’s no longer an academic requirement, do you still care for the poor? or do you even, at the very least, think about them and how to help them?
If the answer is NO, then I have nothing to say to you.
If the answer is YES, then it’s high time we do something about it.
This isn’t a call for philantrophy, nor charity. This is a call for something more sustainable, and ultimately more fulfilling.
The goal is still to become rich – but we take the poor with us (and the country eventually). We get rich by helping the poor become rich as well. Such a win-win situation, yes? Our resources and talents here are boundless and the possibilities for growth and profit are endless. We just have to know how to utilize them.
Again, this is just my opinion. You may have your own and you might hate me for posting this but it’s just what I see and what I’ve learned.
There are those who are made for the corporate world and I have nothing against them.
I’m just hoping that there may be people out there who may want to do something but they don’t know how or afraid to start. Then just voice it out. I’m sure we can do something about it. 🙂
It’s what we do after getting our diplomas that really matter now. 🙂