Olivia has been a student assistant since her freshman year and is now in her fourth year. She hopes to graduate in May.
“When I graduated from high school, I had no idea how I could go to college. I have four siblings, and we were all going to school at that time. It’s like life said, ‘If you want to go to college, make a way so you can – on your own.’ So here I am.”
“Being a student assistant certainly requires ‘full-blown’ patience. You are bound to lose it – that’s definite – so you might as well develop the habit of just being patient every single time. It’s an almost impossible thing to do, but it goes a long way.”
“You feel the pressure at some point – home, studies, workplace – like all the stuff were squeezed in together in a tiny box.”
How do you deal with it?
“I get some air – literally. Then I try to meditate, say a short prayer. I also have an app – it’s a devotion app – and I browse it as often as I can. I think it’s just powerfully invigorating.”
“My mom would always tell me to be strong in life, to be always a fighter. I think I held on to those words in dealing with life ever since she passed away, because it hasn’t been easy.”
“I always get weak whenever I talk about her... She was my best friend. I lost her three years ago from lung cancer. She never smoked, so I don’t know how lung cancer hit her. She had asthma, though. Maybe it sort of progressed into lung cancer. I don’t really know what happened; she never told us, you know. When we found out about it, it was already in its third stage. Maybe she didn’t want to bother us. Maybe it was just her being a mom – always wanting to shield her children from pain.”
You seem to have a bright, sunny disposition.
“I think I got it from my mom. She had this way of turning unhappy things into happy things. Well, I have always believed that happiness is an option; sadness is an option, too. If you choose to be happy, then you will be happy; if you choose to dwell on sadness, you wouldn't expect to be laughing. It’s entirely up to you.”
Can you recite some random stuff about you?
“I love orange – I think it’s a happy color. I wanted to study biology but a staff at the Human Resource Management Center advised that I take financial management (so I took it – I kind of like it now). I want to have a dress shop someday – one that sells custom-made dresses and accessories – or a restaurant. I listen to Christian songs during my duty at the office – it calms everything down. I used to play track and field back in elementary. Oh and I love dogs.”
In three words, what have you learned from being a student assistant?
“Patience, initiative, faithfulness. Can you make it five? I have two more – honesty and hard work. Hard work is taken as one.”
Photo by RENE PASCUA
Interview & Text by RONA LIN