CEBU City, Philippines — When she had her graduation pictorial last March 22, a teary-eyed Margot Claire Araña made sure to bring with the framed photos of her late parents.
Araña said she wanted to share her special day with her mother, Mary Jane, and father, Ronald Sr. Both had died when she was still in high school.
“I hope I made you both proud,” Araña wrote as caption to the video that was taken from her graduation pictorial which she shared on social media.
Araña said she decided to share her video online because she wanted her story to be an inspiration to others like her who also lost their parents at a young age.
“I posted that video to inspire others who has the same situation as me, to motivate them because I know life is not easy without having your parents by your side,” she said.
Araña finished Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management at the Villamor College of Business and Arts in General Santos City. Their graduation ceremony was held last June 27. She had her younger brother, Ronald Jr., in attendance.
This 22-year-old native of M’lang, North Cotabato said she was very heartbroken when her mother died in 2018. She was in 11th grade then.
Three years later or in 2021, she felt an even greater amount of pain when she also lost her father.
“It was heartbreaking that sometimes I think life is unfair,” she said.
But despite all her pain that she felt from the loss of her parents, Araña said, she went on with her life and did her best to finish her studies because she knew that was what they wanted for her.
She also had her parents as her inspiration to persevere.
“That’s why I have their pictures framed for my graduation pictorial, to tell them that I made it,” she said.
Struggles of young student
Araña decided to study college in General Santos City with the help of an aunt who was working abroad. She would go home to Cotabato if she had time.
She admitted that her college years was very hard and full of struggles since she did not have her parents to take care of her and look after her needs.
“It was difficult because if you get sick, you’ll be the one to take care of yourself,” she recalled.
And while she was getting financial help from her aunt, she made sure that she was thrifty. Araña said that she did not want to always ask for money.
She also decided to venture into online selling to save money for her allowance and that of her brother. She sold pre-loved clothes or ‘ukay-ukay.’ She would also resell ready-to-wear items, bags and sandals.
And while she was trying to make both ends meet, Araña said, she was lucky to have very supportive friends who stayed with her and helped her with her struggles.
“I coped up with the help of God’s guidance. He has been my greatest strength and provider of everything,” she said.
“And also, with the help of my friends,” she added.
Never give up
Now that she has finally graduated college, Araña said she was looking forward to finding a job and creating a bright future for her and her brother.
She has this message for others who are having difficulties in facing life’s challenges: “Do not be overwhelmed by life’s problems and sorrows, for God still has a good plan. If you feel tired, take a rest, but never give up.” | Jelie May Mañacap, CNU Intern