With his dad earning only Php200 per day as messenger in the local municipal hall at their hometown, Leo Jaminola had to find jobs to support himself in college. But even after working six jobs and juggling his studies, this smart young man was still able to graduate as cum laude!
His impressive feat went viral after he shared his story on Facebook.
According to Leo, he grew up in a poor neighborhood in a small town on the Eastern shore of Mindoro. Growing up in a place where houses with tarpaulin walls are a common sight, he and many of his friends struggled with poverty.
But this did not stop him from dreaming – and working hard to reach that dream!
He took up BA Political Science at University of the Philippines – Diliman; however, he would spend the next 5 years juggling his studies with six jobs to support himself. His dad’s earnings are certainly not enough to send him to college; in fact, it was too small that it can’t even feed him the entire day, considering that most meals are prized at around Php70.
Photo credit: Leo Jaminola / Facebook
Every semester, Leo was among the students who trooped to Vinzons Hall to apply for scholarships. Since there were very few scholarships available for students taking up social sciences, he had to apply for competitive university-wide grants. He always went home empty-handed.
“As a working student who didn’t have the best grades, I was unable to compete with those other students who were fully devoted to their academics,” Leo mused.
Still, he did his best to support himself, even if that meant juggling various jobs: being an encoder, a transcriptionist, a library student assistant, a tutor, a writer, and as a food vendor at the school canteen.
“Choosing between work and academics was honestly a no-brainer. I’d always prioritize work. Work after all, fed me, kept me alive. Because of this, I failed a few subjects and settled for a passing grade for some others. It wasn’t about thriving and excelling anymore; it was just about surviving,” Leo added.
Though he struggled throughout his college days, trying to squeeze in time for academics in his busy work schedule, he was able to graduate as cum laude! Congratulations!