Often considering herself as the ‘odd one out’, Au Flores spent 15 years before finally finishing college. But she proves that age does not matter in trying to reach your dreams and that it’s really alright to be different! She shares her story as an inspiration to struggling students, particularly those who are finding it hard to ‘belong’ in school.
Being different is really not something new to Flores who already had socio-political views even when she was still in Grade 6. But because her views were different from others, her peers think she’s weird. This later led to her deciding to just stop expressing her views because others would just think she’s a strange one.
“In high school, the adolescent pressure to belong had me holding off on being outspoken in class. I always told myself to never say anything unless I am sure that my answer is correct. Then I fit in,” Flores shared in a lengthy Facebook post.
“I had friends. I was a smart girl. Maybe not so much with Math but I excelled in History, English, and the Arts. I was also an athlete. It was all good. But the strength of holding back my thoughts and how I really felt was waning. Being smart and good at sports was becoming boring.”
CumInse Años sa Kolehiyo
Soon, she was trying things that she’s not supposed to, but she was finally ‘having fun’! Then, she passed the UPCAT got accepted in UP.
Growing up in a small town, it was really something different from what she had been used to. Moreover, she found herself surrounded by highly academic achievers whom she described as ‘people who passed projects on time’. Again, she felt the odd one out. It was a struggle to belong; she became ‘the angry kid’.
She found escape in vices and was soon behind her batch. She would have graduated the following year after her batchmates did, but she got pregnant. Though she did her best to do everything that semester, she gave birth just a week before finals, as fate would have it.
Photo credit: Au Flores / Facebook
Feeling rather let down, she gave up on UP for a while. She worked the next 8 years to support her child, before realizing that she wasted an opportunity.
“But while I never understood why I passed the UPCAT, I still cannot deny the truth that I wasted an opportunity. That in fact, I was privileged. That my adolescent angst, while some were valid, will not get me anywhere,” she explained.
So, she tried again. Already 30-something, she’s once again the odd one out. But this time around, she was ready to face her challenges and finally earn that degree she dreamed of. And while she graduated ‘CumInse Años sa Kolehiyo’ with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication, Flores was able to turn those struggles into inspiration.
She shares words of advice for struggling students – and it is worth reading because everything draws wisdom from her experience. Read the whole post here:
*I realized this is a lengthy post (yeah, because sabaw) so before reading this, play Mary J. Blige's "Doubt" and drink…