So, where did you get your diploma?

I grew up thinking that the world–in spite its frailties– is a pretty fair place.
You study well, graduate with distinction, get a job and do well. This is how you establish yourself. The fact that you didn’t graduate in one of the premium universities is almost irrelevant.

Well, that’s what I thought. And I thought really, really wrong.

There will come a time that the name of your school will be the preference for many companies, and surfing the classified ads can put serious dent to your self-esteem. Your chance to land your dream job depends on the university you went to. Never mind if you are an honor student and a consistent dean’s lister, but if you haven’t graduated from the big three (in the Philippines, that’s UP, Ateneo and La Salle) — there is a chance that you won’t even make it to the short list of multi-nationals and even foreign companies. Sucks, I know but that is the way the world works. I personally know someone who works in HR who really confirmed to me that even her current company always specifies this line when putting out an ad to the Sunday classifieds: “Preferably a graduate of (insert top three here)”

Before narrow-minded individuals react to this post, let me clarify that this blog is in no way pointing any fingers or blaming schools or graduate from these schools for being the top-of-mind of HR personnel. Who can blame them really? We must also admit that the quality of education on these schools were really top-notch, especially in UP where my sister is a proud alumni. There’s something with the way subjects are taught and students are molded that makes them confident and consistent achievers. In my current workplace, I am consistently in awe of kids barely out of college who communicate really well and speak confidently and flawlessly. Sadly, I never got that from my university, through I am proud to say that my University has taught me to be resilient, hardworking, tough and street-smart. With the measly tuition fee that I pay the school (the cost of two Starbucks Venti Coffee Jelly), I graduated with distinction and the kind of knowledge that made me a productive and reliable individual. The same way that graduates from the big three has ingrained the kind of values that geared them for a successful career in politics, business and entertainment.

I am sure it would have a made a HUGE difference if I graduated here

So, you say: “Obviously, you don’t have any issue with this. So what’s the point of this post?”

The point of this post is that maybe we should learn to roll with the punches, and truly, truly be able to prove ourselves and our capability. We can never change our respective alma mater (unless you get the sick pleasure of having a diploma made in Recto) but we can always prove our current companies that it’s not really the school that’s important in choosing your employees, but it’s more of gauging our capabilities. It’s not the brand printed in the mast head, it’s your dedication to your work.

There are opportunities that I didn’t get and jobs that I wasn’t considered just because my diploma shows a different logo and university name than what was expected. Did I take offense? No. Was I sad? Yes.

But life isn’t really known for being fair and just. You just have to learn to roll with the punches, and deliver more than what is expected.

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