Firstly, I'd like to thank you for clicking through and giving me the benefit of the doubt. The story I'm about to tell is something I've refrained from talking about publicly. I'd hoped to get through it without burdening anyone else, but life can be harsh, and things don't always go the way we want them to.
In September 2016, my family fell into debt.
My parents had invested majority of our savings into a business that held promise, but ended up spiralling into bankruptcy. Around the same time, my father was laid off his job. He was forced to fly back to his hometown abroad, and unable to find another company willing to hire him for office work due to his old age, he ended up working all sorts of odd jobs to try and make ends meet. Unfortunately, minimum wage work stood no chance up against our debts, which continued to grow over time.
My mother, having been a dutiful housewife for decades, was unable to help. Nobody was willing to hire a woman in her fifties with no work experience. Her side of the family had always been financially unlucky, with her sister having been scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars by a prominent gang, and her mother based in the U.S. only receiving $700 in pension per month.
As a result, I was forced to take a leave of absence from DLSU. It was a no-brainer— I needed to help my family, and I needed to help myself. I honestly didn't know if I would ever be able to go back to school and finish my degree, and the thought was terrifying. Securing a stable, well-paying job almost always requires a college degree from a reputable university, and that statement rings truest when looking to make a living in Metro Manila. I needed to graduate in order to be paid well enough to properly help my family, which meant I needed to put my studies on hold to find a way to pay for my tuition.
That leave lasted two years. I drowned myself in all the part-time gigs I could find: I applied as a marketing intern, making $10 per eight-hour shift, simultaneously working as a part-time social media manager for another business. Late nights meant chatting up strangers as a bartender or a door girl at various bars and clubs. I tried my hand at acting, modelling, and hosting events. Anywhere that would have me, I went, and I worked.
Eventually, I found myself holding down a part-time job at a world-renowned advertising firm. I was able to save up enough to send myself to just one more semester of college. During that semester, I continued to work as hard as I could, but of course, it wasn't enough to help pay off my family's seemingly ever-increasing debts and fund my schooling and living expenses at the same time.
However, this next semester would be my last. Should I complete it and graduate, I'd be able to apply for a full-time position at my place of work, as well as perhaps a promotion.
I'm desperate to help my family in whatever way I can, as soon as I can— especially since, being an only child, I'm just about all they've got. Funding my last semester in college would be an incredible help.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to hear my story. Should you decide to invest in my family and I's future, I would be eternally grateful.