Uncertainty of Education in the Global Pandemic, the Philippines - Children of the Mekong

Uncertainty of Education in the Global Pandemic, the Philippines

A direct and honest testimony from a university student in the Philippines sponsored by Children of the Mekong, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them-that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

A quote from one of the greatest philosopher, Lao Tzu. A quote that I never imagined to become useful and understand it word by word as a sudden changes occur in my present life. Everything was normal before then not until pandemic hit hard to humanities and to the whole world. A kind of enemy that we cannot see nor feel them but would give us chill in the nerve and would scare humanities, losing one’s life once  inflected with it. A situation that would flip upside down with the normal life I had before resisting the fact the it’s far way different now to the extent that changes my daily life. Amidst those, still, a story of faith, hope and inspiration during pandemic unveil. 

I am Mary Grace Petin, a simple college student whose own struggle was only to finish study, graduate, find a stable job and give my family a comfort life. That was only all aspirations I want  in my mind not until this pandemic starts. It was during March 16, 2020 when the country announces to have a total lock down in each border of the Philippine region. Everyone was in panic making an abrupt decision that affects our individual life including myself. I was in Butuan that time doing my usual routine as a student who is going to take my final exam since it’s the last week of our semester at the time it was announced that classes are stopped and that a lock down is going to happen. I was in panicked, I never had the thought of having a possibility that this kind of situation will happen. It was like a movie set in real-time scenario and I wasn’t even prepared. The only thing I have in my mind was my family. It was a dramatic scenario, having the thought of, if I were to die, I wanted to at least be with my family, I then set forth to go home before this lock down start. 

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During the first wave of lock down, everything was so hard to accept. Going out even just in your neighborhood is forbidden, not wearing fask mask and face shield that was really soffucating since we are not used to it and that “no quarantine pass no going out of your home” makes me hard to adjust with the things I used to before this pandemic happen. Indeed it affect my physical lifestyle but what disturbs me was my mental health. Aside from physical changes, I would admit that I became anxious, frightened to lose the chance of living, scared of getting infected with the enemies we can never face and getting paranoid whenever I heard a person coughing and showing a single symptoms of the virus. Horrified in every news I see in the TV and heard in the radio monitoring the situation and how the rates of those getting infected increase drastically. Indeed a scary movie I never thought I would experienced. There were nights I just realizes that tears come from my eyes. A time where I was able to realize all my sins and reminded me to call for help with the supreme above the sky, God. To him I put my trust, He was the only last resort I could have and help me settle my mind and soul peacefully.  

The new normal I had was way too different but having no choice but to follow the rules because only then we will be safe and could rescue our own life. Nevertheless, our life goes on, there were struggles financially and emotionally. Me as a student continue to the journey of being a student in a new normal way, new setting and a new way of education. Since there is no face to face classes, we had our class through online. It was really hard for the teacher as well as to the student for it was our first time doing classes through zoom and Google meet. I was lucky enough to have the scholarship of COTM (Children of the Mekong), I am financially incapable but the organization supported me in my studies by providing load allowance every month for me to be able to continue my studies without worrying Internet allownaces. I was very happy that time, it was like a burden was lessen from my yoke. Unfortunately, there were really times that unexpected black out comes and sometimes a weak signal occur that interrupted me in my classes which is inevitable for me as they are natural disaster and I can not grasp unto the situation. 

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Not all are ready, even I, but have to go through all this mess because life must go on. It was hard at first, thinking that everything will come back soon resisting the fact that it will not last longer but I was wrong not until then I accepted that this pandemic will take time, and that I need to adjust to my current situation. How many months have past and almost a year, still the virus is around the vicinity but then I already adjusted and followed the rule in order to be safe. A memorandum coming from the organization of my scholarship announces that we need to go back to the center which for me was also a good idea since it will help me focus on my studies and the environment was much quite compared to our house since I have many siblings.

It was a roller coaster experience for me. There were times I was in my downpart and almost crumble but Children of the Mekong gives me hope. They not only give me financial support but help me also to ameliorate my self through my Co-scholar whom I shared with the same house: Children of the Mekong Butuan Center. They were my strength. A group of stranger who become significant to me like a family. It is because I am now living in the center that I was able to share my butts and ifs and that they also shares the challenges they encounter in this pandemic times. It’s as if we shared problems that all of us are fighting against this pandemic. I guess the organization impacted me a lot in every aspect and help me to strengthen my personalities and to be a better version of myself and that I am so much grateful for this organization.

I will always live with Children of the Mekong Motto, “The children we care for today will care for their nation tomorrow”.  

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