“Sa araw-araw na nagdadala ako ng dyaryo, naiisip ko yung hirap. Natatanong ko yung sarili ko na bakit kung sino pa yung gustong-gusto makapag-aral, sya pa yung walang-wala.”
These were the words that Romelito Manuel uttered as he wept in tears remembering his very long and inspiring journey towards his graduation at José Rizal University.
Romelito or “Kuya Manuel” to his classmates and his fellow student assistants, went to JRU as part of the All-around Services staff way back in 2008. He had been cleaning the quadrangle, the lobby, and the offices at the ground floor since. Everytime that he swept the school grounds, he often saw students hanging out the upper quadrangle until one day, he started asking around the students how it feels to be coming in to a college classroom and if the professors were good. Moreover, he even inquired on two nearby schools. At the time, he thought that he may not be able to finance his own studies in JRU. Hence, he enrolled in a different school
Because of Kuya Manuel’s dedication, he enrolled in a two-year diploma course in Computer Hardware Servicing whilst still working at JRU. It was in 2011 when he finished his diploma course and two more years had passed when a challenging opportunity to further his studies came.
He was casually doing his usual tasks cleaning the hallways of Building H when he noticed that there were a bunch of Computer Engineering students who have failing to make their cabling project work until the time when he offered his help and in the students’ awe, Romelito was able to fix their project. Because of that, there were other students who have asked for his help, too.
“Na-amaze sila! Dahil dun, mas na-challenge ako sa sarili ko naipagpatuloy yung pag-aaral ko.”
In 2013, he finally decided to enroll in BSIT major in Animation and Game Development. With his decision to study, he had to save up a lot for his personal expenses and his tuition fees. “Tinipid ko
sariliko. Sobrang tipid. Yung maliit na sahodko, pinagkasyako yunpara sa bayarinsa bahay at pang- tutitionko”, said Manuel as he recalls how frugal he had to be just to be able to eat, study and live all at the same time.
After seven years of being an all-around service staff, he finally quit from his job because of conflicting schedules and increasing need for more income. During the time when he was not with JRU, he used to look for sideline jobs: raket. Unexpectedly, Manuel received a call from the Guidance and Testing Office which at the time, was looking for student assistants for the Library.
Through which, he was able to come back to school, “Maswerte pa din ako. Kahit minsan gusto ko nang sumuko, si Lord pa din ang gumagawa ng paraan para patuloy akong magsumikap. Bukod sa Kanya, maraming tao din ang nagpapalakas ng loob ko.”
Manuel also shared that everytime he was walking around the campus delivering newspapers to the offices, he carried along with him a one-fourth sheet of yellow paper with his summarized reviewer written on. Also, during his free time at the Library, he was reading books and lectures just to keep up with the class. The amount of effort, dedication and patience that he shed for his insurmountable journey has inspired many people who know him.
On April 8,2019, Romelito Manuel finally marched on his own Graduation and received his own diploma. Still weeping in tears, he shared to us that every day, he looks at the framed piece of paper still in disbelief that he was able to go through the hardships to achieve his goal: to graduate.
“Sobrang laki ng ambag saken ng JRU. Mula sa mga professors ko, sa mga staff nila, pati security, napakabait nila”, he muttered in great gratitude to the University.
Lastly, Romelito Manuel gave a simple advice to students who have been having hard times in their studies, “Kahit gaano kahirap, kahit gaano kasakit, ituloy nyo lang ang laban. At the end, ikaw naman aani ng grasya na tinanim mo.”
Today, Sir Romelito got 5 calls from companies and still deciding which one to pursue.