Graduation is a big deal. The more schooling someone has gone through, the more there’s a reason to celebrate. Many students put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into completing homework and projects, studying for exams, and managing to balance their personal life alongside their academic life.
Due to these reasons, getting to walk in a graduation ceremony is something special. There’s really no better way to honor your academic success than to be recognized in front of hundreds, sometimes thousands of people including your teachers or professors, relatives, and friends.
On April 14, 2019, a young man, Jeric Rivas, was set to walk in his college graduation as the first person in his family to graduate from college. Rivas earned a bachelor of science in Criminology and a Service Award from La Concepcion College in San Jose del Monte in the Philippines.
While the graduate should have been proud of his accomplishments, he posted photographs of himself looking upset with a caption that read, “I felt a great deal of sadness and joy on the day of my graduation.” Rivas’s parents had missed his special day.
But this wasn’t the first time his parents didn’t show up to honor his academic achievements. They weren’t present at his elementary and high school graduations either. Rivas recalls walking up on stage to grab his high school diploma while holding back tears. Meanwhile, all of his peers had their family members there to walk with them up on stage, making Rivas feel hurt and jealous.
Additionally, his parents didn’t show up when he earned an award in elementary school for having high honors. Rivas was too embarrassed to receive his medal without anyone to join him on stage.
It was no different during this year at his college graduation. His eyes watered as he looked around the room at the families of other graduates who were so supportive of their loved ones graduating before them. It was a reminder to him that he didn’t have family there to show him support.
Still, Rivas made sure that when he walked up on stage he’d deliver a solid speech. While receiving his diploma, he thanked his professors and some of his extended family members. He also mentioned that his parents never played a big role in his life and didn’t accept him.
While Rivas didn’t have the support of his family for a reason he never explained, he didn’t let it stop him from pursuing his goals. Rivas kept good grades and took on as many jobs as he could to financially provide for his own housing and education. One of his reasons for graduating from college was to be able to provide a financially sound lifestyle for himself, so he’ll never have to worry about living paycheck to paycheck ever again.
Most importantly, Rivas has remained humble and hasn’t become bitter from the situation. He says, “10 years from now, I imagine myself as a successful person, smiling to those people who degraded me throughout my journey.” What a strong, young man!
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