Equipped, empowered, grateful, changed life. Four powerful and meaningful words that continue to resonate after gaining a degree in Business Administration major in Marketing Management at Capitol University through the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Acceleration Program (ETEEAP).
Everything went well after graduating from high school. I got admitted to one of the most prestigious universities in the country as an iskolar ng bayan, then an unexpected thing happened. My sister who was also completing her bachelor’s degree in a separate university got diagnosed with a serious ailment that compelled our parents to dispose of our resources to finance her medications.
Although I was a scholar, the subsidy was not sufficient to cover for my food, board and lodging, and school requirements. While working on my thesis, my family badly fell into debt which eventually hampered my data gathering. Not long, I decided to postpone my studies instead and sought a job to help out.
Thankfully, I got hired by a call center company.
Consequently, I earned a decent salary and climbed the corporate ladder thanks to the skill-sets I have which were relevant to the job at hand. Unknowingly, the initial plan to work for only two years got dissuaded. The desire to complete my studies became so remote. I felt contentment with the remuneration, the citations, the recognition, and the fringe benefits the company has afforded me.
Nonetheless, despite what I was already enjoying as well as being able to extend support to my immediate family, there was a constant feeling of emptiness in me. To ward off the sentiment, I constantly told myself how well I was doing compared to others despite not having a bachelor’s degree. Undeniably, I was sour-graping. After all, I’ve been employed for five years, and going back to school was implausible already, or so I thought.
Eventually, the burden became too heavy to bear. I was in search of more growth and development opportunities. I knew there is more that I wanted to pursue, more territories to explore but could not because I do not have the documents to attest that I am a bachelor’s degree holder, a requirement by most companies from their applicants.
In a country such as ours that puts a premium on a college diploma, education is a requisite to employment opportunities. It is deemed a conduit to better chances of doing well in life.
I could still vividly recall when a churchmate once told me, “You know what, Jake, you may be earning, but you could not be considered a professional because you don’t have a bachelor’s degree.” That statement struck a huge and painful blow. What an epiphany!
At once, I searched for an online course I could take to prove that I can be a full- fledged professional. I came across the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Acceleration Program (ETEEAP). Immediately, I consumed every information I could get regarding the program and fervently prayed for wisdom and guidance whether to pursue my studies while working and forego my previous course, which was Political Science. Resigning from work was never an option, however. I still needed money to finance my studies.
Mercifully, an act of God! Through its learning and development program, the company where I was employed forged a partnership with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and encouraged its non-bachelor’s degree holder employees to avail of the ETEEAP.
At once, I grabbed the opportunity and enrolled in Capitol University, which offers the ETEEAP. Through the counsel of the Dean of the College of Business Administration, Dr. Elizabeth Figueroa, I pursued a degree in Business Administration major in Marketing Management which is related to my industry practice on sales and marketing.
Through Dr. Figueroa’s constant guidance alongside Dr. Geldolin Inte, then director of ETEEAP and my adviser Dr. Aldrich Palarca, I was able to hurdle the requirements and assessments required of the Program which included formative and summative assessments, company visits and interviews to my colleagues, immediate supervisors and company management, and feasibility study.
Thankfully, I was conferred the BSBA major in marketing management degree on March 28, 2015. The feeling was surreal during the commencement exercises. This was a long overdue graduation, I thought, but it is better late than never. Although I don’t think of myself highly because everything is of God’s enablement, I felt a surge of confidence and satisfaction. Finally, I am a full-fledged professional.
From a distance, there’s a sea of opportunities waiting to be seized. True enough, I received a job offer from Unilever Philippines and a management position in another BPO company. But I declined so I could be an educator. I felt I needed to give to the community by transferring my knowledge, skills, and expertise to young minds. Not long, I finished my master’s degree in Business Management at the same university.
I am now happily employed in Bukidnon State University-main campus, a member of the faculty roster of the Business Administration of the College of Business of the University. Moreover, I serve as the College of Business Extension Coordinator, overseeing community engagement projects that seek to capacitate, educate and equip business associations towards sustainable development.
Truly, the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Acceleration Program (ETEEAP) has been instrumental to my academic journey. Indeed, I am equipped, empowered, and forever grateful to my company, Alma Mater-Capitol University, and CHED’s ETEEAP.
My prayers that ETEEAP will continue to change the lives of the many hopefuls–working professionals and school dropouts out there. I am a full-fledged professional. Glory to God.