Be The Best

Speech Before the Graduating Students of Palawan State University, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Dr. Teresita Salva, President, Palawan State University – our beloved Alma Mater, Dr. Erlinda Ganapin, VP for Academic Affairs and Registrar, Professor Noli Corpuz, Secretary of the University and the Board of Regents, other Administration officials, the Deans, members of the faculty, the graduating members of Class 2003, parents, relatives and friends of the graduates, guests, ladies and gentlemen…

Before anything else, I wish to thank you for conferring on me the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. I will treasure this honor for the rest of my life, reminding me always that protection of the university’s proud and time-honored tradition of excellence is now both my responsibility and obligation.

Again, my sincere thanks and gratitude. 

It feels very good to be here. I honestly mean it.

To the parents of the graduates go my perpetual congratulations. Without your sacrifices there will be no graduation today. Hindi nasayang ang panahon para makita ang bunga ng pinagpawisan ninyo.

And that reminds of a story.

Once upon a time, there was a husband and a wife who never stopped dreaming for their children. In spite of their poverty – or perhaps because of it, they were obsessed with the thought of seeing their children go to school and finish their education.

They had eight children. Hindi nag-family planning.

Pero hindi nakaisip kumita ng pera sa masamang paraan para mapakain at mapag-aral ang walong anak. Maagang gumising. Paggising, nagdadasal. At buong araw, trabaho. Minsan, sumasala pa sa pagkain para lamang makatipid at magamit sa pag-aaral ng mga anak.

They worked as if everything depended on their hands. They prayed as if everything depended on God.

Because both husband and wife were too busy working and too busy praying in between work, the children never saw them quarrel. Maybe, they had no time to quarrel.

May awa ang Diyos, makakaraos din tayo. Iyan ang palaging nasa bibig ng mag-asawa. Naawa ang Diyos, sila ay nakaraos. Ang walong anak ay nakatapos – at nagging professional.

The fourth child chose to become a public servant. This child promised himself never to allow his own children to suffer the poverty that he saw in his parents. But, more importantly, he vowed never to lose sight of the honesty, integrity and the other simple virtues of his parents.

My friends and my dear graduates, the poor couple in my short story are my parents. Ako po ‘yung pang-apat na anak nila.

Ang pangalawa kong babatiin ay ang ating mga guro sa Palawan State University.

Dahil sa inyo, nakatapos ang mga bata sa kolehiyo. May diploma na sila na maipagmamalaki. Dahil sa inyo, nagkaroon sila ng pag-asang para sa magandang kinabukasan.

To all the teachers goes my perpetual admiration. Without teachers, there will be no graduates. Without teacher, there can never be leaders. For what we learn in school is what the people see in us in the professions, in business, in religion, and in government.

My dear graduates, let us all show our gratitude to our beloved parents and teachers. Let us give them a roaring applause.

And now, my message to all the graduates…

Commencement exercises – that is why it is only the beginning. There is a higher road to take. Take it without fear. Take it with all faith. Let me therefore leave you a few points to govern your life.

One, live a life of principles. Somebody said it a long time ago: Place privilege above principle and soon, you lose both.

Two, let me suggest a very simple principle to go by: what is right, must be kept right. What is wrong, must be set right.

Three, learn to become a leader and a manager. Leadership is a function of conscience that has residence in the heart. Management is a skill that can be learned and improved through experience.

Four, if you want to be a politician, don’t. But if you want to be a public servant or a stateman, please do so. There is a difference – A politician places the nation at his own personal service. A stateman places himself at the service of the nation.

Employment after graduation will not be easy. It never was. It never will be.

Do not get discouraged. Apply the biblical dictum: Ask and it shall be given, seek and it shall be found, knock and it shall be opened.

Look back and think of the sacrifices of your parents and teachers as well as your own sacrifices in school when you feel like quitting. That is one sure way that you will have the courage to go on. That is one sure way that you will become.

How should you work? I have a suggestion to make. It is a very good one.

First, you must learn to become the best at what you do. Your professional education does not stop with your diploma. It does not stop with your job. It can only begin at a pace of your choosing.

If you become a teacher, be the best teacher you can be. If you become a police officer, be the best police officer you can be. If you become a self-employed person, be the best self-employed person you can be. The choice is all yours.

Do not be jack of all trades. Select a trade, a job, and become an expert. People know when you can be relied upon. And knowledgeable people today only rely on – and part with their money for – experts.

Expertise takes time. Do not shortcut the process. Plan your work. And work your plan.

Second, learn early the absolute necessity of teamwork. Here are some points to guide.

One, you must know the rules and values of the members and players of your team. Honor those rules, respect those values. Kaya, it is not enough to know emboldened.

Remember the words of your teachers and be enlightened.

You will become a certified failure only – and only – when you fail to try. Somebody said it best: To try and fail is at least to learn. But to fail to try is to suffer the inestimable loss of what might have been.

Never mind if your first one hundred applications for work end up in the wastebasket. What matters is the one that gives you employment. Cherish it. Treasure it. Give it your best.

I pray that all of you will find work – in spite of an economy that promotes lay-offs more than jobs. If work comes your way, roll up your sleeves and work as if everything depends on you.

If you find a job, you must learn to become the best at what you do. Your professional education does not stop with your diploma. It does not stop with your job. It can only begin at a pace of your choosing.

If you become a teacher, be the best teacher you can be. If you become a police officer, be the best police officer you can be. The choice is all yours.

Do not jack of all trades. Select a trade, a job, and become an expert. People know when you can be relied upon. And employers today when you can be relied upon. And employers today only rely on – and part with their money for – experts. Remember, job competition is becoming more and more stiff.

Expertise takes time. Learning your skill is a continuing process. Do not shortcut the process. Plan your work. And work your plan.

Learn early the absolute necessity of teamwork. Be on the lookout for potential team problems such as resistance, resentment, rejection and repression. When you feel resisting anyone in the team, it is time to pause and pray and then communicate. Otherwise, this will degenerate into resentment, then to rejection, then to repression.

Never take for granted your relationships or camaraderie with the team in the workplace. Refrain from low-level familiarity. Go for high-level professional affinity. You can never be a pain to anybody this way.

See and feel the best in everyone. The old wisdom is this: In a full heart, there is room for everything. In an empty heart, there is room for nothing.

You are a team player, and you have camaraderie. What then should inspire you to move together to greater heights?

It is vision. The bible says: Without vision, people perish.

But, vision without correct action is nothing but a lot of day dreaming. On the other hand, action without vision is only rocking the chair, going to and fro, accomplishing nothing.

It is vision and correct action that will bring you together in your work, in your barangay, in you province and in our nation. It also combines you with the larger team – the community.

I therefore pray that all of your excel in your profession. I pray that all of you shall be inspired by your vision. I also pray that all of you shall be guided by correct action.

I think I have spoken enough.

Thank you very much.

*****

Leave a Reply