Renalyn is taking a Bachelor of Secondary Education majoring in English and is currently in her first year.

“In 2019 I went to places I’d never been to before. I took the chance to experience what other young people do. I lost the old me. I also experienced facing people to whom we owed huge debts. Almost every day we were being chased by these debts, until I decided to stop attending school and start working, which I thought was the best thing I could do. But each day became heavier than before. I regret giving up on my studies and rushing with things that should not be rushed. I disappointed a lot of people. Why is regret always at the end?

Another school year passed by, I was not able to go back to school because I gave birth and it was a cesarean delivery. I was almost on the verge of giving up. I wanted to tell my mother that I was really tired carrying the loads of problems we had. But I would hold back because I knew it was much more difficult for her. I did not have the right to complain for these were the consequences of my actions. I felt even more left out as time went by. I did not know if I could really go back to school, seeing how the education system shifted to distance learning. I was full of doubts and fears, but I also didn’t want to make more decisions I would regret in the end.

I was not used to listening to people’s advice, but I learned that in order to get back on your feet, you have to humble yourself and accept help from people who will lift you up. Young Focus helped me to go back to school, to stand on my feet again and reach for my dreams. My mother told me this is a brand new start for me. I have many regrets in life, but dwelling on them every day won’t help me to move forward. All I can do now is never make those same mistakes again and give my 100% in everything I do.

It’s difficult to be the eldest child, to be a sister, to be a mother, and at the same time a student, but I will strive hard to finish this race no matter what it takes. I told myself that having awards is just a bonus for me because I have bigger responsibilities now.

I’m thankful to Young Focus for helping me and for recognizing my hard work despite my failures in the past. The awards you are giving me have inspired me to keep going and that hardship pays off.

To all the students who are struggling today, we can do it. Let’s keep going. When you get tired, take a pause and breathe, then stand up and fight again.”