When I was growing up, I dreamed of traveling the world, living in my own home, and having a freezer filled with gallons and gallons of different-flavored ice cream. At the time, the thought of attaining those dreams seemed almost impossible. My family was far from well-off so I didn’t have the means to turn my dreams into reality. But what I lacked in resources, I made up in determination.

I was willing to work hard. In college at the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB), I did not limit myself to just learning from the four walls of the classroom. I took student assistant jobs. I joined organizations, ten in all. Of those ten, I was the president of two. I became a writer for the university paper. And in an attempt to be well-rounded, I enlisted in the varsity soccer team.

Even then, I knew that computers would someday become important so I learned how to use them. When I worked at San Miguel Corporation for my practicum, I actually taught the staff how to use the computer.

I worked and studied and made myself better because I believed in my dreams. Dreams can give you the power to wake up each and every morning to take that one step towards a new day.

If there’s anything I’ve learned through all that hard work, it is this: Have your own dream, do not live the dreams of others. I’ve seen a lot of students in Ahead who took courses they didn’t like simply because their parents wanted it for them. After graduation, most of these kids ended up in jobs that had little connection with their degrees.

Encourage your children to have their own dreams, the ones they’ve crafted for themselves. It doesn’t matter if they’re going to change them one day; what matters is that you are there to support them.

Today, my dreams are much simpler and they all have to do with my children. I dream of my children staying healthy, happy, and safe. I dream of them chasing after their own dreams in much the same way that I did.

Today, I am full of joy. I have my own home. I can travel the world if I so wish. And I have such good and beautiful children. As for that freezer full of calorie-laden ice cream, maybe I’d give in to that dream, eventually.