Education for Life

11 April 2011

Speech-Mariano-Marcos-State-UniversityCommencement Address of Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.
33rd Commencement Exercises Mariano Marcos State University
April 11, 2011

Honored parents and teachers, members of the class of 2011, kakabsat, kailian:

I thank you all most sincerely for inviting me here today to take part in this 33rd commencement here at the Mariano Marcos State University.

This is a thrilling experience for me. Each year there are hundreds of commencements in our country, and I am usually invited to a handful of them to serve as commencement speaker. And each in its own way is admirable, because there is nothing more gratifying than to see young people complete their studies in college.

I am also glad and always welcome the opportunity to visit my home province of Ilocos Norte and our hometown of Batac! The honor is doubly meaningful because this university bears the name of my grandfather, Mariano Marcos. And my grandmother, as some you probably have heard, was a teacher all her life. And I am glad to say that as a grandson I grew up as a student of hers. She was one of my favorite mentors.

It is gladdening to see that here in Ilocandia, the great adventure of education continues on this campus. And young men and women continue to receive their diplomas and enter the great cares of life.

When a young graduate here in Ilocos Norte dreams of a better life opening for her or him with the completion of her of his studies, it is no different from the dreams of another graduate in Manila, in the Visayas and in Mindanao. Like all graduates throughout our land, you all look to a better future for yourselves, your family, and for our country, for all of you have your ambitions and aspirations.

A Competitive World

As your commencement speaker, I wish I could tell you that now that you have completed your studies, your future is all assured and everything will fall into place. But I will not say that, for that would be giving you a half-truth.

I wish that I could tell you, now that you are armed with your degree, that companies all over the country or your government will now open their doors to you and hand you jobs that you have dreamed for. But I will not do that, for that would be deluding you.

I wish that I could tell you that if you decide to work abroad all the promise of a good life awaits you and that you will be given every protection by the law. But I will not, for that would be deceiving you.

Instead what I will tell you is this. It is a competitive world out there. And what you get will be in the measure of what you offer in terms of intelligence, skill and character. You will have to face up to many challenges!

But having said that, I will also tell you this. You can compete in this environment. You have an advantage because of the professional training and education that you have received from this university. You can now be considered as among the skilled workers who are much prized in our country and abroad. And if you can match your excellent training with the qualities of dedication and passion, you will certainly succeed.

In the face of competition therefore, I will urge you all to aim high and persevere. Don’t be daunted by difficulty or hurdles for these are opportunities that will open more doors to you!

The Power of Faith

The second point that I would like to impart is this: all work that is worth anything is done in faith.

It matters a lot if you believe that what you’re doing has meaning and purpose. And that you approach work as a mission, not just as a job, a mission with a purpose!

Far too many people do not believe enough in what they’re doing. It’s just a job to them. Trabaho lamang as they say! Consequently they do not get very far in their careers for they lack the commitment to do well and to strive for more!
There is a difference between going to a job and going on a mission. You go to a job because you have to, but you go on a mission because something deep inside you tells you that you must, that there is more to look forward to!

If you see your work or job as a mission, it will be fulfilling and exhilarating. And you will always be inspired to do more, to move on. You will be part of something greater and of consequence to others. And there is the good chance that you will not only become very good at what you do, but even more fulfilled with the results of your hard work and commitment to excellence.

The Importance of Character

At this point, I would also like to stress how important it is for you to be true to yourselves.

We cannot control the external and material circumstances of our individual story, but they often matter less than we think. Some people complain even when their glass is filled to overflowing, while others with so much less bring joy to others and to their lives.

The most important parts of our life story are the choices we make, the personal parts we bring to it to make us whole. Money can vanish overnight, power can disappear, reputation can evaporate, but character – personal integrity – is a rock that is secure and that no one can take from you.

To sum up, passion, conviction and character are the pillars for success in the life that will now unfold before you. And you can take yourselves as far as your resolve and dedication will allow. Aim far! Aim high!

The Spirit of Giving

Kakabsat, as you make your way in the world, never forget to give back as much as you can to the community here in Ilocos Norte that has nurtured you. And let me hope that you will not forget the larger family that is your nation. For now more than ever it needs the best that you can give.

All of us want reform and change for the better to happen in our country.

You will ask and wonder: what can one person do to make our country a better place?

One religious teacher has provided an answer to the question this way.

“In each of us all the centuries coalesce. In each of us, all the future centuries have their beginnings.

“In the eyes of our creator, we are not statistics. We are each the object of god’s care and compassion.

“We each have extraordinary capacities and all kinds of latent force. We each have the power to transform our lives. we can each make a decisive difference in the world.”

If you doubt this power in us, the great Albert Schweitzer says, let’s compare ourselves to the power of a “drop of water.”
He wrote: “we see no power in a drop of water, but let it get into a crack in the rock and be turned to ice, and it splits the rock, turned into steam, it drives the pistons of the most powerful engines.”

So, my dear friends and graduates, think about this in the coming days as you reflect on what you are going to do with your lives and in your careers.

Believe that you have the power to make change and to make our country a better place.

It’s a great and wonderful world out there.

You possess enormous potential, power and energy within ourselves. If you utilize that power, you can effect decisive changes in your lives and your community. And you can help make our country and the world a little better than you found it.

Congratulations once again. Good luck and Godspeed.

Naimbag a malen yo amin. Dios ti agngina!

Mabuhay kayong lahat!