Emma Ruby delivered the following graduation speech on 2 June 2017.
Seven years ago, I graduated from this university with a degree in Nursing. Like many of my classmates, I believed then that I could heal more wounds and touch more lives if I should become a doctor.
Surprisingly, I ended up entering law school. From med to law? I don’t know where I took the courage to take a new direction. All I know was that I prayed hard, sought for God’s guidance and trusted the new path where He wanted me to fulfill His promises.
But law school was never an easy battle. My father had to resign from his work due to his deteriorating health and as early as my first year, I lost my scholarship. Every semester, we rely on granted loans to pay for my tuition. We even had to mortgage our lot and sell our family’s owner-type jeep for a measly sum of 35 thousand pesos.
I couldn’t remember how many times my mom jokingly asked me to stop studying, go abroad and work again as a nurse. But although with a heavy heart, I fought for law school. I fought for my dream. I argued that like nurses and doctors, lawyers are healers too – healers of conflicts, peacemakers, bearers of truth and justice.
In order not to cause more burden to my family while studying, I borrowed books from friends or from the library instead of buying them. As to food, it even came to a point where I could afford only one meal for the day; eat half of it for lunch and the other half for dinner. For me, poverty should never hinder a person who perseveres. No matter how deep our need is, God can fill it. God provides.
Although we have our own peculiar challenges, I know that we share common struggles as law students – the sleepless nights, the countless cups of coffee, the failing grades, the borrowed books, the missed social gatherings, the lost opportunities, the broken hearts, the swallowed pride– all for the love of law.
We learnt to sleep with our minds still working, to rejoice silently for every subject passed and to cry without tears for every pain suffered. We even got SHOOKT in our recitations and revalidas. But gladly, we are still perfectly sane.
With this, I wish to thank my family, my relatives especially my lolo, friends, and colleagues, for the unwavering support, invaluable assistance, and for being proud of what I have become and what I will be in the future.
Allow me also to give my Jollibee-inspired message of thanks to my mom: Para sa aming nanay na kayang tiisin and pagod at hirap makapagtapos lang kaming magkakapatid, sa ‘di matatawarang pagmamahal na kayang palipasin ang sariling gutom maibigay lang ang aming mga pangarap, at sa magdamagang pagod sa opisina para lamang may maipantustos sa aming mga pangangailangan. Maraming salamat, Ma. Ang tagumpay na ito ay para sa iyo.
To my 1A and 4A family, thank you for all of the memories. With you, law school became more bearable. To my SISTERS-IN-LAW, thank you for being my second family. I will never forget the time when you secretly contributed money just to buy me the book which I could not afford.
To our dearest professors, thank you for assisting us in understanding the law and for molding us to be the best future Thomasian lawyers that we can be.
Above all, to God, the source of all goodness, for giving us hope whenever we are in despair and strength whenever we feel weak. Thank you Mama Mary, St. Jude, all the angels and saints for aiding us in our most desperate moments. Without your miracles, we will not be where we are today.
WRITE A RESPONSE ARTICLE
Response article enables VoicePoints readers to respond to the article published by the author by completing the form below. Under ‘Message’ box, please ensure to include the title of the main article you are responding.
About the Author
- Second from the eldest of six, Emma Ruby is the Class Salutatorian at the Divine Word College of San Jose (Batch 2006) in Occidental Mindoro. In 2010, she graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in nursing at the University of Santo Tomas (UST). After passing the board exam for nurses, Emma Ruby worked in their province as a nurse until 2012. She was the Municipal Link under Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program from 2012 to 2013. In 2017, Emma Ruby graduated from UST Faculty of Civil Law. She was the Class Salutatorian. In 2018, Emma Ruby ranked 10th in the Philippine Bar Examination.