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Published: 07:08 pm October 7, 2022


via Andrei Sancha, Graciela Chua

PubMat | Kristine Sayson

𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒂𝒚 𝒕𝒐 𝒇𝒊𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒍𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝒅𝒖𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒔𝒆 𝒅𝒂𝒓𝒌 𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒆𝒔 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒂𝒍𝒘𝒂𝒚𝒔 𝒃𝒆 𝒈𝒐𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒃𝒂𝒄𝒌 𝒕𝒐 𝒘𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒊𝒕 𝒊𝒔 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒘𝒉𝒐𝒎 𝒘𝒆 𝒐𝒇𝒇𝒆𝒓 𝒊𝒕 𝒂𝒍𝒍.

Ms. 𝐀𝐍𝐆𝐄𝐋𝐈𝐂𝐀 𝐌𝐀𝐄 𝐀. 𝐔𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐑𝐈𝐒 inspired the ONE USI Community as she ranked 𝟏𝟎𝐓𝐇 in the 𝗦𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗪𝗼𝗿𝗸 𝗟𝗶𝗰𝗲𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗘𝘅𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟮 with a rating of 86.20.

“𝑰𝒕 𝒊𝒔 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝑰 𝒕𝒓𝒖𝒍𝒚 𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒅𝒊𝒔𝒄𝒆𝒓𝒏𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒘𝒉𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒔 𝒅𝒊𝒅 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒈𝒐 𝒂𝒄𝒄𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒐 𝒎𝒚 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒏. 𝑰𝒕 𝒊𝒔 𝒃𝒆𝒄𝒂𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝑯𝒊𝒔 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒏𝒔 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒃𝒆 𝒅𝒐𝒏𝒆.“

Ms. 𝐀𝐍𝐆𝐄𝐋𝐈𝐂𝐀 𝐌𝐀𝐄 𝐀. 𝐔𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐑𝐈𝐒, a former CSG member and the valedictorian of the USI-HED Batch 2022, was part of the pioneer batch of senior high school at Universidad de Sta. Isabel in 2016. Her journey started with a last-minute enrollment in the BSSW course that had turned into a not-so-regrettable experience after seeing the beauty of the program and the profession itself.

Like most students claiming that their current course isn’t their first choice, Ms. Ustaris experienced the same situation. She had to give up the desire to pursue Medical Technology because of financial constraints especially since her older sister is also in college. She had to pick another course in her list of choices. Social work wasn’t really her choice; it was her mother’s.

"Being flexible and adaptable to changes made me realize my purpose - to where I truly belong and to whom I should serve," she said, adding that while she did not regret pursuing social work, it did take her one to two years to adjust and embrace the path that God had chosen for her.

𝗙𝗹𝘂𝗶𝗱-𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗿— Her college life has taught her to be the person she is being poured into. She, like everyone else, had to meet certain standards set by her family, the program, and, most saliently, herself. Those expectations, along with her determination and power in completing the four-year course with flying colors, served as a motivator for her. Despite the demands of being both a student leader and a student excelling in academics, fulfillment and satisfaction are extremely important at the end of the day.

Feeling unmotivated and afraid of failing were just two of the difficulties Ms. Ustaris encountered on her journey. During these times, she does not hold back her tears and allows herself to break down or rest. However, she ensures that she will continue to strive at the end of the day. She is aware of how strong she appears to others, as someone who can face and deal with any problem that arises, but little do others realize she has her own silent battles from time to time. She is always striving to return to the light—a path that leads to God. She had been afraid to fail, but she never saw failure as a reason to give up; rather, she saw it as a learning experience from which one should rise and move forward in order to continue. She'd learned the hard way that no matter how hard you try, your best effort isn't always enough. But what matters is that we learn from it.

When asked, most successful people will say that their family and the Lord are the best reasons for them to keep going and be goal-oriented. Ms. Ustaris is convinced that her family's support and her acceptance of the path God has chosen for her is one way of assuring herself that He will always be by her side throughout the journey. She also mentioned how having people who consistently demonstrate their trust and confidence in you is an important factor in overcoming various challenges. Her friends and the other significant people in her life always see how amazing she is and never fail to remind her of it, especially when she is feeling down. Whenever she felt like giving up, she remembered those people, those reasons for her success. She owed her success to them all, as well as her professors with whom she had interacted with during her college years. In the interview, she made sure to mention her agency supervisors and clients during their field instruction, because they had taught her the realities of life, as well as values and lifelong learnings.

𝗛𝗲𝗿 𝗥𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗼𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗘𝘅𝗮𝗺
𝑲𝒆𝒆𝒑 𝒂𝒏 𝒆𝒚𝒆 𝒐𝒏 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒈𝒐𝒂𝒍. 𝑺𝒕𝒂𝒚 𝒇𝒐𝒄𝒖𝒔𝒆𝒅. 𝑩𝒆 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒏𝒕.

Ms. Ustaris believes that one of the best words to describe her board exam review days is "sacrifice". In these times, we must also be extra prayerful because a strong faith will be one of our weapons.

“As long as pure ang intention kang puso, itinutugot kang Mahal na Diyos.”

Board examinations are both very crucial and fearful. We have to trust ourselves and trust Him, and always remember the reason why we started this and kept on continuing until now. And for those retaking it, Ms. Ustaris wanted to express her commendation for their determination and for not letting other people’s negative words get into their minds.

Personally, she started her review in June, and until September, she was still studying even a week after exams. Two months of face-to-face modality and the other two months were a combination of self-review and online review as she enrolled in a review center based in Mindanao. She sacrificed sleep and the opportunity to unwind with family and friends, and she only communicated with certain people. She shared that during her face-to-face review, a lecturer who had been top-notch before told her that she can top the boards. An overwhelming feeling came to her since she doesn’t know the lecturer personally. One of her fellow reviewers also verbalized that she could feel someone from USI would top the boards and Ms. Ustaris personally manifested that that would be her.

Manifesting and verbalizing your goal in your prayers is a plus in achieving the energy of passing and topping the board, "𝐿𝑜𝑟𝑑 𝑔𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑜 𝑘𝑜 𝑝𝑜 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑎𝑝𝑎𝑠𝑎, 𝑔𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑜 𝑘𝑜 𝑝𝑜 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑎𝑠𝑎𝑙𝑖 𝑠𝑎 𝑡𝑜𝑝 10."

Praying the rosary and Ina's novenas, visiting the Carmelite Church, praying to Amang Hinulid in Calabanga, praying to St. Jude Thaddeus, and praying for intercession from departed souls—Mr. Jose Abion, her previous teacher, had taught her that praying to these people in heaven would be beneficial.

She studies for 15 hours per day on average, reading books cover-to-cover alongside other materials, listening to discussions in her review center, and doing answer drills.

“𝗔𝗻𝗷, 𝗧𝗼𝗽 𝟭𝟬 𝗸𝗮.”
With all of her experiences, surreal would be a good word to describe how she felt when she received the good news on September 27, 2022. She believes that God gave her the power to pass and top the boards because of her pure intention to do so. One of the first things she'd done was to hold a thanksgiving mass to express her gratitude to the Lord and let Him know that everything she'd done was for His greater glory.

She has not yet decided which field to pursue, but rest assured that if an opportunity presents itself, she will gladly accept the new challenge in her new life journey. She knows she is more capable of committing herself to serving the Lord and His people as a Vincentian social worker because of all the leadership and learnings she gained in her Bachelor of Science in Social Work at the Universidad de Sta. Isabel.

And that in five or more years, she will see herself exploring more diverse opportunities in her field. She aspires to meet new people and engage with them because she believes that the profession she chose will always have problems, but she will deal with them with her clients in the hopes of providing better opportunities for them.


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