My Younger Brother and His Pursuit for College Education

Marvin at Robinsons Mall Tacloban

Sending my younger brother to college is not a joke. For three years now, I am the only one who shoulder the expenses - food and transportation allowance every week, monthly rent for his boarding house, every semester's tuition and miscellaneous fees. It is burdensome but I am happy helping Marvin, my younger brother, in attaining his desire to finish college. I don't murmur at all because I know that my parents and siblings don't have the financial resources. The advice and moral support they give to him are enough.

God knows my struggles with my younger brother. He graduated salutatorian in elementary but did not excel when he was in high school. I saw those line of 7 grades in his report cards. It was really disappointing. When he was still in high school, I thought of encouraging him to take UPCAT, the coveted University of the Philippines College Admission Test. If I was able to passed the exam, why can't he, I said. I always told him to make good of all his subjects from first year to fourth year but it turned out that he did not make it. He started to associate himself with his friends who were not studying at all. Even if he didn't tell me that he was smoking cigarettes, my siblings would tell me that Marvin was into that habit. I forbade him to smoke and drink. I have not seen him smoking not even once until now, perhaps he is afraid of me or he just respect me. Either of the two, and of course I prefer the latter. It's fine with me if he ocassionally drinks but my parents would tell me that he would come to the house drunk in the middle of the night and sometimes he's not even sleeping in our home. I couldn't talk to him personally because I am here in Metro Manila. He's a pain in my ass and my parents are sometimes pessimistic that he will changed his attitude. He would often argue with them.

I actually tried bringing him to church together with our youngest brother. I thought that might help. There were times that Marvin would attend church services on Sundays and youth gatherings. But unfortunately, none of his barkadas go to church so the effect was he really didn't make it serious until he did not attend the youth gatherings anymore.

I sent him to college at the age of 17. He wanted to become an engineer but unfortunately he did not pass the qualifying exam. I tried to talk to my friend who was a professor in the university where Marvin took the exam and I was hoping he could get a slot in computer science. No slot was available so he ended up taking Bachelor of Arts in Economics. I told him that he doesn't have any choice now but to pursue economics.

When he entered college, I didn't have any work at all. I was in UP Diliman pursuing my master's degree. Thanks to The David and Lucile Packard Foundation for providing me a scholarship. I was asking God how could I cope up here in Manila with a P5,000-peso monthly stipend from my scholarship grant. I have my own expenses and Marvin was already on his first year. That was 2006. Under the scholarship agreement, I was not allowed to work for one year. God is so gracious because He is really my Jehovah Jireh. Thanks to all my friends who were so generous and kind. May God bless them.

I started working in 2007 as a part-time tutor for Koreans. With P70 pesos per hour of work, I was able to survive. I applied for a teaching position in a computer college in Makati in 2008 and fortunately, my application was accepted. I handled social science subjects. I was happy because not only I was able to send money to Marvin for his expenses but I was able to send money too to my family in the province.

Now Marvin is on his third year and I am hoping that he would be able to show his college diploma to his family by 2011. I am always willing to help him reach his dreams. With all the things that had happened to me, I realize how deep my love to my family is. I am attached to my family. I am ready to do whatever I can to alleviate the poverty we face. I have faith in God, in my family, and in myself and that faith strengthens me every time I face disappointment and discouragement.
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