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My College Life: A Budgeting Recollection

Updated on June 3, 2011

My Scholarship Grants

I thought there was only one. But it was two. Yes, two scholarship grants. After graduating from high school, the superintendent told me that with highest honors I received, I'll be a full scholar. An academic scholar enjoys free tuition and other stipends.

But not all.

"You'll only enjoy full-free tuition, but you'll have to pay for your expenses on projects," told the registrar.

Being in a trade school was not purely vocational. I want to correct the notion of other college students that "traders"., that's our monicker back then, just learned how to sew clothes, saw lumber and all kinds of stereoptyping. They didn't know that we have to double our time in order to excel academically, too.

Our schedule was in block-time format. Meaning I have to attend classes starting 7:30 AM with break period at 12:00 noon and be back again 1:00 PM until 5:00 PM weekdays. I was active at several organizations, the College student Council and minor clubs, so I was busy as a bee seven days a week.

Before the end of the semester as freshman college stude, I was surprised upon receiving another scholarship. It came from an oil company in the country, helping deserving vocational students to pursue their dreams in college.

And the story of budgeting begins....

Things to Budget in College

Jotting and making priorities on what to budget was my first step to survive college. Although, it's hard to save but with Money Management, I was able to escape the graveyard of undergrads.

My method was not perfect but a sound step that it made me more susceptible to the highs and lows or the fluctuations of Philippine peso and US dollar. The exchange rate in the 80s and early 90s just fell to Php 15.00  to Php 25.00.

I was resilient and my "NEVER QUIT" motto had taken me to where I am now. So far.


Projection of my Budget way back 1988-1999 as College Student

Php15,000.00/school year 

Budgeting my time between my job and studies

After graduating from high school. I easily landed a job by auditioning at the talent search sponsored by a local radio station. I passed as a drama talent, along with my high school batchmate and my bestfriend, too.

Not bad. That summer job became my stepping stone to stay for the next ten years on the radio.

The schedule for drama recording was after classes, so. doing assignments and at the same time acting was just a piece of cake.

My earnings went to buying materials for my drafting technology course and after finishing the two years for a certificate course (still a post secondary course), I decided to the degree course that jive with my job at the well-known university in my place. I took Development Communication Arts degree course to enhance my knowledge about radio and visual media productions.

It's just like shooting two birds with one shot. Part of budgeting my time is to work like there's no tomorrow. I was surrounded with supportive persons. First and foremost my parents who were also inquiring about my health, my subject loads and of course, they're proud because I was becoming popular, locally.

I took it in stride. I didn't go for that allure of being famous.Not even the local TV productions scouting me as their local talent. I agreed with my first and last episode. I cannot cope up with long nights of shooting and the heat of kleighlights.

I was really focused with my communications course. I took the subjects seriously that also placed me at the Dean's List for the next three years. I was listed as deferred graduate due to my thesis requirement.

I also had to enjoy nightlife in-betweens with the company of good friends on the radio and my fellow communication arts students. We still have time sponsoring concerts for the frats and orgs.

Echoing sentiments with fellow students about tuition fee hike did awaken the university's president to postponed the much-dreaded move. Our batch rallied and opposed the wearing of college uniforms as long as we're truly identified by the guards through our IDs.

Meanwhile, something came up. Even when I was concentrated on my studies, family comes first.

I had to extend my help with my ailing father from lung cancer so I cross-enrolled at the maritime school for a 1-year course on Catering. Unfortunately, before I graduated he succumbed to the disease. The prognosis: tubercolusis III leading to carcinoma due to excessive smoking of cigarettes. All our expenses, including mine were exhausted for the hospitalization of my father.

That was a big blow. I never stopped working on the radio. Not yet. I had to finish my last option to go abroad, work on board commercial ship and earn money for the family.

That I did! I graduated at the top of my class and lucky enough to be easily recruited as one of the chefs of a Greek shipping company.

My communication course? The department head continue to persuade me to go back and get my diploma. She said that it will serve as my fallback option once I get tired traveling the world for free.

I'm contemplating to do it.

I felt that it was just yesterday. My education in life didn't stop there. As if all things are inter-connected.

While on vacation, Sept 2009, I came to know HubPages. And the next step of studying and practicing virtual writing started to get my attention again to continue my passion.

It's a different college, but with similar theme on communication.

Another story of my education in the making.

Travel Man (with eyeglasses) last Christmas party with former radio colleagues (17Dec2010)

Photo taken by: Ireno Alcala
Photo taken by: Ireno Alcala

MV UTVIKEN Filipino Officers & Crew (Music:Boom2POW-BEP)as of May2009 c/o MrMusicman1971 ( aka travel_man1971)


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    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Thanks, Sir Don. It's nice to hear both a comment and advice coming from you. I've taken those bumpy roads and learned lots of things on the way.

    • DON BALDERAS profile image


      7 years ago

      Ino, experiences like you've had was part of a unique journey each of us has to take. I did see your determination and character, and that we all understand attitude spells the difference among the rest. Good luck and you shall find your rightful place because you are you.

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Thanks, sailor. Attending college in maritime school is really tough because you have to be familiar with the rigors of being at sea.

    • thesailor profile image


      7 years ago from Seven Seas

      Attaboy, you really got me here. Such a nostaligic act and the budgeting, huh! LOL! You can never imagine how the hardships of starting as a seaman's trainee. The rigors of complying on Basic Safety Courses, survival, first-aid, firefighting, social responsibility courses and other upgrading subjects.

      Not only that, as a prospect for crude oil tanker vessel, we underwent familiarization on deck watchkeeping, general tanker and the like. And I had to learn basic swimming, too for survival.

      Maritime college is an interesting experience on its own.

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      It's nice to know about your life during college, earthbound. I have this cousin, too, still attending classes even though she was pregnant then. I was there helping her doingprojects on Biology class (dissecting frog, drawing, etc.). The setup was allowed by the school's administration. As long as she can comply with the requirements for the semester.

      After delivering her baby, she continued the next sem she graduated ahead of me (I was deferred) and with a cute kid already (LOL!).

      College life is a crucial stage in life where you'll experience some serius decision on your own without the parents knowledge. Some of my classmates were living in with partners (also college students). One guy was in relation with our college instructor (they kept it a secret because it was not allowed back then or even now).

      A friend of mine, who's ahead of my class was declared persona-non-grata because he was accused of being extremely radical (initiating rallies that caused disruption on regular classes).He was never allowed to enter the school's campus again; and as far as I know, he joined the leftist movement here in the country.

      Whew! Those were the days of college life. Still, there are many episodes that I should revisit from my closet. :D

    • earthbound1974 profile image


      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Nice recollection, travel man. College life for me was hard, but I did graduate, too. This was due to my untimely pregnancy that I had to stop schooling then went back after 5 years taking care of my daughhter, single-handedly.


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