Master, Mission, Mate

Note: This is my mini speech for tomorrow’s career talk at San Miguel National High school and Palawan Hope. I’m blessed to be given an opportunity to talk about career and decisions. Career-wise, I’d still like to do more, achieve more, be in more places. But tomorrow’s talk would center on three important things that serve as the foundation for the decisions I make in life. Master, Mission, Mate. Firstly I think that when you decide on who will be your life’s master, everything else follows from there.

There’s a saying that we all have three major decisions to make in life. These are the three major M: Master, Mission, Mate.

Mate pertains to who you will marry. I doubt high school students are contemplating on who they will marry at this point so we can leave that for next time. Master is who you will believe in your faith. I think this is the most important decision you make in life: Would you believe in God or not, who do you really follow in your life? Who is your life’s master? The third M is Mission: What course are you going to graduate from, what career are you’re going to take, what will be your long-term mission in life? Three M’s.

Before I start talking about Missions – or career, I’ll introduce myself first so you get a bit of background about me. My name is KZ and I’m not originally from Palawan. Dayo ako. I’m from Makati. I moved here for business which my sister and I started. I graduated in 2007 from De La Salle University and I took up a very interesting, uncommon course in college called International Studies Major in European Studies. My chosen major language was French. Now what in the world am I doing here in Palawan of all places?

I told you that there are three M’s or major decisions that you should make in your life. Nauna na sa akin yung Master. I was in 2nd high school when I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. From then on, all decisions were submitted to him because He now was directing my steps, my life.

Now when I was deciding which course I was going to take up in college, I knew that I wanted something I could love for long-term. Back in 2003, it was actually a boom for nursing. Nursing was just explosive. Everyone wanted to take up nursing and coming from a family of doctors, my relatives also wanted us to take up nursing. Why? Because money was there. Second, because it’s a ticket to the US or greener pastures, so they say. But we chose a different course. Going over the curriculum and courses of UP, DLSU and Ateneo, and I found European Studies. Basically, it’s for diplomatic courses. So people from my college end up in the Dept. of Affairs, The UN, World Bank, UNESCO, World Health Organizations, and Embassies. Also, you can end up in the academe teaching international politics, etc.

The sad twist to this story was that I didn’t get into UP unlike the rest of my family. I have three other siblings who all studied in UP, and my mom was also iskolar ng bayan. So at that time, I was really devastated. I wanted to lock myself in a coffin and not show my face to family because I didn’t get in. It was a low point in my life, especially coming from a very competitive family.

Here are five principles that I would share with you about career and future decisions:

One, Submit to God and you will see him fulfill a bigger purpose for your life, whether or not your personal plans happen.

I’d like to share this verse with you. Proverbs 3:6, “in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Another verse I held on to was Romans 8: 28. “For all things work together for the good of those who love Him, for those who are called according to His Purpose.”

God could have made me pass UP but instead he sent me to DLSU. And on hindsight, it was perfect for my transformation and my transition from high school to college. First, DLSU was very near where I live. In fact, 20 minutes away. I didn’t have to be so far away from home. Second, I became part of a Christian organization that helped nourish and deepen my relationship with God. Dito ko talaga nakilala si God ng lubusan. This was important because I lived alone and because more than ever, I needed a father figure. We did not have parents at home by the time we were 17, so it was important that I knew who God was in my life and that I was part of a wholesome, uplifting and accountable environment. Third, DLSU gave me the ticket to the world. It was a relatively easy I think graduating because the alumni community was so helpful in assisting us to transition from college to the corporate world. So when I didn’t pass UP, I just submitted it to God and prayed for his direction. My mom and I prayed over DLSU, and I got in.

Two, Surround yourself with a group of positive influence in your life.

I think this would be the next best decision you will make in college and outside college. Sabi sa 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Bad company corrupts good character.” You have to be wise in choosing who your friends are especially because college and the outside world are totally different from high school. It would still be the same meeting different people with different background, but this is the point in your life where you’re becoming serious and transitioning to adulthood. My Christian group in college as well as my few closest block mates were my family in college. There would still be areas na of course in college, you will want to explore. I’m sure you will go to parties, drink or whatever, but always remember that the people you choose to enclose in your life will affect you in the long run. But choose your friends wisely, because they will also be your voice of reason. Syempre, gusto mo bang kasama yung mga taong lagi kang sinasabihang, “mag cut nalang tayo ng class!”

Three, assess your strengths, your talents and your passions.

The reason I didn’t want to take up nursing was primarily because it wasn’t something I wanted to do. I was never interested in it. And also, hindi ko strength ang science. Why would I go for a medical course when I know I wasn’t so good in science? Sure, I can probably learn it, but why not just start with something you already know, are already good at, or already interested in. So I took up a course with languages because back in high school, I had always excelled in English and I had a little background on French because prior to entering DLSU, I already enrolled in a French language school called Alliance Francaise. Secondly, I was very interested in history, culture, politics and international affairs. So the decision was very easy for me to make. Ask yourself: Are you good in math? Do you see yourself in a career with numbers. Do you love sports, or medicine, do you see yourself in a creative setting like journalism or Fine Arts or media?

Fourth, leave room for GRACE or MISTAKES because they are part of growing up.

Some of my blockmates, by the end of our first year, shifted courses. Was it right? Sure, because to their assessment, that course wasn’t working for them. Hindi sila para sa ganun. So you have to give room for grace or mistakes kasi lahat naman magkakamali. I didn’t graduate with honors and I had subjects which I failed, which was Math. I had a hard time with Math. But that didn’t stop me from trying kasi I really needed to graduate. Failures are not the end of the world and it may seem so at first. But in the real world, your 0.0 or FAILURE in your transcript don’t make who you are. When I was applying for an international organization called IOM or Intl Org for Migration, I had to compete against my classmate who happened to be our Magna cum laude. Between his 4.0s and some of my 0.0s in the transcript, I didn’t really know if I would get the job over him. But guess what: I got in. I got the position that we were both applying for. So failures do not make who you are. God can even transform those mistakes and you would just be amazed.

Lastly, be open for CHANGE and new challenges.

Sabi nila, the 20-something graduate will take him at least 3 jobs before he stays permanently. This statistic may not even be accurate because I know friends of mine who stay for less than a year in one job and they continue job-hopping. OK naman daw ito kasi bata pa, you can still wait a few years before you really decide to stay in a job you want. For me, I went off route talaga, change of course because I now handle our business which is a tourism transport business. It has nothing to do with my course. And is that ok? Ok lang ba na ang work mo is something not related to your course? SURE. WHY NOT? If you will excel there, then that’s perfect. The funny thing is, I still get to use some bit of my course becauase we have a lot of European clients, French especially. Second, when I assess my passion and strengths, I still very much get to use them in my job.

So these are the five principles I would share with you. But these principles find their foundation on the three major decisions I’ve made in my life. Mission, Master, Mate. I believe because God has been directing my life, that he is also directing the steps I take so that I fulfil His God-given purpose, wherever He puts me. And because of that, there’s a unique purpose that’s made only for me. Napaka personal and unique ng plan ni God sa akin and I’m positive He also has a unique and wonderful plan for each of you. The key is to decide first if He will be your Master.

I’d like to end with this verse found in Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

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