We go up on well-decorated stages with medals on our necks and certificates in our hands, we walk around with the ability to rationalize, and we continuously stand alone in this world without any fears, without any doubts, and without any separation from rose-colored glasses.
The aforementioned statements may seem good and natural for a society that continuously thrives and moves about, but if we were to slow down everything and let all verities be unraveled, we would suddenly realize that we were never meant to be alone. Fears are needed in order to conquer, doubts can lead to new discoveries, and seeing the world first-hand is the ultimate way to learn all about life and its rudiments.
It’s been three months since I started college, and up until now, my principle of education solely relies on life itself—something that cannot be quantified through numbers and grades, but rather an entity that can only be learned from if we engage ourselves in experiences that would not only benefit us, but perhaps the rest of the world someday.
“Grades don’t measure intelligence.” I once believed that I can vouch for this, to make it known to mankind that we are all adept, but as of now, I am slowly yet unwillingly giving up. Thankfully enough, with a streak of luck just around the corner, I found someone who made me realize that being “notable” isn’t just about the grandeur and glamour of the things we do; I found someone who was willing to engage herself in all sorts of activities just to experience the ineffable beauty of life and make others experience it as well.
I found an everyday superhero. I found Michelle Clemente.
Being a proud graduate of Manresa School, Clemente, at 18 years of age, seems to know where she’s heading to and how she’s going to get there. She is currently taking up Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Science in Accountancy at De La Salle University. Aside from having such a heavy course, she is also the Vice President for Internal Affairs at DLSU’s Political Science Society (POLISCY), the Vice Chair Person for the Arts College Government, the Secretariat Officer for Boto Lasalyano, Sulong Pilipino (BLSP), the Vice Chairperson for Research and Development for the Freshmen Arts Student’s Team 2014 (FAST 2014) a member of the Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants (JPIA), Youth For Life (YFL), and Youth for Christ (YFC). Her other involvements outside the school are Kalma Klima, Aerospace Cadets of the Philippines, Peer Counselors Organization, etc.
Clemente has also spearheaded several projects like “FAST 2014: iCanLead2015,” “FAST 2014: Fast and the Curious,” “POLISCY: The Second DLSU MUN,” and the likes. As for her socio-civic role in the society, she attended Philippine Model Congress 2014, RAPPLER’s Social Good Summit, Jesse M. Robredo Institute of Governance’s (JMRIG) National Forum on Universities and Open Government, DLSU-DOSHISHA’s Joint Seminar Workshop, and so much more.
As I read her credentials, I knew that there was definitely more to her—she was more than just a star or an overachiever—she was the sky, one that all people, especially those who haven’t started seizing the day yet, can look up to.
I’m glad I wasn’t proven otherwise.
When I asked her if being a student is the best thing in the world, I expected that she would agree upon it, since she was active in both academics and extra-curricular activities, but when she told me the opposite, she explained that it wouldn’t be the best thing anyone could experience if the entirety of it was just based on grades. She firmly believes that today’s institutions should promote the love for learning and discovery and not just on intellectual capacities. With all types of information becoming prevalent and easily accessible today, she thinks that it would be better for all to become students of life as well.
Life: the main reason why she willingly does everything that she’s doing right now. Some might find it impossible to balance studies and external involvements, but if one person from our generation can do it, then why can’t we?
I found it impractical and impossible at first too. But isn’t everything impractical and impossible once we set our minds on a certain goal? Everything lacks at the start, and that’s why there is always room for growth and development. Clemente stated that her organizations keep her grounded because they complement her learning—it is her way of applying the general concepts that she learns while sitting down inside a classroom. Other than that, she also reiterated that organizations can provide lots of opportunities to network and widen a person’s horizons.
To be carried away by the spotlight is inevitable for most of us. Even I possessed that kind of feeling before. Now, I have a reason to be discontented and be more foolish when it comes to never settling for less. When I asked my interviewee about the impact of organizations and external activities in her journey, she mentioned that all of her involvements serve as reminders that there is a “yet to come.”
The blessing of having more to come in our lives mixes in with a bigger responsibility, the responsibility of striking a perfect balance. Clemente, despite of her belief that learning about life is necessary, still manages to place her studies on top of her list. She manages her time well, she sacrifices the little things, and she always hopes for the best. She lives a hectic life, but I can definitely concur that her life is bound to be well-lived and purpose-driven.
And as she embarks on her second year of college, she is now working her way to becoming a CPA-Lawyer and a catalyst of change. Through her experiences and lessons with everything that she has done and undergone, she now has the desire to empower the youth by setting an example. She wants to reach out to those who haven’t gotten out of their shell yet, and to those who are still blind to what they can do once they start dreaming. Clemente was an introvert before, it took a lot of people to convince her of potentials. When she finally decided to take that leap of faith, it slowly led her to becoming the Michelle Clemente that she is today.
I’ve learned and burned all my energy on books and other pieces of knowledge, but have I really made an impact? As I come through with this article, I rise up from my desk, get my backpack, and look for more students of life –for more Michelle Clementes. I took off my rose-colored glasses, and here I am today, seeing the world as it is and how it can be.
We can be greater than what we have always expected of ourselves. We can all strike a perfect balance, and once we do, we can become students of life…We can all be like Michelle Clemente—uplifting, persevering, and compelling.