Written by: FYPMaturan
The Master of Distance Education program (Thesis Track) of the UP Open University Faculty of Education has produced its first graduate in the person of Ms. Maria Freya Talisaysay-Carungcong.
Freya works as a speech and language pathologist and faculty member at the De La Salle Health Science Institute. She earned a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology from the University of the Philippines Manila.
Freya continued her studies at UPOU because she was interested in distance learning and how it could be applied to the courses she handles. With the knowledge and skills she gained from the MDE program, Freya was able to help her colleagues during the unanticipated shift in learning modality brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, she was able to use what she had learned in her clinical practice, where she provides teletherapy.
One of the difficulties she faced while working toward her degree was balancing her time and obligations between her studies, work, and family. Freya was able to maintain her emotional and mental health by practicing self-care and surrounding herself with a network of supportive people. She also struggled with time management while collecting, analyzing, and constructing her thesis. Her lack of knowledge regarding qualitative research has also been a challenge, but having Dr. Jean Saludadez as an adviser –for her master’s thesis has allowed her to gain more knowledge in this area.
Excited, ecstatic, and disbelief were the words to describe on how she felt the moment she learned that she was the first student to finish the program under the thesis track. After receiving an email requesting that she file the documents needed for graduation, she called her parents and husband and told them, “This is it!”
To MDE students who are working on their thesis, Freya’s advise is “Never give up!” She also shared what her thesis adviser would always say to her during their consultation sessions: “Enjoy the learning process. Appreciate the knowledge that is being discovered and the contributions that you are giving to upgrade education.” She added that “There were times that the work may be overwhelming, but looking back at how much knowledge I gained, especially with conducting research and the contributions it would provide in improving education, motivated me to move forward. Another advice is having a consistent support system. My friends and family would continue to cheer me on, take me away from work for a while just to have a quick break. They helped me regain my focus and inspired me to accomplish my thesis.”
When asked for a message and dedication, Freya shared:
“I would like to send all my love, my deepest gratitude and appreciation to everyone. Most of my cohort exited [with a GCDE degree] but prayed for me to accomplish MDE, we haven’t met in real life but I was able to build connections through their online updates and encouragement. To my professors, thank you for all the knowledge that you shared, through my online courses. I learned and experienced different distance teaching & learning strategies that I was able to apply in my personal practice. To my panel, thank you for being understanding and kind. It was an exceptional learning experience. Your constructive criticisms and suggestions were very helpful in improving my work. To my adviser, Dr. Jean Saludadez, I am truly grateful for your help and guidance. Thank you for your patience and knowledge. You took away my fears in conducting qualitative studies. I deeply appreciate your continuous encouragement especially during those times I feel exhausted and unmotivated. You made me a better researcher and educator. ♥️♥️♥️”
“I dedicate my accomplishments first and foremost to God for bestowing me with wisdom and resilience to accomplish all the requirements and overcome all the challenges. I would dedicate this to my family: Lauro Jr., Don July, Kuya Mark, Ate Apple, my parents Prosperidad and Oscar; and my colleagues and friends who were always there encouraging me, believing in me, and providing all the support I needed. I dedicate this to my adviser Dr. Jean, who patiently guided me and shared her knowledge for me to accomplish my thesis. And last but most importantly I dedicate this to my son, Lauro Joaquin T. Carungcong III. May this achievement inspire you to be a lifelong learner and to be passionate in the profession you will choose. My experience in MDE made me a better educator and clinician, who can impart knowledge, inspire and help others; and build meaningful connections online and in real life. Thank you UPOU for giving me this opportunity.”
The Faculty of Education proudly congratulates you on this achievement!