Mom, former OFW snags summa cum laude from UP

By Kaithreen Cruz

UP Diliman Class of 2022 Chrisdie Mycel Ruzol graduates summa cum laude on Sunday, July 31, 2022. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

DESPITE challenges in completing her education for a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology while raising two children amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Chrisdie Mycel Ruzol graduated summa cum laude as part of the University of the Philippines Diliman Class of 2022.

Ruzol described her experience being a student and a mother as “exhausting and also rewarding,” as she was able to practice her individuality through her schooling while fulfilling her responsibilities as a mom and a wife.

She shared that she had initially started taking a course at the University of Santo Tomas way back in 2010, but was not able to finish it due to a lack of financial resources.

“I worked for two to three years here in the Philippines and then around the same amount of time abroad. When I went back home in 2017, that was when I decided to continue my studies but things didn’t go as planned — I got pregnant and started our family. After giving birth in 2018, that was when I was able to enroll,” Ruzol recalled.

She said she’s fortunate to have been able to communicate well with her husband and children in setting and maintaining boundaries despite her distance learning setup during the pandemic.

She emphasized having a strong sense of personal agency to be responsible for her own learning by maximizing available resources and learning opportunities was key to her finishing her degree.

Ruzol added that involving her family members in conversations to set their boundaries and priorities helped her find a balance in the two important roles in her life.

“I really had to adjust to my setup. I had to let go of my old study habits of writing and rewriting my notes and reviewing my lectures with no distraction — but no matter how hard I tried or cried to keep those old habits, I had to let go and move on as I have other responsibilities at home, with limited physical academic resources. Whenever I have deadlines, I will talk to my husband and my toddler so they can understand and allow me to work on them, and to balance that, I make sure that I get to spend time with them after my requirements and during weekends,” she added.

She advised people who were not able to complete their studies but are still hopeful to do so to “not let go of their dreams and work hard to make them happen.”

From her personal experience of having to pause her education to work here and abroad, Ruzol said that having a positive mindset, a clear purpose and a belief that God had placed them in that situation could inspire them to keep moving forward. Despite hurdles in life, she said that people should maximize their circumstances and learn from them so that they could look back on them once they are in a better position in life to fulfill their dreams.

“Graduating as summa cum laude has actually taught me humility in acknowledging that everything happens according to God’s plans — there are things that I cannot do on my own, but God would make a way to make it work,” she added.

After her graduation, Ruzol’s goal is to pass her psychometrician licensure exam and land jobs in this field to gain experience so she could eventually become a psychologist specializing in couple and family, and probably delve into industrial psychology as well.

Ruzol is one of the 150 students from the UP Diliman Class of 2022 who graduated summa cum laude, earning a weighted average grade of 1.20 or better.

The 111th General Commencement Exercises of UP Diliman was held last Sunday, July 31, at the University Amphitheater after two years of holding virtual graduations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.