I learned about the world when I left the Philippines

in #adulthood3 years ago


... well, technically, I became more aware of the world when I left.

Let’s start with a little disclaimer.

Disclaimer: I was privileged to pursue my dreams but my following opinion and statements do not mean to insult anybody.

I may sound full of myself saying this but even at a young age, I noticed I was more mature in mindset than the kids my age. Or maybe it’s just my quiet personality, wanting to be a foot away just enough not to be in the center of the circle yet not too far to be in the shadows. But, however “mature” I pride myself to be, I was still a kid even at the age of 20. A college student in the Philippines who still lives with their parents. Nothing wrong with that; it’s the norm. Unless you are a working student, which I wasn’t, some of us still relied on our parents for food, clothing, and shelter despite being beyond the age society views as an adult.

I wasn’t raised in an affluent family. We lived paycheck to paycheck upon sideline jobs to sideline jobs but my parents did their best to provide us with the best they could. However, when I moved up to college, they were practically against me taking up International Studies. I was only able to push on taking the course when I found someone to financially support my studies. For most of my college life, I lived at a ladies dormitory. At that time, I didn’t realize the weight of the responsibility of living practically on my own as I still go home on the weekends.

This is basically me every day after work. Inktober 2018
Some exams, research papers, and theses later, I graduated with a degree in my hand. The one specification I thought I needed to survive in the world.

Oh, how naive I was.

One fated day, an opportunity knocked so I gladly opened that door and flew to Japan to further study the Japanese language. I’ve always wanted to leave, not just because I was obsessed with Anime and Japan, but because I did not see my future in the Philippines. Maybe I was too invested in my Japanese studies that the culture I learned through the textbook engraved into me and that became my culture, too. Regardless, being in the Philippines was all against the culture I have embraced so I gladly left.

Again, boy, how naive I was. I was again slapped with the reality and weight of the responsibility of living, now properly, on my own. Soon after I arrived, I found the very first (part-time) work of my life - at a fast-food chain. I wasn't very fond of the work so I was doing it half-assed. I struggled to balance my economy because I just don't know how. Apparently, "income" minus "bills" was just the surface of the iceberg.

I landed a full-time job as a hotel personnel after finishing my language studies. This time, I felt I have again stepped on uncharted territory - taxes. Income taxes, Community taxes, Health taxes, Year-end tax adjustments, and more. Japan is pretty famous for its many taxes that everyone dreads here. So, I was forced to learn how to earn to cover bills, taxes, and takes some for myself.

So where am I going with this?

Well, I guess I speak for most when I say, the education you get from school is very impractical when you finally step into the real world. I'm not saying that elementary students should know how to compute taxes (well, some kids learn programming at a young age so why not? tbh). In my experience, my education in the Philippines was just a series of toxic competition. Every student was so desperate to be on the honor's list/dean's list or who gets to have the most medals and certificates. I was part of the problem for kind of participating but burning the midnight oil to master Japanese and graduate with flying colors was a tool to survive and get to where I am today. What we should be effectively learning from school is how to be a flexible person. Each stage in education should effectively prepare us to be able to survive on to the next stage, just how we are taught by our parents how to at least read the alphabet even before entering elementary school. We should be scratching the basics of the real world as we get closer to it. Learn the essence of working, how to rent a room, get official documents by ourselves, learn how to do banking - basically, things we need to stand on our own foot. Furthermore, taxes should have been integrated into higher education. We should have known at least what are these taxes for before we start to be part of the workforce.

Now being married, I practically do the taxes for my husband since he, too, doesn't know how to do them. Thanks to the internet, I was able to educate myself further. I even do my own visa renewal, which I tell you is a huge pain in the butt. I still hate phoning the dentist to make appointments but I regularly go to the city hall to run errands related to healthcare, taxes, and official documents. I'm not perfect, I will never be but I take things a step at a time. Still learning on the way.

I learned of the practical world when I left the Philippines. I didn't need to be mature to be an adult. I didn't need the medals, trophies, and certificates. Heck, they are just rotting in god knows where I left them. What helps you prosper and thrive in the real world is flexibility. Learn to bend but don't break. Ride into the waves but learn to jump into the ocean when needed. Live smart, live practical.

Crossposted on read.cash, Steemit (@korinkrafting) and Hive (@korinkrafting).

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