work hard

Dear girls of the world: Strive, accept failures, get up, and work harder for the goals you want in life

Dear girls of the world,

Don’t let fear stop you, take the risk and tackle what you think is impossible. Strive, accept failures, get up, and work harder for the goals you want in life. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you cannot achieve great things in life on your own because trust me; I’ve beaten all odds, I had failures but survived this thing we call life.

Ten years ago today I just graduated high school back in the Philippines, and all of my friends were excited to go to college while I have precisely half a year till I start mine.

You may ask, why do I start college later than the rest?

I was moving to Europe, in Finland to be exact, to study culinary arts to become a chef and perhaps live the rest of my life far away from home… or at least that was my plan.

I couldn’t wait to get out of the country and leave everything else behind. I didn’t exactly had the life I wanted in the Philippines; I was constantly told I don’t excel well, and I was made fun of for the most random things. Like my overbite, for instance. In short, I was in my own bubble for most of my childhood, but I have big dreams.

In the Philippines, everything else is great, the country is beautiful, and the people are friendly. However, the constant pressure on young kids in schools was overwhelming for me. For years I hated going to school, I hated studying, and I hated learning. I didn’t want to excel because I was told I couldn’t.

I was told that having good grades and graduating with awards will be the only way to a great future.

I did not believe them. Not even a single bit. I am so sure that is NOT the only way but instead, one of the many ways to achieve what you want in life.

I believe that with hard work and determination, a person can move mountains if he or she wants to.

I disagree with the idea of only leading one road in life, and I am the living proof that having good grades in school DOES NOT determine how great your future will be (but of course it helps, there’s nothing wrong with that).

If I want things to change, I knew that I am the only person in the world who could do that.

I am the only person and should be the only one, to pave the road I’m about to walk to.

 

 

I was only sixteen, but I was fearless. I told myself that if I don’t act now, I’ll always be the same loser everyone will make fun of. Maybe I still am in their eyes, but ten years of learning how to deal with everything all by myself, I learned not to care about people’s opinions that won’t help me improve in life. Because you know, why bother? It will only make you feel bad so might as well not care.

Moving forward to my arrival in Finland, the moment I landed in August of 2007 everything changed for me. By everything, I meant e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

For the first time in my life, I can be whoever I want to be without anyone telling me I can’t do it.

I started school, and the first thing I realized is that in Finland, no one judges you nor punish you for having bad grades but in fact, you are encouraged to concentrate on learning instead of pressuring you to study to get better grades.

They tell you to create your future by teaching you the basics in life and apply it to achieve what you want, whenever you want. No one is pressured by the school system because each has the personal choice if they want to learn and proceed to have higher education or not.

I chose to learn. I wanted to learn. For a person who needs to be dragged by her mother off the bed each morning to go to school back in the Philippines, it was almost an impossible thought that I went to school every single weekday raining or snowing – I was in school learning regardless.

This only proves that even the stubborn can be delighted with an idea and with a little determination, everything became a good reason to pursue the goal.

Obviously, it was not always a smooth ride. There has been bumps on the road and even unavoidable cracks which you’ll fall off and hurt yourself. I had loads of those because coming from a culture where we were guided all the way; it was not easy for me to figure out everything on my own. Trust me, it was tough knowing next to nothing, so I asked for help from people who know the road better (a.k.a adults).

One lesson I learned in this life is that when you feel like you need help, never be afraid to ask. It is never an easy decision to shake hands with failure but trust me, it is a friendly fight, and you must always take a step back and sit down in a corner, evaluate the situation, get up and keep on grinding till you reach your goals.

Sometimes the path we pave is not of us; the world is full of endless roads to pave so please help yourself and choose whichever you think fits you best. And for crying out loud, explore each road and never stop paving till you figure out which destination in life you want to end up or head to. So far, the roads I walked often have a diversion and each has a challenge which I face bravely, most days I take the easy road and survive, but some days, I get caught jaywalking by the life police.

Never a pretty thing to get caught up in life but hell, I either smooth talk my way out of it or I pay the fee. Nevertheless, I survive each damn day. And so should you! Just don’t run away from it, nothing good happens when you run away from problems.

Forward to present; I’ve been living in Finland for ten years now, has traveled to a fair amount of places in the world and has seen amazing things in life.

I credit all my success to the failures that made me weep at night and the pillows that caught my tears and gave me comfort as I sleep.

One thing I am certain in this life is that ANYONE and EVERYONE can achieve their goals with determination and value of hard work and with the right attitude, hell, you can be a rockstar if you want to. Hard work pays off.

Striving to prove I can do everything I set my mind to made me experience different things and see many beautiful places in this wild world of ours. In the end, the thought of proving myself to the people who told me I wouldn’t excel diminished like a bubble because in the end, the only person I have to prove I can do it, is myself.

Moving to Finland at the age of sixteen was only the beginning of my journey, and I am nowhere near the end of it! I believe that there’s still a lot in life I have not experience which I am determined to prove to myself that with each success and failures that will come my way, I’ll make the once seem impossible, a piece of cake.

Work hard for the life you want.

P.S With all these said, I don’t mean I can’t have the same opportunities in the Philippines as what I had in Finland – of course, I can and YOU can if you set your mind to it. It just happens so that my decision of moving to another country for studies was stronger than staying to pursue a life in my home country. It was a decision I said yes in a heartbeat not because I dislike the Philippines; I just wanted to discover myself elsewhere. I love my home country, and I believe I just hate studying that’s why I left. But I love learning needless to say!

Evan

who is still cooking and happily living in Finland
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If you have a chance, what will you say to girls all over the world?

This post is a part of the P.S. I’m On My Way’s Ambassadorship for Girl Rising – a global campaign for girls’ education and empowerment.

Girl Rising uses the power of storytelling to share the simple truth that educating girls can transform societies. Our mission is to change the way the world values the girl and ensure that girls’ education is part of the mainstream conversation.

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A cook by profession who have a keen interest towards Scandinavian cuisine and fusion, Evan left the home (The Philippines) at the age of 16 to study in Finland. She decided to set up her blog as a space to practice her skills on writing/storytelling, graphic design and staged food photography. She also has a few but broad interest when it comes to travelling and cuisine which has started assumably even before she knew it. Evan loves kimchi and noodles.

Comments

  • July 9, 2017

    This is an awesome article and sits well with me. I am in the middle of creating the life of my dreams… I needed this wonderful story to help give me a little kick up the butt to keep going

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  • July 9, 2017

    The incredible courage needed to up sticks and move so far across the world at such a young age, all on your own, is just so impressive to me. You have all my respect for making that decision and for making such a success of it. And I agree, academic success at school is not the only path for people to live a good and rewarding life. Lovely to read your thoughts.

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  • July 9, 2017

    I am glad you love Finland so much – and I do think we all determine our own destiny. I still very seldom take selfies though and I am never sure why I do at all!

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  • July 9, 2017

    Thanks for sharing! Going to Finland sounds like the best decision ever, I am turning 50 this year and am just learning some of these lessons so GOOD FOR YOU!

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  • July 9, 2017

    Great inspiring post! Loved all your personal stories and the advice you share…keep it up 🙂

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  • July 10, 2017

    This was really interesting. I think that Finland’s school system is considered one of the best and it actually is. Kids learn and are not forced to study just for achieving good grades. I wish that we had the same goals in Greece but that’s not the case. Travelling helps us learn so many things for sure!

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  • July 12, 2017

    Such a beautiful letter! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this, Evan. Life can be a bitch sometimes but, definitely, we should not let that beat us! We are a lot better than that! There were times, I also felt that I am a loser but looking back what I’ve been through and that shit the I managed to handle ON MY OWN! That makes me feel I’m the champion! Cheers to you amiga!

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  • Sandy N Vyjay
    July 12, 2017

    A very candid, introspective and inspiring post. There is no limit to what girls can achieve. Just set your sights and go for it. Sky too is not the limit. Hitch your wagon to a star.

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  • July 15, 2017

    Evan,
    I agree 100% with you! I have started my adult’s life very early too. During last eight years, I had a chance to live and work in China, Canada, Mauritius, and France. I love my travel life, and with every journey, I become stronger and stronger 🙂 I know a lot of active girls who are not scared of conquering the world 🙂

    Best,
    Kasia

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