How a PHINMA Education Made My Life Better

By: Justice Roark Nathan de Villa Ronzales, RN

MANILA – I grew up in a household where it values education more than anything in the world. Having a mother in the academe exposed me to the fact that going to a good school is a major element in surviving the workforce — and life — in the future.

My mother, no doubt, has the biggest influence in my education both inside and outside the classroom. I witnessed the level of commitment she gave into leading a college department at the then University of Iloilo (UI), now PHINMA University of Iloilo (PHINMA UI). She was relentless in pursuing her dreams while making the campus environment more inviting to students, getting through marital challenges, and taking care of her son who had to go through his own challenges. These lessons she didn’t teach me outright, but I learned from her by just being a living testament to her hard work while we both go through our own struggles at the same time.

I was, maybe like some students, at a crossroads at one point in my education. I had to shift courses and move to another university. A teen-life crisis, maybe? Nevertheless, the change in environment has somehow allowed me to also alter my perspective in life.

Aside from dealing with my own demons, my parents had decided to split up. It was devastating, to say the least, but I don’t pin the blame on them for the decisions I made with regard to my education. Maybe, there was something in it or maybe there wasn’t. What mattered then was I just wanted to have a change in whatever shape or form in my life. In this case, my mind chose a change in course and school.

Our economic situation drastically changed after my parents’ breakup. I decided to sell beauty products and jewelry to augment my mother’s income from the school, which was not enough to support daily needs and college education. With whatever courage I had that time, I took on gigs translating documents for medical studies, which I always make time for. This experience taught me not only the virtue of hard work but also the value of hard-earned money.

There was so much going on with my life and there was also so much I wanted to do but didn’t know exactly what those things are. Personally, the inner struggle had been overwhelming. But my parents and the new environment somehow eased the anguish a bit.

Maybe subconsciously, but my mind and body focused on my education. I spent most of time figuring out what path to tread and what institution to go to.

From chemical engineering, I shifted to the nursing course. Quite a change. But there is nothing romantic in the new choice; it was sheer practicality. I was being realistic then because I wanted to keep my promise to my mother that I would earn a degree. Nursing was in demand back then and the proximity of PHINMA UI to our place is just about what I needed to make my promise work.

While I have always believed that everything happens for a reason, I didn’t realize that enrolling at UI now under PHINMA Education would practically do me good. Or maybe, it was just actually what have I been looking for all my life. I just didn’t know it.

Later on, I realized how PHINMA Education made it a lot easier for me to not just accept, but embrace, my chosen course. The curriculum, as well as the teaching techniques, didn’t just keep my mind off my personal struggles. The school encouraged me to want to become the best and be the living testament of its success.

The environment at a PHINMA Education university has always been empowering, through the inclusive and transformative education offered. Students and educators co-exist and complement with the ultimate goal of providing us with the learning that would lead us to stand out in the sea of applicants and employees once we claim our diploma. PHINMA Education focuses on active learning, which in hindsight really boosted my academic growth through the approach of learning by doing and reflecting on both the processes and outcomes of the activities engaged in. PHINMA Education also provides an industry-relevant, skills-oriented curriculum; and encourages students to develop their soft skills and leverage their motivations to create tangible results. They also have access to scholarship programs that make iteasier for students to stay in school and complete their degree programs.

The curriculum developed in a PHINMA Education school is something that is both theoretical and practical. It gives the balance of the importance of academic learning and lessons in real-life situations. For a lot of us, it’s a ticket to a better future. It’s a reachable dream that fuels the daily grind, even when things look bleak.

But to me, the most important lesson I imbibed in PHINMA Education is focus. Because we are so intent on making a difference in the future, I forgot that I had even an education crisis just a few years ago. All I ever wanted was to get ahead and be a better version of myself not only for my parents but also for the community I will be serving.


Today, my employment has allowed me to explore new things. There are things that I never imagined I could do when I was at my lowest moments. My job has allowed me to truly savor what success truly feels. We have our own definition of success but to me, being able to be of service to others is the ultimate form of victory.

I take extreme pride, and it works in my advantage when I was looking for a job, to be part of PHINMA Education where the passing rate for board examinees is 100%. I was there when the university established various scholarship programs to enable students from all walks of life get access to quality education that was otherwise available to them if they had to rely on their family’s income.

I can safely say that I was meant to be at PHINMA UI because it honed my skills I didn’t know I have. I never thought that I would represent PHINMA UI in multi-school competitions — and win. The standards PHINMA Education set for students and the whole education system is something we can all learn from. The school continuously improves its system making sure that it is not just keeping with the times but also getting ahead of others. In that process, it doesn’t leave the fact that there are students who need this kind of education but don’t have the means so the scholarships and other programs make it accessible to them.

It also surprised me that I arrived at a career in investments. The training I had at PHINMA UI has become my ticket to becoming a financial consultant. Even if what I have achieved could be enough for my age, PHINMA Education taught me to never let up. The pursuit of excellence never wanes down and instead, I have to meet every challenge head-on and with confidence.

Paying it forward and paying back is what I intend to do apart from growing in my career. I decided to teach financial literacy at PHINMA Education and be able to change people’s lives just what PHINMA education did to mine. It is not so much about empowerment as an altruistic move but more on a holistic approach in making this world a better place one education at a time.

I’m still human. Employment has its ups and downs but every time I’m on the brink of giving up, I always go back to my uni life where my younger self was able to overcome the challenges. It is comforting for me that I had that kind of training that allows me to shift my mind and focus on what’s important at present.

The journey is still far ahead. There will be more steep mountains to climb, difficult people to serve, and unimaginable situations that could knock me over. However, I am glad that the kind of holistic education at a PHINMA Education prepared me for these kinds of situation. It won’t be easy but it won’t be something my PHINMA Education won’t be able to handle.

(The author is a member of BS Nursing Batch 2008 of PHINMA University of Iloilo)

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