GRADUATES should take the advice for them to stay in Cebu to practice their profession. Opportunities can be found wherever you look, but there is an added benefit to working in your own city. You get to see for yourself what impact you have on others.

Television journalist Jessica Soho made this point Thursday before graduates of the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu where she urged them to stay here and share what their learned from their four years in college.

She said, “I express my fervent hope that some of our graduates will choose to remain in Cebu. Invest your talent here and create more opportunities for your province mates.” Soho is a multi-awarded journalist of GMA 7 and a graduate of the UP College of Mass Communication in Diliman, Quezon City.

She was guest speaker in graduation rites at the UP in Cebu. A Sun.Star Cebu report said she also advised graduates to prepare to fail. They will fail at times in the real world because failure is a part of learning.

“Prepare to fail. But of course it’s better if you can avoid or prevent it from happening. Now despite all your efforts and you still fail, don’t take too long on the ground. Get up, and get up fast and make sure you learned something from your failures,” Soho said.

Wealth and fame will come through hard work, she added.

This was not the first time I heard such advice to new diploma holders. I was one of those given such advice in my last year in college. I took it and never regretted my decision.

One of my journalism teachers in UP Diliman was Luis Beltran, a respected journalist who gave up his pen when dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared martial rule.

Beltran was jailed for several months and then released. He could have returned to writing or gone on exile like the many other journalists of his time. He decided to stay and teach instead.

He asked me one time after class whether I intended to stay in Manila after graduation. It is in Manila where big media organizations are and where journalists are paid better than elsewhere in the country. It is also in Manila where beats like Malacañang and Congress are located.

I told him I might stay in Manila but I really didn’t know. He said – go home and practice journalism there. I have stayed put since then.

There will be career prospects in big cities like Manila or outside the country with attractive compensation packages. Living in a modern city and outside of home has its own lure for those wishing independence from parents.

But there are opportunities in Cebu that, through hard work, could match whatever packages outside areas offer, plus there is the advantage of keeping the comforts of home, complete with having someone cook for you and wash your clothes.

I echo Soho’s advice to graduates to consider staying in Cebu and sharing what they know with others in the community because there is fulfillment in seeing for yourself how you affect the lives of others.

If you go out, let it be for training or to get a higher degree. Then, come home soon.

(ninicab@sunstar.com.ph)