IN A virtual ceremony, a young Filipina recently graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Bachelors in International Relations minor in Communications from the Fairleigh Dickenson University in New Jersey, USA.
Danielle Tadeo, 23, and her family is over the moon for this feat -- receiving the highest honor any academic institution can give.
"I was just really happy that I stuck through it all and my parents are also very happy," she said in a Facebook video call interview.
Danielle initially thought about taking up Architecture but later on showed interest in politics and global affairs, which convinced her to take International Relations instead.
Danielle has definitely put in a lot of hard work in her four years in a university that is far away from her home in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.
Danielle admitted that she is one of the biggest procrastinators but was quick to advise "it's bad, don't do it!" But she makes it a point that whenever she has to do schoolwork, she really has to do it.
Asked about her study habit, Danielle shared that her personal style is to start with the hardest assignment first and then easier ones after.
Among the courses in the International Relations program that she really likes are human rights law and the global environment
Just like any other academic institutions in the USA, learning shifted to the online platform. Danielle said they never returned to school after spring break, which is in the middle of March, because of the pandemic. But if given a choice, Danielle prefers face-to-face learning because she finds it more engaging and a lot better.
Before the Covid-19 health crisis, Danielle has volunteered for the Commission On The Status Of Women, a non-government organizations based in New York that is dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. She said she wants to pursue humanitarian work after graduation.
Looking back, Danielle finds the support of her family very much important in her education.
"I've always been used to a lot of people stand by me. When it comes to studies, my family can be there to encourage me and they can be there to take my mind off of things when I'm stressed. Their support has been very helpful. Having a family is very important," Danielle emphasized.
"And for the students who are struggling right now, I really wish that there is more help coming in. And like in all things, believe that this will come to pass as well. Kapit lang dinha!' she encouraged.
Danielle considers herself still very Pinoy despite having lived in the USA -- first in Hawaii and then in New Jersey -- for 14 years now.
"Ga bisaya pa gihapon ko dinhe and Filipino food all the way, like la-uya," she said. What she misses the most in the Philippines are the street foods like "adidas" and fish ball and of course her relatives in the Philippines.