THERE are approximately 65,000 college students presently enrolled in the various universities and schools here in Baguio - some come from other places in the highlands.

But close to the majority come from the lowlands - most of which are fresh-out-of high school students and have their high hopes of soon graduating with a degree or two.

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There is also an overwhelming presence from the international community.

We all have hopes of graduating from college in the same manner that we finished high school. But there are some who had to stop for unavoidable reasons only to continue "if and when they can."

Their reasons may vary but here are some answers from those who are still in school even after being a little over aged to these questions:

Why did you stop going to school?

Mr. K.A.: "Di ko din alam tol.haha! kasi dati boring yung mga pinapasukan ko tapos madami naman akong pwedeng gawin na iba kaya ayun. Drop out na lang!"

Ms. R.M.: "Bumagsak ako nung first eh, kaya sabi ni papa ko stop daw muna ako and work. Kaya nag-work muna ako tapos after [2 years] na-convince ko si papa na gusto ko na ulit mag-aral."

Mr. R.R.: "Nagka-anak eh. Ayun! Haha"

Mr. P.D.: "Me? What mean?" (after explaining) "Oh! Yes... too very hard at our home."

Did you regret leaving school?

Mr. K.A.: "Di naman masyado tol, Isang taon lang naman ako tumigil. Di tulad niyo. haha" (ouch!)

Ms. R.M.: "Oo naman. Isipin mo kung tuloy-tuloy yung pagkapasa ko eh di sana graduate na ako now, diba?"

Mr. R.R.: "Yung tumigil, oo. Yung magka-anak hindi kasi ngayon mas may rason na akong mag-aral. At di na pwede yung happy-go-lucky tulad ng dati. Pwede paminsan-minsan. haha"

Mr. P.D.: "Yes, it's very hard to look good job after."

Why did you decide to go back to school now?

Mr. K.A.: "Kasi ngayon alam ko matalino na ako. Di tulad dati, may mga B.I. [bad influence] kasi sa paligid.haha nawala na nga din sila eh."

Ms. R.M.: "Eh kasi besides sa pinayagan na ako ni papa, naka-ipon naman na ako ng konti kaya GO! diba?"

Mr. R.R.: "Eh ngayon na eh. Wala naman nang ibang panahon at next year tatanda nanaman ako so now na."

Mr. D.P.: "Because here is very cheap. And Filipinos are good speaking English. And here is good weather and after I study I get good job in Korea."

There are many more returning students with their own stories to tell and reasons they hope would be acceptable as to why they stopped.

Younger students might make fun of their age in class but still refer to them as "kuya" or "manang" (as a sign of respect?).

At the end of the brief interview, they all managed to give a good laugh after each answer because for them, no matter what happened in their lives and make them school for a time or despite the trials they've gone through, returning to school was not much of a "can I still do it?" but more of a "let's see what's new!" attitude.

Now who says you're too old?