Joanne Laurice Caguicla (seated) with Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, UPOU Chancellor.

Joanne Laurice Caguicla (seated) with Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, UPOU Chancellor.

Joanne Laurice Caguicla’s story is a testament to the power of a woman’s determination and perseverance. Despite being robbed of her ability to walk at an early age, she refused to let her condition hinder her from achieving her academic goals.  Her circumstance as a woman with special needs did not stop her from pursuing and completing a Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Studies (BAMS) degree at UPOU.

Joanne first learned about UPOU through her cousin and decided to enroll because she feared that her brain would stagnate if she didn’t continue her studies. Although she faced several challenges throughout her academic journey, she still considered her experience at UPOU a happy one. In fact, she was able to join a photo walk with her classmates as one of their class learning activities, which she treasures as one of her most memorable experiences at UPOU. To give a break from the monotony of staying at home, she also chose to take her exams at the UPOU campus.  All together,  she enjoyed and learned a lot during her adjustment to Open and Distance Learning (ODL).

Initially, Joanne thought that she would not be able to apply her BAMS degree to her current career in finance, but discovered that her experience at UPOU taught her valuable life skills that were applicable and relevant to her job. Her key takeaways from her experience studying at UPOU were that it taught her to be more disciplined and to love learning. She also learned to also become creative in finding ways to grow her knowledge by herself instead of being spoon-fed. Moreover, she learned to remind herself of the deadlines and beat them. These were experiences that she considered valuable, and she was able to use them in her current work. In her parting words, she advised people who consider enrolling at UPOU to put aside their misconceptions about ODL, stay hungry for knowledge, love learning and being disciplined, and go for it. She further said that learning, especially within the UP system, would always be something to be proud of. This shows that anyone can pursue their dreams, regardless of their circumstances, regardless of their age, sex, ethnicity, or disability, as long as they are willing to put in the effort and stay focused on their goals.

Written by  Pinky Halos

Edited by Myra C. Almodiel and Anna Cañas-Llamas


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