I failed my Math 17 (College Algebra and Trigonometry) in my first year in Mindanao State University. I was devastated, I thought it was the end of the world. I felt ashamed because of what happened but luckily, I had a positive outlook then.

That supposed failure became my inspiration to improve what others may consider a shattered life. I studied harder but that didn’t stop me in joining 21 organizations. I was active in all of them.

I never thought I can survive all the hurdles I experienced in the University because of the terror professors I had, the deadlines to I had to beat, and the constant pressure to survive.

I was not the brightest and I was also not the best. But because of my persistence, I survived life with flying colors. I graduated with a CGPA of 1.85. I graduated with 11 distinguished awards in debate, journalism, leadership, service award, performing arts, among others. I graduated and made my parents contented, happy, and proud. I graduated and learned many lessons.

I traveled to 21 different countries around the world after graduation to talk and conduct my advocacy and experienced exquisite living brought by the perks of the work I had before. All for free.

I’ve met many people who are brilliant in so many ways and they inspired and taught me to be the better and bolder version of myself. Now, I am a teacher and an executive director of an organization whose goal is to inspire more young people to become their better versions as well.

Why am I sharing this?

I want to tell this story because I want people to know that life is full of challenges, full of surprises and full of grueling circumstances but those are exactly the reasons why we should be strong, be positive, and should never give up.

There might be people around us who may be inspired by our simple actions of determination; who are getting power from us to better their lives compared to what it was before; or simply those who are waiting for us to help them be the best version of themselves. We never know.

We can rest if we feel tired, torn or devastated because of life’s challenges, but we should never ever give up. I should know because if I did stop and gave in, I will never reach this far.

This post is for all students who are hopeless, anxious and devastated with their academics. Grades are just numbers and they don’t and won’t define who you are and what you can do in life.

This is a reminder that life should be cherished and should be appreciated despite how hard it is. As what I always tell my students, “Lavaaan, kahit nahihirapan, dahil daig ng mas may determinasyon ang may kakayahan.” (Fight even though you’re having a hard time because the determined always beats the talented.)


image1Raxiey Adolfo is the Executive Director of Surigao Youth Convergence, a youth NGO based in Surigao del Norte. The NGO is dedicated to localizing Sustainable Development Goals in the grassroots and developing young people’s potential in leading the future generations. At the age of 21, Raxiey already traveled to 21  countries to conduct talks and training related to his advocacy. 

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