Former PBB winner shares inspiring story from being a ‘failure’ early in school and graduating Cum Laude in UP Diliman

Former PBB Myrtle Sarrosa shares her inspiring journey from being a ‘failure’  in elementary to graduating cum laude in UP Diliman in viral Facebook post.

As of this writing, the post has gathered 50,401 shares, 603,000 reactions and 10,000 comments.

Celebrities join ordinary netizens in congratulating Myrtle for her success by commenting in the Facebook thread.

Gab Valenciano wrote: Congratulations, Myrtle! This is so refreshing to see. I remember when you would have to do two to three shows a day and still manage to work on your thesis. From losing your voice to getting really sick, it’s incredible to see your resilience and dedication at such a young age. I am sincerely proud of you and your undeniable commitment to finish what you started. Such an inspiration to a generation that devalues such a trait. Instead of going with the flow, you went against it. Sacrificing showbiz for the greater good. Amazing! Congrats again and more blessings to come. Excited to see where life takes you now. Go get em, Kuma!

Credits to Myrtle Sarrosa

Sarrosa won ABS-CBN’s reality TV show, Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition 4  in 2012.  Sarrosa hails from Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo.

Social media find Myrtle’s post not only inspiring but also loaded with life’s lessons that anyone can relate to.

Myrtle began the post by summarizing her journey from the get go.

After six years, three courses, nine semesters, one reality TV show, twelve teleseryes and over fifty television shows – I’m finally here today. To be honest, I never thought I’d see this day coming. After numerous struggles that came my way, there were several times where I doubted myself, cried and just wanted to give up. But despite the overwhelming odds against me, someway and somehow I made it with the help of God, my family, friends, professors, classmates and workmates. Like they say… the struggle is real but it’s all worth it. Who would have thought that I would get this far?

“Don’t let that low grade define who you are.”

In elementary, I always struggled with school and my academics. I was not a child genius like my brother who excelled in all his subjects. I barely passed my subjects. I was also scared of going to school because I was bullied. But I had a change of heart when my mom who was working in Manila came home to be told by my teacher that I was failing. I was sitting at the back of the room during the PTA Meeting (Parents and Teachers Assembly) and I could hear my teacher utter the words “Myrtle” and “Failure”. Even from the far distance, I saw the disappointment in my mom and dad’s eyes. I was already preparing myself to be scolded at home. But when we got home, they didn’t scream at me or shout at me. They just told me “It’s okay. Don’t worry. Try harder on your next quarter exam. Don’t let that low grade define who you are.” I started crying and apologizing to them. I wanted them to get mad at me but they just told me that they loved me no matter what grade I had.

“The pains of spending hard earned money made me realize how hard it is for my parents to earn money to pay for my education.”

So when you are not yet earning and still dependent on your parents to pay college, don’t complain when your parents tell you can’t buy the new gadget in your wish list. 

My ten-year-old self knew the many sacrifices my parents had to go through to put me to school. My mom left Iloilo to work at Manila. My dad travels 45 minutes every day just so that I could go to a good school in the city. I didn’t understand why school was so important that they had to sacrifice so much for me. But after that PTA, I no longer wanted to be the headache I was to my parents. By the time I was in High School, I was enjoying school and started having good grades. I discovered cosplay and became passionate for it. Suddenly doors were opening for me, I was even paying for my own tuition from the money I made by cosplaying and from selling my costumes online. The pains of spending hard earned money made me realize how hard it is for my parents to earn money to pay for my education. It became the very reason why I started working harder in school.

Be bold!

When you want something really bad, go for it but get your parents involve, will you?  Chances are, they will support you all the way even if they disagree with you.

My parents had a dream for me. They wished that I would not experience the harshness of life like they had and they would often pray that I would study in the University of the Philippines and become a Corporate Lawyer. I can’t explain how ecstatic they were when I passed UPCAT and started to study Accountancy and Political Science like they wanted me to. But being in college made me realize that sometimes your parents’ dreams are different from yours. I was diligently studying spending most of my time learning numbers and memorizing equations. I was doing well but I was not happy. During the hell week of my 2nd semester, I decided to skip my finals to ride a boat and audition for Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition 4. It was a long shot but I took the risk. Although my parents initially did not support my plan, my dad eventually ended up taking the boat ride with me from Iloilo to Bacolod.

Fame is fleeting but a college degree? No one can it away from you. So go back to school while you can.

After winning PBB, I honestly had no plan to go back to school. When you’re earning money, you somehow lose the desire to study. I enjoyed the popularity and the fame I had for a time but eventually I was lost… I didn’t know who I was anymore. Leaving Iloilo to go to Manila, I left behind so many things. Instead of talking to friends, I looked into the internet for connection and got depressed. I was a seventeen year old looking for the acceptance of people online. The kid in me wanted to please everyone. Like any other human being, I just wanted to be liked but I got criticized and bashed a lot for what I do and say. There were days where I would ask myself “Who am I?” I was left confused. I hit rock bottom when a teleserye I was supposed to top-bill was cancelled because then… I was not good enough.

Pursue your passion without abandoning your parents dream of seeing you one day in the stage.

It was going back to school that rescued me from that darkness. Actually, I didn’t want to return because I was scared. I didn’t want to go back to accountancy anymore because I knew that it wasn’t what I wanted. But with my mom and dad’s encouragement – or more like emotional black mail – I decided to go back. They gave me an ultimatum. If I wanted to continue working in the entertainment industry, I had to do it while studying because their only wish as my parents is that they could come with me to the stage when I graduate. With that request, I agreed but this time they gave me the freedom to choose what course I really wanted to take and I decided to study Broadcast Communication.

A little bit of sacrifice for the sake of education…

Even if it means skipping shower in order not to go late in your class.

When they say that Mass Communication is easy… I have to tell you that you are wrong. If I had a lot of sleepless nights while studying Pol-sci and Accountancy, I literally had NO SLEEP while studying mass comm. Aside from studying laws and theories, we were also killing brain cells magically creating worlds and realities in front of the camera. When your professor says that they want you to make a film in three days, you make a film in three days! Kahit ikaw na artista, writer, director, editor at producer. When your professor asks you to do a 50,000 words research paper on an online phenomenon within a week, you make a study! Kahit nagmamaka-awa ka na sa mgatao just to answer your survey na hindi pa naman thesis mo. But the hardest part about my second stay in college is that I had to balance both my work and my studies. I was taping teleseryes on MWF(Monday, Wednesday and Fridays) while I went to school on TTh(Tuesday and Thurday). I did this without under loading so I would tape from 6am to 6am the following day then travel to school for an hour and go to class from 7am to 7pm without any breaks in between. My classmates would often wonder why I have my loosely curled hair and makeup so early in the morning – but little do they know that I actually skipped showering so that I wouldn’t be late for class.

Remember this:  “The diligent always beats the intelligent.”

No matter how intelligent you are if you don’t work hard, someone diligent will always beat you.

It is in the College of Mass Comm that I eventually found myself again. Meeting new friends made me realize that I didn’t need to please everyone around me and sometimes you just have to say “Chos!” when you don’t know what to say to your detractors anymore. Studying made me realize that there will always be someone who will be better than you at something but education is your most powerful weapon in life because the diligent always beats the intelligent. It is learning the things that you didn’t even know you didn’t know. And even if you’re already a somebody when you get to class… you can still come and be a better somebody after you leave – and now I hope I leave as a better person.

Don’t forget the people you meet on your journey to the top.

I dedicate this very special day to my parents – Mom and Dad, thanks for never giving up on me and for giving me the freedom to pursue my passion. Who would’ve thought that the kid who was failing elementary would graduate Cum Laude? I love you both. Finally, I can make that dream of yours come true when I go up that stage with you today.

I would also like to thank UP Diliman, The College of Mass Comm, all its staff and all my professors. Thank you so much for giving all working students like me a shot at getting a degree. Thank You Maam Pearl, Maam Jo, Maam Jane, Direk Raz, Sir Guia, Sir Dexter, Sir Alex and Kuya Jansen.

I would also like to thank the OUR Staff and the CSAPG Staff most especially Maam Amy Jorda, Maam Shine and Maam Nini for everything. You granted the greatest graduation miracle!

Thank you so much to ABS-CBN, Star Magic – Kuya Jerry Telan, Ate Portia Dimla, Mr. M and Ms. Mariole for supporting my decision to go back to school. Salamat po! Thanks to my Sisters Family most especially Big Sis Aileen Choi Go for the never ending support.

Thank you so much to my friends Bassy, Ciarra, Angeline, Gab Gucci, Clarus and Marc Mozo for helping me throughout my entire stay in college. As well as Kai, Jayem and Em for always being there for me. To my Myrtleivers admins, you guys know who you are – Thank you for the continuous support.

And of course, Thank you to Papa God and Jesus for always blessing me with many miracles. This entire graduation is a miracle!

Struggling in the academics in elementary but bounced back and bounced back BIG!

As I step into a new chapter of my life, I will always remember what I have learned in the university as a Mass Communication student… You are the lead actor, director, writer, stylist and producer of your own life’s movie. Take a hold of every scene because it’s you who calls the shots before the take and action.

Myrtle Abigail P. Sarrosa
University of the Philippines Diliman
Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Communication
Cum Laude

Sarrosa won ABS-CBN’s reality TV show, Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition 4  in 2012.  Sarrosa hails from Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo.


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