Raymond Abrea: A Bedan with a mission

- Paula C. Nocon () - May 16, 2003 - 12:00am
There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One is roots; the other, wings," said Hodding Carter.

It can now be said that Raymond Abrea, 20, has both.

After graduating as high school salutatorian Raymond began his college life beset with financial difficulties, which he later overcame with the help of several scholarship grants, including one from the Metrobank Foundation. He took up B.S. Accountancy in order to meet the requirements of his scholarship.

Four years later, he graduated carrying the prestigious medal of the Rector President’s award for academic excellence and leadership, president of the Student Council, and member of the exclusive Ayala Young Leaders Council.

Through hard work, perseverance and a positive life outlook, Raymond’s roots have given him the luxury of spreading his wings in the near and distant future. "I’m now reviewing for my CPA board exams in October, and I’m looking at career opportunities to apply what’s I’ve learned in accounting. Hopefully, I’ll be getting my MBA in five years, and then I’ll be in public service or government work in 10 years, so I can give back all that has been given to me." Spoken like a true Bright Young Thing.

What’s the best thing about your generation?

We’re adventurous. We can think out of the box. We like to experience new things, even if it means doing restricted things or defying limits. We like to put excitement in what we do, because we want to really enjoy life.

What’s the worst thing about your generation?

A lot of us are silent on many issues–national and social– that crucially affect us. Instead of thinking about and discussing them, we’d rather run away from them and talk about things like Kris Aquino’s love life.

What’s the most important lesson you learned from the older generation?

I think that they’re thinking people–they’re more reflective and contemplative. They’re the ones who always tell us to think hard first before doing anything. I guess that’s why they make good decisions.

What advice would you give the older generation?

Enjoy life! Life is beautiful!

How would you like to help your country?

In small, humble ways. I just want to give back what I’ve received. I don’t aspire for a big position or lots of fame and power–I think that would only corrupt or overwhelm me.

How did your San Beda education mold you into what you are today?

What I am is really from my San Beda experience: Ora et labora, lectio–prayer and work, contemplation. From this I learned to balance life and to do nothing unjust to my fellowman.

What is leadership to you?

It’s service. It’s about trying to give and share yourself with others, especially by example. It sounds simple, but it’s rarely actualized!

What’s your dream project?

I’d like to have a learning institute, some sort of a school but a non-traditional one. A place where there’s no pressure coming from grades or the influence of professors, so what you’ll have is the free flowing of ideas. Learning is not boxed and creativity is encouraged.

What book/s changed your life?

Paulo Cuelho’s The Alchemist, which was personally given to me by Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala. It taught me that the greatest obstacle to fulfilling your dreams is the fear of failure.

And then there’s The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, given to me by our prefect right before I was about to run for Student Council president. It taught me how to maximize resources and not to be deceived by tangibles. It’s not about destroying the enemy, but wielding justice. That gave me the strength to handle the politics of being in the Student Council.

Share with us a difficult experience that you had to overcome.

Entering college in itself was so difficult, first of all because my parents couldn’t afford to send me. I didn’t know what course to take, I didn’t know what school to go to, I didn’t know where to get the money to finance my education. I had no vision of the future ahead of me.

But what gave me strength was how people helped me through that. It wasn’t just in terms of money, but in other ways–clothes, books, time, support. Early in college I used to sell reviewers and people would buy them for me, even if they could just photocopy them, just to give me support. I really appreciate that to this day. I would not be where I am now without the help of other people.
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