Helbert Paat’s inherent love for finding patterns and solving problems drove him to pursue Applied Mathematics, making him the first university student in his family.
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‘A self-worth not defined by acads’ — UPLB Class 2019 top grad
(Philstar.com) - June 22, 2019 - 11:03am

MANILA, Philippines — "It is not my acads that defines my worth." 

This is what Helbert Paat, the valedictorian of the University of the Philippines - Los Baños Class 2019, said in an interview.

The 20-year-old summa cum laude hails from Cagayan, where his parents reside. His "Tatang" is a farmer since his youth and his "Nanang" a saleslady.

Paat’s inherent love for finding patterns and solving problems drove him to pursue Applied Mathematics, making him the first university student in his family.

As Paat set himself up for excellence, he also braced for failure and moments of doubt as well.

“I always think of myself as someone who does things ordinarily. I mean, what makes me different from other people?” Paat said.

But his newfound faith taught him to believe and trust beyond what one can see.

“I realize it's by the grace of God that these things happened,” he said, finally achieving his goals as a university scholar and a summa cum laude.

He received the College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Medal for Academic Excellence in the graduation rites Thursday.

Above all, Paat learned that having the right prayer, a fiery passion and a resilient attitude greatly helped during moments of failure and disappointment.

“One thing I learned from God is to have the right prayer,” he said.

“And by trusting God, I mean there must be no worry, no fear, and no anxiety because you trust that God will work,” he added.

The Applied Mathematics graduate is looking to pursue actuarial science in the Philippines.

Actuarial science is a discipline that analyses, assesses and solves financial problems through applied mathematical and statistical methods.

For the meantime, Paat leaves yet another reminder to students who strive to excel in their career path.

“Passion is very important to excel. Keep loving what you do. But passion is not enough,” Paat said.

“I also pray that whatever happens, whether good or bad, I will still have the right heart towards the things that are happening around me,” he added. — Philstar.com intern Blanch Marie Ancla

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