“Poverty Was a Hindrance to My Success”, Says UP Cum Laude Graduate

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For many poor families, education is the only hope for a better future, yet it is their poverty that also brings them down, becoming a hindrance to their success.

And while many would say that poverty is not a hindrance to success because a lot of poor folks still find success in life, one UP cum laude graduate refuses to glorify poverty and insists that poverty is a hindrance to success!

Based on his experience, Rene Principe Jr. declared in a now viral post on Facebook, “Contrary to popular belief, dyeing your hair is not a hindrance to success, but poverty is.

He detailed the many difficulties that he and his family faced, with their extreme poverty making it difficult for them to even dream of going to school and enjoying success someday. Yet Principe dreamed of becoming an astronaut, saying that the dream helped him find some sort of escape as he wanted to leave the planet for good!

Photo credit: Rene Principe Jr. / Facebook

He was just 8 years old then and their family had to move to Cagayan de Oro after losing their house in Compostela Valley to a fire.

I used to eat restaurant leftover scraps for breakfast… and lunch… and dinner. It’s painful to see my classmates have chickenjoy while all I had in my lunchbox was a half-eaten, reheated drumstick from people I never knew and met,” Principe recalled.

We’re left with nothing, as in WALANG-WALA. Education was our only way out of extreme poverty but even that was hard. There are times when I burn some of my hair strands whenever I veer too close to the candle lamp upon studying; a light bulb seemed like a luxury we can’t afford. I despised every hardship that me and my family ever went through, the world was just too cruel.”

According to Principe, he had already set his mind to study at Cagayan de Oro but he grabbed the opportunity to study at the University of the Philippines (UP) upon passing the UPCAT. Yet that also came with a lot of challenges.

Holding his dream of becoming an astronaut close to his heart, he chose to study Physics upon entering UP Diliman, then later shifted to Applied Physics.

The DOST-SEI Scholar and ESGP-PA Scholar recently graduated as cum laude, inspiring everyone with his story of success. He hopes that his story won’t be treated as just another inspirational story to share but hopes that this will become a call of action so we can improve as a nation.

Photo credit: Rene Principe Jr. / Facebook

I believe with all my heart that education is a right, not a privilege. Don’t get me wrong. Let my victory inspire you, but most importantly, let it ENRAGE you,” he shared.

I am with the poor and I know what it’s like to lose your spirit over a hungry stomach. I refuse to believe that poverty is NOT a hindrance to success because it is, my victory is an exception but it is not the norm.

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