An Open Letter to the Twenty-Something Who Wants to Change the World

An Open Letter to the Twenty-Something Who Wants to Change the World
By Antoinette Jadaone

Dear Fresh Grad,

I think I saw you yesterday along Makati Avenue, clutching a brown envelope—inside are your resumés, right?—,wearing the most smart casual attire your closet will allow, waiting for the traffic light to change to red. You looked a little flustered. Why, did your job interview not go so well? It’s your fifth interview in six weeks, I hear? Don’t worry, they always say “don’t call us, we’ll call you” to almost everybody. Hindi ka nag-iisa. Oh, your best friend nailed her interview on the first try? And your other ka-barkada too? Well. Good for them. Wag ka lang inggitera.

I know, I know. You’ve already imagined yourself in your dream job immediately after graduation, getting paid—and a lot at that—doing what you love to do, so “it doesn’t feel like work at all”, then changing the world on the side, while live feeding it on your Twitter. I must say, your imagination’s pretty impressive, and you must’ve been reading a lot of Steve Jobs. Darling, the Real World doesn’t work that way, and definitely not that fast. So your two friends who nailed it on their first try? I’ll bet you’ll spend at least one Friday night with them at a karaoke bar, singing all your angst away. Alanis’ Hand in My Pocket would be a good first song, by the way.

Soon, you’ll find a job yourself. It won’t be your dream job, but hey, at least it will pay for your happy hour and Twitter. You will be asked to buy Starbucks for your boss’s guests, and while walking out of the office, you’ll tell the Universe, “Nag-graduate ako ng cum laude para lang bumili ng kape?” When you return, the boss will be angry to know that you forgot to put Splenda on his coffee, and the Universe will tell you, “E kape nga lang hindi mo mabili nang maayos, cum laude ka pa nyan ha.” You will print the wrong report. You will be yelled at for a lousy job someone else did, and you will be yelled at for a job you put your whole heart into. You will be told you’re stupid, and if you’re lucky, the whole office will be there to hear it. You will cry in your cubicle. You will lose the promotion to the boss’ son, or to someone less hardworking than you. You will learn about dirty office politics, and you will be frustrated to know that you can’t do anything about it. You will figure in a tsismis inside the office, and you’ll make your Twitter account private. You will see your friends going to Boracay, Bangkok and Europe, having the time of their lives, and there you are, living paycheck to paycheck, wishing you were born an Ayala, a Gokongwei, or a Gosling at least. You will think about quitting. You will lose the sparkle and the passion. You will forget about your ultimate dream when Real World crushes it right before your eyes.

But please don’t.

The truth is, you will never be as passionate as your Fresh Grad self ever again in your life. Make that passion last as long as you can. I don’t want to be dramatic, but really, that unique Fresh Grad sparkle? Once it’s gone, you can never take it back. Oo, parang virginity lang.

So while you’re there, savor the moment. Go make mistakes, while you’re still expected to be imperfect. Go cry in the cubicle, while your age allows it. Go sing Hand in My Pocket and You Learn at the karaoke, while you’re still “young and underpaid”. Go chase your dreams and change the world. The best time to change the world? It’s right after college, when you are so fucking sure you can. Then you will become 26. Then 28. Then 30. Then you will be busy looking for money to pay for the bills, or yelling at your assistant who printed the wrong report, and you will just forget about the world you badly wanted to change before.

How old are you again? Actually, I don’t really need to know. You were glowing from where I saw you, and that gave away your age. That kind of glow, definitely only a fresh grad can have. So stand up straight, clutch your resumés and your dreams tighter, and stay glowing as long as you can. Make the most of it. I swear, you’ll terribly miss it when it’s gone, and by that time, you can only just write about it.

Best regards,
An Ex-Fresh Grad

42 Comments Add yours

  1. Reblogged this on Storm in the Morning Light and commented:
    i’m 22, graduated college at 20. had 2 different jobs and now i’m unemployed again. anything is possible now, it still is 🙂

    1. ilayaonline says:

      Yes anything is possible. 🙂 Thank you for reading!

  2. Finn says:

    Read this at, that fresh grad passion is very true.
    – also an ex-fresh grad

  3. Anonymouse says:

    Read this three years ago sa Philstar, and I was deeply moved. I really amazed po na kayo rin yung direktor ng magagandang films last year. Keep it up po!

    1. Anonymouse says:

      Correction po. *I’m really.

  4. Cassandra says:

    Im 21. Graduated at 20. I’m on my second job now. Thank you so much for the letter ❤

  5. This is such an amazing letter! I first read it on PhilStar three years ago, and it’s stuck with me since. At the time, I had no idea who wrote it, and now I am so inspired to know that you then went on to make one of this decade’s best films. Congratulations on the success of That Thing Called Tadhana! You gave a voice to our generation. And thank you for showing all of us lost twenty-somethings that our dreams can come true too. 🙂

  6. Reblogged this on Curiously Sweet Things and commented:
    Never forget those dreams! ❤

    – a fresh-grad struggling to change her world

  7. karlamalla says:

    Reblogged this on K ON THINGS and commented:
    The amount of guilt and understanding I have for this post is strong.

  8. anonymousguilder says:

    Bumped into this again after three years! So glad I’ve read it again ❤ Now that your career is on its peak please make a movie of some sort based on this. It would be a life-changer on our Philippine Cinema!

  9. Reblogged this on architograpveller and commented:
    I have to share these words because many of us are haven’t yet kicked by reality. Yes, I include myself there. 3 jobs in less than a year, almost kicked out once and now, trying stay because of the very reason why am I here in the first place. Yuppies, let’s create this world with our dreams! PREACH.

  10. del says:

    I am a commerce grad way back in 2010. I got frustrated after graduation because most of my friend got their job.My GF even broke up with me since I cannot find a job and she was hired at BDO. Now, they were still at the bank were they started (including my ex-gf) with very minimal growth (financially) as per what they told me. And me, I am close to 6digits and all my ex-gf can do is to look into my bank account. 🙂

  11. ugh this hit me right in the kokoro. I was a fresh grad too, well, two years ago haha and I’ve had three different jobs and none of them were in my chosen field but hey I AM STILL HOPING AND TRYING that one day I’ll be where I want to be. I haven’t lost my spark.

  12. Migz says:

    Thank you. I needed this.

  13. Kaye says:

    I was moved by your article. I have not yet graduated at the age of 21 (Got 2 more years to finish, I won’t spoil the math.) I’m stuck in my 5-year course with a pinch of shift-here-and-there gamble. Now, part of me is telling that the “spark” that I will have had already lost while traversing college before I even got it. Ugh. But I am still hoping that this college tragedy will end and Real World will do me a favor to cleanse my angst.

  14. Marie says:

    I graduated last 2013. I was moved by this statement – You will forget about your ultimate dream when Real World crushes it right before your eyes. Hope I haven’t lost my sparks yet.

  15. missfayelee says:

    Reblogged this on Cannot Be Unseen.

  16. annecortz says:

    Whaaaaat??! I don’t believe this part and I’m CHOOSING not to make this true: “The truth is, you will never be as passionate as your Fresh Grad self ever again in your life.” Chase your dreams and change the world, yes, but don’t stop when you turn 30. 😉

  17. paolomiguelc says:

    Reblogged this on Megalomaniac and commented:
    I’m about to cry

  18. iammiia says:

    Wow! This letter is truly inspiring. At least, now I know I’m not alone. Graduated as Magna Cum Laude, I wonder why opportunities rarely come knocking at the door no matter how I try go looking for it. Sometimes I’m feeling flabbergasted because some of my college classmates who were lazy and just used to copy assignments and answers on exams/quizzes were able to nail good paying jobs. But thanks to this one. I feel a little optimistic now. Thanks! 🙂

    1. del says:

      Dont you worry. They got the regular fishes just by fishing from shore.. You’ll get the biggest one from the deep sea.. 🙂

  19. Hi Ms. Tonet, thank you for this wonderful post. I’m a fresh grad at 23 and I pretty much don’t know where to go despite yeah my late graduation but thank you for this at least i know where to look at and im looking forward to seeing you soon because i happen to share the same passion in film as u.

  20. whycrstn says:

    Reblogged this on C'est La Vie and commented:
    I’m a fresh graduate and it’s been 1 month and 18 days, still unemployed. This letter, so inspiring. I can make it. I can change the world. I’m fucking sure I can.

  21. Tin says:

    Nabasa ko ito noon pa bago ka maging direktor ng tadhana, beauty, otwol, you’re my boss, atbp. Ngayon na nakita kong may nangyari ngang mabuti sa iyo baka panahon na rin para maniwala ako sa sarili ko. Hehe

    P.s. Ako ba yung nakita mo sa makati ave? Pero last month ako galing dun hehehe. Congrats!

    1. ilayaonline says:

      Salamat nang marami 🙂

  22. bagotilyo says:

    I feel every words… gee . Time flies!

  23. Darna says:

    Syet direk. ‘Yung luha ko ayaw tumigil sa pagpatak. Buti hindi ako tumigil sa pag-back read ng posts dito sa blog na ‘to. Salamat.

    1. ilayaonline says:

      Salamat!!! Ngayon ko lang nabasa 🙂

  24. ' says:

    This is so true. I’m 27 and on my 3rd job and i miss my fresh grad self! 🙂

  25. Pingback: In My World
  26. Reblogged this on The Official Traveler 🙂 Great piece of work

  27. Czarina Saño says:

    Direk, alam mo hindi masyado maganda araw ko. Nabaha kotse ko, O.T ako simula Monday at sobra pagod ko tonight. Nag punta ako sa blog mo at tama lang ang desisyon ko mag back read ng posts mo! Salamat, nakaka motivate 🧡

    1. ilayaonline says:

      🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽 GO GO GO!!!

  28. Will always go back to this post 💯 Nung una kong nabasa ang post na ‘to, dun pa ako sa fresh grad ‘clutching a brown envelope’ nakakarelate. Ngayon, parang dun na sa “…you will forget about your ultimate dream when Real World crushes it right before your eyes”.

    Pero, lagi’t lagi, nasaan mang parte ako ng buhay, tuwing nakakarelate ako sa post na ‘to, it comforts me to know na may ibang taong pinagdaanan na kung ano man ang pinagdadaanan ko.

    Salamat sa Episode 10 ng AWKP, direk. I needed that validation. Di lang alo sigurado sa tanga sa pag-ibig. Hahaha!

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