If you have any chance to open those books, enroll and attend classes, and earn a degree, grab that opportunity if you can, ex-teen star Paula Peralejo-Fernandez advises the current crop of young A-list Pinoy celebrities contemplating that move.
Among them, Kathryn Bernardo has made a successful effort in slowly returning to school by currently enrolling at Enderun Colleges for a few units in pursuit of a marketing degree. She also revealed that her partner, Daniel Padilla, was inspired by her move and has indicated interest to also get back to school but was wary about dedicating time for it since he would only want 100% attention to anything that he does.
According to Paula, who left showbiz in 2005 to pursue a BA Philosophy degree at UP Diliman and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2008, there could still be a way for them to squeeze in some school work in their busy schedule, just like Kathryn. “Celebrities seem (by seem, this means I am not sure. Just an observation from the outside) to have time to do the things they want while still being in the limelight, so I would say, grab that opportunity if you can,” Paula tells Push.
Especially with the emergence of distance education prevalent in leading learning institutions in the country, artists can surely get that chance if they wanted to. Kim Chiu grabbed that chance last year by enrolling in a Business course at the UP Open University and taking subjects when her busy schedule allowed.
The most important thing, she says, is that the pursuit for a degree doesn’t stop.
Paula added that anyone, not only celebrities, should realize the importance of education even if they have already established careers and earning at an early age.
“I started young and left traditional school at such an early age to work as an actress,” said Paula, a top Kapamilya talent who starred in such hit ABS-CBN youth-oriented shows as Tabing Ilog, Gimik, and the classic primetime teleserye Mula Sa Puso. “I realized education is so important because there came a point when I felt like I didn't know anything anymore. I felt like I was in the world of glitz and glamour but has no sense of reality. I realized its value after missing it for a long time. I believe that the world is our classroom; however, I do think education is important because it is an avenue that allows us (or even forces us) to really think.”
For Paula, education became her priority and sacrificed her showbiz career for it.
“I gave up show business when I went back to college. For a while, I was juggling work and school, and my teachers were very understanding, but I realized there was no point in going back to school if I was always absent because of work. So I resigned from my last show and never went back.”
And after giving full concentration to her studies, Paula excelled in her academics and became an honor student, an indication that she truly gives her best in everything she does. This goes the same for Paula’s sister Rica, who also closed the door on a successful showbiz career to complete her college education at the Ateneo.
“I took up Philosophy, a course that many people regard as useless because it's not exactly a "practical" course in the sense that there's no particular job for you when you graduate,” Paula noted. “But taking it is something I'll never regret and something I'll always be thankful for because every day, I see the rewards of thinking the way I was taught.”
Her education led to a fuller, contented life and enriched her entire being, not just achieving a means to earn a living. Paula has since become an entrepreneur, using what she learned in school and utilizing her passion for travel, in a business she runs with her husband, Charlie Fernandez, Our Restless Feet Travel and Tours, which they operate hands-on and on their own.
“I see the rewards of thinking the way I was taught. It helps me with my work, my everyday life, how I see the world, my values, my opinions, my thoughts. I always say I never would have thought about all these things had I not gone back to school. But I think even if you choose other fields, there is something new you'll surely learn. That is your reward - the learnings,” Paula stressed. She added: “You won't be ashamed that you don't know anything. You won't be affected when people say celebrities are dumb. Because you will definitely learn and see the world through a different lens.”
As for the celebrities she is encouraging to get back to school, the biggest, most advantageous benefit from finishing education is that they can “stand on their own two feet.” “When you're a celebrity, the world tends to revolve around you. Everyone does everything for you. Everyone knows your every move,” Paula stressed. “It's nice to be able to work on your own and stand on your own two feet; and to be part of a reality you've heard of but have not tasted. It's a humbling and enriching experience, and when you're done with it all, you'll be proud and glad you took your chance.”