Learning never stops for Benguet State University's 1st summa cum laude | Inquirer News

Learning never stops for Benguet State University’s 1st summa cum laude

Learning never stops for Benguet State University's 1st summa cum laude.

Vjnhyl Zam Pondivida believes that pursuing your passion would lead you to success. (Contributed photo)

BAGUIO CITY — Vjnhyl Zam Pondivida, Benguet State University’s first summa cum laude in its 107-year history, believed that studying what she was passionate about helped her obtain the highest Latin honors at her university.

Pondivida is a Development Communication student and is set to lead her other 1,835 batch mates at the university’s Commencement exercises on July 20 and 21.


To qualify for summa cum laude, a Benguet State University student should have a grade ranging from 1.0 to 1.24.


Pondivida said her course allowed her to have on-the-ground experience and exposed her to social realities, which inspired her to study more rigorously.

“In DevComm, they teach you how to apply theory into practice so you can be of service to others,” she added in Filipino during an online interview.

Pondivida added: “Studying it has been a big part of why I strive to become better in my academics.”

She also said that while she was set to receive the highest of the university’s Latin honors, what mattered to her more were “the lessons, learnings, and advocacies” that she encountered in her undergrad years.

No easy feat

In spite of her talent and wit, Pondivida admitted she broke down a lot during college because of her studies.


“A lot of subjects and classes have made me cry since they were so challenging, but I managed to pull through,” she said.

She claimed the biggest challenge to her studies was the pandemic, as the adjustment from on-site to online classes proved difficult, especially since she was also juggling several responsibilities at home.

The Philippines is one of the countries with the longest lockdowns during the height of COVID-19. On-ground classes were originally suspended in early 2020, but resumed only in late 2022. In 2021, the Philippines was the only country in the ASEAN region whose schools were not open for in-person classes.

“When you’re having a class online, there can be a lot of distractions,” Pondivida relented. “Sometimes, you have to do house chores, and sometimes the internet connection is not working.”

She also said that due to her lack of a device, there were times she had to go to the municipal library just to borrow a computer. Due to being cut off from friends and family, Pondivida also said the pandemic “had a negative impact” on her mental health.

To remedy this, she claimed she did her best to plan ahead and organize her schedule, but she always left room for rest.

‘Rest, reflect’

“It’s important to give yourself time to breathe, to allow yourself to rest, recharge, and reflect,” she added.What’s next?

After graduation, Pondivida said she would like to enter the academe to teach while still continuing her advocacy work through community journalism. She claimed these two occupations would complement each other well, given “the growing problems of the country.”

“Teaching empathetically is important so we can make an informed and critical community,” Pondivida explained, adding that “We have to keep improving ourselves and our crafts so we can contribute meaningfully to society.”

During her college years, Pondivida held the lead editorship of The Mountain Collegian, Benguet State University’s official school publication, and several other community publications. She was also the vice chairperson of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines-Cordillera, an alliance of university and school publications in the region.

She said her stint in these organizations “strengthened and deepened her view of the communities she was serving.”

“I do not see it (extracurriculars) as a hindrance because this can be an avenue to maximize our potential, elevate our competency, and share the skills that we have learned,” Pondivida said.

Despite becoming summa cum laude, Pondivida said she felt she still had a lot to learn.

“Part of it (being summa cum laude) is a responsibility to grow and learn more,” she remarked, noting that: “Life never stops teaching so you should also never stop learning.” INQ


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TAGS: Benguet, Graduation, latin honors

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