#MayBukas sa Civil Engineering: Benjamin Abdul

Benjamin Abdul

"What's your dream?"

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

At some point in our lives, we've been asked these questions. Or at least, something along those lines. Chances are, you've tried answering them–or drawing them. A stickman version of yourself wearing a lab coat, a hard hat, or a magician's hat. A child can dream!

The truth is no two people are the same. Likewise, no two dreams are also alike. Finding and pursuing yours is a personal quest, and often a hard one. Unlike school projects, there is no formula to follow nor a map to show the way you should go. If there were a crash course for that, we would have told you already.

But once in a while, we see a light at the end of the tunnel.

We get clues and signposts leading us to take the next right step. People we trust. Hobbies we enjoy. Role models we admire. Experiences we encounter. Opportunities we take. All of which shape our decisions and, ultimately, our direction in life. As a student, you make small and big decisions every day. But the question is, where is it leading you?

We won't ask you to write a 300-word essay on your life's one true calling. No one has it all figured out, and we don't expect you to. We are all making it along the way, learning from each other at best. But what we can do is talk about them and figure it out together! After all, life is best shared. And there are real people with real stories to share.

We sat down with some students who experience and have experienced the same struggles you're facing. From the million-dollar question of what career path to take, down to the everyday challenges of being a student in a pandemic-stricken world.

Who knows, maybe their stories can lead you to take the next step for your future.


Meeting Banban

If there’s one word to describe you, what would it be?

For Benjamin Al-Nasher Abdul, or “Banban” as his close family and friends would call him, it’s straight and simple. He prefers to be likened to a wall. He shares how he has always aspired to be “someone strong, sturdy, and ever reliable” for people dearest to him–a protective role he willingly owns up to at an early age being the only man in the house since his father works away from home.

Banban’s close relationship with his family has since become a cornerstone for all his life decisions. As a student, his degree is no longer just a piece of paper but a means to give back to his family. As a future civil engineer, it is no longer just about building roads and bridges as it is building homes and communities. Everything falls into this blueprint.

While Banban has rough drafts of what he wants to do at a young age, his work is far from completion. The same way you may still be figuring out yours. There’s still “Physics” to conquer, plates to submit, online classes to attend, and a whole lot of questions to ask. Luckily, he has friends to join him. The good news is you can, too.

Learn more about Banban’s student life, dreams, and aspirations in our quick conversation!


Life as a Civil Engineering student

School and course in college

Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, University of Nueva Caceres (UNC)

Why did you choose your school?

“Actually, sinuggest lang sa akin ng uncle ko na engineer yung UNC. Nung nalaman niya na gusto ko rin maging engineer, sabi niya maganda raw ang engineering programs doon. Kaya UNC ang pinili ko!

Ngayong incoming second year na ako, masasabi ko na gusto ko yung way of teaching nila. Very organized at hands-on din sila sa mga events for students like photo editing at photography workshops! Nakakatulong yun kasi magagamit talaga namin sa klase.”

Why did you choose your course?

“Dream course ko na talaga ang Civil Engineering simula pa nung elementary ako. Naalala ko nung mga six or seven years old ako, nagpunta kami sa Maynila tapos nakakita ako ng mga matataas na buildings. Nanibago ako kasi sa Pasacao [Camarines Sur] maliliit lang yung mga buildings. Kaya parang nagustuhan ko gumawa ng mga buildings and bridges. Bata pa lang ako, alam ko na na yun talaga ang gusto ko.”

What’s the most challenging part about being a student? How do you overcome it?

“Siguro ngayon online classes, pinaka challenging yung pag contact sa mga teachers. Kailangan sa Messenger or sa Blackboard tapos minsan hindi na sila nakakasagot dahil sa dami ng ginagawa. Makakatulong sana kung may allotted time para masagot yung mga concerns naming mga estudyante after class.

Bukod dun, challenge rin yung finances. Lalo na tatlo kaming magkakapatid na sabay sabay pumapasok. Minsan hindi na talaga nagkakasya ang budget. Buti nalang nakita ko yung Bukas sa UNC website. Nag apply kami for a tuition installment plan noong first year first sem kasi maliit lang naman daw yung interest.

Dalawa pa rin yung tinatrabaho ni mama para mapunan yung mga gastusin sa bahay pero hindi na siya masyadong nag wo worry sa tuition ko. Sinasabi na lang niya sa akin na ‘okay na, bayad na’ raw.

Para makatulong ako kahit papaano, bumabawi nalang ako sa paggawa ng mga chores. Sa bahay, ako yung taga bili tsaka taga palengke araw-araw. Minsan nagbabarilan na kami [sa Valorant] tapos biglang papalabasin. Kahit simple lang, malaking tulong na rin. Iniisip ko nalang na imbis na kumilos pa si mama, ipahinga o itulog na lang niya.”

How do you cope with learning in the pandemic?

“Okay naman kahit minsan mahirap dahil sa internet connection. Madalas pa magkaroon ng weekly brownout. Mahirap din para sa marami sa amin kasi kahit computer lang ang kailangan, yung iba wala ring magamit. Kawawa naman kung hindi makakagawa ng activities sa lab or sa AutoCAD dahil walang laptop.

May mga klase rin na mas maganda kapag real life teaching like Physics. Hindi naman sa ayaw ko aralin pero mahirap lang talaga intindihin yung concepts while solving. Kapag lecture parang kaya naman pero kapag quiz or exam na, wala na. Kapag may hindi ako maintindihan, nagtatanong ako sa friends ko online. Importante talaga yung tulungan.

Para hindi rin ako masyadong ma stress sa online class, I make sure to manage my time tsaka magpahinga. Naglalaro kami ng mga kaibigan ko online, nagbabasa sa Webtoon o kaya naman nanonood ng TV series.”

What are your favorite learnings so far?

“Wala pa akong masyadong engineering courses sa ngayon pero paborito ko talaga yung ‘Math for Engineering.’ Paborito ko rin yung klase ni Sir Romero kasi magaling siyang magturo at hands-on sa klase kahit sa Google Meets lang kami nagkikita.

Meron din ibang considerate na profs sa UNC na nagbibigay ng recorded videos at Youtube links kung kailangan pa namin ng additional examples. Sobrang na appreciate ko yung mga ganun kasi kailangan talaga namin ng extra help ngayong pandemic.”

What motivates you to study?

“Yung motivation ko talaga sa pag-aaral ay yung family ko. Gusto ko na makapag tapos agad para makatulong na ako sa kanila. Kahit mahirap ngayong pandemic, hindi ko iniisip na mag stop muna sa kasi sayang sa time. Konting sakripisyo na lang.

Kahit mahirap mag-aral sa ngayon, kakayanin na lang kasi para naman ito sa future ko. Kasi kung nahihirapan kami, paano pa yung mga magulang namin? Yun yung inaalala ko palagi kaya ako nag-aaral nang mabuti.”

Why is education important for you?

“Sa totoo lang, makakatulong talaga [ang education] sa finances namin. Para malaki ang magiging sahod ko in the future! Kailangan kasi talaga yun sa paghahanap ng trabaho. Lalo na kung college graduate ka na, licensed ka pa.

Pangalawa, importante ang pag-aaral para sa akin kasi makakatulong ako sa mga tao. Yung mga projects na ipapagawa nila sa akin, sisiguraduhin ko na maganda yung quality! Kunwari magpapagawa sila ng dream house nila ganun. Tsaka nakakatulong din yung pag-aaral sa confidence ng isang tao. Kasi alam mo na hindi ka lang basta basta–na pinaghirapan mo talaga yung course mo.”


From one dreamer to another

What is your dream career?

“To be a civil engineer!”

What is your career goal? Why?

“Sa ngayon, ang goal ko ay maka graduate at makasama sa Top 10 ng Civil Engineering board exam! Kapag engineer na ako, ang dream ko lang sana ay lahat ng mga projects ko ay tama and safe for all. Yung walang mapapahamak sa mga projects na gagawin ko.”

How do you see yourself five or ten years from now?

“Ten years from now, successful engineer na ako. Marami na rin akong projects na nagawa by then. Kasama na yung mga matataas na buildings na nakikita ko lang dati! Tapos may family business na rin kami. Depende kung ano ang in-demand that time.”

What is your message to aspiring civil engineers like you?

“Pursue your dreams! Kung ano talaga yung gusto mo, yun ang sundin mo. Hindi kung ano ang gusto ng iba para sa’yo. In the long run, para rin naman sa future mo yan kaya pag-isipan mong mabuti! Kung nahihirapan ka, marami namang paraan para maka adapt ka sa situations. Kung gusto, laging may paraan.”

What is your message to your future self?

“Congratulations. You’ve made it! Nakaraos ka sa mga problema. Kahit ano pang mga problema ang pagdaan mo, kailangan mo lang magtiwala na magiging maayos ang lahat. Sabi nga sa 3 Idiots, ‘All is well!’”



Are you inspired or motivated by Banban’s story? We surely hope so!

We know talking about an uncertain future can be quite overwhelming, even a bit scary. And that’s normal! The good news is you don’t have to do it alone. With stories like Vien’s as well as other students who continue to take small steps toward their dreams, we hope you are reminded that a brighter and better future for you is also within reach–just waiting to unfold, one decision at a time.

Now all it takes is for you to take the next right step. And together with Bukas, you can! The question is, what path are you taking?

Learn more about how we make education affordable for thousands of Filipino students like you. Download the Bukas app today on Google Play today! Kung gusto mo maging updated with our latest content and updates, you can connect with us on Facebook or reach us anytime via email!