Central Philippine University

Delivered by Anecita Catedrilla-Seisa

Ms. Anecita “Ann” Catedrilla Seisa, CPU High School class of 1971, CPU BSN class of 1977, Founder-President/CEO of Vagthol’s Residential Care Center, Inc. Los Angeles, CA.

CPU President Dr. Ernest Howard B. Dagohoy, The Honorable Commissioner Salex Alibogha, Esteemed members of the Board of Trustees led by Atty. Peter Irving Corvera as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, members of CPU Administration, faculty and staff, fellow alumni and most importantly members of this year’s graduating class and their proud parents and family, good afternoon.

I began my journey at CPU 57 years ago when I started my first year of high school. Coming from the mountains of Lambunao, the experience was both overwhelming and exciting. I was eager to start high school, learn, and make friends, but I was also quite intimidated. However, I flourished during my college days at CPU, receiving exceptional nursing education, embracing Christian values, cultivating discipline, and forming lifelong friendships. This period was also crucial for building my character and discovering my identity, aspirations, resilience, and resourcefulness.

When I was 13, my father gave me the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, which profoundly changed my life. It taught me the immense power of the mind. By focusing on our goals and visualizing success, we can manifest outcomes that align with our beliefs. Conversely, doubts and negative thoughts can lead to less desirable outcomes. Your thoughts shape your reality, so be mindful of your self-talk and worldview. Filter out thoughts and opinions that do not align with your vision and goals. Surround yourself with supportive people who believe in you and hold you accountable, helping you stay on track.

In the words of Steve Jobs, “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” This powerful advice emphasizes the importance of staying true to yourself and having faith in your instincts and intuition. Remember, what may seem realistic to you might not align with others’ perceptions. Stay determined, build resilience, and trust in your inner guidance as you pursue the life you desire.

I am deeply humbled and grateful to accept this esteemed and prestigious honorary doctorate degree in management, recognizing my contributions to my Alma and the community. However, I must acknowledge that I was never an honor student. I did not graduate Cum Laude, nor do I hold a graduate or doctorate degree. While I believe education is invaluable, remember that your ranking, grades, and GPA do not define you or guarantee success in life. I am living proof of that. Do not count yourself out just because others may have higher grades or more impressive possessions. Your worth is determined by you and only you. You decide how hard you work, how successful you’ll be, the kind of person you’ll become, and the life you’ll lead.

Avoid comparing your life, circumstances, or achievements to others because it will distract you from your goals and life purpose. Be thankful for your blessings, the sacrifices of your families, and all the challenges and experiences you’ve faced. These trials are stepping stones to your future self. Do not be a victim of circumstance. Embrace your hardships and know they will shape you into who you are meant to be. The lessons and perspectives you gain will set you apart from others.

Knowing and embracing your true self is crucial in shaping your path. Self-awareness enables you to connect with your inner voice and intuition, making informed decisions and navigating life’s challenges with clarity and confidence. Recognizing and embracing your strengths and weaknesses without judgment is a valuable part of personal growth. Lean into your strengths and leverage them to your advantage. Acknowledge your weaknesses and seek assistance from individuals who possess the skills you lack. Understand the difference between working hard and working smart. While working hard can make you a valuable employee, working smart can propel you toward realizing your highest aspirations. Working smart provides a pathway to greater career advancement and financial freedom. To work smart, it’s essential to be efficient, collaborate effectively, network strategically, nurture relationships, maintain a clear vision, take charge when necessary, delegate responsibilities, adapt to change, remain open to diverse perspectives, continually embrace learning, and keep up with technological advancements.

Learn how to be resourceful. In college, there were many times when I didn’t have enough food, clothes, or money for books. I only got 5 pesos once a week, and I often spent it all before the week was over. When eating balut, I noticed that many of my friends discarded the chick part because they didn’t like it. To hide my struggles, I told my friends that I liked that part of balut so they would always save it for me, even though I didn’t actually like it that much. I went around, and they filled up my plate with their leftover parts. They even poured soft drinks into my empty cup, little by little, until it was full. When I couldn’t afford books, my friend Chit generously lent me hers. I used to wake up really early when it was still dark outside, around 3 – 4 am, when everyone else was asleep to study from her books and meticulously annotated notes in the bathroom the only place with a single light on at that hour. It was challenging at times, but I learned how to survive with limited resources. Although my friend’s generosity may have seemed insignificant to them, it fueled my determination and influenced who I am today.

Being generous and helping others without expecting anything in return, no matter how small the gesture, is important. Kindness, compassion, and encouragement can make a big difference in someone’s life. During my time at CPU, I was touched by simple moments like a friend sharing their food, giving me a ride, or lending me their study materials. I have learned the importance of gratitude and generosity through these experiences. That’s why I am passionate about giving back in any way I can. My time at CPU has greatly influenced who I am today and has brought many blessings into my life. I want to give back and share my blessings so others can experience the same.

I am incredibly grateful for everything that I learned at CPU, both inside and outside the classroom. Beyond earning a nursing degree, I gained lifelong friendships, valuable life lessons, and the skills to become a compassionate nurse and leader. The strong Christian values instilled in me throughout my time at CPU have significantly contributed to making me a more understanding and empathetic person, ultimately shaping me into a better friend, supportive wife, and nurturing mother.

In 1980, I moved to the United States with just $100 and a suitcase of clothes, without family, determined to pursue bigger dreams. My now- husband, Narciso Loy Seisa, joined me two years later. Throughout my journey, I’ve faced pivotal moments and critical decisions that have profoundly influenced my life. One of my most significant decisions was to leave my job as the Assistant Coordinator at Cedars Sinai Medical Hospital, one of the top hospitals in the US, to start a business with my husband. Despite the risk of giving up stable jobs, I believed in us and seized the opportunity. My unwavering self-belief led me to this defining moment, and I always had faith in my success. As you enter new phases in your life, you will face many crossroads that will alter your life’s trajectory. Do not act out of fear or a scarcity mindset; have faith in God and your intuition to help you achieve your dreams and beyond.

In both business and life, taking risks can open doors to countless opportunities for growth and achievement. However, it’s crucial to be prepared and willing to make sacrifices before taking that leap of faith. Have a solid plan and focus on your objectives. The more you believe in yourself, the less risky it becomes. Embrace failure and view it as a valuable life lesson guiding you toward your path. Learn from your setbacks and remain open to change or redirection. Do not get stuck in your ways. Flexibility and adaptability are essential, allowing you to navigate the ever-changing world and any unforeseen circumstances. In a world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) you must clothe yourself with vision, understanding, clarity and agility (VUCA). You must be a catalyst of change and development amidst the challenges of social media, technology, and the industrial revolution.

While everyone’s circumstances, paths, and definitions of success may differ, it is crucial to define what success means to you and recognize that your idea of success can evolve throughout your life – and that’s okay. You can choose to follow the path of those you admire or carve out your own, but I want to emphasize today the importance of having a strong sense of self, unwavering intuition, and faith in God to guide you throughout your life. As young adults, use this time to discover who you are and who you want to be – not who others want you to be. Harness your inner voice and learn to trust it. Know what you want to achieve in life and then make decisions and act in alignment with that. I want you to know that it’s possible to achieve your dreams without sacrificing one for another. Balancing career aspirations and family life is challenging and requires sacrifices, but it’s attainable. You don’t need to give up your career to have a family or vice versa. If you work hard and believe in yourself, you can have both a fulfilling career and a rich personal life.

When I was in my teen-age years, I set a goal for myself to achieve financial independence. Today, I’m grateful to have a fulfilling career, a loving family, and the opportunity to give back to my Alma Mater and the community. I live in a place I love and have the freedom to travel the world. These achievements came from setting clear goals, believing in myself, and persevering through challenges. By staying true to your vision and working diligently, you too can realize your dreams.

If you believe that it’s not possible to have it all, then you simply won’t have it all. When choosing a partner, it’s essential to pick someone who shares your core values, believes in your aspirations, and encourages your growth. You must be willing to provide the same support and respect in return. Choosing a life partner is one of the most significant decisions a person can make. Marrying my husband has been one of the best decisions I’ve made because together, we’ve achieved everything we have today. There is an African Proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” When you surround yourself with people who share or believe in your vision, you can accomplish incredible things.

Finally, I leave you with this verse culled from the book of Psalms: “May He (GOD) grant your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans for his greatest glory and honor!”

Congratulations dear graduates of Class 2024! May God richly bless you in your chosen career. Remember to work hard and work smart. Strive to be the best version of yourselves, bringing pride to your family, to CPU, and to the community. Make a positive impact on the world. You can do it-the Central Spirit is alive and well.