From a young age, Jan Errol’s parents could already see that their son has impressive learning abilities, so they always encouraged him to excel in school and finish college. For him, getting into college was not the problem; it was finding a way to pay for it. 

Jan Errol was born in a big family that derives a living from farming and fishing. When his older brother went to college, he saw how his parents struggled to pay for the tuition and miscellaneous expenses. Her mother had gone into plenty of debts.

“Sa totoo lang, sa mga panahong iyon ay hindi ko rin alam kung tutuloy ba ako sa pag-aaral o hihinto muna (Honestly, I did not know if I would go to college or stop studying at that time),” said Errol, “Napakapalad ko dahil may DOST Scholarship Program. (I am fortunate that I got into the DOST Scholarship Program.)”

He revealed that he was unfamiliar with the program until his science teacher inspired their class to take the qualifying examination. He could not afford to attend review classes back then, so he just relied on the reviewers that their teacher gave him.

“Habang nag-aaral ay pinanghawakan ko talaga ang aking pangako sa aking mga magulang na makakapagtapos ako ng kolehiyo dahil sa aming magkakapatid ay wala pa ni-isa ang nakakapagtapos (While studying, I held on to the promise I made to my parents that I would finish college because nobody in the family did),” he shared.

Through the scholarship program, he was provided with a monetary allowance for books, transportation, and other necessary expenses aside from the paid tuition fee, which had gone a long way in reducing stress for him and his family.

“Muntik nang maging hadlang sa aking pag-aaral ang kakulangang pinansyal ngunit, dahil sa DOST Scholarship Program, nabigyan ako ng pagkakataong maituloy ang aking pangarap (Our financial situation nearly held me back, but the DOST Scholarship Program has been instrumental in my pursuit of academic success),” he said.

ON HIS EXPERIENCES AS A DOST SCHOLAR

“Maraming akong hindi malilimutang karanasan habang ako’y isang DOST scholar tulad ng Summer Orientation and Enrichment Program or SOEP (I have a lot of memorable experiences as a DOST scholar like the time I went to the Summer Orientation and Enrichment Program or SOEP),” he said.

He recounted that he learned a lot in a month during SOEP because they had advance classes which helped him later on in his first year. Also, the program helped him acquire essential skills such as time management and focus.

Jan Errol with his fellow DOST scholars during the Summer Orientation and Enrichment Program (SOEP) last 2015

Jan Errol told us that he also enjoyed being a volunteer for a project at the Provincial S&T Center in Marinduque, his home province. He was one of the scholars who assisted in installing STARBOOKS in different elementary and secondary schools in their province.

“Ang sarap pala sa pakiramdam kapag alam mong magiging malaking tulong sa ibang tao ‘yung ginagawa mo (It feels really great when you know the things you do will have a huge impact on people),” he shared.

Developing a sense of volunteerism is also a part of the scholarship program.

ON HIS MESSAGE FOR ASPIRING DOST SCHOLARS

“DOST Scholarship Program is the biggest opportunity for us Filipino students,” he proudly exclaimed.

According to him, students should not get discouraged from the obligations after graduating from college in return for the free education. He said that it is our duty and honor to share and utilize the best of our talents and abilities for the betterment of our country.

“Kapalit ng libreng pagpapa-aral sa atin ang kasiguruhan na tayo ay magiging kapakipakinabang na mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Making sure that we become useful citizens in our country is how we must return the privilege of getting free education),” encouraged Jan Errol.