Filipina Graduate Gets the Last Laugh After Professor Doubts Her Career Choice

A young Filipina’s college graduation post, in which she shares her passion for her course in agribusiness, recently went viral on social media.

Having grown up in Makati City, the Philippines’ financial center, Johanna Lyn Estonilo Inocencio, 20, is what many would call a city girl.

That is why when she shared graduation photos of her doing farm work on Twitter, many were pleasantly surprised.

According to Estonilo’s caption, even her professor at University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) was shocked at her chosen field of study.

“A professor once told me, ‘How can a girl living in Makati pursue a degree in Agribusiness Management?” Estonilo wrote.

“To my prof who doubted my choice, I’m finally graduating and I will definitely serve the agribusiness sector here in the Philippines.”

Her tweet, which has received over 36,000 likes and 2,000 retweets, earned universal praise among netizens.

Categorized by economists as “newly industrialized,” the Philippines is still primarily dependent on agriculture. And while the industry still employs over a quarter of the Filipino workforce, there has been a declining interest in pursuing an agricultural-related career among the youth.

In an interview with Inquirer, Inocencio shared that she had to deal with the stigma against agriculture as a profession.

“You’ll become a farmer after you graduate, they said. I usually hear that with some of my friends here in Makati. I also observed that there was a notion that if you entered this industry, you won’t get anywhere,” Inocencio lamented.

Such perception on agriculture among young Filipinos is reflected in the decreasing trend in UPLB’s enrollment statistics from 43% of its student enrollees in 1995 to just 4.7% in 2012.

On the national level, it ranks sixth in the number of enrollees at 127,287 new students for the 2016-17 academic year. The top five fields for young Filipinos are business (921,324 enrollees), education (740,713), engineering (448,550) IT (398,765), and medicine (203,561), respectively.

Inocencio admitted that it was never her dream to take the program and simply took up the same course as her sister, BS Agribusiness Management in UPLB.

However, her love for the course developed as she learned.

“Agriculture is not only about farming. Agriculture is sophisticated, as it includes biotechnology, crop modeling, etc.,” Inocencio explained. “I saw how relevant it is to have professionals in the field of agribusiness.”

After finishing her course, she realized that everyone should appreciate its significance, “Agriculture and Agribusiness are far more beyond the misconception of being a poor man’s career. This country needs more professionals that will utilize our resources to feed the ever-growing population.”

“I want to make more millennials be engaged in agriculture,” she said. “I want to pull them into knowing that playing a role in the economy would need them to be involved in agriculture.”

Here’s Inocencio’s message to young Filipinos who think agriculture-related courses are a bad choice:

“Agribusiness industry is one of the smartest career paths to take. Whether you are looking for a company that you fit in with, a competitive salary, or you want to make a difference, the agribusiness sector has a wide variety of jobs to choose from that it is easy to find what suits you best.”

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