Despite the worsening COVID-19 pandemic last year, newly grad Nicaela Luiza Vergara Pangilinan graduated Summa Cum Laude (1st Honor), having straight A’s and with a GPA of 4.0 at Srinakharinwirot University in Bangkok.
Nicaela or Nica graduated in November 2020 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts (BA), Language for Careers Majoring in Mass Communication, a 4-year course at the famed university’s international program. According to the 2020 Thai University Ranking by UniRank, Srinakharinwirot University is the top 9 university in the whole country.
“I enjoy interacting with people. I love expressing myself through communication, be it spoken or written. When it comes to academic interests, I never considered myself as a ‘number person’ but more of a language enthusiast. Studying the intricacy of language and how we use them has always fascinated me. In other words, I’m into linguistics, so I chose a course that aligned not only to what I love to do but also to what I’m passionate to explore academically,” said Nica when asked why she chose Language for Careers degree.
The Pangilinan family hailed from Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija. Her parents, Louie and Liza Pangilinan are both English teachers here in Thailand. Her elder brother Nicolas, who is now in the Philippines, also completed his BA Marketing here in Thailand.
Nica was only 7 years old when the family moved to Thailand. They have been living here for 16 years now. She also completed her primary school at Faith Learning Center (homeschool) and ARK Bangkok, both Filipino schools in Thailand.
When asked for advice to other aspiring Filipino students in Thailand, Nica has this to say:
“The best advice I can give to other students is that they make it a decision to prioritise excellence as the standard. It’s true your grades will not define your whole identity but they will reflect a glimpse of your character. It’s not easy to stay committed and motivated in studying. It’s easier to lose track of the goal, settle for whatever outcome is possible, and compromise your academic performance. This is why you have to make a consistent decision to be a disciplined learner. You have to choose to be always persevering, resilient, patient, and humble, then the success and reward that speak of your excellence in your studies and of your character will eventually follow. Of course, in the end, no matter how much praise or recognition you get, never forget to point back all the glory and honor to the One who perfectly orchestrated everything and made all your victories possible.”
Nica’s ultimate goal in life
Since highschool, I always dreamed of not only finishing an undergraduate degree but also receiving a postgraduate academic opportunity (in linguistics) once I gain professional work experience. But that’s a long-term, practical goal that I’m hoping to achieve in the distant future. For now, I plan to stay in Thailand with my parents and work here.
I don’t have any extravagant plan or goal. I believe that many are the plans that I can make but really at the end of it all it is God who opens doors and decides the way I should go. So I believe my role is just to follow that and make it my ultimate goal to do whatever He wants me to do. I just want to make the best out of every season. I want to take things one step at a time, to learn and grow slowly as an individual, and, hopefully, in that process, to create a positive and God-honoring influence to those around me, particularly the younger generation.
Before I wanted to set an excellent example as a student and as a daughter. Soon, it’s going to be as a young professional. And of course still as a daughter (I’m beyond grateful for my parents for providing me with a decent education and for supporting me from day one). But regardless of what, I just want to leave a lasting impact. I want people to feel blessed when they look at my life. To encourage and inspire them. To be a blessing.