boy_abunda.jpgAt age 55, television host Boy Abunda earned his master’s degree in International Relations in Public Diplomacy from the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) on April 11, reports. Boy was teary-eyed during his speech, in which he dedicated his accomplishment to his mother, Maria Fe. “Nanay is 82. She would've wanted to be here, but I dedicate this whole event to her,” he is quoted as saying. “My mother used to [take pride in] the fact that she wrote very well, but she has [a] mild case now of Parkinson’s. She wrote me a note just to say that, ‘Congratulations, Boy, on your graduation, I love you, Boy, and I’m very happy.’”

Two years ago, Boy successfully earned his undergraduate degree in Communication Arts at the same university. When he was younger, he left Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) without finishing his course in Business Management after his father’s death. Using PWU’s equivalency program, his academic units were converted from AdMU, after which he had to take additional subjects, make an undergraduate thesis, and take validating exams.

“You know, the best thing about going to the school para sa akin is you learn how to learn…Tsaka you [realize] ang dami-dami mo pang matutunan. At saka yung natutunan mo sa labas, ang dami-dami mong masi-share sa loob ng academic landscape. At yung academic landscape, ang daming maitutulong doon sa karanasan mo (You realize just how much you can learn. What you learn from outside is useful in the academic landscape, and what you learn from school can help your outside experience),” Boy was quoted as saying on at the time.

Boy’s academic triumph shows that you can keep learning at any age. Education is a lifelong experience, after all, and going back to school is just one way of continuing the learning process. Acquiring new skills through additional training can also improve your chances at getting promotions and better employment.

If you’re a busy career woman, you might find that you don’t have enough time to add an additional short course to your resume or pursue the master’s degree you’ve always wanted to have. Thanks to the advancements in the world, however, going back to school might not be as hard as you think it is. Check out the following options below.


Distance learning is a style of teaching that allows students to take classes without having to physically go to school. You can access online modules at a time convenient for you or participate in virtual classrooms. An open university aims to use distance learning as an alternative way of getting higher education. This is perfect for people who don’t have enough the time and resources to temporarily halt work and go back to school, or those who live too far away to attend the university of their choice.

In the Philippines, the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) is one such educational system with various undergraduate and post-graduate degree programs available for potential students. The Megastar Sharon Cuneta herself is a student in their Associate in Arts program. Some universities also provide online classes as an alternative for people who want to earn their master’s degrees.  For example, the Ateneo de Manila University conducts a distance learning program for its Master of Arts, Major in Journalism degree, and the Philippine Women’s University has a virtual learning environment for their graduate students.


While balancing work and studying might prove a challenge, you do have the option of simplifying your life as a part-time student. Examine what schedules are available for the classes you want to take, and see if you can take them on weekends or in the evenings on your lighter days at work. This will make you less haggard and more alert during lessons.

Also remember that your goal is to earn your degree, not to finish it in the fastest way possible. Only take on a limited number of subjects every semester, especially if you know your schedule won’t be able to handle it if you take on too much. Consider your personal limits, as well. If you know taking two classes in one semester might cause you to overstretch yourself, stick to one.


If you’re not looking to take up a master’s degree, but want to take classes to enhance your skills, consider certificate courses. These will give you further training and add more credibility to your resume. In the competitive professional world, additional education will give you an edge, especially if you’re going against tough opponents vying for the same job or promotion. Sarangani congressman and boxing champion Manny Pacquiao himself has completed a 10-day certificate program in Development Legislation and Governance at the Development Academy of the Philippines.

Another school that provides certificate courses is the University of the Philippine’s School of Labor and Industrial Relations, which has a Management Development program with four modules lasting three days each. After finishing the modules and submitting a feasibility study, you receive a certificate of completion. Those interested in learning other languages can also try taking language certificate courses. ADMU, for example, has Korean language certificate courses.

Want more tips for returning students? Read this article on FN:
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