Inspiration

WATCH: Vito Puyat's Uplifting Graduation Address at Newcastle University

The 21-year-old son of Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat graduated with the highest possible honors in the U.K.
IMAGE COURTESY BERNA ROMULO-PUYAT
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Vito Puyat, son of Department of Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat, just graduated from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom as a First Class Honours student. This is the highest possible grade classification one can achieve in the U.K. and is an indicator of excellent academic performance.

During his graduation ceremony, Vito spoke on behalf of the graduating class. In his speech, he recounted the challenges that he and his fellow graduates have had to overcome in the past three years.

“Your presence here is a testament of the countless trials and tribulations you’ve conquered. But university is not something [we] finished on [our] own—friends, family, and staff played no small role in helping us to get to where we are today,” he said.

“It was a fear for many of us that we wouldn’t have our current bonds. Now, I’m sure that fear has been replaced by feelings of gratitude towards all those who were generous enough to shoulder our personal burdens throughout all of our best and worst moments.”

“The journey ahead will yield even greater hardships, disappointments, and failures but I’m confident that each of our successes will shine through and prevail,” he continued.

Watch the full video below:

Vito believes that anyone, including his fellow Filipinos, can enter into the best universities and accomplish many things with the right vision. “Filipinos are capable of great things so it is just about that time for us to expand our horizons and look to what we can achieve in a worldwide scale,” he shares in a separate clip taken by his mother.

Always unassuming, Vito never expected to graduate as an honor student. “You always just have to put in the work, be diligent, and have the right attitude toward things,” he said, “You can’t really assume that things will be given to you.”

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At the Tyne-based university known for its outstanding research programs, Vito pursued a Bachelor of Science degree with a focus on Psychology, while also taking up several classes on neuroscience.

“My course, Psychology, provided an eclectic mix of modules to pique and maintain the interest of aspiring psychologists in a multitude of fields and occupations," he says of his chosen track and his alma mater. "My studies at Newcastle was an excellent learning experience.”

His time there, indeed, was far from uneventful. Vito became a member of the Psychology Society, which he says provided him with greater opportunities to form stronger bonds with his fellow Psychology students and others outside the course. “Being a student representative allowed me the opportunity to work closely with my fellow course mates and staff to enhance the learning experience of everyone within the course,” he says.

Apart from joining student organizations, Vito also completed a research internship at the Institute of Neuroscience, which allowed him to “develop invaluable skills, such as adaptability, critical thinking, and independence, as well as fostered my interest in neuropsychology research.”

College allowed Vito some key takeaways, of course. “A lesson that’s remained embedded in my mind is to keep being curious,” he shares. “If one is curious enough to keep inquiring after one’s passion, this curiosity, along with the hard work that arises from it, can get past the hardships, disappointments, and failures that we experience before reaching greater successes.”

What’s next for the 21-year-old wunderkind? He plans to pursue postgraduate studies in neuroscience.

“Studying at Newcastle gave me the opportunity to interact and even contribute to the research done at the university,” he says. “I really enjoyed the school’s educational and research environment and I want to continue working in a similar environment.”

Before he begins further studies and a lifelong career in his chosen field, Vito will return to the Philippines to spend time with loved ones. “There will always be time to pursue my interest in further studies but there also has to be time dedicated to my own family and friends back home,” he explains.

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About The Author
Hannah Lazatin
Senior Staff Writer
Hannah is a communications graduate from Ateneo de Manila University. She’s originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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