In a land clustered within islands where culture and dreams connive, stands a prodigious university that excels in Science and Technology. Many are in awe with its quality education and its core values. However, there is a girl who clearly deviates from the pack. Her name is Stella.

Stella was born in a highly privileged family. She always had more than she would ever need- clothes, bags, accessories, opportunities and other material needs. As an only child, she also received all the affections her family could afford to give. She is the epitome of a girl’s perfect life. It was quite easy for her to say, “Buy me this please, so that I’d look even more beautiful.” She’d confidently walk around with her high platform shoes, bat her perfectly primed lashes at men, and strut the latest fashion with her posse. What could she ever ask for?

Well, nobody is born perfect. Perfection means no room for change, but Stella wants to change her style every day. Her terrible attitude paid the price for beauty, fame and wealth. She looked down on people who could never afford to buy fancy clothes like her. She looked down on people who walked the streets with filth under their fingernails. She hated the poor.

Everything was running well for Stella. One night, a strong typhoon blew away everything she had. She’s left with her parents and a devastated house. “No! NO! This can’t be!” Their family transferred to a new city- alien and harsh.

One day, while she was eating lunch alone, a classmate asked to sit beside her. She consented although it was clear on her face that she disliked sitting with her. “Don’t you have lunch?” she asked rudely. “It’s okay,” was the only reply she received. Stella decided to leave the conversation at that; since she disliked her meal even more. ”Just dried fish and rice? Is this all?”

Later that week, she bumped into a classmate who asked her if she could walk with her. She agreed despite the obvious disinterest on her features. “Don’t you have other clothes?” she blurted out after noticing that the other girl wore the same outfit she used a few weeks ago. “I do, but I haven’t washed them all yet,” the girl replied softly. “You wash your own clothes?” Stella asked incredulously. The girl felt ashamed, but she still walked with her. Stella stared at her own reflection and wondered how her parents could give her such normal clothing now. “Is this all they can give to me?”

She didn’t like her stay in the new university despite the quality education she was receiving. She begged her parents to transfer her to a different school, but their current crisis barely left them any money at all.  “We can’t Stella,” her mother said. “We don’t live the same life before,” her father continued.

She went to school that day with a heavy heart. Once inside the University, she was surprised to know that a program was held for the benefit of the typhoon victims. There, she saw that same classmate who once sat with her at lunch, giving a bagful of clothes and necessities for donation. “Come join us Stella. Our fellowmen needs as much help as possible,” she heard her say. She continued on, feeling a little pain in her heart as she watched that scene.

Later, she witnessed a presentation meant for the typhoon survivors. She did not expect to see the same classmate she once insulted with her clothing style, to render a beautiful song. Stella’s heart was even moved to tears, after seeing the students sing along with the song and held hands.

She realized how much she squandered money without trying to think of the people who could have used that money to live. She cried, “Oh what have I done Lord? I must have been a terrible person.” A hand patted her shoulders lightly and she looked up. “Worry not Stella, you can still help us. Here, we could use your help to advertise for our next fund-raising.”

Stella stood, eager to help. She knew now that MUST have more than just a decent education to offer. MUSTeans embed the core values of MUST into their daily lives- this is something she failed to see when she complained about the little things she once thought mattered. Now she knows that unity in times of calamity is what really matters most.

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