I memorized the names of their basketball players. I already loved the color blue. And I was fascinated with eagles. I was in 5th Grade when I started thinking about college and boy did I set my eyes on one university along Katipunan. I didn’t want to take any other entrance exam; I was sure.

A few summers rolled by and I was ready. High school was nearly done and I thought I was ready for what was next. Filled with hope and armed with a few chocolate bars, pencils, sharpeners, and a really old eraser, I set foot in one of the grade school classrooms to take my dream university’s entrance exam. I found my seat, took a breath, and spent the whole afternoon answering test after test.

This was the start of the fulfillment of my dream.

Until it wasn’t.

A couple of months later, they released the list of names who successfully passed. I checked online and even on the boards inside the campus—I didn’t make it. I felt a dangerous mix of worry, annoyance, frustration, and doubt.

Suddenly, I had more what-ifs than my dream university’s basketball championships, which was infinite.

But the biggest “what” I had was right next to the word “now.” “So, what now?” I didn’t know where to go. But because of desperate times such as these, I learned a few bits of reality we often overlook.

1. The end of a dream is not the end of the world.

I was sad for a long time until God reminded me that He had great plans for me. Failing to enter my dream school was a big deal at that moment, but I had to look at the bigger picture. I wasn’t back to normal yet, but I had to press on knowing that if this dream wasn’t it, His plans will still always be for my own good.

2. The end of our skills is not the limit to our dreams.

I started applying to different schools, and just for kicks, I tried applying for scholarships too! What’s the harm, right? I was completely relying on what God had planned for me. I wasn’t the most athletic or the smartest, but I have a big God. As I applied to three other schools, I prayed. Whatever I had, no matter how much or how little, it was His to use.

3. His ways are higher than our ways.

At the end of March, a few weeks before graduation, I received letters from the schools. And up to this day, I’m still shocked (shookt!) that I received three full-scholarship offers. I could study free of tuition for my first year and choose to maintain it if I wanted to. I could have forced my way into the dream I thought was good for me, but I’m glad He showed me that His plans were far better. I was undeserving and completely unaware that my God really works for our good. On top of free education, we were given the opportunity to share about God to our schoolmates, start something exciting in Every Nation Campus Makati that still runs to this day, and I got to graduate with leadership honors! This was not a dream come true. This was beyond my wildest dreams.

Choosing and getting into a university will always be challenging, but remember that God STILL has great plans no matter what happens. I’m not just saying that; I’ve experienced it.