An ‘FOB’ aces Rutgers as magna cum laude
When Patricia Payumo and her mom emigrated from Muntinlupa, Philippines to Allentown, Pennsylvania in 2013, she was called an FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) in her high school for her accent. Fast forward nine years later, and the FOB, now 23, is a marketing magna cum laude graduate from prestigious Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Coming to America was not a breeze for Payumo. It was a lot of adjustment, especially for a teenager trying to assimilate. For the new immigrant in town, the ESL classroom was her safe space where other students of different ethnicities shared her lot.
Actually, Payumo could have opted for a career in the Philippine entertainment industry. People always told her that she looks like Kathryn Bernardo and Nadine Lustre, two of the brightest and biggest young stars in the Philippines.
She was encouraged to audition when her dad, who was a sound engineer at ABS-CBN network, would bring her to work. She even made a few Kathryn Bernardo impersonations on Vine, Facebook and YouTube. “It was good while it lasted,” she laughed.
Wise dad advised her to earn a college degree first before considering the entertainment industry. Then came the chance to emigrate for better economic prospects for her family. Besides her parents wanted U.S. educational opportunities for their brood.
After high school, Payumo took up accounting in a community college in New Jersey. Her siblings are all accountants, and she loves math. But after finding out that accounting was mainly “crunching numbers,” she switched to marketing at Rutgers Business School.
“I wanted to pursue something in the business field, hence I switched to marketing.” Being well-versed in social media (“I used to make Filipino-related videos”) she wants to be an entrepreneur that utilizes content-creation in marketing.
She has never been prouder of pursuing something she genuinely enjoys and she takes pride in being a Filipino American graduate of a prestigious public university. “Wearing the Philippine flag was truly an honor, and I was easy to find by my family & friends during the graduation ceremony.”
Payumo knows how to balance fun and hard work. Her advice to her fellow Gen Z-ers: “Work smart and don’t overwork. We may feel pressure from our family to finish college within a timeframe, but I will encourage everyone [from my generation] to sit down with their parents and communicate that everyone has their own paths.”