Education is your stepping stone to your career. Sometimes, the more prestigious your school, some competitive companies believe, the higher your value is. Some celebrities, because of their busy schedule, have opted to skip (tertiary) school entirely just to focus on their hectic work. Understandable. Yet, there are some who have landed a high-paying job in the entertainment scene even before they completed their studies. Take Joj and Jai Agpangan, both 23, whose claim to fame was their entry to the Pinoy Big Brother house in 2012. The two have since appeared in various Kapamilya hit shows and films, all while pursuing a degree from the University of the Philippines Open University.
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School wasn't a walk in the park for new grads Joj and Jai. “It was a miracle!” Joj tells ABS-CBN Lifestyle over how she and her twin sister managed to earn their degree despite being in a demanding career. The two had to take a break from the spotlight during their first year in school, to strike a balance. “As time went by, naka-adjust kami,” Jai adds. “Thank You, Lord!”
Among the challenges they encountered came about in the last few terms of their course. Read: Time management and sleep deprivation. “Nung nag-Araw Gabi (show) ako, ang class ko ay Monday, Wednesday, and Friday tapos ang shooting din MWF. Sobrang sagasa,” Jai muses. “So may times na ang ginawa ko, sinabi ko sa teacher ko, ‘Teacher, puwede ako makisingit, kahit pumunta ako sa Tuesday and Thursday classes para lang makapasa?’ Nakaya naman!”
Joj also recalls the struggle. “I was doing The Good Son and Bagani. May days ako na 7 AM pumupunta sa school kasi early class ako. So 6 AM na pack-up from shoot, deretso ako sa school. Laban lang!” Being twins had its "perks" when faced with predicaments, to which Joj would jokingly narrate Jai filling in for her role in one of her TV shows. Jai adds, “Magkamukha naman daw kami! Hindi naman halata!”
Thesis also proved to be another horrific, character-building experience for the two. One time, the twins were taping in a place in Baguio with poor signal. It didn't take long for them to decide on literally climbing a mountain just to add some more bars. “Grabe, nakita ng mga tao yung struggle namin,” shares Jai. “Umakyat kami sa bundok para magka-signal kasi may thesis kami na kailangan tapusin.”
Joj adds another interesting anecdote. “I remember one thesis of mine, report kasi tapos hindi ako makapunta sa school so nag-FaceTime nalang ako with my teacher. Kailangan ko mag-interview ng director and pioneer sa craft, and buti nalang si Direk Cathy nag-agree sa akin so mataas yung grade ko dun!” Jai also shares, “Ako naman, na-interview ko sila Tatay Joey Marquez para sa thesis ko din. Super maalaga sila sa amin. Tinulungan nila kami kaya naka-graduate kami.”
Yet, despite these struggles, Joj and Jai finished college strong and sporting wide beams. College life, it would seem, proved to be one heck of a ride—thanks to the friends and experiences they've both gained along the way. “Our course kasi is related sa work namin because it’s more on speaking, engagement with people,” Joj says. “You communicate a lot and it’s something we love to do.”
Joj and Jai can now only breathe with pride, having achieved this milestone. Jai stressed, “Kahit walang tulog, walang excuse excuse kasi there’s always a time for everything. Kahit one hour or two hours, not bad, you can read books for school!” Joj has another lesson to impart from it all. “We pull each other up. Kami ni Jai talaga, sabay kaming hindi sumusuko. Ang life kasi, isang malaking challenge, pero ang saya!”
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Photographs taken from instagram.com/jaiagpangan and instagram.com/jojmartin