Before going pro, Erika Raagas made sure to fulfill dream of graduating from Ateneo

Erika Raagas made great strides for the Akari Chargers in the last PVL All-Filipino Conference.

After going scoreless in the team’s first two games, Raagas began humming in a win against the Chery Tiggo Crossovers with seven points. In their next game, she upped her scoring with 13 points in another victory over the Farm Fresh Foxies. The 5’5 outside hitter, then, got the nod to start against the Cignal HD Spikers and she repaid the trust given by Coach Jorge Souza de Brito as she tallied 16 points in a loss.

Raagas proved that she’s a special player when given the chance, and her spectacular performance as of late was a reflection of her excellence in her studies when she was still a student-athlete in the Ateneo de Manila University.

Kid you not, Raagas did not consider playing in the PVL initially.

“When I left Ateneo, I wasn’t really planning on going pro, but then the opportunity came up and I told myself that it wouldn’t hurt to try going this career path,” said the former Atenean.

Just like in the UAAP, Raagas had to balance the demands of college and professional volleyball as she was still finishing her BS Management degree in Ateneo when she joined Akari July of last year.

“Mostly I had to plan out my week or month ahead instead of just taking it one day at a time because of the distance the training venue was to school. I had to know in advance what I had in store for both aspects so I could efficiently manage my time and already have a summary of how my week or month’s going to be like,” said Raagas.

“Luckily for me, I was only taking 2 classes at the time I left and both were hybrid classes, so it was just like being a student-athlete for the school all over again, but only this time, training was farther away from campus. Although I must say that time management and knowing my priorities were some of the main factors that really helped me survive studying while playing pro,” she added.

Raagas’ relentless pursuit of her goal to graduate from one of the most prestigious schools in the country never wavered despite the challenges she encountered along the way. What was once a long-shot dream turned into a “pinch me” reality.

“It has always been my dream to graduate from Ateneo ever since I was in grade school. Getting that degree was for my family who believed in me, and the little Erika who only ever dreamed of studying in Ateneo.”

And in that school, Raagas learned lessons that she would bring for the rest of her life.

“College has made me realize that no matter what situation you are in or how bad you think things are going, you are never alone and that it’s okay if you haven’t gotten anything or everything figured out yet. Life’s all about enjoying the journey and process of it all,” she shared.

Raagas also knows that playing the game she loves isn’t forever, and that when she steps away from professional volleyball, she can still venture to a different path.

“Education is and always will be an important part of life. It’s the one thing that no one can take from you. When the time comes when I am no longer physically able to do my job as a professional athlete, I’m comforted by the thought that I still have other options in career paths when I choose to see things from an educational perspective.”

It wasn’t easy getting to where she is now, but she’s here because she willed and reminded herself of her purpose and goal. That’s why you should to.

“Put your heart into everything that you do. Motivation won’t be there everyday to help you get up in the morning or give you the one last push you need, but if you do things with love and remember WHY you’re doing what you do, you realize you’re capable of anything you set your heart to.”

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