“There are so many problems in this world that need solving. Kumon has been crucial in forming a habit of dissecting real-world problems.
This allowed Pocholo Miguel Espina, fondly known as Poch, to understand the world he is in, all while believing that he can always do something more. He learned this from seeing changing environments and competitive surroundings at an early age. These experiences propelled him to be in his place today—a leader of a company that aims to make the world a greener place.
But like every successful Kumon student, his journey wasn’t a breeze. He was already in ﬁfth grade when his mom enrolled him in the Kumon Math Program. He started at Level A (Horizontal Addition and Subtraction).
At first, it was easy for him because he was already familiar with the topic. But when Poch reached high school, he needed to transfer to a science high school in Davao City. With this, his daily routine had to change while he adjusted to a new environment. This change somehow affected his class schedule in Kumon Butuan City Center.
Adjusting to Challenges, Staying Motivated
When Poch moved from Butuan to Davao to attend high school on his own, he knew that his parents wouldn’t be with him all the time. Even Teacher Joy, his Kumon Instructor, wouldn’t be within arm’s reach when he needed help with his Kumon worksheets. When he reached Level J (Algebra) onwards, his progress started to slow down. He only realized he wanted to complete the program when he reached Level K (Functions) despite the challenges he encountered in school and Kumon.
“I thought to myself that I only had four levels left to ﬁnish until I can ﬁnally say that I’ve completed the program, so I took this challenge to heart. Luckily, it was also around this time that they shortened the program to Level O (Advanced Differentiation and Integration, Differential Equations),” Poch said.
“I work best when I enjoy doing what I do. So I did my best to ﬁnd joy in learning to keep me motivated until I completed the program. I also didn’t worry about the succeeding levels because I believed that if I ﬁnished a certain level, what I’ve learned from it is enough to equip me for the succeeding levels,” he added.
Reaping the Fruits of the Kumon Journey
As Poch looks back on his journey, he could liken what he’s learned in Kumon to what he had experienced when he was doing Levels M (Trigonometry, Straight Lines, Circles), N (Loci, Sequences and Series, Limits of Functions, Differentiation), and O (Advanced Differentiation and Integration, Differential Equations) in the Math Program.
“These levels required armchair thinking and problem-solving skills. When I checked my answers in these sets of equations, I found out that my answer was correct, but the solutions are different from those of the answer book!” Poch said.
“It means that there is no one-solution book to all and that the only one stopping you is yourself. With this mindset, I founded an environmental enterprise that champions waste management solutions for the people and the planet,” he added.
With all the hard work in school, Kumon, and in life, Poch achieved great heights. He founded a Filipino company called Sip PH. His business aims to create solutions to Earth’s waste problems to help save the People and the Planet. He and his team also help other businesses, communities, and other groups practice and embrace more sustainable practices.
“I strongly believe in the lessons we get from experience, which Kumon has offered perfectly. When people are more tactile, visual, and auditory, it allows them to grasp the idea better rather than sticking through abstract theories,” he shared.
Advice from One Kumon Student to Another
Although he had already capped his colorful journey in Kumon and is now making the world a greener place, he wishes to share bits of wisdom with other Kumon students.
“I believe that everyone walks at their own pace. It’s better to enjoy the things you do than pressuring yourself so much if you feel you can’t do a certain thing. You may get continuously discouraged if you think you’re bad at something or feel like you can’t do it anymore. Just make it happen and go through it. If you can push yourself beyond what you’re capable of, then it’s already a big step ahead! People have different experiences, so never forget that starting something is much better than doing nothing at all,” he advised.