Paulus Soliven’s decision put him on a path of opportunities
The pandemic has given a lot of young people time for soul searching, and for some it means taking a break from school. Twenty-one-year-old Paulus Joseph Soliven II is one of them.
Like most students, before the pandemic, he was set on a college course. But when the pandemic hit and schools had to do online classes, Soliven decided to put school on hold. “The reason was because of the uncertainty of everything. We’ve never been in this situation so my family and I thought of this situation as the best time to stop school because most of the schools, not all, will certainly adjust to the new norm (online learning), which I think will make the students half-baked in terms of knowledge, skills, etc.”
Soliven admitted to another reason— the financial. “My mom and dad’s bread and butter requires face-to-face contact.”
His father is a scuba diving instructor in Batangas, while his mother is a financial adviser. Both needed physical presence to meet clients, which the pandemic didn’t allow.
That is why he opted to stop school for a while and focus on his music— “I’ve been doing music ever since I was nine years old.”
Back in high school at San Beda Alabang he was also a varsity basketball player and was also very active in performing during school events.
“I was hooked listening to The Beatles for quite some time when I was in third grade because my lolo (Virgilio Arlante) asked me to put some Beatles song in his mp3. I haven’t heard about The Beatles way back but when I tried to play one of their hit songs, ‘Hey Jude’, it literally blew me away. And that was it. I quickly learned how to play the guitar just to imitate Paul McCartney. That’s how I got into music.”
Right now he gets to perform in various scuba resorts in Anilao, Batangas, which he started back in October 2020 when things opened up. “It felt really good to get to perform again. I was super anxious and depressed during the lockdown,” he said. “Even if the lockdown lasted months, it felt like it was years.”
Now he is busy putting up some of the songs he composed in Spotify, which are mostly about his recent life experiences: love, friends, even politics.
And Soliven doesn’t regret taking a break from school. “I stopped for a year and I’m kind of proud of it not because I stopped but because I have learned things I had never knew in my whole existence in this world. Things that school never taught me.”
He realized that the whole idea of school is not for everyone. “Although I’m still very grateful that I got the opportunity to finish high school and go to college, what I’m trying to say is that a drop-out could be successful. Someone who didn’t finish college could be successful in the future. It all depends on the situation they’re in. Success is subjective. Once you found out your own meaning of success, you’d do anything to achieve it, whatever the outcome may be. The important thing is to keep going forward on the path that you believe is right.”
But now he’s gone back to school, at De La Salle University Dasmarinas, taking up International Development. He still goes to Anilao to scuba dive with his dad and perform in some resorts in the area.
“I had so many realizations during the height of the pandemic but there’s one thing that I found out this pandemic that I can share and that I still live by today: ‘That in isolation, you find your true self without conforming to society. The only reason we aren’t ourselves is because we immerse ourselves in the norms of society. Isolate your mind and focus only on what you know’”.
Photography Lem Atienza
Styling Luis Carlo San Juan
Fashion by Forever 21 and SM Surplus