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Life and Work with Sherry Ruffy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sherry Ruffy.

Sherry, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
This is me, unedited and raw. I was born in the Philippines, grew up in San Diego, and currently residing in Arizona. As a first-generation Filipina American, I am the product of two different cultures fused into one. The aroma of home-cooked Filipino dishes, holiday parties with never-ending karaoke, and frequent trips with my best friends and our families constructed pieces of the simple, yet colorful and unforgettable pastiche of my childhood. My mom would intermittently share stories of her upbringing— stories marked by distinct contrasts between life in the Philippines and in the United States. Because my mom did not grow up as fortunate as I did, at such a young age, her stories sparked an ever-growing drive inside to become a successful somebody, someday. It resulted in an underlying pressure in everything that is to come and things to be expected of me— as the firstborn, as the first generation, and as the only daughter— I created that pressure. But somewhere in the moments between, that pressure transformed into self-discovery and motivation, my catalysts for passion.

I am currently completing my final year of undergrad as a psychology major. I have always been passionate about psychology. I like to think of it as psychology found me, instead of the other way around. When I was a little girl, I liked listening to the problems of the people around me and found pleasure in trying to help resolve them. My friends would often refer to me as “deep” in my words and thoughts in fifth grade. I eventually became the go-to person for mild life crises and silly boy issues in middle school. I have always been fond of cottoning to the emotions and issues of people, I still am. I think it stemmed from the obstacles I had to surmount at such a young age. There were times in which I felt alone and facing my feelings would only be a burden to those around me. As an adult, I realized that most, if not all, of the advice that I had bestowed as a kid, were deep-rooted from my own feelings and were words I wished someone had apprised me. I have always wanted to be a psychologist before I even know the word ‘psychology,’ unknowingly that there is such a profession. I truly learned the term ‘psychology’ during a brief lecture about Sigmund Freud in my world history class in high school. I instantly knew that it was what I wanted to pursue, and here we are.

Overwhelmed, tired of being in school, and mostly being lazy, I spent the first year of junior college convincing myself otherwise that I should not follow through with psychology due by the fact that I would have to attend grad school to be a clinical psychologist. It was also during this year by which I sincerely learned more about myself. I used to be uncomfortable being alone but I spent a whole year doing just that and it was one of the best things that I have ever done for myself. I ate out alone, discovered new places by myself, and so on. My ultimate favorite was my weekly drives up and down the coast, blasting music, feeling the fresh California breeze with all my windows down, and being deep in thought about my future, my family, and the abstract. Additionally, it was also during this year I discovered that I actually don’t want to pursue clinical psychology, but industrial and organizational psychology, instead, and this time, I’m indeed looking forward to grad school! Oh, and I also cut off dating for a whole year— I know, right? I felt that by knowing my true self and being able to be there for myself when I need to be, nothing can hinder me. It was this year where I grew up a little more and found my independence. I think that loving yourself first is the healthiest and purest thing one should do for themselves. Loving yourself is so powerful because, at the end of the day, the only person left by your side is yourself. Sometimes, people can’t or won’t always be there for you but you have yourself and that should be perfectly fine, too. I think that absolute self-love and self-care isn’t shopping ‘til you drop or downing some margaritas. Yes, treat yourself but when it comes down to it, it’s all about making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from. Life can be a mess, so be the masterpiece in the pandemonium. Before anything, find yourself, be yourself, stay committed to yourself, and love yourself.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My journey is anything but smooth. The most arduous struggle I ever had to overcome was my parent’s divorce and I guess in some ways, I am still presently dealing with it. My parents separated when I was nine and divorced two years after that in which traumatized me; not by the fact that they were not together anymore, but by the events that were happening concurrently during the process. I’m pretty transparent when it comes to this subject because even though it brought me hell over the course of a decade and counting, it has taught me so much about the value of family and of myself. An abundance of changes occurred, great ones, but the bitterness and pain that I held onto clouded my vision of seeing clearly the new beginning that was unfolding. It wasn’t until sophomore year of high school when I officially set free the burden, anger, and agonizing pain in my heart; one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself. Sometimes, things will not always turn out the way they were anticipated, but somehow, someway, it always works out for the best, you just have to be patient. The detours of life aren’t so bad and appreciating them will enhance a new perspective.

Through my experiences, I learned that family has nothing to do with the bloodline. Family is the people who choose to stay by your side come hell or high water. I am forever grateful for my mom and step-dad for their unconditional love and support— my greatest role models. My experiences has also taught me that it is all right to not be ok. Life is this imperfect adventure and you will uncontrollably get hurt, but cry it out and get back up on your feet! Things will continue to hurt if you keep allowing them. I know that it’s easier said than done to move on, but it is not unattainable. One day at a time. Holding onto what’s truly hurting you is detrimental to your mental health and in addition to that, it will only impede your growth. Sometimes we are faced with challenges that may seem insurmountable, but you have to persevere and rise above it. Do it for yourself. People will also come and go and sadly, it is rather normal. Letting people go is a complexity on its own; you can’t change the people around you but you can change the people you choose to be around. Detoxify yourself from toxic people because more often than not, things that happen frequently is not a mistake, it’s behavior. Keep them in your heart but keep the negativity out of your life.

Your journey, especially if you are just at the beginning of it like I am, is one of the most exhilarating and nerve-wracking adventures that you will ever experience. Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you sometimes. It will test you in many ways and the chaos will exhaust you, but it will also keep you ignited by its beauty. Yes, life can get messy and it is quite unpredictable, but you will survive it. Whatever it is you want to achieve, keep going after it! And if you’re unsure, never stop searching for it. It’s all about attitude. It gives you power over those difficult circumstances. There are plenty of things that you have no control over, but the one thing you can control and change is your attitude, it makes all the difference.

Please tell us about your business.
My main job for the past six years has been to be a student but I’m almost done! For now. I used to allow myself to feel insecure about how “slow” I was going in achieving my ambitions while my friends and peers were smoothly and quickly unfolding theirs. But I turned my self-discouragements into motivation because nonetheless, I was and still am very happy to see my peers attaining their goals. I guess there’s always going to be some type of latent pressure from society, your environment, and especially yourself, but don’t compare yourself to the success of others. Let that fuel your grind to keep going. We tend to forget that baby steps still move us forward. Take your time but hurry up!

I’m currently in Buenos Aires interning for a web developer company, Amalgama. I work closely with the administration, developing strategic designs and creating ways to further better the work environment. Though Amalgama is a startup company, we have plenty of clients in the East Coast, Europe, and all across the greater Buenos Aires area but we are gaining popularity, and fast! A lot of what I do has to do with employee relations and recruitment. So far, I have written a proposal for the board of directors on behalf of the employees, written strategical articles, and revised the interview process and questions. I love what I do and I can’t wait to tackle some more projects for the company. Interning at Amalgama is like a self-confirmation that this is truly something I can see myself being happy doing as a career as it relates to industrial/organizational psychology.

Are there any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve benefited from using?
I like to read, especially quotes. My favorite, and I think it speaks for itself, is by Eric Roth:

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”

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Image Credit:
Sherry Ruffy

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