It is not new for the students taking Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) and/or Hospitality Management to hear the following comments about their chosen field:
“Bakit HRM kinuha mo? Magiging tagahugas ka lang ng pinggan, taga-linis, taga-silbi, taga-luto.” (Why did you take HRM? You’ll only end up as a dishwasher, housekeeper, server, cook.)
“HRM lang pala course mo. Madali lang yan.” (It’s just HRM. It’s easy.)
“Pang-mahihinang-ulo lang ang HRM.” (HRM is just for the feeble-minded.)
And many other negative perception towards the said program.
As a former student of Hospitality Management, I feel bad whenever I hear those statements from other people, particularly from students taking non-HRM courses. I do not understand the need to belittle student taking courses outside the fields of Science, Technology, Mathematics, and Business.
But just like anybody else, I also thought that HRM is easy-peasy. Right after high school, I honestly do not know which course to take in college. I have planned to pursue Accountancy because I enjoyed my bookkeeping class in high school. But, I have found out that there is a qualifying exam in Accountancy which a student needs to pass in order to retain in the said program. After knowing about it, I have already judged myself that I won’t make it, even without giving it a try. So, I got discouraged. I do not know what other courses should I put in my college registration form. Then, out of nowhere, I just chose Hospitality Management. I thought I would enjoy it because some of my friends in high school enrolled in the said program. Besides, I also enjoyed my cooking class in high school. And what alsod convinced me to pursue Hospitality Management is the university’s state-of-the-art facilities and for being known for their Tourism and Hospitality Management programs.
Yes, HRM is fun. I actually enjoyed the program, especially during practical activities such as dining operations and kitchen operations. Who would not enjoy feasting what you have produced, cooked, and/or baked? We also have sessions for beverage tasting and appreciation. Who would not want alcohol in class? (haha!) I also enjoyed wearing different sets of uniforms: for Food and Beverage/Banquet Operations, Bar Management, Front Office Operations, and Kitchen Operations. These uniforms gave me a sense of pride and a feeling of being a young professional instead of being a student. What I really loved the most during my HRM days is the tour. Though expensive, the tour is a relevant part of the program of Tourism and Hospitality Management as it is one way of allowing the students experience what the tourism and hospitality industry has to offer. The tour could be domestic or international, depending on the itinerary set by the university.
Regarding the subjects, it is not true that we do not have any Science and Math subjects. I actually enjoyed familiarizing different types of bacteria causing food-borne illnesses in our Food Safety and Sanitation class. We were also exposed to the scientific side of food in our Culinary Nutrition class. For the Math-related subjects, we may not have hardcore ones but we have Business Mathematics and Basic Accounting. Just like in any other courses, we also have general education subjects, such as Environmental Science, Basic Statistics, Economics, Philosophy and Logic, General Psychology, Philippine Constitution etc. Some of our major subjects have computations too. In our Front Office Operations, we have computation for room rates and estimation. For Kitchen Operations and Dining Operations, we have budgetting and costing. Aside from Science and Math-related subjects, we have more of the management and organizational classes. We also have to study the legal aspects of the Tourism and Hospitality industry. And lastly, we are also expected to learn to speak at least two foreign languages. Therefore, HRM is not really for the feeble-minded.
As for the level of difficulty, HRM is not that difficult but it is absolutely not that easy too. Since I had a first hand experience of what HRM is like, I would rather say that the program is truly challenging. It takes a lot of burning passion, diligence, and resiliency in order to survive the program – one must be strong-willed. In HRM, it is not enough to be book-smart. The program focuses more on your skills which is why our subjects have different simulations and assessment which are usually subject to time pressure.
It was during my internship when I realized that I was not fit for the program. Real-life situation is totally different from the simulations in school. I was assigned to be in the kitchen operations of the restaurant during my internship. There were times that the manager or anyone in authority would yell at you and/or even demean your character – but this is just normal in the industry. Your total well-being will be challenged which is why you have to be tough physically, mentally, and emotionally. You have to get used to it and do not take it personally. Every minute in the kitchen counts. You are only allowed to sit and take a rest during your scheduled breaks and it is usually just one 30-minute break for the entire shift. You’re lucky if the establishment offers an hour break or in-between shift breaks. Overtime is also normal in the industry, and most of the time it is mandatory. You may be required to extend for few more hours outside your 8-hour work period. There were times I found myself crying because I can no longer bear the load, the pressure, and the expectations. I even tried to find motivation from my fellow interns, friends, and professors just for me to keep going. But unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. So, I decided not to finish the internship, as well as the program of Hospitality Management. It is difficult to work on something you do not love whole-heartedly. Let’s just say that I just took the program for granted.
I actually got good grades in all of my subjects. I was even a consistent part of the Dean’s List and I was even a resident academic scholar for several times in our university. I was also given that once in a lifetime opportunity to compete in several prestigious culinary events in the country, that most of my friends in the program wished to join. But look, I did not survive the program that most of us belittle and underestimate.
We all have reasons why we have decided to take a certain program. And your reasons for taking your course are also the same reasons why some students take HRM and/or Hospitality Management program. No one deserves to be belittled. No courses in college deserve to be looked down, be it a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree, or even vocational courses – they all have different levels of difficulty.
Now, tell me if HRM is “just HRM.”