MANILA -- From being a teen star, Jodi Sta. Maria successfully transitioned to becoming one of the finest local actors.
Her eloquence, grace, and acting chops catapulted her to a stature many young actresses can only aspire for.
But in an interview on "Tonight With Boy Abunda" on Monday, she revealed that acting isn't really her dream job.
Away from the spotlight, Sta. Maria wants to be an oncologist.
In 2010, she finished high school, then immediately enrolled in a university under the degree program BS Medical Biology.
But juggling work and studies wasn't really an easy task, especially when the hit series "Be Careful With My Heart" premiered and immediately took over the daytime drama slot.
"Naging sobrang hirap iyong pagsabayin iyong pag-aaral at pag-aartista. It really took a toll on my health," recalls Sta. Maria.
From that point on, Sta. Maria's showbiz career never stopped flourishing. She took in consecutive projects, the latest of which is the hit remake of "Pangako Sa 'Yo," where she played iconic Amor Powers.
Yet despite a blossoming career, Sta. Maria said she still holds on to her dream of becoming a doctor. She is hopeful that, in "God's time," she can achieve it.
"Pinanghahawakan ko iyong pangarap na iyon at naniniwala ako na isang araw mangyayari pa rin siya. Hindi man ngayon, pero siguro sa tamang panahon," she said.
Sta. Maria recently announced that she is returning to school, after discovering a home study program that allows her to have a flexible schedule.
Based on her estimate, she might be able to get her degree in just two and a half years.
"I know that God has been opening doors for me to be able to finish what I've started," she noted. "I believe, si God iyong nag-o-orchestrate ng lahat."
Apart from being an artist and now a student, Sta. Maria is also a doting mom to her 12-year-old son, Thirdy, whom she described as the "most important person in my life" next to God.