Onwards & Forward: Life Lessons from High School

I can still remember how my relatives were convincing me to try applying for Pasig City Science High School. “I-mamaintain ‘yang grade mo diyan,” “Advanced ‘yang mga lessons niyo kaysa sa iba,” and “Naku, may allowance diyan!” were probably some of the lines I’ve always heard. As for me, being the gullible [and indecisive] person that I am, went for it.

So I applied. Got interviewed. Passed the entrance exam [unexpectedly]. (I can still remember the day I took the entrance exam and I was absolutely sure I flunked it. I wasn’t even able to finish the Math subtest!) How the hell did I pass? Check out Life Lesson #1.

Life Lesson #1: If it’s meant to be, it will be.

As I was saying, I had no assurance that I was passing the entrance test. Yes, I know I did well on the interviews; but with the written exams, I’m not so sure. The Math subtest was 40 items and I only managed to answer 18 of them! Sometimes, all it takes is enough courage to actually try. I believe that life is as simple as that. If it’s for you, then it will be given to you. If it’s not, then there are many alternatives.

As I look back, I realized that I couldn’t think of a better high school for me other than Pasig City Science High School. At first, I may not be so sure about what I was getting into; but as I got out, I realized that it has been such a journey.

Summer classes came so when my mother and I attended orientations, they were suggesting the students to take summer classes so that they’ll be much more prepared for the seventh grade lessons. So again, I took advanced English, Math, and Science lessons. And by that time, my newbie Pascian self learned Life Lesson #2.

Life Lesson #2: If you want it, you’ve got to work hard for it.

Summer classes were exciting, really. Section C was great, since it consisted of the usual fun class—the noisy and funniest students, the smart kids, the quiet/geeky ones (I think this was where I belonged), and students you can’t simply categorize.

It didn’t really get exciting by Math, though. I can remember myself not understanding anything that our Math teacher explained when he was talking about the operations on integers? And the FOIL method? Dang, I found those the most confusing. Conversion of basic units was a pain in the ass, too. I can still remember myself memorizing every unit from distances, areas, and volumes… my little brain almost popped!

If you’ve been given the chance to study in such a great school like PCSHS, then, you’ve got to learn how to survive. So I did. Even if there were fundamental concepts and ideas that were quite confusing to grasp, I managed to learned them.

I remember in my first quarter of seventh grade, I was devastated to have an average of 88. (My elementary self knew I could score 90 or higher!) I didn’t use my devastation to make myself feel low, though, but I used it to actually become better. On the second quarter, I managed to be part of the Top Ten of my class (which was an achievement for me)! Let’s go, G7 Galileo!

Life Lesson #3: When doing tasks, do not settle for less.

I’ve always been tired of procrastinating the things that I had to do. Whether it may be writing [or revising] a thesis paper, outlining a report, or studying for an upcoming test, I learned that it was important not to settle for less. I know this tip is going to be hard—especially for crammers—but it’s true. When I attempt to do my chores at home, my mom always says to me, “Ginawa mo na nga eh. Gawin mo na ‘yung best mo.” And I think that quote doesn’t just apply in household chores, but also in real life situations.

On an academic context, I recalled this subject I was really struggling with in twelfth grade, and that was CPAR (Contemporary Philippine Arts from the Regions). It’s not that I was struggling to grasp concepts and ideas creatively, but I was just quite lazy to memorize all the works by Filipino artists. Little did I know our teacher would be giving us objective-based quizzes that involved memorization and mastery of the Filipino/National artists. To make a long story short, I almost failed. I got a flat 80 on my third quarter grade, and that really dragged the other subjects down. I was traumatized, so I studied real hard in the next quarter. I copied and rewrote my notes if possible. I recorded some of my teacher’s discussions so that I wouldn’t miss anything important. I made sure I memorized all the facts I needed to know. Thankfully, I managed to have a higher grade than before for the fourth grade. To be honest, this has always been my favorite story to tell people, because I know that I always had the capacity to do greater things… it’s just that sometimes I don’t allow myself to do it.

Life Lesson #4: Always look for opportunities for you to grow.

This is quite related to the life lesson wherein you have to work hard for it. Along with working hard, you have to look out for the opportunities that would be offered to you, too. Don’t limit or restrict yourself to only one destination, there are a lot of options to choose from.

Let’s talk about my college applications, for example. FEU Institute of Technology used to offer Science High school students elite scholarships for people who aced their entrance exams. It was actually a walk-in entrance test, so honestly, I wasn’t really ready. We also had to pick the degree program on-the-spot, so I was really confused. (I didn’t really have a dream course, back then. But please do, guys. It is SO important to know what you really want.) I remember taking up Electronics & Communications Engineering, though. And up until now, I still believe that it was the best, impulsive, spur-of-the-moment decision I’ve made. (Don’t get me wrong—after the exam, I learned more about what ECE was about, and I was convinced that this could be quite practical and interesting for me!) If it weren’t for FEU Tech’s walk-in examinations, I wouldn’t get to know what priority program I’d be picking for my later college applications in UST and DLSU. Anyway, the point is—sometimes it’s okay to be spontaneous in life, especially if spontaneity leads you to once in a lifetime opportunities.

Life Lesson #5: If everything turns out unexpectedly, trust the Lord that He has a plan… even if it doesn’t seem like it.

I can still remember last year when I was starting to prepare for college applications. It was the beginning of August, I think, when I realized that I was really going to take Electronics & Communications Engineering. One of the earliest applications I was preparing for was DLSU. Personally, it was also the easiest one, because they didn’t require payment (for public school students), and it was done online. I didn’t have to physically bring my requirements in, which was less hassle for me, especially. I also attempted to be part of the first batch of incoming freshmen to apply in UST, so as early as mid-August, I was also preparing for that. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision to get into the first batch of examinees, though. My mom was just insisting that I take the first batch just to show my interest in getting into the university.

By the second week of September, I was already taking my first serious entrance exam—and it was traumatic. I can remember how I was having a montage of my not-so promising future flashing before my eyes while I was taking the USTET. I was super nervous, so I really didn’t have time to actually focus on the test. Plus, the English part was literally a what the hell?! moment for me. The next day, while I was showering as I prepare for school, I found myself crying because I was positive I wasn’t going to qualify for UST.

I’ll fast forward to 2019 when universities were releasing their results. The first entrance exam results that came out were DLSU’s. If I had any great ambitions in life, though, it was getting into DLSU. I recall being quite confident that I’ll pass their entrance exam, because I studied and recalled some Stat, too! So I was delighted when I saw that I passed. I was thinking, “Okay. Nakapasa na. Scholarship na lang kailangan ko dito.” I decided that I should check out scholarships that DLSU offered for people who’ve passed their entrance exams. So I passed my requirements there, too. I was also expecting to qualify for the DOST SEI scholarship, if that could help in any way. Anyway, by the third week of January, I saw the USTET results next. And I got qualified! Little did I know this was the university for me.

When the DOST Scholarship results came out—March 31st—I was broken. I remember scrolling thrice through the webpage to miraculously see my name. Things dawned at me; I did not qualify. Worries kicked in, because it would be the first time in six years I’d be paying for tuition. It looks like I’ll be enrolling in UST, then. Words couldn’t express how disappointed I was with myself.

Anyway, enough with the drama. I still have hurts about that specific failure in my life, but I decided not to let it ruin how things are now. After months of grieving that painful circumstance, I’ve finally learned to trust more in the Lord. His ways are not my ways. I’m holding on to the promise that he has far greater plans for me. There is a time for everything, and maybe it isn’t now.

I am currently enrolled in University of Santo Tomas to take up a degree in Electronics Engineering. I know that things aren’t that happily ever after-ish yet (Dang! I haven’t even started school!), but I’m standing firm in the Lord and running the race He has marked out for me.

for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭24‬:‭16‬ ESV)

So before I end this, here’s a warning: you will face missed opportunities, frustrations, disappointments; but let me remind you that there is a God bigger than those. Take courage and have heart. Everything is as planned. Go with God’s flow, and remember that it’s all a matter of putting your utter and complete faith in the Lord.

Published by Aundrea Joy

Bloggin' to share my thoughts and experiences; and most importantly... to share His Word. As you read, I give you a piece of my soul. So, thank you.

2 thoughts on “Onwards & Forward: Life Lessons from High School

  1. Needed this. I really got inspired by your work and especially you. Thank you for sharing, hoping to read more of this. 😊😍 Miss you Aunds! And goodluck on your schooling.


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