Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Finals, and Fluctuating Faith

With strings of fragrant Sampaguita wrapped in plastic on my left hand and a 1,516 page book on my right, I make my way to the waiting area for jeepneys outside the church. Normally, six-thirty pm would still be dusk, with a few faint twinkling of evening stars peeking in the horizon- but not this night. There was a slight drizzle and it was already dark, signaling the start of cold nights and shorter days.

As I sat quietly in the corner, I was oblivious to the chatter of high school girls to my front, and a loud lady beside me. My forehead wrinkled as I think of the days to come. Since the start of the month of September, the word hectic would be an understatement. Each day of the month was a struggle to accomplish reports, research papers, quizzes, unit tests, practical tests, and return demonstrations. My convoluted, panicky mind is usually soothed after hearing mass but the enormous pressure of the approaching finals was still lurking.

I’d gotten a 1.68 GWA for the midterms, which can be viewed two ways: 1. I’ve already had a good start for the semester, so my final grades would not be that much of a problem, or 2. the second half of the semester would be my last chance to improve. Unfortunately, my thinking is leaning towards the latter. The minimum GWA required for good standing (read: the grade required for a student to be retained, any lower than that you’d be eliminated) is 2.2, academic honors on the other hand start with at least 1.75 GWA for a Cum Laude. Whether it’s just my competitive nature, or I just wanted to dedicate honors to my folks, if ever- I’ve set my standards just a bit higher.

I seriously envy other students who act without a care in the world. We once had a 30-item quiz in a 4 unit course, wherein quizzes comprise 20% of the final grade- the male student’s paper I checked unfortunately got only a total of 2 points out of the entire quiz. I contemplated on how to break the dismal news, but as it turned out he just shrugged it off. Minutes after dismissal, he and his buddies were out playing ping-pong. Had I been the one who had a low score, it would have haunted me even in my sleep that night. Quizzes may just be quizzes, but added up they could pull the final grade either way.

The problem is that no matter how prepared I am I still don’t trust myself. Is it enough? I would usually wonder. Return demonstrations are usually pending disasters, especially when nervousness gets the better of me. In an effort to do everything perfectly, I would miss doing the simplest steps. In the direst situations when I am completely unprepared, I can only pray that I’d at least pass- and, somehow this turns out surprising results.

Once, I was in the OR with my father on the operating table for his Colonoscopy (prior to his Hemoroidoctomy). I had a unit exam in Bioethics scheduled at 1pm, and it was past twelve noon already. I was not able to read even a single text because Papa had been admitted since that weekend, and I was at his bedside the whole time.

I excused myself and ran to the hospital room and changed into my uniform. I arrived just in time in school, panting and thinking: “Lord, I’ve tried to do what’s right and I tried my best to attend to important things. You know I’ve been tending to Papa the whole time, please help me. I trust you.”

Later that week, our professor announced the results: I had gotten the highest score (91%) in the class, and the one following me got 86%. I said a silent prayer of thanks. I guess sometimes, we just need to do the best we can and trust God that everything will be alright.

As for the finals? I feel a little calmer, now that I got to reflect on it. Presently, I close my eyes and relax my shoulders, with a trace of smile on my face.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi thad,

this is nat, currently working here in Dubai. I chanced upon your blogs through Misterhubs and all I can say is that you just keep me hooked.

I admire you so much, your views, your life, your work philosophy and your dedication to your crafts.

I wish I can be like you. LOL!
Hope we can meet sumday so that I can get more inspiration from you. Keep it up! You're doin' an excellent job!

Anonymous said...

hi thad,

this is nat, currently working here in Dubai. I chanced upon your blogs through Misterhubs and all I can say is that you just keep me hooked.

I admire you so much, your views, your life, your work philosophy and your dedication to your crafts.

I wish I can be like you. LOL!
Hope we can meet sumday so that I can get more inspiration from you. Keep it up! You're doin' an excellent job!

Phoenix said...

@ anonymous: Hi Nat, thank you for inspiring me. Comments like these and messages from people are the ones keeping this blog alive. I know I've always maintained that it is the author himself that decides the fate of his blog, but his audience plays a huge part. You and many others give me the will to pull myself out of bed at 3 in the morning to write about something.

In a world of gadgets and automation, people inevitably seek to connect with others, and blogging is one way of being one in mind with another. I am so happy right now that I'm having ice cream afterwards LOL! Thanks again.

I'd love to meet with you and many others that in one way or another have been part of my blogging life. The more the merrier! Take care Nat, and Godbless! = )

Thad

Mark Xander said...

I'm back.. ;)

chase said...

yeah, you can be pretty bummed out after every quiz you failed to get your expectation.
i have lots of those in law. no matter how dedicated i am to studying. Even though i only stop studying when sleeping, i still get bad scores. hahay...
well, technically, we don't have quizzes in law, all we have are midterms and finals. hahay..

OT: i just realized na ur back in leyte na pala.. i tot manila based ka..
so, kasabot ka bisaya?

chase said...

ooops sory.. tacloban pala

Phoenix said...

@ chase: My friend who is in her 4th year of studying Law says its difficult.. Kayo pa kaya! hehe

Oo, kahibalo kog Bisaya pero gamay ra. I guess even that dialect iba-iba like people from Maasin southern leyte would speak slightly different bisaya with those from cebu or butuan

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