Over here, entrance exams to university practically make or break your future, and as cliché as a “make or break” statement might sound, it’s reasonably true for my country. This may be generalizing the matter, but a high school diploma might only get you a job that skims the minimum wage here in the Philippines; but even if transportation is unbelievably cheap and there’s a carinderia at every corner, that minimum wage, will still be a few centavos short to get that graduate to live a simple yet comfortable life, missing only a few meals every now and then. Welcome to the Third World.
Tertiary education in the Philippines is relatively inexpensive (but still costly to a certain degree or for a certain student), and the state universities don’t exactly skimp on quality, but it’s usually the name of your university that sets the tone of your resume. Many firms wouldn’t mind that your tuition was sky-high or that your univ’s curriculum wasn’t really any different from others’, but when they see that you got into this particular school known for its excellence or whatever it’s advocating, then your chances pretty much multiply. University isn’t simply an experience to any student envisioning a proper future, but it’s the pride of any Filipino parent at that. So if your parents aren’t pestering you to get into college, then you’re probably doing it because you’re sick of being poor. I don’t want to generalize again, but Filipinos pretty much equate happiness with a higher salary, because then they can afford the simple commodities and even a bonus for themselves.
Given that kind of thinking, that is putting education atop everything else, people take the university entrance exams here seriously. I don’t have one classmate that isn’t fretting over what course they’re gonna take or if they can get into UP or Ateneo. It’s come to the point that enrolling in two review centers isn’t uncommon, but that may only be the case in my school because there are a lot of wealthy ones studying here.
Now, I’m not at all one of those wealthy ones, so I can’t attend a review center (life is hard for the parents working in government). Instead, I bought a couple of workbooks and collated my lecture handouts from my previous years. I’m also glad my sisters link me to a couple of online worksheets and refreshers that I can take. We only have about 2-3 months before we take the exams, and now I’m practically cramming my 6 years of secondary into every space available in my mind. I’ve forgotten so many key points that I feel like I never really learned anything in my high school. I can still remember myself forgetting the quarterly lessons after the periodicals just so I can relieve my nerve and I never regretted doing so until school break began.
I know some upperclassmen who used to say that taking the exams contribute a mere fraction of the anxiety that’s going to attack you during your university preparation. Most of it comes from waiting to see if you passed. I remember a roommate of mine before crying days on end until the results came out. She couldn’t find her name in the roster of passers the first time, so she sobbed until a friend of hers entered the room and looked for my roommate’s name. Even when they finally found it, she still couldn’t get a hold of her tears and even when we tried to laugh to kind of quiet her cries, she remained teary and uncertain whether she really did pass. She got into UP. She was ecstatic.
After I take the exams, I imagine I’ll be like her as well (minus the dramatic sobs, my tear glands are impaired, or maybe my emotions, not quite sure).
Now guys, I want to solicit some luck from each one of you so that I can get into UP. Okay, guys. I need you to chant such that the heavens can hear you say “Help the goldfish get into UP! Please!”.
I’m very specific about UP, because like I said I’m not one of the wealthy ones, so getting into other reputable universities, that are usually private, is way too expensive for our humble lifestyle. I’ve been looking at scholarships forever. That doesn’t mean I won’t take the exams for the others, I will of course, but I still really need to get into UP for reasons that are quite painful to admit, even to an anonymous bunch. Help me get into the univ, so that I can get out of being poor and, as tacky as this might sound, help get the country out of the Third World.
Thank you for reaching this part of the post! Please tell me where I can find refreshers and more online worksheets to help me in my entrance exams. Also I’d like some tips for taking the exams. :>
Music Bay 07/24/17
Goodbye by Handsome and Gretyl
Reno by Wild Child
Follow You Down by Ciaran Lavery