Have you ever had a moment where exams are drawing closer and what you just wanted to do is get on and over it?
Or were you just carefree during all of your free time and you just start to feel the pressure when it’s only a week or less left before and you start to cram?
Either one of the two, I feel you, mate.
Back then, during those times when I was still a student, I was really laid back. Like literally, even though the lecturer announces a schoolwork and says that it should be passed within a week, I would just wait until the night before the deadline of the said project. I was so bad at school that one time during junior high, I actually forgot to pass my project for the final grading and almost got an F on the fourth quarter (good thing I got Bs from the previous quarter because I would be dead if I got a grade lower than that).
Although I wasn’t fond of school, I used to be one of those students who got in the list of honors, which was up until 4th grade. 5th grade? That was when I started to have low grades due to a class held by a teacher who was so strict she scolded me when I went up to the board and pointed out the words I can’t understand. I mean, write it in cursive so incomprehensible and you’re the one who’s mad because your 10-year-old students couldn’t understand what you just wrote?
Anyway, I lost interest of becoming one of the top students of my level. It was because I got tired of living up my parents’ expectation of having their eldest child one of the best students in class. I got tired of pushing myself to prove to others that I’m somehow smarter than them.
So along with the decision not to put on so much effort to be on the honor’s list was also the slight fall of my grades due to, well, not putting so much effort. I started to cram and study just about a week or less before exams or deadline of projects, unlike before when I start to study or make it about 3 weeks before. And may I just add, up until 3rd grade, my mom (who used to be a teacher) makes mini tests for me and my sisters to answer in preparation for the upcoming exams.
Procrastination was mentally and physically tiring and yet I don’t even know why I keep on repeating it.
Until I ended college.
Yes. I literally did this from 5th grade to 4th year college. The cycle of procrastination-then-feeling-of-regret-then-back-to-the-start went on for 10 FREAKING YEARS and I didn’t even realize it until now as I’m typing this.
So on my previous post, I composed my own prayer about guidance during preparation for the board exams and the exam proper. I must admit that I have never tried to review for weeks ever since I can remember. All I could think of were those times when I had to do all-nighters and almost cried because of the mistakes I made (I don’t even know why don’t learn from these experiences like FML alright.)
Back to the topic, it really never occurred to me that the path I’ve taken should never be taken for granted, and this was the realization I had when we started our comprehensive review on the last week of March.
The lecturers that I had during the past 2 months were so different from those I had when I was still at school. Let me tell you the difference:
School & College Teachers:
- use negative reinforcement most of the time
- Usual lines: “Do you want to fail?”, “I am disappointed in you”, “I thought you were smart”, “These answers are not you”, “If I would rate this project from 1-10, I would give it a 0-2”, “This is trash”, “You have to double your effort if you’d like to achieve what you want to achieve”
Lecturers during comprehensive review:
- use positive reinforcement ALL the time
- Usual lines: “I know you can do it”, “Catch your license!”, “Guys, we can do this”, “We’ll work on this together, don’t worry”, “If you need any help, just call us”, “There’s always a room for improvement”, “Just tell us if you don’t want to extend our time, we know that you need rest”
See that? This is why I didn’t really like college that much and why I never liked elementary and secondary school.
Even though the major factor to my studies is myself, the teacher factor is somehow true to me. Why?
Because these are the people who are supposed to teach you everything they could and motivate you with every willpower they have not only for their sake of being able to finish all their lesson plans, but also for the sake of their students for them to learn and understanding what they need to know.
And this is why I like my lecturers now better than my teachers from the school and college I’ve been in (although some teachers of my major subjects during college were motherly and did everything they could to help us learn, other teachers were the opposite). There’s a sense of belonging within the class and they keep an eye on you and make sure that you really got everything you needed for the battles a.k.a. the board exams.
So there the reviewers come, one by one. They never failed to motivate us. They never failed to bring fun into the class because they know about the stress and pressure that we feel due to the oncoming tests. They somehow were able to teach us well although you can see that they’re tired from planning what to do next, from teaching at other review centers, from travelling one place to another, from working on their permanent jobs.
That was another reason why I began to study hard, aside from wanting to achieve my dreams.
I want them to know that I have learned so much from them. I want to prove them that I can do it. I want to pay my debts to them. I want to pass this in their honor (aside from my family’s). I want to show them how much I appreciate them.
So I did. I began to study as much as I can. studying from 8pm to 11pm and then waking up at 5am or 6am. And I swear this was the only time I felt that I’m not only doing it to prove to others that I can do it, I’m also doing it to prove myself that I can actually do it.
2 months, multiple post-tests and a couple of night classes later: board exams came. And it was also the first time that excitement was greater than anxiety. It was probably because I know that I am well-prepared, that I was prepared well by my lecturers after those weeks of intense review.
A day before exams (which was last June 5-6), my classmates and I made everything we can to make it successful:
We waited for the mass to start at 6pm, we lighted 8 candles each and prayed in the intercession of St. Jude Thaddeus (patron of hopeless cases, of course), had a novena for the same saint, rubbed the abdomen of our pregnant classmate (which brings good luck according to our elders), placed a coin in each of our shoes to be used and prayed the holy rosary at 10pm.
We LITERALLY did all these just to relieve our anxiety which was already rising. We were able to sleep at 12nn and were woken up at 3am, as we were supposed to be at the venue before 7am, and it was a ratio of 8 persons to one bathroom. (May I just add: our lecturer who was with us entered our room at 9pm and scolded us because we were supposed to sleep already at 8:30pm. He was obviously stressed. Sorry, sir.)
Post-exam, we were already thankful that it was finally over, but still the worry is there, because we have to wait for a month before the results come out, before we finally learn if we’re finally getting our license.
It was a very fun experience for me. Although I could say that it was also stressful, I think “fun” and “educational” are the two most fitting words for the experience for my review. Just like our review center’s tagline: “More Than The Usual Review Experience”.
It was more than the usual review experience indeed, as you don’t only get supplied with everything you need to know, you will also feel like you belong and you are loved, as you are not only to meet new people, you would also get closer to them to the point that you’ll call yourselves and you’ll experience separation anxiety once it’s all over, like what I am feeling right now.
To those people who will be taking their exams:
You can do it.
I know you can do it.
Just motivate yourself.
Have a short monologue.
Take a deep breath.
Don’t push yourself too much.
Familiarize with things one at a time.
Think of those people who were beside you when you had no one else.
Think of those people who helped you get up after you tripped.
Think of those people who pulled you up when you fell down.
Think of those people who you know would be very proud of you.
Do everything that you think will help you focus.
Because if you did, it will just be another easy challenge for you.
Not only everything will be fine.
But you’ll also get what you wanted the most in life.
What are you waiting for? Go and reach your dreams.