Friday, September 23, 2011

The Winding Road to Being a Chemist

When I graduated in College in the year 2005, I couldn't apply for work yet. I can't because I don't have the license to do it. I mean both, literally and figuratively. So after I took home my diploma, I still need one more qualification in order to be 'fit to work'. And that is to pass the Chemists Licensure Examination.

This week, batch 2011 exprerienced what I had gone through few years back. Thus inspired this writing.

When we were still in the process of studying how atoms and molecules behave, we already heard pulsating stories that go with sitting down in that Room in MLQU, trying to figure out the best answer, and praying before and after knocking out the first and last item in the 2-day examination. We have heard tips like reading from cover to cover just one General Chemistry Book and you are few steps getting that seemingly elusive license. Fact is, every year, only half of the examinees pass the test. To give you a better picture, in our batch there were approximately 500 takers. And every year the number plays around that figure. The examination is done only in one venue ever since and that is Monzon Hall in Manual L. Quezon University.

My living in solitude now and liking it actually started when I reviewed at the University of San Carlos, Talamban, Cebu City. And that's where I developed my coping mechanisms. And then I realized it is fun to live independently. I derived so much fun in making decisions for myself. And until now, I am still loving it.

The 3-month review ended very fast and in September of 2005, we were put to a 'test'. The time to face our own fear. To duel against that risk of failing. To soldier on 'til the end of that grueling 2-day battle of solving problems.

Arriving in Manila a day before the exam, our professor, Maam Barrera, advised us not to open our notes and books anymore. So off we went to Glorietta in shorts and slippers with very little money to spend. That was my first time to be there. Not to mention that that was also my first time to ride an MRT. When we arrived at the hotel at the onset of darkness, we were all tired and exhausted, to the point of forgetting to browse our notecards before we dive in our own beds.

Then that BIG day came. That was September 8. We said, Today and Tomorrow serve as our judgement days. We arrived at MLQU around 6:30 am. Then we searched for our rooms. I felt the jitters all over me. My knees weakened as I went up the stairs to the 4th floor of the building. As I searched my name, I felt the shortness of my breath. I was gasping for air. When I found my name in the list posted at the door, I thought I'd faint so I doubled my steps so I could sit down immediately. My hands were uncontrollably and profusely sweating. I said my prayer and I felt a little better.

After the first day, little conversations transpired in our group. We were shocked, terrified, and now unsure of what tomorrow might bring.

The 2-day exam was over. We managed to smile although it was very fleeting. Sure, the exam was over but the whole package has not been opened it. Although memontarily, we managed to talk more frequently and giggled and laughed but there were still moments of silence, of pondering, of thinking deeply the vast sea of uncertainty that will come. There we found the company of beer to loosen our rigid thoughts and deep thinking.

Another horrible event took place when we were on our way to Dumaguete. The plane had some engine trouble. We were suppose to land already when the plane moved up higher and directed to an opposite direction. Before we knew it, we were already advised to deplane and transfer to another aircraft at Mactan Airport in Cebu. It was very gloomy that day. The weather must have conspired with what we felt that time.

Thank God, we arrived safely on that same day in Dumaguete. We parted ways with very low energy.

Now came that dreadful part of waiting for the result of the exam. I arrived home Wednesday afternoon and I knew the result will be out Friday morning. The waiting time was very traumatic. I did not go out of the house. I don't like talking to anyone. So I just ate, prayed, and slept. Friday morning came. I was already very nervous. That I believe is an understatetement. I did not want to search the result myself. You know the pain that goes with browsing the names one by one as as they appear in the alphabet and not seeing your name there. OH NO! That would be very devastating. So I just watched out for any sound from my cellular phone. If I pass, for sure someone will inform me. If I did not make it, I expect no news at all. Unless a classmate decides to be very rude. So I was just staring at my phone and closely monitoring it. Then I heard a beep. I said, "this must be it". I read on the screen "One text message received". Then I felt the sudden surge of nervousness. It was from a classmate, Joy Adalia Bertoldo. And it read, "Jay Congratz! Chemist na ta!"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Win P50,000 pesos in the Rizal Sesquicentenary Literary Contest

To celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Jose Rizal, the University of the Philippines-College of Arts and Letters (UP-CAL) and MyRizal, in cooperation with the Office of the Chancellor, UP Diliman, sponsor a nationwide essay writing contest for Filipino college students.
Contest Rules
The contest is open to Filipino college students (undergraduate) in the Philippines.

The contest has two categories: essay in Filipino and essay in English.

The essay should be original, unpublished (in print or online), and consists of 5,000 words.

Theme: ”The Relevance of Rizal Today" in English and "Ang Diwa ni Rizal sa Kasalukuyan" in Filipino.

Participants are limited to join in one category and the submission of one entry to the category of choice.

Entries must be written by a sole author. Collective authorship is not allowed.

The last day of submission is on 31 October 2011, 5pm. Mailed entries must be postmarked not later than 31 October 2011.

Entries must be submitted together with the properly filled up entry form. Entry forms are available at the Office of the Dean, College of Arts and Letters, 2nd Floor, Rizal Hall, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.

Entries must be submitted together with the endorsement letter of any of the following: teacher, adviser, department chair, college dean, or university president. The letter must recommend the entry and confirm the author as a currently enrolled student in the college/university.

The entries must be submitted or sent in four copies together with the filled up entry form and the endorsement letter to:

U.P. Jose Rizal Sesquicentenary Celebrations Steering Committee
Office of the Dean
College of Arts and Letters
Bulwagang Rizal
University of the Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City 1101

The author is responsible for ensuring that the submitted work is original, she/he is the sole author of said work, and it does not infringe on the rights of other authors.

The board of judges will evaluate the essays blindly, i.e., they will not know of the authors’ identities. UP-CAL will name the members of the board of judges.

The entries will be ranked based on the content, originality, style, composition, and organization.

Winners will be announced in time for the performance of the opera Noli me Tangere at the U.P. on November to December 2011. Winners will receive the following cash prize

First prize: P50,000.00

Second prize: P30,000.00
Third prize: P10,000.00

The copyright to the entries remains with the authors. However, UP-CAL and MyRizal have the right to their fair use like publication and teaching resource. No additional compensation will be awarded to the authors.

View the full poster for more details here. Entry forms are also available at the link provided.
Date and Time:

October 1, 2011 - 12:00am - October 31, 2011 - 12:00am

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Art of Evaluation