Tag Archives: Academics

The Day I Realize that I Can’t Live Up to My Mother’s Dreams

Yes, in my life’s bucket list is making my mom really proud of me. For details, read on.                   Photo courtesy of http://thebettermanprojects.com.

March 12, 2014.
Just in case I don’t get to upload this blog post on the actual day.

It’s Saturday and we just got back a couple of hours ago from Tagaytay (Philippines), where my mom has decided she’d settle in when she gets older. It’s pretty cold and windy up there and one need not be paranoid about floods anymore (compared to where we live now, which is in Malabon–again in the Philippines) since, as the land-seller says, “If it floods even one inch up here, you can be assured that the rest of (Metro) Manila has sunk.” I can say it’s a really great place to settle in: no need for airconditioning despite the Philippines’ tropical climate, relatively friendly neighbors, quiet village but not so far from civilization, et cetera.

Anyway, we get back home and my oldest sister tells me about this series entitled Veronica Mars. It’s basically an old series (2004-2007?) starring Kristen Bell who is the daughter of a private investigator and has taken to following her father’s footsteps. Kinda like Nancy Drew, but more independent and whose ‘hobby’ is semi-supported by her dad. So we’re watching this series in the dining room since my mom was busy multi-tasking and cleaning out the refrigerator, when I checked out my CRS site to view my grades this semester. See, despite being a sort-of decent, well-rounded student with no harmful vice to speak of (i.e. drugs, alcohol, smoking), I just got to be a College Scholar (hereafter referred to as CS) this semester.

Some terms:
CS is a recognition given to those who manage to acquire a 1.75 general weighted average (GWA) for a semester. Our grading system is such that 1.0 is the highest, 3.0 is the passing, and anything below that is failing; ergo, the lower the grade, the better. Those who get a GWA of 1.45 and ‘below’ for a semester are recognized as US or University Scholars.
CRS is our school’s online..database of sorts where we enlist our subjects and view our grades and whatnot. Oh, jsyk, I’m in college.
Latin honors.. I really don’t think I need to explain anything about this except that in our grading system, you get to be a cum laude with a GWA, for your whole college life, of at least 1.75; magna cum laude for at least 1.45; and summa cum laude for at least 1.20.

Back to the main story.
Needless to say, as it is my first time to be a CS, I was ecstatic. Of course I want to be at least a CS for my remaining summer and 2 semesters now that I know I can do it, so it came to me to calculate the lowest GWA I’d have to get in my remaining 33 units to qualify for Latin honors. The short of it is I’m gonna need 1.1212 to qualify for cum laude. Thing is, if I could do it, I would’ve done so ages ago.

I’m not limiting myself by saying that, partly because I don’t want to jinx any chances of getting higher GWAs in the future. But given my extracurriculars and apparent capabilities (and other things), I think that getting a GWA above 2.0 is already an achievement for me. Furthermore, it will be my senior year when the next academic year starts. I’m not belittling my siblings, but I am proud that I will be (with God’s will) the only one among us who will graduate on time, besides the only one who hasn’t failed anything during her undergraduate course (and hopefully, will continue to be so), along with being the first to be recognized as at least a CS during her undergraduate years.

However, other realizations come to mind. See, I was a really bad daughter when I was in elementary–which was also when, ironically, I was at my best when it came to academics. I always told myself that it’s okay since I bring home good grades, that my easily-aroused irritation and bad attitude should be excused because of the high grades I bring home. Despite how mediocre my grades were during high school, I was still proud because I studied and graduated from one of the top high schools in the country and got into a prestigious course at, dare I say, the top university in the country. Needless to say, it was the only school in the country that is offering my course. I now realize that the things mentioned above, along with the comparisons I made with my siblings’ alternate academic journeys, made me complacent and developed a somewhat dampened sense of superiority in me. It made me put my self in the area of exceptions. I realized that the way I thought when I was in elementary never really went away, that I still was a douchebag of a daughter at times since I believed that I can still redeem myself in my mother’s eyes with my grades.

But when life throws you a curveball, you either gotta meet it head on or avoid it, if you can. I don’t think I can avoid this particular curveball, so now I’m facing it head on. I’ve always been so proud of my academic achievements, no matter how small they may be to others (most people, actually) since, besides being testaments to my brain’s capacity and my ability to multitask, they make my mother proud. See, my mother has this habit of owning other peoples’ actions and decisions. With my sisters not exactly rushing to graduate and the other troubles that I will not mention here, I feel proud of making my mother feel that she succeeded in raising us. I want to be the exception among the three of us, in a good way, because she raised us all the same way and I believe that having at least one of us turn out the way she expected will make her realize, “Look, I did a great job of raising my kids after all.” With all these in mind, I had two goals upon entering college: 1) graduate on time, and 2) graduate with honors.

Of course the second goal was replaced with “SURVIVE”, especially during semesters of taking prerequisites to our majors, some of whose relevance to my course I cannot fathom. Now that I realized that I most likely, by which I mean 95% probability, will not graduate with honors, I feel disappointed in myself and for my mom. My mother herself graduated magna cum laude, and that is without the comforts of our living situation today, either financially or brought about by modern times. Our grandmother was super strict on her and her siblings out of necessity, and she did household chores everyday while she was a student. Not one of us followed in her footsteps (both honors-wise and in the chosen field), and I know it must be hard raising us as, virtually, a single mother.

I know that I’m a pretty decent person but now I realize that I’d have to grow up a bit more, and not hide my faulty attitude behind a wall of numbers. Now that I know I won’t be able to make my mom proud of me in the way I hoped to, I have to redeem myself not just through grades but also through being a better daughter. I know this means less tantrums, less shouting, less arguing, and more patience, more persevering, and more succumbing to her ‘will’. I know this will be hard, because I think she has more than enough control over my life as of the moment; but the thought of having her realize that her best was, and will always be, more than good enough to make us the best versions of ourselves (besides our ‘soulmates’, if we are to meet them. hoho) is more than worth it. Starting tonight, I resolve to be a better daughter in all aspects.

And unlike my apparent attitude towards my New Year (2014) post’s goals (finishing at least one Tribesports challenge every month and blogging every month), I intend to stick to this.

“He mounted the broom and kicked hard against the ground and up, up he soared, air rushed through his hair and his robes whipped out behind him — and in a rush of fierce joy he realized he’d found something he could do without being taught — this was easy, this was wonderful.”
— excerpt from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

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Oh, What a Day.

Can’t seem to think of any other way to express my sentiments. Sigh.                                             (Photo courtesy of vimeo.com)

Where to begin? I guess I’ve been setting myself up for this day, thinking that I would be able to do whatever I put my mind to. But my body had other plans.

This post is impulsive, because I just had to get out of the confines of my head, which at the moment is obsessed with reading the Hollows series by Kim Harrison. My mind seems to have forgotten that I have papers and exams coming up, and decided to let me stay up until the wee hours of the morning just reading. Finishing 3 books in four days when you still have to go to school for a minimum of 8 hours a day, plus gym thrice a week, and still get to do all the homeworks and read all the assigned journals and books is no small feat. Probably exactly why I wasn’t able to accomplish it.

Today was the last exam for the first half of one of my majors – and I totally bombed the it. I think I’d be lucky to get 30 percent from the restriction mapping and the other things I was able to guess, but I don’t plan on getting my hopes higher than that. I didn’t want this to happen to me, or at least that’s what I keep thinking. For the past few days, my classmates have been studying their butts off for the exam and doing papers while I work on papers and read Harrison’s novels. And to think I plan on applying for the laboratory of the teacher whose test I bombed.. I don’t know what’s going on with me, and what blew my priorities away.

I truly hope I’d be able to get back on track. Thankfully, there are still some silver linings in this huge, threatening cloud. Having finished books 2-4 of the Hollows series (namely, The Good, the Bad, and the Undead; Every Which Way But Dead; and A Fistful of Charms), I now bring my 2014 reading goal to 5 down, 18 to go! Yes, this series is violent and has a little bit of erotica woven into it (because where there are vampires, sex often follows) but the way K. Harrison wrote the books makes me want to live in that world she has created. Oh, when will the Turn take place on my Earth?

To clarify: I wasn’t able to finish studying for my exam because I fell asleep. ‘Finish studying’ is even pushing it, since I didn’t even get to read or go through at least half of the coverage of the exam. I also wasn’t able to finish a paper on biological ballistics due today, but the universe/God decided to give me a helping hand and our 10 am-1 pm class was cancelled, giving me loads of time to finish it. Which brings to mind: why am I writing a blog post when I should be finishing the paper? The fate of the paper solely rests on my laptop’s battery; thank God I had the sense to buy one from Acer’s Aspire Timeline X line.

To finish this post, I admit that this is one of those times that I truly lost track of what I’m supposed to be focusing on at this point in my life. While I know I’m going to be regretting the results of my lack of sense of priority, I don’t regret the things I did. I truly enjoyed myself while doing them, even when they added virtually irreversible bags under my eyes. And to top it all off, I still have my gym time to look forward to this afternoon. I guess it isn’t all so bad, right? But if the Sorting Hat was to have a say, I doubt he’d consider putting me in Hufflepuff even for just a second.

“..For I’m the Hogwarts Sorting Hat, and I can cap them all.
There’s nothing hidden in your head the Sorting Hat can’t see,
So try me on and I will tell you where you ought to be.
You might belong in Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart;
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff where they are just and loyal;
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true and unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw, if you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin, you’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means to achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don’t be afraid! And don’t get in a flap!
You’re in safe hands (though I have none), for I’m a Thinking Cap!”
— excerpt from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

School Tomorrow — Are You Ready?

Gee. With classes like that, who wouldn’t be hyped to go to school?
(Photo from harrypotterfandom.net/tag/elective-classes/)

It’s school tomorrow, and I have mixed feelings about it. I don’t know if I’ve blogged about this before, but I think this is something that a lot of other people also feel whenever the resumption of classes looms over us.

I don’t know if I should feel glad at the prospect of being reunited with my blockmate-friends, whom I’ve barely talked to the whole Christmas break. Taking a breather from socializing was nice, but there’s nothing like being with your currently-closest friends to make you drag yourself out of bed, even if it means getting up at the crack of dawn everyday.

On the other hand, I feel apprehensive about facing everything school represents: grades, teachers, exams, papers, you name it. I still have a whole lot of things to do (all for this week):

  • Write an essay about a local film critiquing its different meanings.
  • Watch 2 modules’ worth of short video clips (around 20+ clips) for a double-quiz.
  • Research and compile our paper (which is apparently a full-blown lab report) for a lab class.
  • Download, install, and familiarize myself with VMD (Visual Molecular Dynamics) and NAMD (*something*).

Despite the way I ended the last year (with a bang, just like my last post; I got a whopping 80++% on my Immunology exam! And this is my most decent grade yet in any subject taught by that specific teacher), I can’t help but feel sometimes that I might have bitten off more than I could chew by taking this course. I would have been tempted to wish for more time if it were Christmas; but as a Facebook friend said, there’s no point in asking for more time if you don’t have the initiative or motivation to spend that time wisely.

I guess the logical solution would be to end writing this post and get on with my paper or other requirements, right? 😉

Maybe I should just keep in mind that I’m lucky to be the recipient of an excellent education, and that I have awesome people who are also suffering having the time of their lives alongside me, by taking this course. Since I’ve finished re-reading HP #3 already (and well into the 4th book! I think I’d watch the movies after all these as well..), I can’t help but envy Harry’s enthusiasm to go back to school, even if it’s mostly propelled by the desire to get away from the Dursley’s; as well as Hermione’s willingness to learn and the way she just.. devours textbooks! I wish that girl would give me a piece of that amazing brain of hers.

“If he wants ter go, a great Muggle like you won’t stop him,” growled Hagrid. “Stop Lily an’ James Potter’s son goin’ ter Hogwarts! Yer mad. His name’s been down ever since he was born. He’s off ter the finest school of witchcraft and wizardry in the world. Seven years there and he won’t know himself..”
–excerpt from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

As Luck Would Have It

The four-leaf clover. Stuff of legends, this one is.

A day before our college-wide carolfest (and also the day of an exam and a ‘learning center activity’ worth ~20% and ~7.5% of my grade in those subjects, respectively), all my majors’ subjects were cancelled due to an ongoing seminar held by the Philippine Society of Molecular Biology (something like that), which my professors and selected senior students had to attend. So basically, I just had one class (4-5:30 pm) and choir rehearsals afterwards. The night before, we had a very unsuccessful rehearsal due to the lack of people present; we couldn’t get our dynamics right and a lot of people weren’t able to remember their tunes. This happening two days before the competition, in my entire choir history, was unspeakable and unacceptable; thus, we finished the night in a glum mood. Despite wanting to practice, I also couldn’t stay late tonight due to my exams. So my plans for the next night & day were:

  • Study (not just read) Chapter 2 of From Genes to Genomes (FGtG)
  • Wake up early and go to school, as usual; but stay at the library the whole day, save for lunch time
  • Attend my class at 4-5:30 pm, and afterwards, my choir rehearsal at 5:30-7 pm.

When I went home, I just crashed on the couch because I felt tired. I didn’t plan to sleep; in fact, I couldn’t sleep for nearly an hour before I did. I wasn’t able to change out of my clothes (nor wash my face, brush my teeth, the whole enchilada) since I didn’t even plan on sleeping in the first place. This was alright in the long run though, as it will hopefully help in my recovery from colds that I am currently afflicted with. But then, the universe/God decided to have a field day with me.

When I woke up and was perusing through my clothes, I decided to wear a skirt. I used a newly-bought razor to shave my legs and did so while taking a bath. For the first time ever in my history of shaving (which I do in between waxes), I got nicked, and so many times! In fact, I ended up with 3 small ones (as big as ‘.’) and 6 big ones so much for flawless legs. The wounds were the kind that were shallow but kept bleeding, so I had to hunt for some Band-aids and Bactroban (an antibacterial ointment; works nicely on wounds). Since I was running late because I was too busy stopping the bleeding, I decided to go with what I initially planned to wear; I thought that the bleeding would stop and the wounds be relatively unnoticeable in an hour. Well, I apparently had another think coming.

Before getting in the car, my grandmother made a remark to me about not getting a hot beverage whenever she’s heated up some water, but looking for some when there weren’t any. So to pacify her, I filled a mug 2/3 of the way..only to realize, once I was in the car and we have sped away, that I didn’t have any of my morning cocoa with me. #facepalm right? So I offered my sister a drink from my jug and transferred the hot water there instead. Next, when I was putting my ‘face base’ (which is a lavender-tinged moisturizer of sorts), a couple of drops landed on my dark navy blue shirt! Talk about disaster! I tried washing them away but they wouldn’t completely fade, so I just decided to ‘paint’ on a design of stitches (more on this later). I was really frustrated at this point because my wounds were still bleeding, my legs looked butchered, and my shirt was a mess. I was even starting to sweat, which rarely happened with our car’s AC. All these within the first 2 hours of the day. 😦

By this time, we were nearing the mall where I was supposed to be dropped off, since it has a jeep terminal which would have made my commuting easier. Driven by frustration, I decided to tell my mom that I’ll just go down at her office and commute from there, even though the commuting would be loads harder. I relayed my frustrations to her and she wasn’t..much help really, but she couldn’t be blamed. I even told her I wanted to cry because everything was going downhill. I possibly couldn’t be in the right mind to study with all the pent-up frustration! But when my mom left me (because she was going to be late; she waited for me for a couple of seconds), that’s when I really broke down.

I’ve never had a day like this before. I’ve experienced days when I’ve had to cram everything due that day, be it various requirements or tests and quizzes, but they have never given me such frustration. I guess it was all the little things together that just convinced me that today was doomsday, figuratively. But after crying it out (which, as Violet said, can be a really great stress-relieving habit), I composed myself and put what few Band-aids I had on the bigger wounds on my legs. I then went up to my mom’s office and told myself that I could study there even if her office-mates were noisy (I swear, it’s like a market up there. I remember asking her once how the heck she manages to get things done.)

Maybe now, my ‘luck’ would change. Once in my mom’s office, she told me that my stitch designs looked ghastly and insisted on my removing them, which I did with her soap and dried them using paper. It worked, even though it felt really cold for a couple of hours. Then, I set-up on her table and started reading FGtG. After a while, I accompanied her to buy extra food from the canteen, extra Band-aids from their in-house shop, and snacks for what I foresaw as a long night due to things I still haven’t studied. We bought pineapple slices and pork liver steak, too. 🙂 Then, their 3 pm snack time rolled around. Usually, they buy raw ingredients and just cook different foods themselves; but today, one of them treated the whole office to 4 boxes of Shakeys’ pizza! Ah, what a feast for the palette.

Afterwards, I arrived at school earlier than usual and even got to chat with my group mates and teacher. Then I went to practice, in which we fine-tuned our transitions, choreography, and mostly got everything correct. On our way home, we met up with my uncle who got a call past 8 pm; apparently, a water pipe broke/burst and the water supply was going to be turned off at 9pm! My mom and I hurried home and went about filling drums and pails. The water was turned off at 10pm.

Just starting to study now. I hope that God will guide me throughout the night, and that He, or the universe, won’t deal me any more mishaps. I also hope that I’ll still have my voice for tomorrow, even if sleep-deprived.

Hoping,

*******23

P.S.: It’s my first time writing a blog post throughout the day. I guess it’s really different when you write about what happened a mere couple (2-4) of hours after that thing happened; the emotions are still fresh, as well as the details. 8) Such a long post though.