Shading circles, chasing dreams

3 Aug

My ticket to UPdom, featuring my chubby-cheeked high school senior self.

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Over 70,000 high school seniors are expected to take the University of the Philippines College Admission Test (UPCAT) tomorrow. Armed with three years of secondary education, a snack (or snacks) of their choice and their trusty Mongol no. 2 pencils, they will troop to the 85 testing centers nationwide for a shot at being an Iskolar ng Bayan. 

Four years ago today, I entered CAL 204 and answered the UPCAT. I held on to my biology reviewer until the last minute, and told myself to shotgun the letter “B” if I wasn’t sure of the answer. 

Before the exam began, the proctor asked for a show of hands of those who were left-handed. Three of us raised our hands. The first two boys were made to transfer to special chairs, but for some reason, I was bypassed. 

Oh well, I thought to myself, the answers lie in my head, anyway, and not in the comfort of my butt.

Throughout the test, I munched on Goya dark chocolate with almonds. I read in an online forum days before that the sugar and some wondrous substance in dark chocolate calm the nerves and improve mental performance. It might have been a long shot, but hey, my sweet tooth wasn’t complaining.

And oh, the glorious feeling of setting the pencil down at the end of the test! Only to be proceeded, of course, by the agony of waiting on the results.

Now a senior two semesters shy of donning that seminal sablay, I look back on that August 3 with much fondness. Because the upshot was worth every pencil and eraser used and abused, every midnight date with Leithold and color-coded reviewers, and every hour spent shading circles.

All the best to everyone taking the UPCAT tomorrow and on Sunday! 

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