This module reminded me of three stories–one of which I personally experienced, and the two are stories that my friends experienced where I was among the observers.
I am twenty-one (21) years old and has already accomplished my Master’s degree. More so, I have been formally teaching in a popular university in Manila for two years already. In my first year of teaching, I had classes in college. In my second year of teaching, I was assigned to Senior High School. I do not know my exact IQ score today, but several years ago I know I obtained a score of 110. That score, I was informed before, is above average. However, I had read some references saying that 110 is simply average. I finished both my bachelor’s and graduate degrees as cum laude. (Note that prior to this, I have been involved in literacy outreaches since I was seven years old). Additionally, I had finished short online courses in Harvard University and University of California, Berkeley.
For the most part, since I started being in college several years back, I know I was quite satisfied and happy with my life. I considered myself as “successful.” This is especially because I was appointed to become a student organization president, which was supposed to be for only a year however I managed to change our constitution and convince key leaders to give me another year. No one has done that before, and none has done that yet ever since.
Then, I got featured in radio stations, a magazine, and was invited to speak in some schools and universities. I was writing poetry often back then, and I received some messages asking me to include my writings in their plays, school projects, and two even asked to translate my poems to be published in their newspapers and other publications!
All along I thought life is going well until something happened to me two years ago.
What happened? Well, I still couldn’t figure it out exactly but those were very humbling experiences. I was courting a lady for five years, but she was able to deceive me, had me believe that I had a chance, but still chose another man who was not earning as much as I did, and did not even finish college at that time.
Prior to courting that lady, I courted someone for four years but to no avail as well! So, all in all, I spent nine years courting ladies who won’t be my girlfriends. The first one I courted got involved with two-timers. The last one, I felt ridiculed because I thought I already had everything or at least am the better man, but I was cheated. I even heard that even if she chose the other guy, she was still entertaining other suitors, even texting with them saying “I love you!”
Because I couldn’t figure it out exactly back then, it was so hard to bear that a prestigious doctor found the cause of some health issues I have been experiencing and linked the cause to the stress I felt because of being brokenhearted.
I have friend–a kababata–who told me in Filipino, “Obed, you are a smart guy. But how could you be so a fool on this one?”
Then, I sometimes laugh at myself. This may have been a reason why I lost the drive I used to have before in life. Before, it was easy for me to dream, to volunteer, to perform many tasks. However, in the past several months, I couldn’t identify exactly what meaningful contribution I did to society. In fact, I almost lost the motivation to even enroll here in UPOU. It’s just a shame that I have surpassed so many challenges in my life, most of them requiring complex analysis and courage. Some of them, even dangerous. But how come I seem to have been humbled and brought low, down to my knees with tears, because of being brokenhearted! How I wish to recover soon! How I wish to be more proactive than this once more! How I wish to be renewed spiritually!
I guess it is true that to be successful, one does not only need to perform well in IQ tests or in school. A person must have the intellectual determination to continue, however that can only be fueled if there is a purpose in existence. As of now, I cannot say I am already sure of what I want to do. Some things inside me, as I introspect, I felt are already shattered into pieces because I have been brokenhearted. Sometimes, I feel like I lost my vision in life and I do not know if I could trust myself again. I used to have great faith in my intelligence, however it became hard for me to accept it when I experienced a situation when my intelligence was not enough to achieve something that others find very simple to obtain. There are really goals that, in order to achieve them, I have to use a measurement or grid that is different from IQ scores and academic achievements.
Nevertheless, I found encouragement when I personally met with Dr. Zeus Salazar, dubbed as the “Father of Filipino Historiography and Pantayong Pananaw.” While I was talking to him, one of his friends noted, “Well, Lolo, even if you had a vague idea back then, in times when you were not sure about yourself, even that gave you a direction in your life.” He agreed. That was an encouragement to me because I can identify to his situation. I feel like to be in a similar situation right now.
Some students I had
I’m thinking of four people–two different couples–I had in different classes. The first couple, they belong in the same section. The guy is very lazy. In fact, he almost failed my class because he’s too lazy. I extended the deadline of passing a requirement for over a month just for him, but he wouldn’t even comply. There was another requirement a simple essay I was asking, but he passed it after a month as well with a paragraph saying, “I don’t get the point of this activity.” Then, there was a time he finished an activity on schedule, but he was also too lazy to pass it that he shut the door while I was talking to him. I asked his girlfriend to get his bag and pass me the paper so that he could pass.
When I observe him and his girlfriend, sometimes I ask myself, “Where is the justice in this world?” The lady is smart. In fact, she was one of the honor students for Grade 11. I wonder why she’s the girlfriend of this lazy, rude guy. Then, I look at myself and say, “How about you? You seem smart and you followed the advice of the elders, but where has love brought you? Were you able to use your academic credentials?”
But I am comforted because I had two other students from different sections. I do not want to appear politically incorrect, but perhaps beauty is really in the eyes of the beholder. These former students of mine, no they weren’t ugly. But I know both of them want to learn. But the guy seems to display affection, care, and service for the lady. It makes me want to believe, “Perhaps this is love, perhaps this is a rational choice.” At least, this one I don’t have a hard time wondering why on earth they are becoming a couple, at least I am not saying, “How dare you, fate and cupid!”
A former schoolmate and a co-advocate
I felt shame within me when I read an update from a schoolmate that she was already financing the building a house for her parents. I heard a similar story with someone I worked with for an advocacy. I felt shame not because I do not like what they are doing. In fact, I salute them for sacrificing and doing all these things for their families.
But I felt shame out of embarrassment because I know these people do not seem very bright. I had better grades than them in school. In fact, there were times I had better opportunities. However, until now, I haven’t even given my parents an amount that would at least repair our house. Although I give to them whenever I receive my salary, it’s not that much. How I wish to be able to do something great and enduring for my parents as well!
Psychologists and educators may agree that IQ tests may show the potential of a person towards academic and professional achievement. Yet, they would also affirm the fact that it takes more than that to become successful. It takes intellectual determination and perhaps even the circumstances or opportunities necessary for one to become a respected achiever.
This makes me ask, “If the opportunities I wish to have are not yet here with me today, how can I prepare myself when they arrive or how can I make them happen if that is possible?”
As of now, perhaps, I must finish this program and eventually pass the Licensure Examination for Teachers next year.