This weekend, thousands of Filipino kids will try their luck in getting admitted in the country’s National University. Four years ago, I was one of the luck 12 thousand kids who were given the chance to be an Iskolar ng Bayan.
Honestly, I never wanted to study in UP. For me, the school was so overrated. For several reasons, I promised myself not to study college in UP. Hell, I even told myself that I wouldn’t go to college. But my parents forced me to. They pushed me into processing my application for UPCAT or University of the Philippines College Admission Test.
- 1st Choice: UP Diliman
- 1st Choice: ECE
- 2nd Choice: Tourism
- 2nd Choice: UP Manila
- 1st Choice: Speech Pathology
- 2nd Choice: Physical Therapy
I did not enroll in those UPCAT, ACET and other college admission exam reviews because I thoguht that it was just a waste of my time and my parents’ money, and because I never wanted to go to college in the first place.
My mom borrowed some reviewers from my cousins who previously tried their luck to enter in UP but was not fortunate enough. I just browsed through it once then got so lazy to even remove it from its pile in my room.
Come exam day, my Mom fetched me to my designated school in our province. The exam will start at around 6 am (I’m not sure). Two of my classmates also had the same schedule. I was hoping that I’d flunk the test.
As I was trying to answer the questions, I thought I didn’t need to hope or wish to fail this exam because I will indeed flunk it. I did not need any intercession or miracle for me to fail. I can do it all by myself, I thought.
Months passed and I completely forgot about that dreaded test. I also gained interest in going to college and I had a plan in mind: I will study ECE at Mapua. Back then, it’s Mapua or not go to college at all for me.
I took the admission test in Mapua at around January. Before the month ended, I already got the results. I passed the exam and had a choice of whichever course I wanted to take. I was ecstatic. My parents already paid for my reservation slot.
But news spread in our school that the UPCAT results were already out and several names from our section were said to have passed. My name was never mentioned. I did not mind since I never wanted to go there in the first place.
But when I searched my name in the online results, one search entry showed. A certain Bautista, Billie S. passed and was granted one slot for BS Tourism in UP Diliman. I did not know how to react. I was said because this may ruin my plans had my parents known about it. But I was also quite happy since I know for a fact that I am intelligent enough to pass what is said to be the hardest admission test in the country.
I was right. When my parents found out that I passed the exam, it was as if I never took the Mapua admission test. They were so determined to enroll me at UP. I can’t do anything because it’s their money I’m using.
A few days after, my adviser handed me at school my UPCAT admission envelope. My math teacher saw me open it and when she learned that I passed the Tourism program, she quickly remarked, “Pumasa ka nga, sa Tourism lang naman (You may have passed, but its just in the Tourism program [very bad translation. my apologies]).”
I was crushed. Not only did she ruin my illusion that I was intelligent, she was actually questioning my capability to pass such exam. Fortunately, my Journalism teacher, who studied Journalism in UP Diliman, was quick to defend me saying that regardless of what course I passed, it’s already a great achievement for me to be admitted in UP.
And as they, the rest is history. I spent my freshmen year in college as a Tourism major, hating my parents for not letting me study in Mapua. I shifted out to Journalism come sophomore year. I became a member, and soon enough the Publicity Committee Head of UP Journalism Club and a member, and short-lived HR Manager of UP Advertising Core. I have waited in line from 5am to lunch time just to purchase a ticket for the UAAP Cheerdance Competition, where UP rules. I have cheered UP during the UAAP basketball games even if deep inside, I know there’d be a slim chance that they’d win. I have my own share of UP shirts and ballers and other memorabillas. I have raised my right hand while singing UP Naming Mahal. I have joined a couple of protest rallies.
I graduated Cum Laude, fortunately. I am now working as a writer for a renowned Public Relations firm, Corporate Image Dimension.
Honestly, I couldn’t imagine myself studying at any other school except in UP Diliman. Since my sophomore year in college and until now, it’s UP or nothing.
Hey, this is Billie Bautista, a true blue (or maroon) iskolar ng bayan.