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Plot twists

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Numerous captivating and motivational narratives revolve around individuals who have triumphed in their board exams. These success stories not only captivate our interest but also serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement. One’s board exam or bar exam journey is unique and worth sharing. My experience was an emotional roller coaster from the moment I committed to pursuing a Teaching Certificate Program. This decision was driven by my aspiration to accumulate the necessary units, despite my non-Education major background, enabling me to qualify for the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET).

My classmates and I, a group predominantly younger than me and consisting of Senior High School cub teachers facing a limited five-year window to attain Licensed Professional Teacher (LPT) status, successfully concluded the Teaching Certificate Program (TCP) in February of this year. Despite the urgency, many of my classmates chose to immediately take the March 19 Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET), even with limited time to process the required documents for the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) and adequate exam preparation. Unlike them, I opted not to join in, as I preferred avoiding hasty decisions and always believed in taking calculated risks. Consequently, I decided to patiently await the September board exam.

In August, I visited PRC Bacolod to submit my application form and documents for evaluation, intending to take the BS Secondary – English exam being a Mass Communication major. Following the assessment, the PRC staff handling my case informed me that they couldn’t issue a Notice of Admission (NOA). This setback was attributed to a recent Department of Education mandate stipulating that non-education baccalaureate degree holders must complete a minimum of 60 units of professional education courses to qualify for teaching positions in both elementary and secondary schools.

I was told that my documents would be forwarded to the PRC Regional Office for assessment, and I was instructed to await official communication from PRC regarding the decision on my eligibility for the board exam. Learning about this news was disheartening. I had been eagerly looking forward to taking the LET this time, as I felt fully prepared mentally, emotionally, and psychologically. The disappointment deepened when considering the potential repercussions: if disqualified from the September exam, I would face an even more formidable challenge, needing to complete an additional 42 units to meet the revised DepEd requirement of 60 units for eligibility.

Beyond tenacity, patience stands out as one of my superpowers. While the less-than-ideal news cast a momentary shadow on my spirit, my determination to pursue the LET remained steadfast, akin to an unyielding fortress. Viewing the setback as a minor hiccup, I resolved to pray, maintain optimism, and believe that the odds would tilt in my favor. I set a personal deadline, giving myself until the first week of September before officially acknowledging that the LET might not be in the cards for me at the moment.

The initial week of September elapsed without any communication from PRC Western Visayas. I began to contemplate whether the absence of an immediate Notice of Admission (NOA) and the lack of updates from PRC were indicative signs that the timing for me to become a Licensed Professional Teacher (LPT) had not yet arrived. It marked another one of those low points in my life when I summoned the courage to relinquish control and surrender to a higher power. I let go and let God. “Your will be done,” I humbly whispered to myself.

But on September 13, a notification chimed in my inbox! It was an email from PRC6 Licensure Section: “Good day, please be informed that you may now claim your Notice of Admission for the September 2023 LET.” Whoa! It’s a recurring theme – every time I let go and let God, he takes charge and turns the seemingly impossible into a reality for me!

Rather than feeling ecstatic, my initial reaction was one of panic—a blend of worry and nervousness crept in. “How can they (PRC) be so cruel?!” I pondered. The notification arrived just 11 days before the examination day, a moment when I had already abandoned my review and fully embraced the idea of not attaining the LPT title this year. It felt as if the universe was orchestrating a prank at my expense. Despite the unexpected twist, I considered it a manifestation of God’s will for me to take the exam. With that perspective, I had no grounds for complaint. Recognizing that He understood the desires of my heart and granted them, I felt a deep sense of gratitude.

On the day of the examination, I rose at the crack of dawn with the intention of grabbing a few meals for my lunch and snacks from the nearest fast-food chain before making my way to the exam venue. However, another unexpected turn awaited me. To my surprise, as early as 3 AM, a sizable line of examinees had already formed outside the university where the exam was scheduled. The queue stretched dauntingly long, prompting me to rethink my plan. No more drive-thru for me. I had to settle for a pack of garlic peanuts and the water I had brought from home. Being late for the exam was not an option, and I was determined to avoid any last-minute rush.

I arrived at the examination room well before the designated call time. However, just moments before the proctor’s orientation, a sinking realization struck me—I had left my eyeglasses in the car parked outside the university. “This is going to be an exceptionally challenging day!” I muttered to myself, quietly questioning why a series of unfortunate events seemed to have unfolded since August. It felt like a test of my tenacity, faith, and spirit. Determinedly, I whispered, “I won’t disappoint You! I’ll endure this ordeal and complete the exam, no matter how exhausted and battered I may feel!”      

Navigating through the exam/answer sheet posed an additional challenge, as the items appeared almost microscopic, particularly for someone like me without the luxury of 20-20 vision and dependent on spectacles. The blue text against a white background felt like visual torture. Struggling to discern the very small letters within their equally diminutive boxes, my eyes were subjected to strain. Shortly after lunch, my vision had become blurred, and my eyes were throbbing with pain. Despite the onset of a bothersome headache, I had to muster the strength to persevere, repeatedly reminding myself, “Mind over matter.”

The exam comprised three sets, each containing approximately 200 items. The first two sets were manageable, but describing the difficulty of the last one—intended for Secondary-English majors—as challenging would be an understatement. It proved to be so formidable that it elicited literal tears from numerous examinees. This last professional education exam carried substantial weight, accounting for 60% of our overall rating, and the fear of it jeopardizing our chances of obtaining the LPT title was palpable.

When I drove off the exam venue a little after 6 in the evening, I whispered to God, “I will forget about the schedule of release of exam results because I do not want to spend the next days overthinking and worrying. I have done my part. It is time to let go again and let You, God, take over.” I was not confident I would pass the LET. But I was confident that God never fails to give me what I deserve in my own sweet time.

On December 7, at 6:48 PM, while I was about to have dinner, a former student, Quena, sent me an unexpected message: “Miss Yaaaaas!!! Congratulations!!” Completely oblivious to the reason for the congratulatory message, I responded, “Ngaa haw?” or “Why?”. She then sent me a screenshot: 19415 DORMIDO, YASMIN PASCUAL, accompanied by a note that read, “LPT KNAAAA!!!!”.

Beyond the attainment of a title, the journey I’ve traversed has bestowed upon me invaluable lessons encapsulated in both the peaks of triumph and the depths of adversity. Time and again, whether facing monumental battles or minor skirmishes, our victories and defeats collectively shape the essence of our character. These experiences underscore the significance of humility and acceptance, emphasizing the crucial role our decisions play during challenging times—knowing when to persist and when to gracefully acknowledge that it may not be our moment.

Most importantly, the journey has reinforced the resilience to withstand setbacks, losses, and unexpected plot twists without succumbing to discouragement. These lessons serve as a compass, guiding us through the labyrinth of life’s uncertainties and contributing to the evolution of our inner selves.

A series of unfortunate events paved the way for a significant blessing—one that would not have come my way if I had wavered in my faith and determination to overcome.*

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