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Congratulations, RNs! I passed! But...

Yesterday, August 23, 2012, was the happiest day of my life. After 53 days of anxious waiting, I learned I passed the Philippine Nurse Licensure Examinations held on June 30 and July 1, 2012. I was ecstatic; nothing could be bad that day. I was listed #19,950 of the 27,823 who passed the exams out of the 60,895 who took it. My prayers were answered! My parents are proud of me! That was all that mattered.

What elated me more though was the fact that our school was among the top performing nursing schools for that examination, yielding a 98.82% passing percentage. We also had five topnotchers who occupied highly-coveted spots in the top 10. Of course I wanted to be among the 50 or so topnotchers from all over the country (some of whom were also my classmates and friends), but passing the exam was my first priority. And so I did, and although I didn’t make the top 10, I had finally become a nurse. A nurse, finally! after having endured four years of a hellish battle and sleepless nights in college, no exaggerations there.

And so came August 24, 2012, when the board ratings were released. Board ratings were in percentages and in increments of 0.2 points, since we took a 500-item exam. With the top 10 placers garnering 83.80%, I was worried about my own rating. If I got below 80% (passing rate was 75%), it would be give me a harder time looking for a job in this country, which was already suffering from an immense surplus of nurses. Although I had a scholarship in college which would see me working in a hospital in the next two years, I knew I had to have at least 80% for me to ensure my survival in the field. I went to the see the results on the website, praying once more that I did not just manage to scrape a pass, but obtained a more decent score.

And there it was.



My heart skipped a beat, and then I felt it sink.

I had just received the biggest surprise of my life. I never expected much of myself, seeing that 60,000 people took the same exam and the best I could offer myself was in the top 10,000. But just 0.2 point, one test question, that kept me out of the top 10? It was not real to me. 

One 0.2 point! That is one test question, most likely. Just one inch short of a foot.

I could not believe it. I was numbed, I could not process this information. This number, this brutal number, 83.60, ended it all. They don’t print 11th placers, they are just like every other passer who isn’t the top 10.

I am not trying to be bitter, in all fairness I do not want to complain about not making it to the top when thousands of other examinees had much less luck. I do not want to whine about my situation when others could only desire to be in my place. I 'm not discontented, just satisfied, albeit with an undeniable twinge of disappointment and a pang of regret. I'm not jealous at the others, I'm appalled at myself. But everything that has transpired, my elation and frustration, had to be channeled in some way; it all boiled down to this blog entry. 

I worked hard, hard for it. I spent four years with hardly any sleep and social life. I reaped what I sowed, I graduated. Then this one last hurdle, the licensure exams. My prayer was to pass; my deepest desire was to top. To come within the very point of just nearly making it to the top and coming in just short, was very, very frustrating. Whereas I had been at my happiest point 24 hours previously, the world fell upon me at this point. Just one more test question answered correctly, and my life would have been changed. Why? Because your rating will dictate your future. Near future, more likely. Because if you are a topnotcher, you are something. You are not just a passer. You outshine the others. You do not only get praises and credits, but jobs will chase you and not the other way around. You could easily land a staff nurse slot, or get a chance to coach students in review centers. Everything will be so much easier. Endless opportunities and a sure future ahead. That is why I needed to be a topnotcher. Which was why it was so frustrating.

I mean, what could have been? When I went home after taking the exams, I anxiously perused books on items that I could have answered wrongly. Of course there were, but I did not anticipate this; now, half-satisfying, half-disappointing rating in hand, every wrong answer was a step away from certainty. And I had one wrong answer too many.

Maybe I did not work hard enough. A good few times I skipped review classes the summer before the exams because my brain was just too exhausted. A few good times I postponed studying so I could watch a 90-minute movie, which was a rare commodity for me that time. A few good times I chose to slack off or chat with friends when I could have imbibed myself important information from my thick books and piles of notes. A few good times I had a good night’s sleep.

What if I spent just one more hour at the coffee shop or McDonald’s? Maybe I could have read about the normal values of serum amylase and I would have gotten it right in the exam. Maybe I didn’t pray enough. Maybe I procrastinated too much. Hell, I had to take a break too! But then maybe I should not have.

What if? That is the most enduring question I bear right now, and probably the heaviest question that will burden my heart for the rest of my life. What if I was able to answer just one more question right, and voila, a separate, alternate reality with all the cash and career and fame and fortune?

No use crying over spilled milk, the adage would say. There is nothing I could do with my ‘what ifs,’ but today I learned an important lesson the hard way. I knew I didn’t give my best, I am guilty of it. This experience, this predicament that has stained my humanity forever, will always bear its consequences on me. That everything I do, I have to give my best.  I am living proof that things like this could happen. I look at two separate lives ahead of me, and now I could only imagine what that other life could have been, because of some petty mistakes I committed in the past. The past made my present, and my present will make my future. Everything from now on will be different. I will not be obsessive-compulsive, but I will be more careful, more determined, more prayerful, more prepared for life. This experience scarred me, and the scar will stay. But with a stronger self, support systems in the form of family and friends, and faith in Him, I can be better, I can be on top. It’s just not my time. I prayed to God for me to pass, and I did. I passed the test, and that’s what matters.

P.S. It's slightly after 12 midnight, so I might have have misspellings or wrong grammar or profanity. Sorry!

Auf Wiedersehen, Twitter!

I must be the one with the most number of tweets at my college, at 29,474. The far second had some 12,000. 

Two nights ago, I deleted my Twitter account. 

Why? Why would I quit Twitter, which I carefully, even meticulously, nurtured for nearly three years now? 
When I  joined Twitter in April 2009, I was probably one of the first ones from my school to use it. I reached 1,000 tweets four months later, and soon I grew tired of documenting milestones and I just tweeted away whenever I can: at home, in school, from a moving vehicle, from a display at an iStore. It was an addiction and a guilty pleasure.
I would spend most of my time at home in front of the computer, tweeting. But I didn't mind. I loved it. I still managed to pass all my subjects in college and be a normal person.

I made online friends from all around the world based on common interests. I've tweeted with somebody from Canada, the US, Ghana, the UK... the list goes on. I found Twitter very useful. It was like everyone was a tweet away. 

Soon I was joined by many of my college friends and classmates and we began to tweet each other on a daily basis, mostly small talk. My username became known to many of my friends because of my prolific account. I relished it. I took pride in it. 

And then it became a little too much. People started ranting on Twitter on even the littlest of things. They made my timeline their vent. They chose to channel their negative energies into their accounts and bitch away into their accounts and into my timeline. They'd post angry tweets about everything they couldn't say. I admit I've had my share of it, but mostly only about the unpredictable weather, which I thought was funny. But I didn't find theirs as equally amusing. I did not like what I was seeing. 

Simply put, I did not find my Twitter useful anymore. I lost the inspiration. I lost the gumption.

Two nights ago, I deleted my Twitter account. I feel like I'm having withdrawal symptoms, but I'll be fine. 

I still have 28 days to change my mind and reactivate my account. Or else, Twitter will permanently delete it.
We'll see.

A Crazy Monday

February 6th, 2012 started as ordinarily as any other Monday. People were groaning about the start of the new week and whining about the slow-moving traffic. Office workers were in their cubicles, students were in their classes.

My only class starts at 12:30 pm on Monday, so after oversleeping and whining about my sinus headache, I soon realized I was running late. So after a hurried lunch, I left home about 11:45 am, knowing full well I was going to turn up late for class since travel usually took more than 45 minutes. It took me about five minutes to walk to the main road and hail a jeep. Around 11:50 am, by the time I reached the first elementary school, I noticed that people were pouring into the street, causing a minor traffic jam. Looking up, I saw young children vacating the upper floors of the school buildings with harried, frightened expressions on their faces. I interpreted this as a fire drill, and ignored the commotion and continued to listen to Michael Bublé on my earphones.

As we turned around a corner, a middle-aged woman boarded the jeep and was talking and gesturing incessantly, her face anxious. Taking off my earphones, I heard the woman say that there had been an earthquake. Impossible, I thought. Cebu is not that seismically active. If the woman was right, the earthquake could have originated from islands away and we would feel only the weaker shock waves. But as the jeepney traveled further south, my fellow passengers and I soon realized that the woman was telling the truth. For a lunch break, there were too many people flooding the streets. People were evacuating high-rise buildings and schools. There were even more people gathered outside buildings as I approached downtown. They wore the same look on their faces, the look of someone who’d never experienced a strong earthquake before.

I arrived in school 15 minutes late, but students and teachers alike were all outside the campus. I was told that classes had been suspended, and my concerns were confirmed: There has been an earthquake. I could not believe it. The moment I realized the shocking truth, I knew there was only one place to be: home.

After ensuring that the streets were safe enough, I hurriedly walked to a shortcut where I could ride another jeepney home, but I was able to hitch a ride in a friend’s car. Several streets had been rerouted, and fire trucks were abound, so we took a longer route but I arrived home safe and sound, shortly after 1 pm. I was thankful that electricity had not been cut; I turned on the computer, TV, and radio, desperate for information. And there it was: A 6.9 magnitude earthquake had struck between the islands of Negros and Cebu, in the central Philippines.

I’ve lived my whole life in Cebu City, the second-largest metropolitan area in the Philippines. Home to some 2 million people, Cebu City is a bustling metropolis. Located strategically in the heart of the archipelago, I had thought that there were no active fault lines in Cebu, geography and geology being interests of mine. Even though the Philippines sits in the Ring of Fire, I had thought that we would not receive the brunt of an earthquake, (let alone a 6.9) and that most quakes that would be felt here would be no stronger than a 5.0.  I was wrong.

The events began to unfold on national TV and even got a mention by Al Jazeera only a few hours after the quake. By 2 pm, a level 2 tsunami alert had been issued by Phivolcs (Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology) for the eastern coast of Negros and the western coast of Cebu (Cebu City is in the eastern coast).

I was very thankful I was already at home. Downtown, people were beginning to receive false reports, propelled by word-of-mouth and text messaging, of a tsunami approaching the city. Who would not run from a tsunami?

It was pandemonium. As what I could hear from the radio, frightened people rushing uptown, mothers frantically carrying their children, students taking off their shoes to run better, cars being abandoned in the streets. One could liken the scene to a disaster film: Only there was no actual disaster. The false rumors and reports of an incoming tsunami had left thousands of people in a state of mass panic, abandoning dignity just to get as far away from the sea. The major thoroughfares were filled with a throng of people all headed in the same direction. People were literally running for their lives. By the time Phivolcs had lifted the tsunami alert at 2.30 pm, people were still racing en masse toward the mountainous areas.


To be honest, I was frustrated. I knew many famous earthquakes, having been interested in them since I was a kid. The 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the 1960 Chile earthquake, the 1964 Alaska earthquake, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. They all fascinated me. It made me want to feel what it was like to be in that earthquake. Maybe I was one of the lucky few who did not feel the 6.9 temblor, as I was in a moving vehicle. I was unknowing, I was oblivious. I did not have that mini heart attack, that chill down my spine. Today, I chide myself for ever wanting to get caught in one.

By late afternoon, my entire family had assembled in the living room, much to my relief. A few friends and classmates of mine had been caught in the “tsunami fun run” as they later jokingly named. That night, as the entire city began to calm down after running from the tsunami that never came, I felt three strong aftershocks, a 6.2, a 6.0, and a 5.0, all within two hours. It was dizzying and it was terrifying. I did not want that feeling again. My friends would immediately tweet, “AFTERSHOCK!” I, of course, joined them as the rest of the country watched.

The hysteria following the earthquake received mixed reactions. Some felt it was too much of a reaction for people to just believe rumors and race toward the mountains. But if I were there, even though I had prior knowledge of what to do after an earthquake, I, who had no information at that moment, stuck in the middle of a crowd not knowing what to do, would of course, run. It would have been the most rational thing to do, to just run. Who would have thought twice?

It is February 8, two days after the shocking events of Monday. I was in class earlier today at the 3rd floor of the CIM building and experienced another magnitude 5.2 aftershock.  As of this morning, 1,239 aftershocks have been recorded, 75 of which were strong enough to be felt.

This has been an entirely new experience for me. It was surreal. It was incredible. Even though I was absent from much of the uproar downtown (I never even felt the main shock!), I would never want to be in that kind of situation for anything, not even an imagined tsunami. What I learned from this is that even things thought to be impossible, and what is most important in this kind of event is a calm, composed mind. This might have also opened the eyes of the Cebuano people and the Filipino people alike, who are always ill-prepared for natural disasters, to mobilize for disaster preparedness. Always be prepared: the Philippines was the country most hit by natural disasters in 2011 according to the UN.

26 people have been confirmed to have been killed in the 2012 Negros-Cebu earthquake, and a few dozen remain missing in subsequent landslides. Neighboring Negros Oriental was hardest hit; search and rescue/retrieval operations continue. The earthquake was tectonic in origin, and revealed a new fault system seismologists had not yet mapped. 

Barely One Month To Go


This is it. This is really it. The trailer is a slice of heaven to us fans. When Sirius said, "Until the end," I positively bawled.

This is it. This is really it. There's barely one month left for waiting for the release of the most anticipated movie of life yet -- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2. The series is ending, and the feeling of awaiting the final book in the saga is back. It's a mix of excitement and exhilaration and dread and impending depression. I mean, what will my life be after this, with no Harry Potter movie to wait for anymore? I try not to look at it that way. Instead, I celebrate the 7 years that I've had Harry Potter in my life. 7 wonderful years. Had I not opened Sorcerer's Stone in 2004, my life would be a million times more boring than it is today. I feel very lucky and blessed to have had met such wonderful characters and grew up with them and faced the pangs of adolescence. I'm grateful for inciting my imagination and exploring the wonders of this universe. It's been a wonderful 7 years, and I'm very, very thankful for that. Harry Potter has always been a big influence in my life, and I will always be proud of that.

A Week in the Life

 I can't believe I strayed into my journal when I have a Research output to work on, an Excel worksheet to fill up and a video to edit. It's 5:39 PM, Monday. I have Monday afternoons off this semester so I usually go straight home when class ends at 10:30, although today I made a trip to the faculty room and the library for schoolwork.

Last week was probably the worst week of this semester, my college life even. On Sunday I was already dreading the coming week, since we had a midterms retake (I don't know if I'm in the liberty to discuss this), a major exam in Neurology and a Research defense to be anxious, or  rather, to panic about. Monday passed without incident and I did a bit of cramming, and so did Tuesday, although the nerves were starting to get the better of me by Wednesday morning, although we had that morning off so we could study for midterms. That afternoon I was pleasantly surprised about how the exam was far less difficult than I dreaded it to be, but I know I shouldn't be too confident about it. Late Wednesday afternoon meant Research Defense, and although I ruined bits of my speech here and there, my groupmates and I managed to scrape a pass, of which I am very thankful and relieved. Hump Day had passed, and Thursday was the break I needed for all that stress, despite I spent the whole day at school for RLE orientation and classes. On Friday (TGIF!) I had my regular duty at the hospital, and thank goodness the area I was assigned in was not that stressful. By this time the lack of sleep was starting to take its toll.  Saturday morning came and went, and it was the weekend. I took a 3-hour nap that afternoon, and woke up bright and alive.

I realized life's really a matter of perspective. If you view things negatively, that is how they're going to turn out, but if you're optimistic, things will still go all right, even if they really don't. If I am tired and stressed, that is because I choose to be. And even though I could be doing homework than being on my journal, I still won't regret it because I spent this precious time channeling my thoughts into writing and come one day I might return to this post and smile and laugh about the old times when I used to whine about school and complain about requirements without actually doing something about it.

It's 5:52 already, and I couldn't be more ready to face my homework.

This week was a turning point not only in my college life, but for life itself.

And oh here's some Pinto for Pinto's sake lol

The beginning of the end

I  remember the night of March 31, 2004 very clearly. It was the night when I first opened, unenthusiastically, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, four days after graduating elementary school. I was 12, and although I did love books, I steered clear of thick ones. I was not a fan of the series prior to this; I didn’t even care. The first four books had been given by my mom as a graduation present, whatever her intentions were at the time, I do not know. Having nothing to do for the summer vacation, I had lazily scanned the pages and even complained about them not having a lot of pictures. Unbeknownst to me, my life would be changed forever.

My life would have been different had I not chosen to read that first book. I was instantly immersed in the tale of that little boy who didn’t know he was a wizard, who, in a lot of ways, was far less blessed than I was, but a lot stronger and braver. Harry Potter was loyal and brave, generous and kind, something I’ve always wanted to be. Scarred at a young age, he was forced to live a life of misery with his horrible aunt and uncle, and hardly felt how it was to be loved. That put my own petty sufferings into perspective. In a way, Harry Potter has taught me to appreciate the little things in life and be contented for what I have.

I finished the first four books in a month and saw the movies, which are also very good. I waited impatiently for the last two books to come out and complained why the next movie wasn’t out yet. I snagged every K-Zone I laid my eyes on for a few good pages of Harry. I spent hours talking to friends and reciting spells. I was thrown into a world of magic and fantasy where dragons can be real and vomiting up slugs possible, where good still triumphs over evil. I saw my imagination expand before my very eyes and picked up lots of values along the way. “Books and cleverness…friendship and bravery…”

I must have read each book at least five times. There are footnotes and underlines whenever something important was happening or simply when I encountered an unfamiliar word. My only paperback copy, Order of the Phoenix, is so worn and yellowed and torn in some pages. I cried when I reached the chapter when Dumbledore and Snape died, simply because I didn’t want them to, because they were family to me, and Hogwarts was a home. They’re there for me. I could talk to them when I want to, when I have troubles, or when I simply needed company…

To me, Harry Potter came at the most convenient time of my life, just as I was entering adolescence. I grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, I shared their joys, I shared their troubles. I was made a more mature person with every book, and I am very, very grateful for that.

And now it’s ending. With Part 2 coming out in eight months, a part of me will die with it. When I saw the trailer last June 28 for the first time, I was literally shaking and crying, because I knew it’s the end. A few years ago I was actually excited to see how it ends, but now, I can’t even bear to imagine. It’s probably laughable, but to me it’s not. It’s seven years, a third of my life ending with the series. There will be nothing to look forward to anymore, nothing to get excited about. It’s ending. All good things come to an end. I am so proud of having the Harry Potter series in my life, mentor and influence, and although I can’t think of the end of it all, when it’s gonna come, it’s gonna come, and I’m going to have to face it when it does.


Pinto Goes Potter
Your Result: LAMILLDOR

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Pinto Goes Potter
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

lol i actually considered being in Waterbottlein for like 5 minutes. Oh well, what's the world without coffee?
What is your favorite John Lennon song, and why?

Imagine, hands down. It's got the most beautiful message in one song.

Birthday Bean

Happy birthday to the wonderful bean hilsongirl

Thanks a lot for everything!

Happy Birthday, BB!

Writer's Block: Breaking the food chain

Which one food would you choose to ban from existence, and why?

Junk food! Shit's too addicting lol