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Not Just a Passing Rate

John Carlos Plata

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From left, Clarisse Cadano and Roselle Publico

When the much-awaited results of the 2016 Medical Technologist Licensure Examination were announced last Sept. 1, many were astonished to find that Sillimanians were able to make history once again. Two graduates from the Institute of Clinical Laboratory Sciences (ICLS) ranked first and second, leading this year’s batch of 150 passers from Silliman University (SU).
Roselle Louise Publico attained the highest score for this year’s examination, garnering an astounding rating of 91.10%. She was the second to take hold of this achievement, following Lydia Labor Dayang, who had represented SU and achieved the same feat 21 years ago.
Despite her accomplishment, Roselle describes herself as a typical Sillimanian. Blessed with a supportive family, she has been excelling academically since she was a child. She was a consistent honor student from early childhood to college, joining organizations and winning several awards along the way. She graduated magna cum laude in SU last March.
Her “lifelong dream,” and the reason why she chose her course, was to become a medical doctor. During her time in college, however, she began to doubt proceeding to medical school after graduation, considering the costs she would have to face.
Roselle never expected to become one of the topnotchers, much more to rank first. During the review, she felt that she wasn’t the smartest or the most dedicated among the board takers. People’s expectations sometimes overwhelmed her.
“I faced the same struggles as everyone else. Everyone gets tired, [but] what matters is how one perseveres… I’m not saying I didn’t work hard for this, but I guess I led a pretty balanced life. I had time for family, friends, church, social gatherings. I truly am just a typical student,” she said.
Roselle was having lunch with her parents in a mall when she heard the good news through a phone call from a former mentor, who told her, “Rose, naa nay results. Top 1 ka.”
For Roselle, the unexpected yet fortunate turn of events was not only a gift, but was also a sign. After learning of the results, her enthusiasm for medicine was reinvigorated. Now a Registered Medical Technologist, she aims to “scout for scholarships” and fulfil her dream of becoming a doctor.
Clarisse Joan Cadano followed Roselle in the distinguished list of topnotchers. She completed the exam with a rating of 90.70%, which put her in the second top spot.
A daughter of two dedicated teachers, Clarisse values academic education through and through. She is a nature lover and guitar enthusiast. Though often timid and shy in front of strangers, she describes herself as the noisiest when in the company of her closest friends. She values efficiency and productivity, and cannot stand wasting time and doing nothing.
Like Roselle, Clarisse aspires to become a medical doctor someday. Her passion for science and the service that comes with it has no bounds, as she dreams of taking part in medical missions around the world.
In spite of her love for her field, topping the exam never really occurred to her. Still, the path to becoming a medical technologist had “never been easy” and was one that required compromise.
“Probably sleep is one of the most compromised necessity. Less than 8 hours of sleep or sometimes no sleep at all has become routine… Missing family gatherings is perhaps the saddest part.”
When she checked the exam results online, Clarisse knew that the sleepless nights, the homesickness, and the pressure finally paid off.
“The list of topnotchers was the last I opened when I checked for the results. At first, it felt like… [it] probably wasn’t real at all. But at second glance, nothing has changed, my name was still on the list. I [couldn’t] help but burst into tears.”
In receiving warm congratulations from her family, mentors, and friends, she looks toward the future, planning to soon pursue her dreams as a medical technologist for whatever lies beyond.
Not only were the two topnotchers graduates of SU, but they also finished high school as classmates in Ramon Pastor Teves Memorial Dumaguete Science High School. They are close friends and were roommates during the review.
In preparing for the exams, Roselle kept it light and easy. She said, “If you feel tired, pause and pray, or rest, or go out. Don’t beat yourself up studying every minute of every day, and never let your studies compromise your health.” She also advises students to “go with what works” for them, know when they’re sharpest, and study at those terms and hours.
Clarisse had an otherwise contrasting strategy that was equally effective. She kept in mind time and efficiency during the preparation, warming up with light readings early in the summer. Clarisse has two important tips for the following batches: To “spend one’s time wisely” so as not to waste even a single minute, and to “study smart” and let learning be the ultimate goal.
Despite their differences in style, the one technique they had in common was that they both made it a point to see the bigger picture and “understand the whys” of what they were studying.
Neither secret formulas nor studying methods brought their impressive success. Their unwavering faith, commitment, and talent, enhanced by quality Silliman education and values, brought them to where they are today. Roselle and Clarisse’s respective achievements serve as an inspiration and a challenge for today’s Sillimanians to give it their best shot and enjoy the ride.

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