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‘Salamat sa 3’

03:24 AM November 22, 2011

This was one of the happiest days of my life. I could hardly sleep last night worrying about a specific subject. I was afraid that a single grade might ruin everything I had built over my past three years of college.

I woke up, brushed my teeth and washed my face. It was like any other ordinary vacation days, sunny and bright. I turned on the computer and left it on the sofa. I decided to take breakfast first before checking my grades online. I launched an Internet browser and opened four tabs: one for Facebook, one for Gmail, one for Twitter, and last for UPV CRSIS. Of course, Facebook came first before the others, but then a classmate posted in our group that our lecture grade in Zoology 131 was now available.

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Without hesitation I logged in to check my complete grades for the first semester of school year 2011-2012. My heart was filled with happiness when I saw that I got a grade of “3.0” in Zoo 131 or Introduction to Developmental Biology of Animals although I had much higher grades in other subjects. Zoo 131 is a 3-unit lecture course for senior biology students that meets six hours a week. It’s a major subject for us and failing in it could delay our graduation.

Before the beginning of the semester, we had an idea who  our instructor would be. He was known as a “terror.”

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The subject is not very difficult at all. In fact, developmental biology or embryology is a very cool and amazing course. It is the study of embryonic and other developmental processes. We learned that fertilization is not a simple fusion of egg and sperm because there’s a lot of transcription factors and proteins involved in cell signaling. It is quite amazing to learn how a fertilized egg develops into three germ layers that give rise to different organs and systems of an organism. To make the story short, the subject is about the accuracy of different molecules inside a cell that make up the embryo.

But the subject became a problem to us when we could not prove our mastery of it during exams. I lacked three points to get a passing mark during the first long exam. The second long test drowned me in super failure.

I studied regularly but still I failed. Which was very frustrating because I don’t study hard for most of my other subjects and still get very good scores. Maybe it’s a matter of mental processing of information. Actually I was intimidated by the way our instructor taught Zoo 131.

All my hopes of passing the subject rested on our last long exam. I studied very hard but I still felt I had not done enough. Everyone in our class was filled with stress and teary-eyed. Before entering the testing room, I had already accepted the fact that I would flunk the course and lose my scholarship.

After the exam, I went to the office of the chairman of the division of biological sciences to report on our class status. I requested that Zoo 131 be offered again in the second semester so that we could graduate on time.

The division chairman said he could not guarantee it. I ended up exclaiming, “I don’t deserve to fail this subject. You have seen my performance for the past three years.”

The chairman just smiled and laughed at me. At the end of the day, I felt light and calm, knowing I had said what I wanted to say.

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This week has been filled with both excitement for vacation and anxiety over my grades. I am determined to reach my optimum potential. I am grateful to my family and friends who constantly pray for my safety and success. Another chapter in my college life has ended.

To graduate from the University of the Philippines is not to finish a four- or five-year course. It means passing all the required subjects in your degree program. Graduating on time is already an achievement.

I am one step nearer to that goal. This time I will reach for it. My day has been luminous with joy and gratitude. Salamat sa 3!

Christian Malabuyoc Abagat, 20, is a 4th year BS Biology major at the University of the Philippines Visayas, Miagao Campus in Iloilo.

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