Welcome to My Site

If this is your first visit, welcome! This site is devoted to my life experiences as a Filipino-American who immigrated from the Philippines to the United States in 1960. I came to the US as a graduate student when I was 26 years old. I am now in my early-80's and thanks God for his blessings, I have four successful and professional children and six grandchildren here in the US. My wife and I had been enjoying the snow bird lifestyle between US and Philippines after my retirement from USFDA in 2002. Please do not forget to read the latest national and International News in this site . I have also posted some of my favorite Filipino and American dishes and recipes in this site. Some of the photos and videos in this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing on your copyrights. Cheers!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chapter 5: Could One Point you missed in a Test Change Your Life?

It did in my life and career! This is a true incident in my life. I don't think I have told anyone about it. I may have hinted it to my wife of 52 years,but I don't think she knew all the details. So here is my story. I have describe a summary of this episode in my other posting “ You Have to Fail in order to Succeed “

This episode in my life occurred when I was in 3rd year college at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Q.C., pursuing a bachelor's degree in Chemistry. One of the subjects, required for the degree was Differential Calculus. I took this course with the engineering students instead with my chemistry classmates , because of some schedule conflict with my other elective courses. To make the story short, on the final examination for this course, I scored only 69% less than 1% for a passing grade of “C”. I was given a “Condition” and have to take a retest to pass the course. The next day, I took the retest and passed it with flying colors with a grade of 75%. So what is the big deal? I passed, how did this affect my life and career? Because of the “Condition” grade that I obtained, I was not qualified to graduate with HONOR (CUM LAUDE), even though my grade point average for the four years qualified me for that honor. ( the details of the grading point system in UP at that time was discussed in detail in my previous post).

The fact that I did not graduate with HONOR although I have the grade point average devastated my ego, and my self-esteem. In my class of 20 original freshmen, only 15 graduated in four years and only one graduated Cum Laude. This shows how hard and difficult it was to graduate with honors at that time.

With my ego deflated, I made a personal vow, that no matter what, I will pursue graduate studies in the US to show to my professor and the whole world of my capabilities and to redeem my self-esteem. My ego and self-esteem went back to normal levels when a year later, I passed the Board Examination for Chemists, scoring 3rd place nationwide.

After graduation I was hired by my Alma Mater (UP) as Instructor in Chemistry. Two years later, I got married and have settled down in our home in Quezon City, a gift from my parents and my wife's parents. A year later, my wife was pregnant with our oldest son. I had completely forgotten my personal vow to do graduate work in US. I was very happy with my job in UP and enjoyed teaching.

One day, I received an acceptance for a full teaching assistantship /scholarship from the US, from one of several applications, I sent before, I got married. I have to decide. It took a lot of discussions with my wife and myself. Is my burning ambition my number #1 priority or my family and future child in my wife's womb? I can not decide, but thanks to my late father-in-law, I would have been stuck in the Philippines teaching at the university. I did not know that my father-in-law had advised my wife “To let me Go”. My wife later informed me, that without her father's advise she would not have given me her consent to leave her for my burning ambition. ( My wife did not know of my personal vow at that time)

So with a sad heart to leave my family, but with excitement to fulfill my dreams , I went to the US for graduate study. During my first year in the US, I was tempted twice to quit and return to the Philippines. I was very lonely especially on Holidays and Christmas, plus the winters of Chicago was bad for my body, that was accustomed to the tropical climate of the Philippines . I oftentimes ask myself, What in the “Heck”, am I doing here with tears in my eyes almost freezing in my face and my nose frozen because of the frigid temperatures of Chicago.

But my vow and burning ambition triggered by the 1 point I missed at the final exam in my Differential Calculus class kept me going, until I completed my Ph.D. Degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1964. The rest of the story is history.

If you have a similar experience that could have change your life, please let me know.

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