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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 3: You have to Fail in order to Succeed



It's just like saying you have to Fall before you can Stand! Really true! I will give three examples to illustrate how true is the above statement and how it affected my life today.

The first incident to support the above statement occurred in my elementary school days. When I did not received the first honor award ( I got 2nd honor award) during my graduation both my parents and I were very disappointed. My parents even contemplated filing an official complaint to the school principal and my teacher of what they believe was a nepotism case since the valedictorian was related to the teacher and principal. However, I convince my parents not to do it. I told them, I will work harder in high school to be number #1, to show the teacher and principal they made a mistake in the selection process. The whole four years of high school, I competed with the five top five honor students from our elementary schools days. Needless to say, I graduated validectorian(#1) of our high school class. My classmate who was #1 in our elementary school days got the salutatorian award ( 2nd place). I was happy and felt vindicated. My teacher in the elementary school congratulated me but without looking straight into my eye, when my parents invited her to my high school graduation party at our house.

My high school years were not all pleasant memories. There was an incident that occurred in my junior year, that I had repressed in my memory, until I read the other day of a teenage boy who committed suicide because he was bullied in school.

There was a bully in school who was very manipulative. This individual
constantly harassed and annoyed me. He coerced me into doing an unacceptable
act repeatedly by threatening my reputation and safety. As a child, I was
afraid to bring it to anyone's attention. My predicament finally ended when
this bully was pulled out of school by his parents. I was relieved to get this
off my chest by confession to a priest. I got over this harrowing experience by
forgiving the bully.

The second incident was during my graduation with my Bachelor degree in Chemistry in(UP) University of the Philippines in Diliman,Quezon City. When I missed graduating cum laude,(with Honor) by just 0.24 points, I told myself I will pursue my Ph.D. in the United States to show my professor in Differential Calculus who gave me a "4.0" (condition) grade when I received only 69% in the final exam( I missed 1 point to get a C). I took a retest and passed it with flying colors. In my chemistry class, there were only 15 of us and only one graduated cum laude. That show how hard it was to graduate with honor in chemistry at that time. That grade of "4" certainly did deflate my ego and self-esteem, but two years later, I redeemed my self-esteem and inflated my ego by passing the Board Examination for Chemists taking 3rd place nation-wide.

Let me explained the grading system at that time, since I am not sure if it is still the same today.. In 1955 when I graduated in UP, the grading system was from 1 to 5 with 1.0 as excellent (A), 2.0(B). 3(C) (Passing). 4(D) Conditioned and 5( Failure). To graduate with honors, the average of your four years of grades are considered except physical education and ROTC ( Reserved Officers Training Corp). The scale for the following honors: Average for four years of 1.00 to 1.20 is summa cum laude ( with highest honors); 1.21 to 1.45 is magna cum laude ( with high honors) and from 1.46 to 1.75 ( with honor) is cum laude.

My four years average including the “4.0" that I got from Differential Calculus was included in the calculation (not my passing grade of 3.0 after a retest the next day) turned out to be 1.99 ( not high enough for honor). But if you calculate my four year average with the 3.0 that I got after the retest, my four year average turned out to be 1.74 enough to receive the cum laude ( with honor) award.

When I found this out, I was so furious, I wished my calculus professor be run over by a car or misfortune falls on her every day of her life. When I saw her in the hallway,I gave her a stare of hate (like an arrow that pierced her heart that did not stop bleeding until she died ).However, at the end of the semester, I was able to forgave her after talking(in a confession) with Rev Fr. John Delaney, my Jesuit counselor of the University of the Philippines Student Catholic Action. (UPSCA) at that time. I had to forget the incident, otherwise I will not be able to receive communion during mass.

But I vowed to the whole world, I will obtain a Doctorate Degree in the United States to show to my Professor in Differential Calculus of what she did to my “ego” (with the 1% score that I missed during my final exam.) Looking back, I think I should thank her for what she did, because there were numerous times during my first year in Graduate School, that I wanted to quit. But once I remember the incident( my determination to finish my doctorate degree )reminded me of the personal vow I made to myself a few years earlier.

The third incident is a culmination of my twenty-two years of experience working for private industries here in US. I lost my first job in industry on my own free will. I wanted to receive a 20% raise in income as well as move to a warmer climate. The second private industry job that I lost was due to the company moving and closing their agricultural research division and also consolidating their research facility in one location to save money. I lost my 3rd job in private industry, because the firm wanted to save money and also wanted to get out of the pesticide business. The 4th job loss,I had in the private industry was the most heart-breaking episode in my career. I had only one day of warning. After working for the firm for twelve years with good performance, it took management only one day, to tell me, we do not need you any more, good bye and look for another job. That feeling of anger,loss of ego, shock and envy (for those who were not fired) was indescribable and humiliating. I vowed I will never worked for a private firm again in my lifetime. My determination to work for the Federal Government was achieved, when I worked for the Food and Drug Administration in the Fall of 1990. This decision was the best move,I have ever made in my career. My twelve years in FDA was filled with purpose, awards, accomplishments and personal growth . Our life in the suburb of Washington, DC was filled with civic involvements, social activities, humanitarian projects, pleasant memories, cultural projects, and even a private tour of the WHITE HOUSE. Receiving Christmas cards from the White House for four years (CLINTON) was the ultimate fulfillment of a Filipino student who immigrated to the US in 1960, raised a family of four professional children, had achieved in his lifetime. I could never have worked for FDA, had any one of the four private firms not failed me, or had retained me as an employee.

If you have experiences that illustrate “that you have to Fail in order to Succeed”, please feel free to comment.

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