Testimony of Engr. Pia M. Valderrama
4Ps beneficiary and former monitored child
POTOTAN, Iloilo – “Never gid ko magkuha Engineering nga course sa college. (I will never take an Engineering course in college.),”- these are the exact words I said when I was in Grade 11. I never thought I would become an engineering student at that time. I’ve never imagined myself solving calculus or other higher math problems. I was too afraid of failing at that time since I was at the top of our class.
Furthermore, my selected strand at that time was extremely far from any engineering degree. So, I told myself, “No, never,” and I just concentrated on my studies, and to God’s glory, I graduated “With High Honors” during my Senior High School. But then I was under pressure to decide what course I am going to take in college. Since I finished with high honors, I felt obligated to live up to the high expectations of other people around me. My sister then suggested that I will try taking up Electrical Engineering, and I accepted that challenge. Then, I enrolled in Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT-U), La Paz, Iloilo City.
As they have said, it is a difficult course. I never forget getting a “3/40” on our first differential calculus exam during my first year. I felt terrible about it and I am also quite disappointed with myself. I recalled whining while crying in my mother’s arms. I was embarrassed and felt belittled because, in my thought, the achiever back then is now a loser. Since I had no one to talk to, my mental and emotional state at the moment became unstable. I didn’t have any friends back then because I was the only one who pursued my college education in Iloilo City.
I started thinking too much and now find it difficult to concentrate on my studies. Our financial issues at the time also contributed to my negative thoughts. Even though I have free tuition but still I have a lot of fees to pay like my monthly boarding house and daily allowance. I also need to buy books, a calculator, and school uniforms.
Unfortunately, I got my first “3” grade when the first semester ended and I continue to have a grade of “3” on my transcript of records at the end of each semester. I have even taken removal exams just to pass my failed subject. Here comes the pandemic due to COVID-19, our classes were suspended many times and my struggles keep on. Years passed and in just a blink of an eye, I graduated in July 2022 as one of the top achiever students. I’m finally getting closer to having the “Engineer” title before my name.
It was the first week of November 2022 when I traveled to Cebu to prepare for my board exam. It was difficult to go because doing so would be costly (boarding house, tuition, and allowance), but I had to do it because I had promised my family that, “Mapauli ko nga Engineer next year (I will go home as an Engineer next year).” However, it is not easy. My emotional condition has become so unstable that I occasionally cry before going to bed. I even contacted my mother crying one time and said that I wanted to go home. I was so depressed that I even said I wouldn’t pass the board examination because I failed all of my summative examinations (both online and face-to-face).
Despite my negative thoughts, my family supports me all the way. They help me grow closer to God. I placed God first, and whenever I was feeling down, I would pray to God. I talked to God and when I couldn’t understand what I was studying, I went to the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino de Cebu to pray sincerely.
Three days before my board examination, I feel emptiness like all my knowledge is being swept away but then I trusted everything to God, so I take the board exam calmly. However, the exam was very hard on the first day. It is very far from what I have studied during my reviews. I was stressed since I was unsure of my answers, and I’m already wondering if I’ll make it. But then there is no surrender, I ought to keep going because I have another exam on the next day, which covers a bigger percentage of our major subject. I advised myself to exert extra effort and give it my best.
On April 29, I returned home with mixed feelings. I even told myself that I wouldn’t succeed, but I kept on praying, “Lord, make my pain and efforts worthwhile.” I even just prayed to have a passing score of 70 because most important I will pass the exam.” Then the day of the release of results came. It was May 3 when the results were announced, and I am glad to tell you that out of the 5,771 examinees, I belong to the 3,339 who passed the Registered Electrical Engineering Board Examination. I can now proudly introduce myself as, Engr. Pia M. Valderrama.
So, I’d like to take this chance to express my gratitude to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) which helped our family tremendously by easing our financial difficulties. I have been a monitored child before graduating from high school and it helped a lot. Even during my reviews, part of the cash grants was sent to me for my allowance. I will never be ashamed to admit that I am a 4Ps beneficiary and product of this program. (Submitted by Municipal Link Corazon Luntao, Iloilo POO)