Cebu grad tops board exam

(The Freeman) - November 24, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - It took her nine years to finish college. She failed one subject at the most critical point in her studies. She did not graduate with Latin honors.

So when Esther Christine Mascuñana, 25, learned that she topped the November 2015 board exams for chemical engineers, there was an overwhelming feeling of redemption.

“It was more like I was able to redeem myself. Though I had high expectations before taking, my hopes were dashed during the actual (board) exams, especially on the second day, which was really difficult,” she told The FREEMAN.

(With all 10 takers hurdling the test, USC obtained a 100 percent passing rate in the board exams, just like its performance in May.)

Mascuñana, a University of San Carlos graduate, was the lone Cebuano in the list of board topnotchers released by the Professional Regulation Commission on Monday. She placed 8th with a rating of 82.10 percent.

But the accolade was not served on a silver platter for the Cebu City lass.

After high school, she attended the University of the Philippines-Diliman to pursue a degree in Computer Science. She, however, was only able to finish three years when she decided that programming was not her calling.

In 2009, she enrolled at USC to take up Chemical Engineering.

One of the most difficult moments in her studies at USC, she said, was when she failed a subject in her fourth year, which not only extended her stay in the university for another year but also cost her graduation honors.

“Four or six of us failed the subject. In retrospect, it was also my fault because I lost focus kay mura ko’g nawagtangan og hope,” she said.

Instead of dwelling on the failure, however, Mascuñana said she eventually shrugged it off and moved on.

She said she regained her composure and dedicated her efforts to her mother, whom she said has endured “more than her share of disappointments” from her, and who singlehandedly raised her and her younger brother, who is also an engineer.

Mascuñana eventually graduated last March, six years since entering USC and nine years since her high school graduation.

“It has been one heck of a roller-coaster ride. With nine years of college under my belt, from UPD to USC, and more failures than I could ever imagine, I've finally achieved the almost impossible. Thank you to my family, who has supported me all the way, even through my most rebellious phase,” Mascuñana wrote in her Facebook page.

The Cebuana said she has been receiving various job offers from different companies, including that from a pharmaceutical firm based in the city.

She, however, has not made any commitment yet, saying she would wait for the best offer.

If she had it her way, she would prefer working in the energy sector, especially since her college studies were once backed by a company engaged in the petroleum business.

But wherever life leads her, she said, she will uphold her profession and find a way to use it for the betterment of the country.

“As one sage professor said: May your heart's truest advocacy lead you to the most appropriate door. Onwards we go and become the bastion of the chemical engineering profession,” she said.

According to the PRC’s announcement, 466 of 874 takers passed the Chemical Engineer Licensure Examination, which was given in the cities of Cebu and Manila last November 13, 14 and 15. — (FREEMAN)

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