Note to self

That’s good enough.

I just know it’s not.

I worked on a file for my home-based job.

A few Ctrl-X and Ctrl-V here and there.

A number of clicks and highlights every now and then.

More and more backspace, space bar, and alphanumeric keys…

I submitted the file a few minutes ahead of the 8 pm deadline.

After I had clicked on Send, I was dying to click on Recall. I wanted to but I did not. I could not. First and foremost, Gmail doesn’t have that one-click-away convenience. More importantly, it’s just not wise. I wouldn’t be able to rehash a 2-hour worth of work in 4 or 5 minutes. The 21-page file actually needed 7 hours, at least, but my arrogance beat me to it. Crappy file, crappy work, crappy me. I wonder if my senior editor will hate me for it, or if it will cost me my job…or if I’d do the same thing tomorrow. This is the nth time I had reprimanded myself for being too laid back and I just can’t keep it going – enough of IF ONLYs, SO-SOs, TOO BADs, and so on.

I hate this nagging feeling but there’s no point sulking over it. What else can I do but let my super ego beat me into pulp. I just hope I’d learn something from it this time.

And oh, it’s my birthday. 24 years old and still without discipline. Even better. :S

mm/dd/yy

It’s 12/12/12. Unless you have a calendar of your own with an extra month in it, this is the last repetitive date that we’ll ever see, for this lifetime at least. Might as well write down something smart.

Buffering..

Loading..

Ahm..

More buffering..

..

Okay. I give up. I’ve got nothing. Maybe next time (lifetime).

So long to you, repetitive mm/dd/yy. Till we meet again. 🙂

December 2

I took the NMAT last December 2 and I would know the result before the year ends. I managed to stifle all sorts of feelings for the past week, consciously tugging the rein each and every time my mind soared back to that promising but equally daunting day. Now, I’ve decided that this is a head-on collision that I could not dodge any further. I would go back to those precious hours, not to reprimand myself for each point that I may have lost to time and to lack of knowledge or to worry at how bad-or maybe good-I had made my conjectures, but to take a second look at all the things that I had laid my eyes on but were never really given the justified interpretation primarily due to the overwhelming anxiety that I had at that moment.

The night before:

I was extremely nervous I was on autopilot. I prepared my things and packed my stuff in a knapsack – 2 Mongol pencils, sharpened and capped with improvised paper cover, Notice of Admission, two IDs (PRC license and passport), NMAT Identification form, bank receipt, wallet, and jacket. Yes, I didn’t have an eraser. I thought it would prompt my indecisiveness. Of course my pencils had stubby erasers but I vowed never to use unless it was for a frame shift error and not because of a change of heart in my answers. While I was moving around, Justine, my sister was blabbering about whatever it was that she was watching on TV. I think it was Mickey Mouse, or maybe Ben 10, or perhaps Word World – okay, I don’t really remember.  The test was scheduled to start at 8am but all takers were asked to be at the venue not later than 7 am. Estimating my travel time to be 2 hours at most, I figured I need to be out of my bed as early as 4am. I was keen not to oversleep and so, without checking the unread text messages, I set the alarm of my phone – first time in a long while. With all my nerves on fire, I closed my eyes and lulled myself to sleep.  It was past 9.

12 am. I woke up, checked the time, and closed my eyes.

1 am. I tossed and turned. Checked time, tried to go back to sleep.

2 am. I was frustrated. How could time be so slow.

3 am. I decided to end the futile attempt and prepped myself up instead.

The day:

After an hour, I was all dressed up and ready to go. It dawned on me that it was still too early. My daily heroes – tricycle, LRT, jeepney – were nowhere to be found. I had no choice but to wake my poor father up and beg him to drive me to UST. He obliged but not until after another half an hour of his precious “pahabol”  sleep.

While waiting for my father, I devoured the Lucky Me Lomi that Ate Julie Mae, our house helper/baby sitter had cooked for me following my mother’s request. I have yet to thank Mama for being so thoughtful. She was busy with our bakeshop that would open at that hour, but she didn’t fail to realize what I had completely neglected – I had eaten next to nothing the previous night.  After the light breakfast, I tinkered with my netbook and wrote down an entry for my journal, which I failed to save, thanks to my uncooperative battery and nowhere-to-be-seen charger. With the help of JDark Room’s  auto-save, I managed to salvage a bit of it.

We were about to leave when I heard someone call on me, “Ate, san ka punta?” It was Justine. She was halfway the stairs, with her plump diaper and baggy pajamas, slowly working her way to where I was standing. It was a Sunday and it would cause no harm if I tag her along. A few wash here and there with a swift change of clothes, I had my biggest fan with me on my way to one of my biggest tests ever.

In the car, I took out the school map provided by CEM. I had had it for a week but I never really looked at it thinking it would add to my anxiety. I stared at the paper as hard as I could but it bore no fruit. I was overwhelmed by lines and boxes and letters and shades of grey. First thought: O Perceptual Acuity, I’m in the brink of failing you.

I was startled when my father asked, “San tayo? Malaki ang UST.” It was a cue that somehow made me feel better and worse. I was not alone in that test. My parents had their fair share of support. If I fail… No, I better do well, for them. I told him we were off to Gate 1, along Espana Blvd., the entrance nearest AMV Accountancy Building.

The 35 minute-drive was filled with silence interrupted by a few incoherent words, care of my ever verbose sister, which in any ordinary circumstance could have broken the ice if only I was lucid enough to follow through.

The air was crisp and the sky had started to show some shades of white and blue. I stepped out of the car uncertain where to go next. There were groups of people here and there, students or test takers, I really could not tell. With the most cheerful face I could muster, I approached the security guard, “Sir, san po ang accountancy building?”. With his slightly over-animated response, he gladly showed me the way.

I had to walk a good 75-meter distance (or so I think) with a green whiff of air gently blowing against my skin and my rubber shoes letting a soft squeak against the pavement. One thing I learned from a forum in PinoyMD.com was that my building assignment would be near the university car park. The moment I saw a line-up of Vios, Civic, Mazda and God-knows-what-else not too far along, my heart went from a steady walkathon to a fast-paced sprint.

Few seconds more and I could see them – hundreds of aspiring doctors. Some were merrily sharing thoughts with their friends, or maybe new acquaintances, while some were all by themselves, relentlessly rocking their legs or shifting their weight, with their faces at more or less 180 degree angle to their mobile phones, tablets and reviewers. It was a surreal sight to witness.

Just like all the newcomers, I scanned the whole place to find a tiny spot where I can spend the remaining minutes of solitude before the storm. A tree surrounded by concrete benches was straight ahead; that’s where I opted to nurse my growing anxiety. I sat down and let my eyes do more walk. It fell from one face to another. I could see the restlessness. The strain was palpable. What made it even more apparent was the presence of some of the takers’ parents in the area. “Chaperone much.” I told myself. A number of them are dressed well, professionals – maybe even doctors – lending their support to their unico hijo/hija. There was a lump in my throat. One can only take as much pressure.

6am – I had had enough of my ogling delight and I still didn’t know where exactly I should go for the test. I was alone, which was a good thing. I’ve always been audacious when I’m all by myself.

“Miss, ito ba yung AMV Accountancy Building?”  I hesitantly pointed a finger to the 4 or 5-storey structure next to us.

“Oo, 4th floor daw. Nagtanong ako kanina. Anong room ka ba? 422 ako. Anong surname mo?” she blurted in one breath.

Energetic gal.” I told myself. “406 ata ako.”

I didn’t knowingly tuck the room number in my head but I managed to recall it in a snap. Good sign. My mind remembered what’s important.

“Nagreview ka?” she asked.

“Review-reviewhan.” I answered.

tbc……………….

On NMAT, unfinished

2012/12/02 @ 04:46:40 SGT

I had already taken this test a few years back. Not the best result but nonetheless a very good one. Too bad it’s no longer valid, leaving me no other option but to strike another good bargain with my luck. I had been reviewing since the start of November and I choose to believe I had covered most of the necessary topics just so I can minimize my abuse of the epic shotgun shading.

I have a completely different feeling taking the test today compared to what I had when I first took it. First and foremost, the timeframe for the review was pretty cramped up this time. I remember it was September when I registered before and the test schedule was December 8. It was two months of review, not to mention the quality time that I was able to spare back then. This time, I registered late October and started the review on November. I had a month to browse and review the concepts that has been dormant at the back of my head for 3 years now. And take note, I have a full time job that just won’t make it possible for me to do my readings in between breaks. Tough, eh? Also, I had two classmates who took the test with me back in 2008. We had a good time comparing notes and doing knowledge checks. I’d say it was less stressful then. Yes, I was also reviewing for the Nurses’ Licensure Examination that time but it didn’t have much impact on my NMAT review because I was basically in an environment that was never less than conducive for such activities.

This time, ahm, I didn’t even know how to start. I was on my own. That’s it! That’s the best way to put it. It’s all on me and my discipline. I had to manage my time and be efficient in every single moment that I can bury my nose in my books. The good thing was that I had the aid of the Internet that I didn’t have before. If I can’t find it in the book, Google it up and lo and behold, I have just what I need. The main downside is the unarguable temptation to browse through non-related sites such as the all-time bad influence – Facebook and Papa Chen, a TV series that I just can’t keep off my system. Well, I guess I need a few minutes to breath, I just had to know when to stop and resume to work.

Sleep deprivation has been a constant company nowadays.

 

Sentimyentong Puro Sana

Malalim na buntong hininga, panandaliang pagtaas ng dalawang kilay at mahinay na pag-iling ng ulo – nakabibinging katahimikan ng panghihinayang. Sa lumipas na maghapon, makailang ulit na itong sumagi sa aking isip na tila parang LRT na paroo’t parito sa Roosevelt at Baclaran o ng elevator ng StarTek na paikot ikot lamang sa una hanggang ikatlo at paminsa’y ikaapat na palapag. Anong higit na mabigat kaysa panahon at kawalang- muwang na lumipas na’t naglaho sa nakaraan? Sa bawat pagkakataon na nakikita ko sa aking balintataw ang ubod nang layong distansya sa pagitan ko at ng aking mumunting pangarap, o ang walang kabuluhang paghahambing ng aking kinaroroonan sa kinatatayuan ng iba, parang sirang plakang umuulit sa aking pag iisip ang kawalang laman ng binitawan kong kataga nung ako’y bata pa. “Gusto kong maging doktor.”

“Anong gusto mong maging sa iyong paglaki?” Hindi pala ito ang marapat na katanungan – hindi ito sapat. Higit palang angkop kung pasusundan ito ng isa pang katanungan. “Paano mo ito aabutin?” o kaya ay ang ang mas marahas na “Ano na ang plano mong gawin?” Higupin man ako ngayon ng bagyong Pablo mula sa aking kinauupuan, ako’y walang mabalikang alaala na ako’y natanong nang ganito. Ano nga ba? May pinagkaiba nga ba? Tahasan kong ipupusta ang aking manipis na buhok, hindi man tuwiran, ito ay may sariling timbang sa nabuo kong pagkatao.

Ang ideyalismo ng mga musmos ay higit na magiging epektibo kung wiwisikan ng katotohanan sa parehas  na paraan na ang wika ay walang kabuluhan hangga’t hindi natutumbasan ng kauukulang kilos. Sa ilang ulit kong binanggit nang taas-noo ang kagustuhan kong maging manggagamot nung aking kabataan, ni minsan ay hindi ako nagkaroon ng malinaw na balangkas na magbibigay kahulugan sa aking salita. Dalawampung taon mula nang una itong mamutawi sa aking labi, ngayon ko lamang nakikita kung ano ang mga bagay na dapat sana ay aking ginawa.

Sana ay nalinawan ako na magastos ang kurso ng medisina. Kung ganun sana ay naisipan kong maghakot ng kuwarta o higit na mainam ay mag-aral ng ubod dunong upang mabigyan ng suportang pinansiyal ng kung ano mang unibersidad. Sana ay nabalaan ako na bagama’t hindi ko magagamit ang PEMDAS sa pagkukwenta ng halaga ng bigas sa palengke, ay mahalagang manatili ang konseptong ito sa aking isip dahil haharapin ko ito sa hindi lamang iisang pagsusulit papasok ng kurso. Mas pinili ko sana ang manatiling gising sa loob ng klase sa kabila ng nakakaantok na awit ng Pythagorean theorem. Labis kong hinihiling na sana ay maaga akong namulat sa mga organisasyong dadalhin ako sa pinaka-abang bahagi ng Pilipinas, o ng Maynila man lamang. Ito sana ang nagpaunawa sa akin na higit sa perang ipinangako ng Nursing ay mas mahalaga ang tunay na pagkalinga na itinuro nito sa loob ng apat na taon. Naihanda sana ako sa mapait na katotohanan na kung hindi ko nanaisin ang kumita ng dolyar sa ibang bansa, dapat ay handa ako sa maliit na pasahod ng lokal na ospital at hindi nasilaw sa mataas na sweldo ng call center. Ako ay nag-aral at nakatapos ng kolehiyo ngunit kung iisiping mabuti, ang tangi kong ninais ng panahong iyon ay ang makapagsuot ng toga, isama na rin natin ang magkaroon ng lisensya. Lahat ng aking mga adhikain nung ako ay bata pa ay tila baga aking nakalimutan nung ako ay nag-aaral na.

Anong nangyari sa long-term at short-term na pagpa-plano? Hindi ko ito nabigyang hustisya. Sa kasamaang palad, pansamantala akong nabulagan.

Nakababahalang isipin na ito ang talamak na nangyayari sa kabataan ng kasalukuyang panahon. Nawa ay matauhan sila na nang sabihin ni Gat. Jose Rizal na ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan, ito ay pagtatangi na hindi dala mula sa pagkasilang. Ito ay pinagsisikapan.

Isa lamang naman ang punu’t dulo ng aking pagtatampo – sana ay maaga akong natutong tumingin sa mas malaking larawan nang hindi nalulunod sa matingkad nitong kulay nang sa gayon ay makita ko pa rin ang maliit na detalyeng dito’y nagbibigay buhay.

Kunsabagay ay hindi pa naman huli ang lahat. Ang unang hakbang sa pagbabago ay ang pag-unawa at pagtanggap sa kamalian. Ang dapat kong ipagpasalamat ay ang kapalaran na hindi ako habangbuhay na naging bulag.

Ngayong alam ko na kung saan ako nagkulang at ako’y higit nang mas matalino kaysa nakaraan, bagama’t may mga bagay na hindi ko na mababawi at pagkakataong hindi ko na maibabalik, lakas loob kong muling sasabihin, “Gusto kong maging doktor.”

Toothless Milestone I

Justine and I were waiting at the counter, having a short talk about her field trip while the internet shop kid was printing the pictures for my sister’s project. As excited as I was for her as she rambled about the number of stair steps that they had climbed during their visit to People’s Park in the Sky in Tagaytay, her flashy smile continued to nag at me, making me feel uneasy about something I could not pinpoint. Something was off, I just can’t lay my finger on it. The last string of my selective attention broke off and I went down on my knees, curiously cuddled my sister’s face with my two hands and said, “Tatin, labas nga ipin.

There it was. Maybe I’ve noticed it twice or thrice before but I had never really given it much thought. This time, it was way too obvious for another cold shoulder. Her two lower incisors stood out, friendless – towering next to the growing spaces isolating them from the rest of the neighborhood. Her teeth used to be as tight as a typical Filipino family (can’t help comparing) but right now, it’s as if they were having a dispute over bequeathed properties (for the sake of consistency). I took a closer look. It was then that I noticed two new teeth trying to break in behind the two outcasts. Neglecting all principles of sanitation, I gently pushed one of the two prodigal children (seriously, enough of the metaphor) with my pinky. I was ecstatic when it moved. Because I tend to imagine things sometimes, I gave it another light nudge to make sure.

It swayed.

I laughed.

I can’t imagine how weird we had appeared, two sisters – one opening her mouth wide open, the other bizarrely poking at it. I was too elated to care. My sister is indeed growing up and this is a major checkpoint, or so says the motherly me. I can’t help but giggle at the thought. My sister, in embarrassment, shut her mouth tight and refused to open it again.

Holding the printed pictures, I held her hand and we walked home. With all forms of bribery in my head, I told her, “Patingin ako ulit mamaya tas bukas, pupunta tayong dentist.

 

2012-12-06 22.03.04