One word: FLOP

First of all, I’ll call a spade a spade; the examination earlier this day was a disaster.

I woke up very early at 5:00 AM because I was to meet my classmate in Marcos Hiway by 6:00 AM. Everything went smoothly, even with a light drizzle on our way. We then had to wait from 7:00 AM until 8:00 AM, when the exam would officially start. There were only 12 of us in the room and we were also to leave our things in front of the room next to the proctors. When I said things, I mean ALL of the things we had and that includes water bottles.

We were made to answer 10 personal questions and the rest was the exam proper. So technically, even if there were 180 items, only 170 will be corrected and we should answer each of the questions within a minute and few seconds. I never underestimated the exam but I honestly think that I might have overlooked the review of some of the sections. I can’t remember how many items I had to shotgun but as far as I can recall, almost two hours out of three had already passed before I reached item number 90. The Math portion of the exam was easier than I expected but I wish I could have answered it first before I got glazed eyes from the English part. At this point, I will not be surprised if I fail the exam because I have no qualms admitting that it was hard. The greatest surprise will be passing it and I have already told a few people I would treat them to a box of pizza if that miracle were to happen. The only similarity the exam has with college entrance exams was the multiple choice part, meaning everything else was different. LOL I have moved on but I will take every  lesson from that experience with me until next year, if I were to take the exam again. i’ll just consider it an expensive, getting-one’s-feet-ready review. =D

I then went to Pisa in Italy to unwind…Just kidding!

The Leaning Tower of Pisa --- NOT --- Worlds of Fun

After the exam, I met up with Mon to have lunch in Gateway Mall and we then went next to Sta. Lucia Mall because my family was there. They already had their own lunch and we just followed them to Worlds of Fun, where my niece and my nephew were both busy playing. I can’t remember when was the last time I was there, especially my last experience riding the mini-“rollercoaster” (I hazard a guess that it was more than a decade ago, since high school). Even if I knew that the horror train ride was not exactly scary, I still refused to try it because I might end up scratching the person next to me. =D

Rode a mini-rollercoaster with my sister and nephew

With JB - Gray T-shirt with poncho print, Bench jeans, Yves Saint Laurent white patent sneakers and green Prada Tessuto Robot 2 tote

After 4:00 PM, we went home and rested a little because I was looking forward to seeing an elusive visitor before sunset — Comet PANSTARRS. The comet was slated to reach its perihelion today and I was waiting the whole week for an unobstructed view from our rooftop. And then the inevitable happened, there barely was a cloudless portion of the sky and I only had 20 minutes before sunset. I was with Mon, JB, my telescope and my brother’s camera and it was really depressing that we did not get even a momentary glimpse of the comet. So, what I did next was just take pictures of the two of them while we still had a little daylight.

JB playing with the telescope

In deep contemplation

And another kid playing with the scope

Naks!

I did not manage to get pictures of the comet but the pretty diffused light did wonders to my brother’s bridge camera. Well, that was some silver lining! Today was a very stressful day and it was almost twelve midnight again, five hours more and I would have been awake for 24 hours already. The flop of the exam and the comet did dampen my spirit, but looking back, the whole day wasn’t that bad at all. I can always review, try next year and be more ready. Meanwhile, since the following months will no longer be crucial in terms of strict scheduling, we can now plan for our next trip out of the country!

The search for leather cleaning products

The last time I was faced with the task of reviewing for an exam, I had shaved my head off and sported a buzz cut. Well, I would have done the same thing but I wanted to have workable hair come April for my graduation and starting from a buzz cut just won’t cut it. On the other hand, I’ve been struggling recently with my hair and the moment I started feeling a bit uncomfortable with it, it only means one thing: a haircut!

About to get a haircut

For the past three months, I had been getting my haircut from Fix in Sta. Lucia Mall because I had them done on a weekend. On my way to work today, however, I almost did not go to Ménage Salon in Gateway but Mon persuaded me not to postpone my haircut again. I arrived in the salon and good thing that the person from whom I always get my haircut was present. He remarked that I haven’t got my hair cut from him for quite some time. LOL I normally ask him to shave the side and do little with the hair on top because I grow it out. But this time, I asked him to cut them way shorter because I unconsciously pull my hair a lot whenever I review.

Shorter hair again

After getting a haircut, I rushed to Handyman in Farmers Plaza to buy a leather cleaner and conditioner for my bags and shoes. The last container I had was already used up a month ago and I have been cleaning my things with only a soft rag. My Red Wing boots suffered the most because they looked extremely scuffed and I can no longer put off buying another container of leather-care product. I already tried Turtle’s Leather Cleaner and Conditioner and I was already at the point of buying one, but I took my time to look at other products on the shelf.

I already picked up the bottle of Turtle, but decided on another product instead

A bunch of leather cleaning products from Handyman

And then, my experimental self saw a pair of leather cleaner and conditioner, sold on separate bottles, and hoped that they will work better than the previous one I’ve used. Tanner’s Preserve Leather Condtioning Cream and Leather Cleaner cost almost twice as the other one (Php 399.75 each *gulp*, whilst the the other was Php 499.75), and I’m very eager to try them out. I’ve also read reviews online and saw that they are generally well-received. The catch: they are used more on car seats and there’s a chance that they may not react well with my items. My reasoning was that “leather is leather” but I know that this logic is highly-flawed, given that not all leathers are created equal.

Tanner's Preserve Leather Cleaner and Conditioning Cream

I know that utmost care must be exercised when dealing with “open” leathers, such as suede or bucksin and I won’t be too crazy to ruin them. Nevertheless, I’m hoping this initiative to treat my bags and shoes will not backfire! Let’s see later on how things will turn out as a ruined item is definitely worth posting about. Just kidding.

The Prometheus, I mean, the Pygmalion effect

First of all, my feet were clearly not accustomed to wearing something this quaint after months of donning leather boots. I was teetering while walking over inclined pathways because of fear that I might accidentally slip. It was like walking with flip flops, whose thong was on the brink of breaking. Not that I don’t love these Cervantes but I might just leave them in the office for future use, or if the occasion calls for it and I no longer have any other choice. I also noticed that three out of the four corners of my J. Peterman bag had sustained permanent damage, with the delicately stretched out leather being eventually worn. I don’t know how they made the old U.S. postal service’s bags, but hopefully they suffer the same problem as mine. LOL

Zara Man stripes longsleeves, skinny black tailored pants, black Paul Smith Cervantes oxfords, J. Peterman counterfeit mailman bag

When Monette was in the office yesterday, we were exchanging notes and tips regarding the exam I’m taking less than a month from now. From the format up to what will probably be the most tasking part, we also touched upon the management portion. She mentioned about this certain ‘effect’, named after a Greek mythology-related name. The name ‘Prometheus’ immediately came up but ‘Prometheus effect’ made no sense at all. Somebody has been watching too much Fassbender recently — no question on that! A quick Google with the search string ‘management concept greek god effect‘ yielded this: the Pygmalion effect. Close guess, though, as they both share the letters P, O and M. =D

The Pygmalion effect, or the Rosenthal effect (name after Robert Rosenthal) is a theory purporting that people will behave or act in the same way others expect them to. In some way, it is all about labels and the effect of such positive labels on how a person perceives himself. Last July, I went on thinking over how I honestly perceive myself and that overwhelming feeling of mediocrity in that precarious pre-comprehensive examination phase. Well, I passed my exams and I was very happy about it, but at times, I still have that nagging feeling of being undeserving. Come to think of it, I always get this feeling whenever I’m faced with a seemingly daunting task and the almost-year long selection process will surely be an arduous wait. But, hey, I am all for taking risks this year, right? What if I fail. There’s always next year but still, NAKAKAHIYANG BUMAGSAK. O_O

Of course, there’s no pressure and people around me never gave any overt pronouncement of expectations. But reading between the lines (as it is my eternal flaw), I give new meanings and interpretations to what people say to me. I honestly view words of encouragement as a form of pressure, and the truth of the matter is, I create my own problems. Humility aside, among the three of us kids, I was the one always in the receiving end of my parents’ compliments and expectations. I will not go into full detail but needless to say, I was eventually expected to fend for myself as I’m ideally the most self-sufficient. So amidst the feeling of mediocrity I perpetually have, I always do my best to live up to the expectations of the people around me because those were expected of me. A win-win situation, now that I look at it, but for how long can I sustain this?

Tried a diagnostic test for the English part using an MSA entrance exam reviewer

Back to that ‘giving new meaning’ tendency of mine, I suddenly recall last week when I took a sort-of diagnostic exam for English to see where I need most work and improvement for reviewing. I took a 370-question exam for a timed hour and a half (I finished 15 minutes short of the timer), and I was able to get 324 correct answers. Now, the exam needed an 80 percent grade to qualify, maybe for each part, and I got about 87.50 percent. Of course, it will NEVER be the same set of questions but at least I now have an understanding where to start. But as I was looking over my wrong answers, it was funny/ridiculous how I got all correct answers for the ‘Reading Comprehension’ part, except that the incorrect ones were the give-the-appropriate-title questions — all of them were wrong. It was infuriating because I can’t understand why, as I was under the impression that I was giving an apt title, but the answer key ‘thought’ otherwise. Talk about giving new meaning to what I have read.

I have exactly twenty five days before that dreaded day — I just need to go past that first hurdle. I don’t even write nor indicate any tags pertaining to the exams because I don’t want to be searchable and lead people into clicking these entries. What if I fail? I shudder just thinking about it. Baby steps, baby steps. Meanwhile, I also submitted my CV to an organization looking for volunteers and hopefully I get at least a part-time participation in their activities. That’s the silver lining I was hoping for.

Grown up things

Last November, I intended to obtain a copy of my Transcript of Records from the University Registrar. However, I had a peculiar situation because even if I technically graduated last semeseter, I had to wait for the Board of Regents’ meeting to make my graduation official. As a result, I could not request any documents until the meeting last December and the processing of my transcript would proceed not after my student clearance was finished.

Clearance Form - OUR UP DilimanAnyway, I decided yesterday to fix all of my credentials, certifications, records and all because I just found out that the submission of requirements for the exam I intend to take will be on the 31st of January. I must admit, I lost interest in this particular examination last November because I thought that I’d have no chance to fix and get my requirements on time but I saw a ray of hope.

Deserted AS corridor

 

 

 

OUR, why so far

 

Then to OUR I went! Since I arrived at around 9:30 AM, I only had 2.5 hours to apply and pay for all the papers I needed: Student Clearance, Transcript of Record, Certification of Graduation, Course Description, True Copy of Grades from CSSP and CAL, and Certified True Copy of my undergraduate diploma. It was not easy because I had to walk from OUR, to Faculty Center, to AS and go to ISSI for the Cashier and back to the same buildings again for the receipts.

CAL 101 has transferred again, now in FC 1091

 

I only needed my TOR but it would take a longer time to process (14 days for updating) and if I were to consider the time for my clearance to finish, I will get my records by February 2 or two days past the deadline. I had no choice but apply for True Copy of Grades and hoped that the person whom I inquired was correct in saying that I can submit them in lieu of my TOR.

I wish I could take her home

She even allowed me to pet her

 

 

While I was doing all of this, I was able to pass by lots of kitties in Faculty Center. Last June 2012, I posted pictures of these kitties and I was happy to see more earlier. The first one was the small kitten above, sitting near the entrance of FC. I thought that she was hungry so I bought some bread from one of the stores near the road and when I got back, there were already more of them.

Feeding the FC kittiesUnmoved kitty in FC Parking Lot

At exactly 12:00 noon, I was finally finished in submitting everything and had no choice but to wait and pray that the processing would be fast. I was most anxious over the student clearance because my request for TOR won’t be processed if I don’t have it ready. Resting for only 10 minutes, I began traveling to Shaw to visit the head office of PAG-IBIG. I had originally decided to go directly to work but Mon pushed me to finish everything I needed to finish so that I won’t have to go to Shaw the week after.

Honestly, I was worried on how my visit would be because it has been a year since I last went there. I had to visit their head office to supply 12 more PDCs for the payment of my mortgage and I even asked around on what to write on them. Then one of my friends specifically mentioned that the checks should be addressed to “HOME DEVELOPMENT MUTUAL FUND”. Duh. I also then realized that I have been paying for two years already and it seemed only yesterday when I found it difficult and tasking to allocate money for the mortgage. =D

PDCs to be issued to PAG-IBIG

 

When I reached PAG-IBIG, I went straight away to the second floor and was made to queue in the counters directly next to the entrance. After waiting for my final billing to finish, I was then directed to the section where I would be submitting the PDCs. I thuoght it would be fast but I was made to complete the information at the back, following the standardized dorsal format. I think that by the fifth check, my hand was already cursing me.

The Dorsal Format of Philippine Checks for PAG-IBIG

 

Within an hour, I was already done with everything and then I went straight to work. I thought that everything would be fine but I was wrong. We just got word that a previous officemate and friend of ours passed away yesterday. It was so shocking that it took me about three hours to finally react and I was silently crying in my post. He was just 29 years old — so young. What transpired within the past few hours changed my perspective over the transcience of life.

Now, I feel more determined to prepare for the upcoming examination but hopefully, I get my Transcript of Records first.