If you were to survey Lasallians about the hardest things they’ve had to overcome in their stay in the University, the answers you’d get would probably range from beating the Metro Manila traffic, to crossing flooded streets, to attempting to climb the infamous great wall.
However, if you directed the question to the University’s Accountancy students, the answer would probably whittle down to a single thing: the modular program. It consists of four modules, or four terms with 18 units of accounting each, which are spread across every Accountancy major’s flowchart. The modules are as rigorous as they get, and every student who has undergone the challenge can attest to the anger, fear, sadness, and joy the program brings. For those who have survived this difficult journey, the question posed by every up-and-coming modular program taker is, “What does it take to survive MODS?”
Mastering the mind
Nicolas Tan (V, AE-BSA), who has successfully negotiated through three modules, did not flinch when he stated the staggering figures to a curious freshman audience during what was dubbed as a BSA Survival Talk. According to him, in a batch of Accountancy majors, less than 40% graduate without shifting, and the percentage of those that graduate on time is a much smaller number still. The forum was a helpful channel to inform young students of the reality of the course, and at the same time motivate them, to make the cut and increase those percentages.
Nicolas expounds on the adjustment he and his peers had to make when they took the first module. Instead of having six subjects throughout the entire term, the module splits it in two—three subjects every day for the first half, and another three every day for the second. While this may seem like a lighter load at first, it actually doubles the pace at which the students have to learn and absorb the different lessons—a difficult challenge to say the least.
Based on what he has experienced so far, this first module was the hardest. Nicolas shares, “It made me want to shift out of the program because studying one accounting subject in 14 weeks is challenging enough, and the change from that to studying three accounting subjects in seven weeks gave way to tons of ranting to my friends and the world, thoughts of giving up and even more sleepless nights.” Before the first seven weeks ended, he already felt burnt out. “Giving in to sleep and leaving my exam result in God’s hands proved miraculous for me, because I passed the [exams]. It made me realize the importance of praying, sleeping, and most importantly, studying smart.”
According to Nicolas, studying smart involves jotting down original content as one’s notes, practicing, and sharing information with others. “In having your own notes, you boost your understanding of the professors’ lectures, making your practices more effective. After all, practicing is not something you do until you get it right, it is something you do until you can’t get it wrong. Once the first two steps are done, it is best to share your knowledge with others, as you will also learn new things from them,” he explains.
As for having a social circle and maintaining relationships, he notes that, “It is best to choose your friends wisely, as this can make or break you. After three modular terms, I learned how to both avoid negative people, and deal with difficult people. Studying is hard enough, and you don’t need the extra stress of fighting against negativity.”
When the stakes got higher in the second and third modules, Nicolas adopted the motto, “Mind management is life management.” He shares that discipline must be emphasized over one’s emotions, especially when these modules switch things up yet again—this time, students take only one subject at a time, but the entire contents of each subject, from the syllabus to the comprehensive exam, is taught over a two week period. “I believe that the more you master your mind, the more you master yourself, [and] the more you would master life. That’s something I’ll be taking into [my fourth module] next term.”
From the student-turned-educator
Perry Lim, who graduated Magna Cum Laude from the university’s BSA program in 2014 and passed the CPA board exam in May 2015, decided to return to the University this term to impart his knowledge to Accountancy students. “The transition from student to educator was not really hard for me. It’s rather fascinating because teaching is really my passion, and I can relate very well with the hardships that my students are experiencing. The best part is getting a sense of fulfillment when my students learn something from me,” he says.
Given that his MODS journey ended only less than a year ago, Perry advises Accountancy majors to ensure that they learn the basics first by understanding and conceptualizing the fundamentals of the lessons before dwelling deeper into each topic. Then, he shares that it is best to solve as many problems as possible to test one’s understanding of the lessons. When this does not work out, he advises students to move on after taking every exam, to not think too much about what could’ve been, and to keep moving forward. “Make sure that you do not give up, and give everything you have. Never surrender until you pass all four modules,” he encourages.
Both the University and the Accountancy Department take pride in the Accountancy program because of the consistent performance of Lasallian Accountancy students in every CPA Board Examination. Perry furthers that the implementation of the modular program is actually one of the main factors as to why DLSU garners a high passing rate and produces students who top the board. However, this fact is not nearly enough for students who are just starting their MODS journey with seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against them.
To those who wonder if it will be worth it, Perry concludes by saying, “After all I had experienced, I do believe that it is all worth it in the end. The sacrifices and sleepless nights were eventually rewarded when I passed the CPA Board Exam. Being a Lasallian CPA is an achievement, because the department produces quality Accountancy graduates who are very flexible with the changing demands of business.”