Who’s an achiever?

Rogie Vasquez - Straight from the Quiver

It is that time of the term again. As most of us rejoice in the culmination of an entire term’s hard work, we find ourselves facing our computer monitors, patiently waiting for My La Salle (MLS) to load our complete set of final grades. It is just funny though that all the efforts that we have placed in a span of three months can just be summed up within the range of 0.0 to a 4.0.

The number of times you fought hard to stay awake in class, the number of times you took the stairs in the Andrew Building, the number of nights you stayed up past 3 am to finish a report, and the number of demons you overcame just to pass an exam–they are gauged from a 0.0 to a 4.0. Quite silly, isn’t it? But this is how it works.

A lot of people may agree or disagree, but somehow, at least for the duration of our stay in the University, grades do matter.

Dean’s Listers get advanced enrollment slots. Applications for positions in certain organizations have grade requirements. And acceptance to exchange programs also have specified CGPA quotas. Heck, getting a failing grade for more than a certain number of units can even get you kicked out of the University.

This is the system, not only in La Salle but in the society in general. And as superficial as it may sound, grades do matter, at least in one’s life as a student.

But what is there beyond and beneath this surface? What is it about passing or failing a course? What is the difference between someone who gets meager 1.0s and someone who has a 4.0-studded transcript?

Many admire the consistent Dean’s Listers, the 4.0 students, and all the other sorts of academic achievers that the world may produce. And why not? These people have exhibited diligence and brilliance in their lives as students. We hold recognition days, give medals, plaques, certificates, and other awards just to celebrate their excellence.

But in this system, the society has forgotten something, or at least some people. Society has forgotten the ones living in the shadows of these “achievers”. The society has overlooked those who failed but carried on. The society has excluded the greater majority, which are, in fact, average people.

But who can really be regarded as the so-called “achievers”?

The intelligent and diligent students have aced their quizzes, midterm and final exams, papers, and other requirements. Perhaps, indeed, they are achievers.

Now, how about those who struggled and failed but chose to stand up? Are they not achievers in their own right? Despite the difficulties and obstacles, they remained firm and continued. They may have fallen once, twice, or even more times, but they chose to carry on. Are they not achievers? In my stay in the University, I have met people who have repeated subjects, even more than once, but they never gave up. They held on until they finally made it. Are they not achievers? During graduation days, more than the Latin Honor graduates, I admire those who simply made it. No honors, no awards, no special citations, but they made it. They finished. They carried on until the end. I think this is the real essence of achievement, or being an “achiever” for that matter.

I think that it is not just the medals or the 4.0s that make one an achiever.

Achievement is in the manner that we respond to challenges. Achievement is in how we end what we started, no matter how tough the journey may be. Because at the end of the day, it is not about the number of times we stumble and fall, it is about how well we pulled ourselves together in order to rise after falling. This is what achievement is all about. From another perspective, this is what defines who qualifies as an achiever. Now, as another term draws to a close, we are again given a numerical gauge of our past efforts during the term. Favorable or not, choose to respond in the best way possible. Should you fall, choose to rise. Should you succeed, choose to become even better. Being an achiever is simply a choice we have to make ourselves.

Whatever the results may be, tell yourself that you are an achiever, simply because you are. Because in the end, achievement merely lies in the mindset, in how we respond to outcomes.

You may think that you are not the “best” student. But yes, you can be an achiever if you choose to be.

Rogie Vasquez

By Rogie Vasquez

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