I wish I discovered that I’m… intellectually inclined… say, a few months before first semester, first year college, ’round April 2006? If I’d know sooner, I probably would’ve put more effort in first sem and the whole course of my college life (and maybe even career) could’ve changed… for the higher better!

Our school was really small. We only had four or five sections in grade school and two to three in high school. There’s an honors class per year level while the rest of the students are randomly jumbled.  Unlike most schools I’ve noticed here in Manila, the “standard” classes don’t  acknowledge a “top 10.” Nope, only the dorks in the honors class get that privilege. I, for one, think this is a terrible system–it seriously drains any motivation.

Other schools give a grade bracket to qualify for first, second, or third honors. We did it the other way around. For example, just because I got a 91-percent overall, doesn’t give mean I’m second honors. The person who gets the second highest grade gets that title. See how complicated it is? Every year only three (plus Excellence in Chinese) from the batch get acknowledged.

math nerd!

Our school normally implements a 75-percent passing rate but the kids in the honors class have to get grades above 80. Moreover, the kids in the top 10 have to have grades ridiculously higher than that. They (as in the top 10) get special exams and tests for science, math, and English which is different from the rest of the class. You can imagine my horror as I struggled through my already-hard Chem exam only to be given an extra sheet containing another set of stoich problems. Sicko. 😐


Where are your medals, Riz?

I think the worst part though is definitely how the honors kids get not just the top academic slots, but also the positions in school orgs. How is that even related to academics, seriously? In their attempt to provide holistic formation for their “smart” kids, they just succeeded in neglecting the others.

Got lucky! 😀 Riza was the luckiest! 😀

I’m going to be a bit hypocritical here and admit that I was part of the top 10.  So, I can’t honestly give a vivid picture of what it felt like to not be part of that lucky group… only an account based on observation and imagination. For all I know, they could’ve loved our school’s system and here I am thinking how terrible we were then.. in that case, my entry might come out as condescending. 😐 (Touche but that’s beside the point)


Phew, that was a particularly long introduction. I actually only intended to say that I never used to feel smart. I think our HS system played a role in that–I was never up on that stage unless it was to perform… or for Ms. SJS (Riza, SHHH). Top 10 sure, but if we felt special, the geniuses in the top 3 probably felt like God’s right hand men. Also, I never frequented the stage as much as my four siblings and my mom (who still has her big box of medals from her school days). I used to think that what I lacked in intellect, I make up for… enthusiasm? Performing Arts? Humor? Something? Hahaha.God is not cruel, He left me something.

In college I was expecting to do much worse. College is a much bigger pool to swim in. Pahirapan to. Like the kids in the standard class, I didn’t even really try. Float float float… float in papers, float during quizzes. Come mid-term remarks, I got my grades (not going to post) and apparently, according to my sister, they were relatively high. Wow. I think that got me motivated. When my sister graciously accompanied me to get my grades after that sem (wala pang Aisis, ew, dinosaur-age), I took my sheet, glanced at the grade and showed it to my sister. It was she who jumped around, exclaiming that it was a good DL-worthy mark. Whee. So yeah, kaya naman pala e. Haha. Pwede ko na ma-add ang “matalino” sa list of qualities ko.


Don’t misjudge me. I don’t base intelligence simply on grades. I’ve met loads of people who aren’t particularly high on the books who can outsmart, out-talk, and out-everything me in a second. If you’re not the study type, that’s fine. We all have our own thing. My friends know too well that in describing my “ideal” man, I always say “smart,” and I’m always a little too quick to clarify that I mean academics and otherwise. If anything, I take good grades to show their determination and efforts. Besides, if a person was really smart, why waste good, hard-earned money floating around?

3 responses to “MATALINO RIN AKO, CHONG!

  1. Hey! I wasn’t a math nerd! *hides behind calculator* hahaha.

    I agree with you on the whole Top 10 thing not being a good thing. Syempre kadto garo nakakaugma sako because I was part of it, but in college I realized it was a load of phooey, and it really didn’t give other people the chance to shine.

    • Excuse me, admit it! HAHAHAHA
      I remember I wanted to cry in 4th year. We didnt have the standard-standard plus system but the top 10 got a specialized exam. SA PHYSICS!!!

      And remember Mme Bayani’s groupings based on academic rank. WILD!

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