I could not forget the day I studied for my high school entrance exam. I was sitting in the living room reading the dictionary- a hobby I developed since I was ten- when daddy approached me and told me to review my mathematics.
If I were looking at myself from another person's eyes, I would have seen it full of dread one second, and contorting into a look of disgust, the next. Simply put, I hated math. It wasn't that I'm not good with it but I disliked doing anything concerning it. I was mad at my daddy for stealing my glorious hour of dictionary-reading and I was disappointed with myself for allowing it to happen. At thirteen, I was kind of a spoiled child. I am used to getting things my way.
So when daddy told me to put the dictionary down and handed me the math reviewer, I started to grumble. He was patient with me and even politely gave me the other review materials (paper and pencil- "no calculator!" he said.) I obeyed him but I kept my complaints to myself so he wasn't able to notice about the way I really feel about our tutoring sessions. He tutored me for hours and every time he flicked a new page, or a new problem to solve I crinkled my nose. Eventually, he found out that I wasn't up for math so he told me "If you don't pass the entrance exam of this school, then I wouldn't let you go to any school. It's this school or none."
Maybe I was too afraid of not entering high school. I was too worried that the night after he told me that, I tossed and turned on my bed and woke up for consecutive nights, sweating and recovering from nightmares. Maybe, I realized, I valued education that much to be affected so much by what he said.
After school, I studied and reviewed for the test. I still had nightmares but they became less vivid as I felt more and more confident about the accomplishments I had in my review. Soon, not only me was happy about my achievement, daddy and mommy was too. The day came when I took the exam and I was confident with it and I was sure that I was going to pass it and I was readying myself with the big grin I would give my parents when I see my name on the list of the students that the school will be accepting.
Only that I wasn't able to give the big ol' grin I was practicing. I felt a big pang of disappointment and I could sense that my parents felt it too. I was not an achiever, but I was not a failure. I was just an average student who got more grades than what is enough but not too high as to be included in the honor list. Umm... okay, I was always included in the top ten list of achievers of our class of almost sixty students and that was the reason why I found myself in a different light- or without the light, whatever-you-name-it situation.
Anyway, when I found out that my efforts resulted to nothing, I wanted to cry and hug my mommy or my daddy or any of my younger siblings. I know very well how I tried my best and most of all, I was so scared at not having a secondary education.
I dug my hands on my face and cried for hours. Daddy asked me why I was crying and I told him. He laughed at me and told me it was okay. I told him "No! I won't be going to school after all and I hate myself for letting me lose my chance..."
With this, he laughed more. He told me that he was not really serious when he told me that I really need to pass the entrance exam. He just told me that to test if I really valued education and if I was really serious in my studies. He told me that it was just a challenge on my part- a challenge which could not be necessarily imparted on me.
"Really?" I said wiping my tears with the back of my hand. I can't believe that it was just a test.