CEBU CITY, Philippines — Loraine Marie Cañete Burgos, the Velez college graduate who ranked 4th in the June 2023 Occupational Therapist Licensure Examination, originally wanted to pursue mechanical engineering (ME).
Burgos, who is 23, told CDN Digital that the ME program was her first choice. However, back when she was about to enter college, she decided to take an entrance exam in Velez college first.
Choosing occupational therapy
“Ni-choose lang ko to take the Velez entrance exam first kay gaduha-duha pa ko if mag mechanical engineering ko. Basin meant para nako ang ME if di ko makapasar sa Velez entrance exam,” said Burgos, who is from Barangay Zapatera in Cebu City.
(I chose to take an entrance exam in Velez first because I was having second thoughts if I wanted to pursue mechanical engineering. Maybe ME was meant for me if I didn’t pass in the Velez entrance exam.)
Her second course choice, though, was even not occupational therapy (OT) but medical technology (Medtech).
“Pagtan-aw nako nga daghan ni take sa medtech nga entrance exam kay na overwhelmed ko. Pagkita nako nga gamay ra ang ni-take sa OT kay gi-consider nako nga mao ako kuhaon nga course,” Burgos said.
(When I saw that a lot were taking the Medtech exams, I got overwhelmed. When I saw that there were lesser takers in OT, I considered to take that course.)
She added that her sister had a friend who took OT and told her that it was a “nice” degree program. So she searched about it.
“After searching about occupational therapy, na-feel nako nga fulfilling gyud siya nga course so I took the OT entrance exam instead,” she said.
(After searching about OT, I felt it was a fulfilling course so I took the OT entrance exam instead.)
She revealed that she did not love the program at first but eventually learned to love it when she realized how occupational therapy “can be life-changing” to clients.
She also encouraged people to know more about OT and take it if they want it because “not many people” know what occupational therapists do.
Moreover, she said she did not regret not pursuing ME because she learned to love OT.
Upon learning the results
Burgos also shared that she could not believe she made it to the list of the topnotchers.
“Initially, nagplano ko matulog a few minutes before na post ang result kay nabalaka ko ngano nadugay ang pag post. Nahibong nalang ko pag abli nako sa akong Facebook na gi congratulate na kos akoang mga classmates,” she said.
She added that days before the results were out, she kept on repeating the questions she answered incorrectly.
She even told her family and friends that she might not pass the exams. But when she saw the results, she was extremely happy and at the same time she doubted if she really made it to the top.
Burgos shared with CDN that her family is medicine-inclined.
Two of her three elder siblings proceeded to medicine school, while the other took industrial engineering.
However, after passing the examination, Burgos said that at present, she does not feel inclined to proceed to medicine school.
Meanwhile, her youngest sister took up nursing. She added that her aunts and cousins were also nurses.
Burgos is 4th among the five siblings.
Burgos said that she started studying and reviewing for the exam in February 2023.
“Motivated pa kaayo ko ato unya nalingaw ko sa pagtuon. Gahimo pa kog daily schedule and gi post nako sa akong desk ang mga advise gikan sa akong mga classmate. But around end sa February kay naguba akong streak nga naa koy mabuhat at least every 2 days until wala koy nabuhat for a month,” she shared.
(I was very motivated back then and I was having fun studying. I made daily schedules and I posted on my desk advises from my classmates. But around the end of February, my streak of doing something ended until I wasn’t able to do anything for a month.)
Amidst having a tough time for preparation, she had set lower expectations for herself, especially in reaching the acquired scores for each subject so she would feel down.
“Pero ga plan ko ato nga time nga basin di ko mo take sa boards this June kay gamay pa kaayo kog natunan unya feel nako super behind na kaayo ko sa pagtuon,” she said.
(I planned at that time not to take the board exam in June because I felt I lagged with my studies.)
Burgos added that she started searching for the possible results if she wanted to take an absence from the board exam because she did not want to disappoint the people who expected her to pass because she graduated Cum Laude.
But she said she was able to make it through the end through the support of her friends.
Burgos dedicated her achievement to her family and to God, who have been with her throughout her journey.
She also thanked the people, especially her instructors and friends who “believed and supported” her.
Just like all the people who took licensure examinations, her journey was not easy.
She said that she almost gave up “thrice” because she thought she could not accomplish things.
“I really learned from all of this that it’s okay to take a break and heal ourselves, and that if there’s even just a small chance that we’ll succeed, let’s pick ourselves up after healing and then keep moving forward”
Burgos believed that it is best to ignore people who try to let you down.
“Instead, surround ourselves with people who give us the strength to keep going. We will encounter various failures and accomplishments in life, and all of them are part of our life’s flow. We can always learn from our mistakes and pick ourselves up for a better life ahead,” said Burgos.