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Ora et Labora: The guiding principle of Cebu’s lone architecture exam topnotcher

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Architect Clint Freidrich A. Josol and samples of his architectural designs. | Photo: Clint Freidrich A. Josol

It started with an interest in art, where this newly licensed topnotcher forged an ambition to become a now-Cebuano architect.

With hard work and faith in God, Architect Clint Friedrich A. Josol fulfilled his longstanding dream, with a bit more to pride himself on as he placed 9th in the recently released results of the June 2024 Licensure Examination for Architects (LEA).

With a rating of 81.60%, he became the lone topnotcher hailing from a Cebu-based university. He is one of the 2,094 newly licensed architects who will soon take their professional oath after years of studying and apprenticeship.

When asked what it took to reach this feat, Architect Josol said it took him a childhood interest, an online graduation ceremony, and multiple sacrifices on his way toward becoming an architecture topnotcher.

Cebuano topnotcher’s journey towards architecture

In an interview with CDN Digital, Architect Josol disclosed that he was always drawn to their art subject as early as grade school.

Since then, his interest has grown from producing simple drawings to creating three-dimensional figures, which later transitioned to scaled models of houses.

Art was an important aspect of the critical moments of his life, even influencing his choices in playing video games. No wonder he chose a career that fits the passion born out of a simple childhood interest.

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Architect Clint Freidrich A. Josol and his classmates are seen carrying scaled models. | Contributed Photo

With that, he enrolled in an architectural program at the University of San Carlos, where he nourished his artistic and design talent. He described himself as a “strictly academic” student but did not let his other hobbies wither.He was a member of numerous dance troupes inside and outside of school. However, he mentioned that balancing both commitments required sacrifices, and often, he missed his classes to continue performing or his practices to attend classes.

Even so, he successfully balanced both endeavors, graduating from the university with flying colors. Unfortunately, being part of the first batch to graduate during the pandemic, he culminated his five-year study with an online ceremony.

He did not even get the chance to have his graduation photo taken.

Sacrificing personal life for the boards

Upon starting his review journey in 2023, Architect Josol knew that he had to sacrifice part of his life to refrain from distractions while preparing for the exam. Unfortunately, he chose to cut his social life.

Limiting myself from going outside the house includes attending family gatherings. So, it is very heartbreaking for me to miss all the important occasions. My family did understand, and I had to accept as well that I had an examination coming.

Even so, he enrolled in an online review course, which helped him manage his time and expenses, and it worked better for him.

He also had his friends as his review buddies, and he said it helped him in his review journey. They organized group sessions to discuss the topics in person, which helped him recall some of the concepts he studied.

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Architect Clint Freidrich A. Josol and his friends dining out. | Contributed Photo

As the exam schedule grew nearer, he felt a little frantic and started cramming his study backlog. He said that following a study schedule is “easier said than done.” With this struggle, he made sure to prioritize the fundamentals in the short time left to study the exam topics.

He did what he could with the hard work he put into his review journey and with the help of cramming, which ultimately worked out for him.

The Pay Off: Becoming an architecture topnotcher

When asked whether he expected to top the boards with his preparations, he said he did not, but it was something he manifested.

With all the hard work I put into my review, there might be a possibility that I can ace the exam. I cannot really tell since it is nearly impossible to gauge my standing based on what I answered during the exam. But my mindset was whatever God will give me, I will accept it. 

With God and hard work, everything fell into place one fateful day when he and his father were returning home from Basilica del Sto. Niño. His father’s friend called him to congratulate his son on becoming a topnotcher. Architect Josol could not contain his excitement as he cried heavily on their car ride home.

He dedicates this feat to God for giving him strength, his family, whom he considered his top supporters, his friends with whom he shared his time, and himself for doing the best he could in his review journey.

When asked what tip he can give to future test takers, he enumerated the following:

  1. Study at your own pace. Find out what study style works best for you.
  2. Start with the fundamentals. Review the basics, and the rest will follow.
  3. When exhausted, rest. Take care of yourself, eat nutritious food, and have enough sleep

Most importantly, he followed his guiding principle: Ora et Labora, which means to pray and work. Human as he was, he needed God’s guidance as he studied.

He plans to carry on this principle as he transitions to work, whether in a company or in his firm. While his plans are not clear yet, he wants to take things one step at a time for now, making the oath-taking ceremony his top priority.

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