THE craziest thing about Kathy Bersola, BanKo stalwart and future M.D., is how going to medical school while playing volleyball in the PVL Reinforced Conference all seems so routinary to her by now.
Her demanding schedule will make the easily distracted wilt.
But having superhuman focus is nothing new to someone who finds peace and tranquility in doing homework. No wonder Bersola graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Sports Science from the University of the Philippines in 2017.
Now a sophomore med student, the UAAP Season 76 Best Blocker wakes up between 5 and 6:30 a.m. daily to hurdle a full day at UP Manila, where she attends three to seven lectures and engages in group work and other activities after class.
Part of her curriculum also requires her to go to the Philippine General Hospital, from where she'll rush to San Juan to train with her team from 5 to 8 p.m.
“Sipag lang talaga tapos dedication," said Bersola. "Neither kasi can’t suffer. Like you can’t give 50-50 lang, kailangan 100-100 talaga so 200 percent akong nagwo-work ngayon.”
The degree of difficulty she has to contend with doesn't end there as sophomore year in medical school is particularly tough.
"Halos every week may exams. Tuluy-tuloy talaga, as in wala ka nang time to digest kung ano'ng itinuturo sa'yo. Kailangan intindihin mo talaga ang mga lectures."
Bersola says that although she seems awesome at juggling her studies and playing pro volleyball, she has to make sacrifices like meeting up with friends and spending more time with the family to get things done.
"‘Yung mga di muna importante for now, next time na lang," she said. "Ngayon, purely school and volleyball lang talaga and nothing else.”
She obviously so used to the grind by now that she sounds like she has unlocked the very secret to thriving with aplomb.
“Ang med school di ko naman talaga pwedeng bitawan kasi yun talaga yung No. 1 ko ngayon,” she said. “Itong volleyball is what keeps me sane through it all. Even though minsan tingin natin na ito ang nagdadagdag ng stress sa akin, ito talaga ang nagri-relieve ng stress ko. It gives me something to do.”
On the flipside, Bersola related that she sometimes feels that a part of her is missing whenever there's no volleyball game to play and train for.
“Nasanay na talaga ako na since college ganito na ang schedule ko. Pero during periods na wala kaming training, as in, sobrang lost ako, na parang ‘Anong gagawin ko after school, ayaw ko pa namang mag-aral.’ Hinahanap ko talaga.”