IT'S almost been a tradition for decades now that, during examination periods, students—or in this case, board takers—cannot and should not be bothered at all times. They need all the help they can get in order to focus on studying and reviewing. But John Steward Buenavista Alberto didn’t seem to know that was a thing.
Alberto, a native of a little town in Isabela, wasn't an achiever during his elementary and high secondary years in Tumauini North Central School and Regional Science High School, respectively. He didn't receive awards for academic achievements. You can even say that he really wasn’t trying. He began playing DotA (Defense of the Ancients), a multiplayer online battle arena, when he was just a high school freshman.
Considering himself a ‘happy-go-lucky’ student, he didn’t really care about his standings in school. In fact, taking medical technology was a last-minute choice for him—he was about to take up accountancy before a ‘vibe’ pushed him to write medtech on the forms for the entrance exam instead.
Then, right after enrolling in the College of Allied Health Sciences (CAHS) at the Cagayan State University Andrews Campus, he developed a liking to mobile games—even while the university strictly demanded a student's focus.
His mindset wouldn’t change until he reached his third year in college when he realized he needed to do better. From that point forward, he was a consistent dean's lister.
"My professors were already noticing me, so I strived even more up to the board exam," he said in an interview with Rappler.
But it wasn’t the normal study-hard-and-pass-the-boards journey for Alberto. Whenever he felt like it, he would sneak in a game or two between his study time. After achieving his goal score during his review sessions, he rewarded himself with mobile game time. Whenever he could no longer absorb new information during the reviews, he turned to mobile games to relax.
"[I was] playing PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds) po during the review,” Alberto said. “Parang naging stress reliever ko po siya after ng review.”
Playing games in between review sessions in fact helped Alberto cope with the stress and the pressure. And when the results of the March 2019 Medical Technologist Board Examination came out last Tuesday, March 19, he saw his name on the top spot. Becoming the board exam’s topnotcher with a rating of 91.10% made him emotional.
"I was like in Cloud 9 po tapos antagal nag sink in...It's the best thing na nangyari sa buhay ko," John said.