I am in my third year of college—only less than two years before graduating from university. However, there is this need to study harder and devote much more of my time and effort to my studies.

As an accountancy student, graduating from college is not the only thing I am worried about, because my degree program requires a board exam to become a certified public accountant (CPA). A few days before the semester started last August, I looked at the syllabus of the board exam. It was obvious to me that I had a lot of work to do, or as they say in Filipino: Marami pang kakaining bigas.

Out of the six subjects in the board exam, four were already tackled in my first two years in college. But looking at the lesson coverage, I realized I had missed a lot of topics. The online setup due to the pandemic was the main culprit.

First, the accountancy program demands answering so many theories and problems—thousands of items in a semester. Now, this usual practice before the pandemic can hardly be done. Not everyone enjoys the privilege of a stable internet connection and working gadgets.

Students are also expected to read, read, read, and read, from day to night, just to understand essential concepts and theories. But students and lecturers alike find it difficult to adapt to the new normal, especially in the first semester of online classes—and it’s understandable. Hopefully, the faculty will deliver online classes innovatively and efficiently over time, since returning to physical classes soon seems unlikely.

Speaking of innovation in teaching, I had this lecturer who taught with the aid of concept maps that were concise yet comprehensive. This enabled his class to cover and understand all target topics for that subject in accordance with the board exam syllabus. His efficient methods were unsurprising, because the lecturer is a passionate professor and experienced reviewer for the board exam. From him, I saw that one could succeed with passion, determination, and perseverance.

Distance learning has also prevented lecturers from mentoring students face-to-face. Due to compassion for those who find it difficult to connect to the internet, online classes are not absolutely synchronous, so there are times where students have to study on their own—something extremely challenging on my part, and I believe for many other students.

After two semesters of studying online and counting, that’s the word to use to describe my journey so far: challenging. But history and experience also prescribe valuable lessons for such times: Those who are passionate, determined, and persevering enough can surmount difficulties. The greater the struggle, the sweeter the victory.

With passion, one sees a clear vision of where they want to find themselves in the future—as a lawyer, a doctor, an accountant, etc. Through determination, one puts into action the plans he or she has set forth to achieve that vision. And perseverance is what is needed to stay on track, because the path will never be smooth and straight.

Early this year, I crafted a detailed plan that covered reviewing the basics and studying backlogs, all in preparation for the ultimate test—the board exam. With a clear outline of topics, a study schedule that I had to follow, and personal assessments to test myself, I was able to get back on track. It’s not always easy, there are ups and downs in my daily studies, but I can say that I am moving forward.

Despite nearly everyone’s slow progress during the early days of online classes, it is still essential to note that progress, however slow, is still a step forward—a step toward achieving one’s ambitions and contributing more to society’s development. What is essential is not to stop but to keep going regardless of all trials and tribulations.

Having three letters—CPA—after my name, and reaping its rewards, is what keeps me moving forward despite these interesting times. On October 2023, I will take the competitive and taxing exam. To get there, I have three ingredients to power me through and, hopefully, to thank afterwards: passion, determination, and perseverance.

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