this story originally appeared in the philippine daily inquirer on June 5, 1999. 

It all started last Feb. 5, when our school had its annual Job Expo for graduating students like me. A friend and I decided to attend, only because one of our professors said our attendance was going to be checked. We were taking a course in education so we scouted for participating schools. Unfortunately, we only had two options. One was a coed school known for having a high-standard of education, but it was located somewhere in Paranaque. Good school, bad location for me, since we live in Quezon City.

The second was an exclusive school for boys located in San Juan. We grabbed the opportunity. Since there was a school representative, we asked for more information about the school. She was impressive and so we filled our application forms and then got scheduled for an interview. I was so excited since this was the first time I was going to be interviewed for anything. But then we still had to wait for at least a month for the big day, and there was still a lot of requirements in school to finish, so the excitement was gone two or three days later. Two days before the scheduled interview, I got myself organized. I bought a fancy yet formal set of paper that I used for my application letter and resum‚. I got a copy of my picture, left over from the ones I used when I took the civil service examinations (which I passed, by the way). Our computer was busted then, so I used our dependable typewriter. March 11 arrived. Unexpectedly, my friend wasn’t able to join me, so I went with a different group of friends. It turned out, the school gave us two sets of examinations plus the initial interview. I thought I didn’t fare well in the tests so I erased the idea that the school would call me up for a second interview. Two weeks passed. On the day of our baccalaureate Mass, I was having lunch at home when the phone rang. My kuya handed me the phone. I took it and the lady on the other line didn’t sound like any of my friends. It turned out, I passed the first set of exams and the initial interview, and they wanted me to come over the next morning for my second interview–that is, if I was still interested.

Of course, I was interested. I mean, who wouldn’t be? I actually almost choked upon hearing the very good news. That day was just perfect. Everything was going my way. The Mass was memorable, and I had the happy thought that I had a job waiting for me before I even graduated. I wasn’t able to eat dinner that night because of my excitement. I had a good night sleep and woke up pretty early for my interview. I wore my red blouse for good luck. When I reached the school with my Dad (who was very patient and supportive of me), I saw that there were 16 of us who were going to be interviewed. I scanned the group and pitied myself when I learned that they were all ”elitistas” from either Ateneo or La Salle. I didn’t hear them speak a single word of Tagalog. Not that I have anything against the English language, but I found it annoying when some people make arte in the way they speak (gee, I sounded like one of them!). Anyway, we spent the whole morning and half of the afternoon waiting for our turn to be interviewed. There were three interviewers: two assistant principals and a guidance counselor. I finally got my chance at around 3 p.m., and made it home at 4:30 p.m.

Again, I thought I didn’t do well. I thought my nervousness showed in the way I talked and answered questions. So again, although I didn’t lose hope, I didn’t expect them to call again. Our graduation on March 29 wasn’t as memorable as the Mass. My family and I stayed up late that night since the graduation rites were in the afternoon. The next day as I was about to leave to return my toga, I got another call. Yes, it was the school again, informing me that I passed the interview and they wanted me to take the second set of exams the next day. My mom and I were so happy we actually cried. Finally, our dreams were coming true. I took the exams. But this time, I actually felt confident I was going to make it. After all, I had made it this far, with only the demo and panel interview left. I knew they wouldn’t drop me from their list. A week passed, two weeks, three, and there was no call. I got sick and got well but still there was no call. I prayed and prayed, hoped and hoped, and cried once, just thinking about it, but still no call. I can’t explain how I’m feeling right now. Sometimes I find myself asking if they are ever going to call again. What if they don’t? What went wrong? Everything went on so smoothly and yet. . . Was it one of those things that were just too good to be true?

I tried telling myself to forget it, and just look for another school. Oh yes, I’ll look for another school, I tell myself, and yet the question keeps coming back: Why was there no call? My ego couldn’t accept it. Maybe that’s it: I was too confident. But who wouldn’t be, given what I went through? I feel like I have been left hanging, uncertain of what awaits me. Although the rejection still hounds me every day and night, I haven’t lost hope that the phone will ring and the person on the other line will be scheduling me for a demo. I haven’t lost hope that I will get the job, that I will be able to help my parents finally. Yes, the dream is still very much alive even if the hurt and pain are almost killing me. I remember being asked in the interview, ”How do you see yourself in 10 years?” My answer was plain and simple: ”I see myself content in my chosen profession. I have a family of my own–a husband and maybe one or two darling children of my own!” Yes, my dreams are still alive and I am ready to face any rejection that comes along. If there is anything that has kept my spirits up, it is my faith in God. He never left me. He always lets me feel His presence. There is also the support and understanding that my family gives me. In a way I am glad this happened. Now I know how it feels to be rejected. Rejection inspired me to strive even harder. 

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