Bicolano topnotcher aces 2023 MedTech board while tending sick father during review

Reviewing for a board exam is a very difficult phase where one’s discipline and focus will be tested in the most grueling way. It takes a lot of pressure and stress to be able to pass. But what more for this Bicolano board-taker who studies and reviews for the 2023 Medical Technology (MedTech) Board Exam while taking care of his sick father and eventually becomes one of the board’s topnotchers when the results come out?

Yep, just like everyone else, the challenges were painfully real for Jezriel James M. Jacob, 23, a native Bicolano who hailed from Tinambac, Camarines Sur, and made the feat possible by placing 5th in the 2023 MedTech Board Exam list of topnotchers, while looking after his sick father in the morning and reviewing for the board exam in the evening.

“Yung father ko n’ong Feb 2022, ay na-stroke po siya. Since then, ako po yung kasama niya, nagbabantay, nag-aalaga… Kapag gabi, ‘don lang po talaga ako nagkakaroon ng time para mag-review.  And ‘yon po ang nangyari simula n’ong ma-stroke si Papa until at the end of the year 2022,” Jezriel said in an interview with Bicol.PH.

Jezriel came from a family of teachers. His mother and older sister are elementary teachers, while his older brother is a senior high teacher. Before his father was diagnosed with a stroke, he was a school principal too. Being the youngest child and just pursuing the field he wanted to tread on, he was the one who was left alone at home to tend to his father.

But just this January, Jezriel asked her mother to have someone help him take care of his father because the board exam was scheduled to be months away.

“Sabi ko talaga sa mother ko parang di ko na kakayanin kung mag-isa lang, hindi ko kakayanin kung wala akong magiging katulong  lalo’t na madali [malapit] na yung board exam n’on so I requested na magkaroon ng katulong dito. And fortunately yung kapatid po ni Papa, tinulungan akong, pag-umaga, magbantay kay Papa during the last days of my preparation,” Jezriel said. 

Because of this difficult situation that Jezriel found himself in, he felt he wasn’t prepared enough to take the board exam. 

“Hindi ko talaga na-feel na prepared ako kasi parang kulang yung naging time ko para mag-review.  And yon nga kailangan ko pang pagsabayin yung (pagiging) taga-alaga sa father ko and yung pag-review. Kaya hindi ko talaga na-feel na prepared ako. Hindi ako talaga naging confident sa sarili ko,” Jezriel said.

But, lo and behold! Who would’ve thought that this humble man would come off as one of the holders of the beacon of greatness by placing 5th in the board exam despite his situation?

On becoming a topnotcher

Jezriel, despite the situation he has arisen from, hopes to be one of the topnotchers, but he did not think or expect that he would really become one. 

“Unang-una talaga chineck ko lang talaga yung list of passers kasi I wasn’t expecting na makakasama pa ako sa top(notchers) but I was hoping kasi simula noong mag-start akong mag-review talagang yon na ang pinagpi-pray ko,” he said.

He cried the moment he saw the list that he had passed the board exam, but Jacob’s tears flowed harder when he learned that he was also on the list of topnotchers.

“Una kong tiningnan yung list of passers, and nakita ko pa lang yung name ko na pasado na ‘ron, naiyak na talaga kami dito. Tapos mas lalo na n’ong nakita ko talaga yung list of topnotchers kasi ‘yon nga ‘di ko ‘yon ine-expect… nagulat ako n’ong nakita ko na top 5 (ako) so hindi ko talaga napigilan yung iyak ko n’on,” he added. 

His father, who can’t speak anymore due to his state, cried his heart out the moment he learned the result of the board exam.

“N’ong nalaman niya rin kasi na nagsisigawan na kami dito – nagtatalunan, nagsisigawan, yung father ko talaga, iyak lang siya nang iyak,” Jezriel said. 

Jezriel added that every time his father was reminded of his son’s feat, that every time he heard his son’s interviews, he would just cry. 

“Grabe yung emotions niya talaga – sobrang saya,” Jezriel added.

Currently, Jezriel plans to pursue his dream job of becoming a doctor by pursuing medicine in the future. But for now, he will find a job and apply to a hospital in Manila to gain experience.

Jezriel advises all students and future exam-takers that when they set their goal, they must aim for the best.

“Aim for the best talaga. Kung sakali man na hindi natin ma-meet yung goal na sinet natin for ourselves, hindi masyado mababa yung babagsakan natin. Mataas pa rin yung possibility, yung chance na makapasa tayo,” he tipped. 

Jezriel also notes that everyone should always remember to call upon God because he believes that doing so will make us more confident and give us peace of mind when taking exams.

Jezriel thanked his family and all the people around him for believing in him right from the start of his board journey.

“Thank you kasi (kung) ako nga hindi talaga ako nagtiwala sa sarili ko, pero kayo talaga grabe yung naging tiwala niyo sa akin. Hindi kayo nag-doubt na papasa ako. Hindi kayo nag-doubt na  makakasama ako sa topnotchers. Itong success na ito ay inaalay ko sa parents ko.” | Arvie Bediones

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Photos: Jezriel James Jacob