“If you have BIG DREAMS. Start here.”

It was around 12 o’clock in the afternoon last September 22. 

I was hungry and tired. 
I wanted to go home as soon as possible and lie down on my comfy bed but, traffic was so slow. I tried to engage a conversation with Vivien and Gerardyne about the
Mapúa Scholastic Aptitude Examination or MSAE 
but no can do. I just stared outside the car and immediately, I began to remember what I did just so I could take this exam.

          Two weeks earlier, 
I told my mom about the MSAE. She knew that I wanted to become an architect and the fact that Mapúa was one of the best schools in architecture. I thought she was going to say yeas but to my surprise it was a flat no. 
She had a lot of reasons and one of them was that Mapúa employed quarter system or QuarTerm. It means that the academic year is divided into four parts. My mom said that
I didn’t have what it takes to survive in that kind of environment.
 I was hurt because of what she said. So I decided to not persuade her about it. I don’t have what it takes then, who does?

          The next day, I told my friends that I was not going take the exam any more. All of them were outraged. They could not believe that my mom was against it. Vivien said, “How can you not take the exam, Lea? When I think of Mapúa, I instantly remember you.” They also said, “You have to take the exam. You really want to, right?

          Yes. I really, really, REALLY wanted to take the MSAE.
Ever since I knew about Mapúa, I wanted study there. Imagine, in just four years I could graduate from architecture while in other schools it could take me five years. It also produced topnotchers in board exams. And Mapúa has a big reputation for academic excellence and professional readiness. It means being ahead of the competition.

          I asked my mom for the second time to give me permission to take the exam. I was still a NO but next time, I was not going to take no for an answer.

          We were having dinner. The exam was just three days away. I ate all of my veggies and smiled. I asked her about the exam again. She was silent for a moment then; it was “awards day” again. My mom did not stop talking until it was 10:00pm. I felt so bad because it was still NO. They said that the third time is the charm. Baloney.

          I could not sleep that night and I was wondering if I will ever.

          Next day, 
my friends asked if my mom has allowed me.
 I said that it was still a no and their smile became a frown. I was going to tell them what happened last night, but our classes started.

          I found it very difficult to concentrate on our lessons.
 The voices in my head kept repeating what my mom said. “You don’t have what it takes to study in Mapúa.”

            "I really want study in Mapúa,” I told a friend. “Why? I thought you were going to study in UP.” I looked at her and as I began to open my mouth, I decided not to tell her why. Other than Mapúa’s prestige, there was another very personal reason. I didn’t want to tell my mom about it because it she will become very sad if I do. Yes, UP is also my dream school. But after what happened last summer...Well, that’s another story and in our house, it is taboo.

          This is going to be my final try. 

    It was the night before the exam. 

Again I asked my mom permission.
 Normally, I would not answer back to my mm but this time, it was different. I wanted voice out my reasons. I told her, “I will already have friends if I study there in Mapúa unlike if I study in UP. I will not become a loner like my sister!” My mom paused for a while. She said “Even though.” It was over I told myself.  

          I was sitting in my room when my mom said it was ok if I take the exam. She said that she sent a text message to my dad and told him that I wanted to take the MSAE. He said YES. She gave me the exam fee and said, 
I still don’t want you to take the exam though.

          Back in the car, Vivien was telling her mom and her dad that the results were going to be announced in the 2nd week of October. Gerardyne said, “There results are sooner than I expected.” Vivien said,” I have a good feeling about it!” I joined their conversation and said, “I’m feeling one thing and that is EXCITEMENT!” We nodded in unison. 

I got test booklet 170B.
 It has a violet cover. It is going to be my ticket towards Mapúa Institute of Technology. 

They say that it's like hell once you are in there. Maybe, it is true. I will never know for sure unless I study there. Well, I'm going to do better than my BEST and prove to my mom that I am Mapúa-worthy.

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