When the Medical Technologist Licensure Examination results came out, Sherry Mae Mondido was traveling by land across Sorsogon on her way to Cebu.
It was nighttime and she was already asleep when the owner of the review center in Manila where she took classes woke her up with the good news: she placed second in the September 2011 exam.
"Ako first gyud gihimo is nag-thank you ko sa Lord, nag-pray pud ko ni St. Jude Thaddeaus ug kay Mama Mary sa Baclaran. (The first thing I did was to thank the Lord and then I prayed to St. Jude Thaddeaus…to Mother Mary in Baclaran)," she said.
Shee or Sheeshee, as she is called by her friends, only had three months to do her review since internship at Velez College, where she studied, ends later than in other schools, but got a score of 91.30. Her rating is the highest among graduates of Velez College, a sister school of Cebu Institute of Medicine that had a 100% passing percentage in the last six successive medical licensure examinations.
Shee's parents went to Manila to provide moral support during the examination and, feeling adventurous, the three of them decided to take the Bicol route on their way home to Talisay City in Cebu from Manila.
While she may have prayed to St. Jude Thaddeaus, the saint for desperate and lost causes as part of her devotion in preparation for the licensure exam, her passing and making it to the top certainly was far from being a chance occurrence.
Her school records showed she excelled in academics: she had an honorable mention in elementary, was the valedictorian in high school, and graduated from college a magna cum laude.
At the assessment exams given per subject by the review center, Shee was among the top performers of her batch, which was made up of graduates from several schools.
"Dili man surprising nga mo-top jud si Sheeshee kay ang assessment exams namo mas detailed kay sa among mock board ug sa real board (It is not surprising for Sheeshee to be at the top. I think our assessments exams were even more detailed than the mock board or even the actual exams)," said her review classmate Liz Hernani.
The only daughter and the third among four children of Alejandro, a retired PLDT area head, and Marlyn, who was also connected with a local PLDT account administration, Shee took up Medical Technology as a stepping stone to a medical degree, a world away from her brothers' chosen professions of engineering and information technology.
She credits a holistic preparation focusing not just on the mental but the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects as well for her success in licensure exam.
Shee said she took care not to get sick on the day of the board exam by eating well, taking vitamins, and getting plenty of rest.
"After a long intensive study, I make sure I rest, sleep, watch TV, or go the mall," she added.
She motivated herself to excel but was prepared for all possible outcomes and prayed regularly to God.
Aside from her review classes, Shee read up on reference books and went through her third year college notes. The rest is history.
Now, Shee said, even her neighbors who are "tambays" congratulate her for her achievement.
Despite her achievement, this simple girl remains down to earth and is still the same Sheeshee who loves to go to the mall, watch movies or tv, surf the net, or play with her dog during her free time. Her parents are her inspiration and she is grateful to them for their love and support.
She wants to give back to her school by teaching while she waits for the next school year when she will start the first step to her lifelong dream of becoming a physician.
"Mao sad ni ako gi-promise pud ni God. Tagaan man gani ko nya'g chance ma-topnotcher, why not mo-teach ko? At least ma-share nako akong knowledge (I promised God I would teach. He gave me so much, why shouldn't I teach? I would be able to share what I know)," she said.
She offers the following tips to future licensure exam takers: "Do ordinary things extraordinarily," "Aim high," and "Do not compete with others…instead compete with your own weaknesses." Wise words indeed from an aspiring teacher and would-be doctor.
With topnotchers like Sherry Mae, it appears that the future of the health profession in Cebu is in good hands.