ALTHOUGH it is a no-brainer that the best way to achieve great things in life is through sheer perseverance, some people are also blessed with divine providence.

This probably rings true in the case of Reinhard Gutierrez, UST's "Neocentennial" valedictorian, and Christian Louie Gonzales, who placed fifth in the recently concluded bar examinations.

Making it to the Bar exam's Top 10 was never part of Gonzales’ plan. An average student, he said all he wanted was to pass.

“I really could not believe it since I did not graduate with honors. I just wanted to pass and being in the Top 10 is just a bonus,” he said.

The 28-year-old achiever said he did nothing out of the ordinary, save probably for enrolling in a Bar review program.

“I [merely] focused on the notes I had during my classes in UST which I was more familiar with. [In fact] I did not rely too much on the new materials given during the pre-bar review,” he said.

An Accountancy graduate of Union Christian College in San Fernando, La Union, Gonzales said he took up law because of the prestige.

“The legal profession is commended by the people. However, despite the prestige it has, the social image of lawyers [at present] is in crisis,” Gonzales said.

He added that as a lawyer, he wanted to prove that “justice can be served” despite the bad image of the justice system in the country.

Faith and hard work

In the case of Rodriguez, being named as batch valedictorian during the Student Awards last March 16 was a dream come true.

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“Despite deadlines and interminable projects, I developed patience and learned how to pray. It is finally mine now. I cannot believe it that I was just among those who fantasized having such an award,” he said.

The College of Tourism and Hospitality Management graduate said his greatest lesson in college is that education is best acquired not through competition. It instead comes through nurturing healthy relationships with colleagues.

“I did not want to compete with my classmates and to be the best by pulling them down. What mattered to me was overcoming these challenges by being responsible,” he said.

Also a valedictorian during his high school days in Aquinas School, Rodriguez said he hated cramming so he usually made sure he met his deadlines.

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