‘Pasang-awa' working student Top 10 in Civil Engineering Board Exam

MANILA, Philippines – Engr. Jobert De La Cruz couldn't believe that despite working as a construction worker, factory worker, and fast-food crew while studying at the University of Cebu, he would finish his studies and be in the Top 10 in the May 2019 Civil Engineering Board exams.

‘Pasang-awa' working student Top 10 in Civil Engineering Board Exam
Photo courtesy: Facebook/Jobert De La Cruz, Shaira Aribal-De La Cruz

According to PEP’s report, when Jobert was still young, he only had a simple wish: to become a fireman. During his third year in high school, his favorite elective subject became Drafting, specifically drawing architectural plans and making miniature houses. It was here that he became interested in becoming a civil engineer.

Jobert graduated from high school in 2010. However, due to financial constraints, he didn't immediately pursue college. Instead, he helped his father as a construction worker. It was during this time that he realized his desire to become a civil engineer. In 2011 when he decided to enroll, he found out that he wasn't qualified due to his “pasang-awa” grades.

So, he opted to pursue a different degree for the time being. He decided to take up a BS Industrial Technology Major in Civil Technology. He immediately felt the challenges of college life because of financial struggle.

Those weren't the only challenges they faced. In the same year of his studies, their house burned down and nothing was saved. Then, in 2012, he underwent surgery for appendicitis. Burdened with debts, they had no choice but for him to pause his studies and work in a factory.

In 2014, with some savings, Jobert enrolled at the University of Cebu in the civil engineering program, where there were no grade requirements for entry. He also started working part-time as a fast-food crew to support his studies.

Balancing work and studies wasn't easy for Jobert. He admitted to failing some subjects, with most of his grades around 3.0 or 75%, just passing. Despite this, he was immensely grateful to God when he managed to graduate, despite his grades. He saw passing the board exam as his chance to redeem himself.

He said he would wake up early every day and push himself to his limits to prove to himself that he was truly meant for Civil Engineering. His study routine started at 7:00 in the morning and would continue until 10:00 at night, every single day.

He mentioned that his only respite was eating. Because he couldn't afford to rent a boarding house when he enrolled in the review center, he endured commuting just to ensure that his opportunity and effort wouldn't go to waste.

During the actual exams, Jobert admitted that he struggled, especially in Mathematics, Surveying, and Transportation Engineering. It never crossed his mind that he would make it to the top 10. So when the results came out, he was almost moved to tears of joy while taking a shower because all the memories of his struggles came flooding back to him. Due to his success in the board exam, the University of Cebu awarded him PHP100,000. He also received PHP10,000 from the review center.

He became a college instructor at the University of Cebu, his alma mater, and also worked as a review lecturer at the review center where he once studied. His advice to fellow dreamers is to persevere in life and stay motivated.

If you were to check Jobert's Facebook account, you would see that he is married and they already have one child.

Congratulations, Engr. Jobert!

— Noel Ed Richards, The Summit Express

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