Slow progress is still progress

By Joshua Corcuera

As I write this, I am already in my third year of collegiate studies—only less than two years before graduating from university. However, there is this need to study harder and devote much of my time and effort to my studies.

As an accountancy student, graduating from college is not the only thing I am worried about because, after all, my degree program requires a board exam to become a certified public accountant (CPA). A few days before the semester started last August, I gazed upon the syllabus of the board exam. It’s obvious that I have a lot of work to do, or as they say in Filipino: marami pang kakaining bigas.

Out of the six subjects in the board exam, four were already tackled in my first two years in college. But looking at the lesson coverage, it appears that I missed a lot of topics. My best guess is that the online set-up, due to the pandemic, is the main culprit.

First, the accountancy program demands answering so many theories and problems—thousands of items in a semester on average—to master. For obvious but valid reasons, this usual practice before the pandemic cannot be done. Particularly, not everyone enjoys the privilege of a stable internet connection and working gadgets. More importantly, a student is expected to read, read, read, and read, from day to night, just to understand essential concepts and theories—unless you study smart and have study techniques.

Second, students and lecturers alike find it difficult to adapt to the new normal, especially in the first semester of online classes—and it’s understandable, though. Hopefully, the faculty will deliver online classes innovatively and efficiently over time, especially that returning to physical classes seems unlikely.

Speaking of innovation in teaching, I had this lecturer who taught with the aid of concept maps which are concise yet comprehensive. This enabled his class to cover and understand all target topics for that subject in accordance with the board exam syllabus. From another perspective, his efficient methods are unsurprising since he is a passionate professor and experienced reviewer for the board exam. From that lecturer, I saw that one could succeed with passion, determination, and perseverance.

Third, there is a lack of time for lecturers to meet students as compared to face-to-face classes. Due to compassion to those who find it difficult to connect to the internet, online classes are not absolutely synchronous. In other words, there are times where students have to study on their own—something extremely challenging on my part, and virtually all students right now.

After two semesters of studying online and counting, I can describe my journey so far and sum it up with one word: challenging. But history and experience also prescribe a valuable lesson on challenging times: those who are passionate, determined, and persevering enough can surmount such troubling times. The greater the struggle, the sweeter the victory.

With passion, one sees a clear vision of where they find themselves in the future—a lawyer, a doctor, an accountant, and so on. Through determination, one puts into action the plans set forth to achieve that vision. And perseverance is what one needs to stay on track because, obviously, the path would not—and would never be—smooth and straight.

Early this year, I crafted a detailed plan on reviewing the basics, studying backlogs, and learning in preparation for the ultimate test—the board exam. With a clear outline of topics, a study schedule that I had to follow, and personal assessments to test myself, I was able to get back on track. Yes, it’s not always easy, and the path is far from perfect. There are ups and downs in my daily studies, but looking at the long run, I can say that I am moving forward.

Despite the slow progress during the early days of online classes, it is still essential to note that progress, however slow, is a step forward—a step forward to achieving one’s ambitions and contributing even greater to society’s development. What is essential is not to stop but, rather, to keep going regardless of all trials and tribulations. And if one hesitates to achieve one’s goals due to the enormity of the tasks ahead, it is imperative to remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. If one fears that there might be no progress, only three ingredients are necessary: passion, determination, and perseverance.

Having three letters—CPA—after my name, and reaping its rewards is what keeps me on moving forward despite these interesting times. By October 2023, I will take the competitive and taxing exam. And once I get there, I’ll tell you how I made it—all thanks to the passion, determination, and perseverance to move forward.