Top 2 Engineer Fought Deadly Disease Before Board Exam


It’s not easy becoming a top 2 engineer in the Philippines. This Filipina civil engineering student had to fight disease before she could even take her board exam.

 

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the Philippines, thousands of Filipinos were getting infected with the virus. Those who tested positive were instructed to stay home, and self-isolate for several days.

Engr. Lyka Jane Maglinao Pesigan was one of those who caught the virus, and at the time she tested positive, it was only a few weeks before the Civil Engineering Licensure Exam (CELE).

Luckily, she was still able to take the examination and later emerged as the Top 2 in the November 2021 CELE with an impressive rating of 92.75%.

In her interview with GineersNow, Lyka Jane, or LJ for short, narrated how she managed to pull it off.

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SUMMARY HIGHLIGHTS

Course: Civil Engineering

Rank: Top 2

Score: 92.75%

School: University of Batangas

Review Center: University of Batangas’ in-house review, Inhinyero Review Center, Esplana Engineering and Review Center, Megareview and Tutorial Center, FAL Conducive Engineering Review Center, and Review Innovations

Challenges: being diagnosed with COVID-19, homesickness, adjusting to a new school

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New Interest

Pursuing a career as an engineer was actually not LJ’s first dream. As a child, she first wanted to become a doctor.

But she soon realized that studying medicine requires a hefty amount of money, and her family can’t afford to pay the expensive educational fees.

That was when she decided to let that dream go.

After going through primary school until secondary school, she developed an interest in mathematics and sciences that soon urged her to take up an engineering course in college.

The funny thing was, during those days, LJ was one of those who believed that when someone is inclined toward mathematics, then they must take an engineering course.

Well, it turned out that this belief also applied to her. And so, that’s what she did.

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Bittersweet College Life

The time came for her to enter college. As expected, she chose an engineering course, specifically a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, when she enrolled at the University of Batangas.

During her time in college, LJ enjoyed learning every subject in the CE curriculum, especially the design subjects.

In fact, she didn’t have any failing grades in her entire engineering journey.

Still, a journey is not complete without failures. In her fourth year as a CE student, she was chosen to compete in the National Civil Engineering Students’ Quiz 2019.

At that time, her confidence was over the top, and she reviewed her notes just two days before the competition.

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Because of her short review, she performed poorly during the quiz, and it was a very disappointing moment for her.

What made her heart break even more was that she was already a fourth-year student. and she might not be able to compete the following year to do better.

Also, she felt bad about it as she failed herself, her coaches, and her university.

She was filled with regret, thinking that she could have done better if overconfidence had not taken over her.

Thankfully, one of her coaches talked to her, saying that it was okay because the licensure exam was just around the corner, and there she could showcase her potential.

So she turned the negative emotions she felt at that moment into her driving force to try and do better and to become a topnotcher in the board exam.

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COVID-19 Diagnosis

Just a month after graduating magna cum laude in July 2020, LJ went straight to reviewing.

She did not enroll in just one or two but several review centers.

Her main reason for doing so is that she was taking advantage of the fact that those review centers are giving scholarships to those who graduated with Latin honors.

She was also very driven to top the boards, and she thinks that it will only come true if she is exposed to a variety of techniques taught by the review centers.

However, an unexpected thing happened to LJ, as well as to her family members. She tested positive for COVID-19, along with her mother and nephew.

This came after her father caught the virus first.

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Naturally, she had symptoms of the virus.

These hindered her from studying and attending an online review class for two weeks.

While the situation was already troublesome on its own, what made it tougher for LJ was the anxiety it brought her.

Her anxiety led her to think of negative thoughts, such as the idea of her condition getting worse or the possibility that she may not be able to file or take the examination if she remains ill after 14 days of self-quarantine.

Thankfully, she was already well after 14 days, allowing her to file and take the exam scheduled in November 2021.

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Anxiety and Lack of Confidence

In general, she found the board exam difficult. But out of the three subjects included in the test, MSTE (Mathematics, Surveying, Transportation, Engineering, Economics) gave her the hardest time.

She was not confident in her answers in MSTE.

Hence, she already thought that she wouldn’t make it to the top 10.

After the board exam, LJ felt more anxious about her score, especially since some circumstances happened during the first few minutes of her MSTE exam that led her to worry that she might have shaded the wrong test set.

She was very uneasy about this and thought that she wouldn’t be able to accept it if she failed the examination just because she shaded the wrong test set.

But since it was already over and done with, all she could do was say her prayers.

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Answered Prayers

When the test results were out, it appeared like her prayers were heard. LJ not only got a passing rate but also entered the Top 10.

She cried, prayed, and messaged her siblings as soon as she learned her ranking, and they couldn’t be happier for her.

 

My Student Life

UB Batangas civil engineering Class Photo
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan class photo with classmates and friends at University of Batangas

1. Why did you choose this course? Who or what was your inspiration?

I chose Engineering because as soon as I entered primary school, until secondary school, I developed an interest in mathematics and sciences.

The funny thing is, during those days, I was one of those who believed that when somebody is inclined to Mathematics that somebody must take an Engineering course.

So yeah, here I am.

2. What are your favorite subjects in your entire engineering study? How about least liked subjects?

I do like all design subjects. (Mechanics to Steel), but I can say that I enjoyed learning every subject in the CE curriculum.

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3. Have you had any subject failures or disappointing academic performance? What did you do about it?

I didn’t have any failing grades in my entire Engineering journey.

But what I consider the most disappointing academic performance is when I performed poorly during the NCESQ (National Civil Engineering Students’ Quiz 2019).

I was way overconfident, to the point that I just read notes/reviewed them 2 days before the event.

It was so heartbreaking because I was already a 4th-year college student, and there was no assurance that I would still get to compete the year after to try again.

Plus, I felt I failed myself, UB (University of Batangas), and my coaches, and my greatest regret is, “I could’ve done better” if overconfidence hadn’t taken over me.

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But one of my coaches told me it’s okay because the licensure exam is just around the corner.

So, I turned the negative emotions I felt at that moment into my driving force to try and do better to become a topnotcher in our board exam.

4. What were your greatest struggles while in college?

I didn’t experience any problems with tuition fees/money thanks to my siblings, who have always been there to support me financially.

Maybe, the most difficult is homesickness.

Although I used to lived far from home since I started college, I still miss home and my family from time to time.

Another thing is I had difficulty adjusting when I transferred to UB Batangas from UB Lipa ~ I think this is a common feeling for all transferees.

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5. Any topnotcher study tips or tricks that you think others should emulate from you?

I read this in a book, “Success is not only made possible by huge action, but it is also the constant tiny improvement or the one-step-at-a-time that creates incredible change.”

I always believe that I am not as smart as the people from other known universities, and I always think that I am way behind them.

But because of the prolonged review days caused by the pandemic, I had the time to focus and to study more, make little improvements, learn something and gain new knowledge every single day. I think this consistent little improvement brought me to the top 2.

You don’t have to have explosive action just to get to where you want to be; a tiny advancement is still an improvement and, cumulatively, will create a significant change.

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6. What is the best engineering school advice that you can give to other students?

Failing is not always a failure.

 

Board Exam Experience

University of Batangas civil engineering student of 2020
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan with UB Batangas classmates

1. What were the greatest struggles that you experienced while preparing for the board exam? What did you do to overcome them?

I think when I tested positive in the rapid antigen test.

Actually, it was my father who first tested positive for COVID-19, but since I was his close contact, together with my nephew and my mother, we had to undergo a rapid antigen test, and we all tested positive.

Then, I had symptoms that hindered me from studying and even attending an online class for two weeks.

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This situation is troublesome on its own, but what broke me the most was the anxiety this brought me and the thought that if that got worse, I might not be able to file or take the examination.

What circled in my mind at that time was, ‘What if after 14 days, I, again, tested positive?’

Or ‘If I do not get well at the soonest time possible, the cycle of quarantine and testing will continue, and my review will be compromised.

I will then have second thoughts if I will push through with the November 2021 board exam.’

But, thank God, after 14 days, I was already well. Therefore, I was able to file and take the exam.

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2. Did you enroll in a center for your review? Do you recommend doing so? Which one did you go to?

Yes, I enrolled in a review center.

To be honest, I enrolled in several review centers. I recommend doing so because they will guide you on the path that you have to take to pass the board examination.

They will give words of wisdom and encouragement and motivate you besides doing lectures.

I enrolled in several review centers mainly because I was taking advantage of the fact that they are giving scholarships to those who graduated with Latin honors.

And because I also wanted to top the board exam.

I think the more techniques I am exposed to, the better the chance I will have.

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Those review centers were:

  • University of Batangas’ in-house review
  • Inhinyero Review Center
  • Esplana Engineering and Review Center
  • Megareview and Tutorial Center
  • FAL Conducive Engineering Review Center
  • Review Innovations

I started in July 2020, a month after our graduation (on paper), and yes, until November 2021.

3. How did you find the board exam? Easy, average, or difficult?

It was difficult, especially the first subject, MSTE (Mathematics, Surveying, Transportation Engineering, Economics), in which I scored the least out of the three subjects. (86%-98%-95% for the three subjects, respectively).

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4. What were your expectations after you took the board exam and before the results were out? Did you have a feeling that you would be at the top?

No, I did not expect my name to appear in the list of the top 10, maybe because I was not confident in MSTE.

Another reason is that I was not sure if I shaded the right test set in the first subject because of some circumstances that happened during the first few minutes of the exam.

I was really praying, “Lord sana tama yung set na na-shade ko sa 1st subject.”

I was really anxious about that because I thought I couldn’t take it if I failed just because I shaded the wrong set.

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5. What did you do the first minute you discovered you topped the board exam?

I cried and prayed, then messaged my siblings; I sent them the link to the results.

I was not able to tell my parents first, for they were already asleep at that time.

6. Who do you owe your success?

I owe my success to the Lord for the wisdom he has given me, my teachers, and my instructors from primary school to college and also during my review days.

I wouldn’t obtain the academic knowledge and techniques without them

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My friends, whom I shared with the school burdens I had.

My siblings, who have always been the one-chat-away people I know I will always have

And to my parents, the people to whom I dedicate this success, and the many more success I will attain.

7. What incentives did you get from your university and review center after your board exam success?

I received cash incentives from the university, cash incentives, and a plaque of recognition/trophy from some of the review centers I enrolled in (RI, Megareview, FAL Con).

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8. Share your most effective study habits.

Know yourself, not everyone is a morning person, and not everyone is a night owl. Start with this, then begin making the most out of the time you’re most active.

As for me:

5AM to 7AM – get up and try to read and memorize concepts and terms, and formulas

7AM to 11PM – attend class, if any, and if none, try to solve as many problems as I can.

In between, I still find time to relax: watch a single episode of Netflix series, play mobile games, or browse social media.

Basically, this is my daily routine.

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9. Give some important tips for future board exam takers who aim to become topnotchers.

  • Pray for guidance and wisdom, and strength
  • Believe in yourself
  • Always remind yourself that the tougher the journey, the sweeter the victory
  • Find time to rest; you need to rest
  • Celebrate small wins

 

My Family & Love Life

Civil Engineer LJ Pesigan with her family
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan with her family

Describe your family, parents, siblings (and children if applicable).

I have the most loving and caring family. I am the youngest (of 7 siblings).

My mother (62-year-old at the time of this writing) is a high school undergraduate and my father (64-year-old at the time of this writing) is a high school graduate. We are not rich, but my parents managed to make us all finish college.

As for my brothers and sisters, 4 of them have families of their own, but I never felt even once that there is a disconnection between us. I am sure that I will always be their favorite bunso (Love you people!).

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Did your parents encourage you to study engineering?

This is my personal choice. But they do support me all the way.

Are you in a relationship? or it’s complicated?

No, I’m not in a relationship at the time of this writing. (haha)

 

The Future

University of Batangas civil engineering students field trip
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan with her classmates on a field trip

Describe engineering in one word

Complex.

Why is engineering important in our society?

Ideas/principles to realizations for innovations. I think this sums it up.

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Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I see myself still working as a skilled Structural Engineer or assuming a managerial role already, with experience working in several countries in different industries.

 

Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan photos with family, mentors, and friends

LJ Pesigan photos
UB Batangas virtual grad shooting, Cash & Plaque from FAL Con, and UB Batangas virtual grad shooting (Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan)
Dance Competition (University of Batangas civil engineering students)
Dance Competition (UB CE students) with Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan
Engr. Maramot, Engr. Dan - Top 10, Engr. Solirs, Engr. Bravo (some UB instructors)
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan with Engr. Maramot, Engr. Dan – Top 10, Engr. Solirs, Engr. Bravo (some UB instructors)
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Engr. LJ Pesigan on a field trip
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan on a field trip
UB Batangas photo with Engr LJ Pesigan
UB Batangas class photo with Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan
Engr LJ Pesigan with her mother
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan with her mother
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Engr. LJ Pesigan, Ms. UB Lipa (1st runner up) 2017
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan, Ms. UB Lipa (1st runner up) 2017
Random event at University of Batangas Civil Engineering students
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan with her friends at an event
Engr. Lyka Jane Maglinao Pesigan celebrating my birthday with UB Batangas’ main circle of friends
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan celebrating her birthday with UB Batangas’ main circle of friends
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Civil engineer LJ Pesigan with her family (insert a brother working abroad)
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan LJ Pesigan with her family
surveying project in the Philippines
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan with friends at a surveying project
National Civil Engineering Students Quiz
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan at the National Civil Engineering Students Quiz
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Civil engineering students' OJT at Fluor Philippines
OJT at Fluor – Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan with friends
Siblings plus their partners in Batangas, Philippines
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan with her Siblings plus their partners
Just a photo proof that civil engineer LJ Pesigan love coffee
Just a photo proof that i love coffee
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Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan
UB Batangas Class Photo Op with Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan and civil engineering classmates
Table tennis (at San Beda University)
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan competing with another student at San Beda University for table tennis match
Civil engineer LJ Pesigan, cash & trophy from Megareview and Tutorial Center
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan cash incentive & trophy from Megareview and Tutorial Center
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UB Batangas civil engineering students andclassmates
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan with UB Batangas classmates
Civil engineer LJ Pesigan father and mother
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan’s mother and father
University of Batangas, civil engineering
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan at University of Batangas
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UB Batangas Civil Engineering Classmates
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan with UB Batangas Civil Engineering Classmates
Civil engineer LJ Pesigan's Interview at Lucena, Quezon with top 10 - Renzon
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan’s Interview at Lucena, Quezon with top 10 – Renzon
Civil engineer LJ Pesigan recognition from University of Batangas
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan’s recognition from University of Batangas
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Civil engineer LJ Pesigan with her main circle of friends at UB Batangas
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan with her main circle of friends at UB Batangas
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan recognition awards for Most Outstanding University of Batangas Civil Engineering Students along with other winners
Civil  engineer LJ Pesigan at UB Lipa with her main circle of friends
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan at UB Lipa with her main circle of friends
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family photo of LJ Pesigan
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan with her family
Colloquia 2019 UPCES
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan at UPCES
engineer LJ Pesigan with table tennis players (outside school event)
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan with table tennis players (outside school event)
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UB Batangas closest friends
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan with her UB Batangas closest friends
LJ Pesigan's first work at DPWH
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan’s first work at DPWH
team building workshop with other civil engineering students
Top 2 engineer LJ Pesigan at a team building workshop with other civil engineering students

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