History in UP: We Had a Quick Chat with First Female Summa Cum Laude of UP History

It’s graduation season once again.

And making history in UP, amusingly, is a student who is graduating as the first female summa cum laude of the UP Department of History.

Meet Julia Catherina Agoncillo or Chiqui.

UP History Summa Cum Laude (1)

Chiqui is graduating with a BA Kasaysayan degree on June 26 and receiving the highest honor with a general weighted average of 1.122.

WhenInManila.com had a quick chat with Chiqui.

We were curious what made her take BA Kasaysayan. In a world where it looked like the younger people are already losing interest in history, why take a course related to it. She said:

I took up History for no other reason than that it has always been something I enjoyed and appreciated – along with the reading and research, critical thinking, and writing the discipline entails. I was hoping to play to my strengths.

Well, she definitely played to her strengths, finishing on top.

UP History Summa Cum Laude (1)

Then, we inquired that if she didn’t take History, what course would she have taken. She told us:

Just a week before taking the UPCAT, I actually wrote to the Office of the University Registrar to request for my first choice of course to be changed to BA History, and my second to BA Anthropology. Before my change of heart, I had listed down BS Chemical Engineering as my first choice, and BS Biology as my second.

With her exceptional grades, we wanted to know about her study habits. Maybe, we can learn a trick or two from it.

I know it sounds boring, but I don’t think there’s anything more to it than plain hard work and discipline: manage time efficiently, pay attention in class, take decent notes, be organized (I love my planner and Microsoft OneNote!), actively learn things outside your course curriculum and syllabi. In short, make a plan to study smart and stick to it. At the same time, it can’t be all about studying. It’s just as important to give yourself a break by spending time with friends and family, finding new hobbies, etc. Balance is key.

Then, we asked her about her future plans now that she’s entering the grown-ups world. She said:

I have an internship with a management consulting firm waiting after graduation, but the general idea is to narrow down my research interests over the next year or two in preparation for a master’s degree in a field still within or tied to the social sciences.

UP History Summa Cum Laude (2)

Hope we all learned a thing or two on how to excel in school. Be passionate with what you do and always strike a balance.

Congratulations Chiqui!

Last year, a UP Biology student also made history by graduating with an almost perfect grade.

What do you think of Chiqui making history in UP?