INSPIRING: UP Student’s Road to Redemption after failed subjects

Started from the bottom now we’re here.” This is what could be described for upcoming BS Chemistry graduate JM Estrella who shared on his Facebook account his road to redemption after failing major subjects whilst his stay at the University of the Philippines – Diliman.

Estrella clarifies that his humble achievement is “not a glorification of mediocrity” but moreover an “encouragement of redemption“.

His caption continues:

There isn’t a shortage of people posting their hard-earned 1.00s, and rightfully so. They’ve earned it, and I commend them. But there has always been a never-ending pressure for the rest of us to not fail. To not get a 5.00. Too many times have we placed an unreasonable amount of pressure on quantitative marks that do not easily give an accurate snapshot of our lives (to paraphrase Sir Vlad).

I’ve had four 5.00s in my whole stay in UP.

Granted, some may have had more, but I’m not here to compare. I’m here to share my story, and hopefully encourage others.

Throughout college, I’ve never been the best student. I’ve tried what I could, and sometimes, it’s just not enough.

And sometimes, it’s very much not enough.

They were disappointing times. Disappointing to my family, disappointing to me. No one wants to fail. Failure, especially in college, implies a waste of money. A blemish in records. A mark of inadequacy.

However, despite this, I remain confident. It was tough, but I take comfort in God’s grace that I will overcome. I’ve fallen short, but through His grace, I overcame.

UP threw me 4 curveballs. But I refused to go silently into the night.

To you, who might have failed again, or for the first time. This is just a hiccup. You may not feel it right now, but you will overcome. By His grace, you will.

Failure builds character. Make failure your springboard. Take a massive leap. Bounce back.

Don’t give up. It’s not the end. Cliche, but true. Do your best, and lift it up to Him.


JM 2

The post has garnered thousands of likes and shares by online users alike, majority from students from the same university.

WHEN IN MANILA has reached out to Estrella for further details.

Bachelor of Science, Major in Chemistry was Estrella’s first choice in applying as an undergrad in the University of the Philippines – Diliman. Having graduated from the prestigious Philippine Science High School, he, along with other PSHS graduates, had to embark on an undergraduate degree in the sciences come tertiary level.

“I knew I wanted science, but I wasn’t too sure on which one. I narrowed it down, in the end, I chose chemistry.”

JM 3

Estrella had a scholarship back then when he entered UP and opted he wouldn’t have subject failures, given that he had grades to keep up and uphold. He also clarifies that his first singko (5.00 or failing mark in the UPD) wasn’t his first failing grade since he had a 2.75 grade back in high school where a score of 2.50 was the cut-off.

Medyo hindi masyadong masakit. Well .. Masakit siya .. but not so much.” 

What mattered to Estrella was “getting to the finish line someday”.

Estrella’s first 5.00 was Math 54 (Elementary Analysis II, basically calculus and other math related things) where he took it during summer classes one sem earlier than the time it was supposed to be taken. He was determined to finish it earlier.

“Pero natapat ako sa medjo terror prof na mahirap magpaexam so lol, I failed. Nabawi ko siya 1st Sem 2nd Yr under different profs.” (Rough translation: I ended up with a sort of terror prof that gave hard exams so I failed. I retook it again under different professors.)

 Estrella’s second singko came from a major subject, where he had difficulty in (Organic Chemistry). He took it along with his second take of Math 54 and considers that failure “pretty rough” since this was also the time he lost his DOST Merit Scholarship because of this.
His third and most disappointing failure came from another math subject due to ‘carelessness’.


“I was doing well at the start of the sem pero naging lax ako (but I slacked off) and eventually, naging 4.00 yung standing ko dito (4.00 was my standing). I also got careless with removals so it became 5.00. This failure was really dissapointing because I knew I could’ve passed, but I didn’t. Thankfully, I made up for it next term under a different but equivalent subject.”
His last singko came from a major subject in his degree program, Chem 112, that is deemed as one of the toughest subjects for Chemistry majors. Worst case scenario? Taking it under a terror professor that gives hefty and difficult exams. What terrified him is the fact that taking it during first sem of his senior year and living in the fear of failing it again come last term, which could delay his #roadtosablay aka graduation.
Buti naging mabait prof ko sa second take (good thing I had a nicer professor when I took it the second time), plus I really did my best to crush it. And lo and behold = from 5.00 to a 1.75.” (a rough equivalent of 1.75 is between 80-85%).
JM 1
Estrella adds that his last semester in college when he retook Chem 112 was his highest general weighted average (GWA) which he considers as his “return of the comeback”.
Sobrang thankful lang ako na nakaraos din ako through God’s grace. Can’t do this on my own. And now, #gradwaiting na ko.” (I’m very thankful I made it through with God’s grace, can’t do this on my own And now, I’m #gradwaiting.”)
Estrella plans on reviewing for the Chemist Licensure Examination which will be conducted this October. We’d like to send our congratulations and best wishes!
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Disclaimer: does not own these photos. Photo credits go to JM Estrella. You may view the post here.