Many students may think that achieving academic excellence is impossible when you’re spending half of the time taking on many other extra-curricular duties and responsibilities. But this recent graduate proved that you can ace all your classes while also providing service in multiple school organizations.
Jadin Zam Doctolero graduated Summa Cum Laude in De La Salle-Manila University with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in chemical engineering who impressed all with his nearly perfect grades throughout the seven years he spent in school. He received a cumulative GPA of 3.922 out of 4.00 during his undergraduate studies and 3.75 out of 4.00 during his master’s.
Explaining why he chose to take up chemical engineering, he said, “I got fascinated with the idea that you can transform simple materials into everyday products. Think about the soaps that we use, the medicines that we drink, the fuel that makes cars run, or even the chairs we’re sitting on right now. All around us has a touch of chemical engineering. I wanted to be able to create everyday products that benefit our lives in an industrial setting.”
He shared that his main motivator to do well academically is his determination to push beyond his limits, believing that nothing is impossible if you work hard.
His “secret jutsu” of studying, as he described, is just practice, practice, practice, understanding the topic before a major test, and not being afraid to ask professors to clarify topics that aren’t clear to you. “To be a summa cum laude means not ignoring the minor subjects too,” he added. “I remember having a swimming class worth 2 units. And because I didn’t know how to swim, I had to constantly practice swimming back then every Saturday for that term, so that I could get the highest grade. In short, it’s really striving for excellence in everything that you do.”
Zam understood that excellence doesn’t end with having high grades too. True fulfillment, to him, was seeking opportunities outside of the classroom that will not only help him grow holistically but also teach him how to be of service to other communities.
Throughout his years as a student, he’s led as an officer of multiple organizations and head of many projects. He’s served as the Vice President of the ENG Student Government, organized outreach programs through Lasallian Scholars Society, Maynilad Study Center, and DLSU COSCA, and was the Director of Programs Committee of The 2030 Project: Leaders Unite 2019, just to name a few. He even trained under the German political foundation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung as the Renewable Energy Ambassador to develop knowledge and skills on renewable energies and to apply them in addressing local community needs in the Philippines.
On top of all that, he’s earned multiple local and international awards from being a student leader and joining competitions.
“I learned that most of the learning really happens outside the classroom. I got to build on my soft skills by being a “BS Org” student and participating in different events locally and internationally. After having the chance to be able to go to Japan, Germany, US, and around ASEAN, I feel that my worldview has expanded and I feel more confident in expressing myself,” he said.
“Also, through the volunteering activities and outside-school projects that I have done, I realized how much impact we can have in our society if we choose to act. This is really why I encourage people not to be solely focused on their academics and to really maximize their potential whether it is in leadership, arts, athletics, etc.”
Now working as a process engineer in Procter & Gamble Philippines, Zam shared this advice to all Filipino college students struggling to adapt to and excel in this new normal where classes are all online:
“I understand that a virtual setup is really difficult, but I think that if you follow a regular routine, it will be less stressful. Keeping a to-do list on your phones or having a system in place to help you remember things is also really helpful. Also, don’t be embarrassed to ask questions and to engage with your fellow classmates. Everyone else is surely also feeling awkward anyway, so there’s nothing to be afraid of. Finally, know when to rest and to practice self-care. Mental health matters! I like to watch anime or rewatch some Naruto episodes when I’m especially stressed out. Try to find what works for you and then build it into your daily or weekly routine.”
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