Last January 25 and 27 when the Architecture Licensure examinations were held, a female native from Alegria, Cebu rose up to the top as she surpassed all 1,120 passers.
The 23-year-old Justine Lei Ramos who graduated from Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U) said that topping the board exams was something she did not think likely. Her prayer was rather simple – to pass the exams and acquire a license so she could design and build her dream home for her family back in their hometown.
Same went with her family who actually didn’t set high expectations for her. Leia Ramos, her mom, said that she only dreamed of her daughter to reach the top ten, at the very least. She was taken aback when she found out that her daughter bested everyone else. “She always exceeded our expectations,” she said.
Being committed to carry out her dreams for her family, Justine made it a point to pay attention to the task at hand. She even deactivated her Facebook account to steer clear of distractions and put the 24/7 Cebu City Library to good use by taking up 14 hours of her time daily to study in the library.
Clearly, her enthusiasm to repay her family’s sacrifices drove her far off her self-expectations. She emphasized that more than anyone else, she offers her success to her family: her dad who used to work abroad to provide her with a good education; her mother who generously lent her time and support, and; her younger brother who always makes her happy.
“My greatest inspiration was my father who worked as an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) in Saudi Arabia and who was recently retrenched from his job. When he lost his job, I knew I had to pass that exam,” she said.
Justine first took up Medical Technology for a year prior to figuring out that her heart belongs to the world of design. She said that during that time, she found herself nonchalant about the lessons and found no enjoyment in triumphing over the challenges that the course presented. It was in architecture that set alight her passion.
“When I started taking up architecture, I realized this is where I was meant to be,” she said.
Aside from the cash incentive for her achievement, CIT-U would also be offering a teaching job to their alumna. Justine is currently considering to take the position as it would be her chance to give back to her school. However, she hopes to rest first in her hometown for the next few months.
“Ganahan sa ko morelax gyod then next ana, wala pa koy concrete plans, but I’ll try to see unsay giplan sa Ginoo para nako,” she said. Finally, when asked about her secret to success, she said to dream big and not be afraid to take risks.
Watch the interview with Justine’s Parents: