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BU TOPPING THE BARS: The story behind a BUTC alumna who clinched top 9 in the Social Work licensure exams

September 20, 2022

After finishing with a 100% passing rate in the September 2022 Social Work licensure examination and having claimed the Top 1 Performing school across the country, Bicol University Tabaco Campus (BUTC) has once again proven its prowess as a key player in board exams.

Not only that 129 newly-licensed Social Workers were produced by the university, but most importantly, a topnotcher was produced, who finished in the 9th Place of the exams with a remarkable 86.40% grade.

The ‘Placer Friend’

She is Jonna Mae B. Bogñalbal, 22, from barangay San Ramon, Tabaco City. She graduated top of her peers with a Magna Cum Laude Latin award. Despite the pressure she felt, Jonna Mae shared in an interview that her professors and friends were already manifesting her placement in the top 10 of the exams, which gave her motivation to aim higher.

“My friends sometimes call me as their ‘Placer Friend’ even prior the exams. Sometimes I just shrug it off and tell them that my only goal was to pass the board exam but at the end of the day, I could not deny the fact that I am also affected by the expectations of the people around me.”

According to her, one’s ability to top the boards will rely on the amount of hard work and dedication they put in preparation since college.

“I can say that my efforts to excel academically during my four years in college helped a lot to top the board exam because it was easier for me to recall concepts and theories related to the social work profession, given that I have already studied them way back in college.”

She also mentioned that she doesn’t memorize concepts based on how it is defined in the book but her thorough understanding of it and its applications has helped her tackle challenging questions in the boards. Additionally, she also invested in reading and review materials from different authors and sources to further her knowledge.

“Time management and discipline were also crucial in my journey. I was enrolled in an enhancement class organized by BUCSSP Social Work Department. It was almost a month-long review; it was draining since I have to attend to the daily review sessions. But when I went home, I still made sure to read more materials so that I can cover all the areas for the examination.”

A Call for Service

When asked why she wanted to be a Social Worker, Jonna Mae said that she was inspired by her brother who was also a Registered Social Worker,

“Growing up, I have seen how he has grown in this profession and I witnessed that this can give us a great sense of fulfillment and I wanted to be just like him. When I was in college, I gained a good grasp of the crucial role of social workers in our society. I have learned that there will always be people, anywhere, anytime who are in need of help.”

She continued by saying that she wanted to assist people to improve their standard of living so they could someday support themselves and give back to the community. Jonna Mae wanted to utilize her knowledge and abilities to help those in need, now that she’s certified as a Social Worker, and be a part of the positive change affecting people’s lives and the society.

‘I am destined to be in this path’

Life sometimes leads us down a different route than we planned, but it will always lead us in the direction that is meant for us. Just like in the fate of Jonna Mae, whose first choice in the BU College Entrance Test (BUCET) was BS Accountancy but did not make it to the quota. Her options at that time were to pursue this program in a private institution or try her luck in BS Social Work at BUTC. She chose the latter.

“It was one of the major decisions that I have made in my life. I chose BS Social Work because I also considered the financial capacity of my family. Social Work may not be my first choice but I now believe that I am destined to be in this path.”

As the youngest of Mr. Joel and Mrs. Herminia Bogñalbal, Jonna Mae is the princess of her four older brothers. Taking BS Accountancy in BU College of Business, Economics, and Management (CBEM) or in a private institution would not only sacrifice her time away from her family, but also entail expenses. Unlike studying in BUTC that is near her hometown while pursuing a profession where she soon found her purpose.

“To those students who feel like they are lost in their academic journey or those who feel like their plans are not going in the direction that they want, have faith that God has better things in store for you.”

When Jonna Mae was a student, she struggled with low self-esteem and was anxious in facing large crowds. But because her future profession practices learning opportunities necessary for one to become a social worker, it gave her confidence where she also realized her skills beyond the confines of the classroom.

“It is definitely not a smooth sailing journey, but you need to have faith in yourself as well and be reminded that life will not be always in our favor and that’s our reality. Instead of completely losing grip of our dreams and aspirations in life, we have to give our best shot in all things and explore other paths because this may lead us to that one path which is truly destined for us.”

Meanwhile, the BU College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP) was also declared the 2nd top performing school, achieving a 99.05% overall passing rate with 104 passers, BUTC with 25; besting the 62.75% national passing rate. | by Arnold C. Noda, CPRO