Medtech board exam topnotcher a ‘happy-go-lucky’ online gamer
CAGAYAN, Philippines (UPDATED) – Whoever said one has to drop time-consuming hobbies – such as online games – to top a government licensure exam, John Steward Buenavista Alberto didn't get to talk to him.
Alberto, 21, who has been playing online and mobile games since first year high school, topped the March 2019 Medical Technologist Board Examination with a rating of 91.10% – along with fellow topnotcher Zairah Monjardin of the Far Eastern University - Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation who had the same score.
Playing games in between review sessions in fact helped Alberto cope with the stress and the pressure.
He started playing DotA (Defense of the Ancients), a multiplayer online battle arena, when he was a high school freshman. Then, right after enrolling in the College of Allied Health Sciences (CAHS) at the Cagayan State University Andrews Campus, he developed an interest in mobile games – even while the CSU has one of the strictest admission and retention policies and therefore demanded a student's focus.
"[I was] playing PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds) po during the review. Parang naging stress reliever ko po siya after ng review," Alberto told Rappler in an online interview. (I was playing PUBG during the review. It became my stress reliever after review [sessions].)
Whenever he achieved his goal score during the review, he rewarded himself with mobile game time. Whenever he could no longer absorb new information during the reviews, he turned to mobile games to relax.
"Naging effective naman po siya sa akin kasi ayaw ko po i-pressure 'yung sarili ko," he added. (It was effective for me since I didn't like to put too much pressure on myself.)
Alberto, a native of Tumauini in Isabela province, wasn't an achiever during his elementary and high secondary years in Tumauini North Central School and Regional Science High School, respectively.
He didn't receive awards for academic achievements.
The eldest among siblings, Alberto was a rather happy-go-lucky student.
"[I was] just a happy-go-lucky guy when I was in elementary and high school, even in my first two years in college. I [didn't] care about my standings in school," Alberto said.
In fact, taking medical technology was a last-minute choice; for him, it was destiny.
"I was about to take up accountancy, but while I filled up the forms for the entrance exam, a vibe was pushing me to take up the medtech course instead," he said in a mix of English and Filipino.
But his mindset changed when he reached his 3rd year in college. He suddenly realized he needed to do better. From then on, he became a consistent dean's lister.
"My professors were already noticing me, so I strived even more up to the board exam," he said.
Then the news came out on Tuesday, March 19, with his name on the top spot.
Among his family, John was the first to know, so he was ecstatic – crying and shouting – while he hugged his parents and shared the news with them.
"I was like in Cloud 9 po tapos antagal nag sink in...It's the best thing na nangyari sa buhay ko," John said. (I was like in Cloud 9. It took a while for the news to sink in.... It's the best thing that happened to my life.)
Thank you, John Steward Buenavista Alberto would like to say, to God, his family, his friends, his classmates, and the people who believed in him. – Rappler.com