Sunday, September 18, 2005

CSC graduate is 19th Place (continued)

Merlen is the eldest of the three children of Elmer dela Cruz, a barangay official, and Belen Cueva-dela Cruz, a secondary school teacher. Merlen graduated from Bugao Elementary School, Bagamanoc, Catanduanes as valedictorian. She then moved to her relatives in Gordon Heights in Olongapo City and took her secondary education in the Catholic-run St. Anne Academy. She initially tried taking up BS Accountancy for two semesters at Centro Escolar University in 2000 but eventually decided to move back for good to Catanduanes State Colleges in 2001. She recalled almost missing the enrolment deadline at that time and could only thank school officials for their due consideration.

Call it a chronological stroke of luck. During the 11th Mid-Year Regional Convention of the National Federation of Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants Region V last September 24-26, 2004, Merlen won First Place in the Business Law and Taxation Quiz and First Place in the CPA Mock Board Examination. The prize – free tuition fee from the Naga City-based Accounting Review and Training School (ARTS). At first, Merlen was not keen on where she will have her review class and it took the prodding of a classmate to enlist themselves altogether at ARTS. And so their almost four months saga of review sessions took off.

During the review period, Merlen consistently topped the three CPA pre-board examinations conducted by ARTS, keeping other reviewers coming from leading state universities and colleges in Region V only next to her top spot.

She counts no-nonsense preparation and prayers as vital elements in passing the rigorous review, though when asked, she honestly admitted she never stormed the gates of heaven with novenas, only with earnest personal prayers. Merlen likewise counts the five-year program of BS Accountancy at the CSC as an edge with other schools with only 4-year accountancy curriculum. She though considers their final semester at school, which is devoted for arduous review sessions, as even tougher because she says, they have to cope up with the pressure of passing the subjects. But then she considers it a big help for these drills serve as their springboard for the licensure examination.

Asked what she can impart to those who are next in line, Merlen prescribes the tested formula – faith, perseverance and lots of preparation that must out rightly start from the time they take up the course. She also suggests that it would be advantageous to review and take the board examination after graduation in order to avoid gaps in learning exercises and be not left behind by updates in the trade. Incidentally, Merlen’s fellow schoolmate, Arnie T. Panti, also passed the recent CPA board examination.

Merlen sets her sight on yet another test – finding her niche in the corporate world. She wishes to be a part of an accounting and auditing firm and realize her childhood dream job. “Basta kan saday pa ako, pirmi na nasa isip ko, matrabaho ako sa opisina”, she cooed.

But before all that, Merlen looks forward to touching base with her family in their good old hometown. She has been away for almost half a year, and before she packs up again for job hunting, she will give herself a much-needed break. And the cash award that she will receive from her review school, (ARTS) and the CSC is more than enough to tide her for the oncoming holiday season. And it could even more than stretch for her foray in the concrete jungle. (GSR/CSC)