Ateneo de Davao’s Accountancy program again grabbed the national spotlight last April 6 as each one of BSA-5A’s 44 students graduated with Latin honours. The class featured nine students earning Summa Cum Laude honours which included batch Salutatorian Erick Jan Sagot, 20 Magna Cum Laude honorees and, 15 Cum Laude awardees. This feat is noteworthy in itself since staying in the program is a legitimate challenge, let alone garnering top honours. Around 75% of the initial enrollees of Accountancy Batch 2017-2018 were let go by the program, starting out with 16 sections during their first year down to only just four graduating sections this year. It is a testament to how the professors filter out those that they deem worthy of moving on to the next level and those that are not.
It is because of these reasons why Accountancy students are often labelled as people who live in the library or the “bahay-school-bahay” type of students. It doesn’t help that the academic demands increase as you go further along, culminating in a grueling mock board during the fifth year where the CPA licensure examinations are simulated, and the results would determine if you will graduate or not. That is if, you manage to survive the initial four years of almost endless quizzes in not only the professional subjects but also in the core ones.
Amid all these, it is often easy to forget that for these students, it is only half of their everyday struggle. Some of them might be scholars who have to meet grade requirements or working students who juggle jobs and school works at the same time. Some of these students might also be leaders or officers in their respective clubs, serving invaluable tasks or pushing for their advocacies. Taking into account all of this, graduates of this program are among the smartest and the most ‘gahot’ the University has to offer.
In the end, the achievements of these students only take into account their academic prowess but fail to recognize the support system given to them by their respective families, friends and fellow batch mates. Such system manifests itself in the culture of the students in the Accountancy program who share notes and journals that they can get their hands on. This trait is even more pronounced for Batch 2017-2018 who are known for sharing their review materials to not only within their respective classes but also to their fellow batch mates. This kind of culture is one of the huge reasons why all of the current fifth years have graduated with no one failing a subject.
So, when detractors devalue this kind of honour, graduates, Latin awards or no, should be able to tell the sacrifices done for the privilege of being a graduate of such a program. Look past the shiny medals and the diplomas and you will see the all-nighters at the local coffee shop, the missed family outings, the books filled with numbers and notes, the lack of sleep and, the occasional breakdown. For them, challenges like these might test the limits of their ability, but they take solace from the fact that nothing of value ever comes easy.