From having poor math grades in elementary, becoming a consistent high school honor student of Paco Catholic School, graduating Magna Cum Laude in college, passing the Electrical Engineering Board Exam in September 2014 with her rating just shy of 0.75% from the 10th topnotcher, and now an Engineering Research and Development for Technology (ERDT) scholar at the University of the Philippines – Diliman, Engr. Ma. Jessica Laine Tumbaga of Pasay City has certainly defied her odds and triumphed in school and beyond.
Jessica enrolled in Kumon when she was ten years old because she was doing poorly in school, especially in math. She was an easy going student who did not like math. Her mother thought that by enrolling her in a tutorial or any learning center, she could improve her academic performance. Her mother eventually stumbled upon Kumon and enrolled her in the Math Program.
Changes in Her
Jessica could say that this was the turning point of her life. Kumon changed her by making her more responsible. As her class work in Kumon coincided with her school works, she acquired the ability to manage her time and priorities well.
“Whenever I face difficulties on a certain topic, I’ve learned to be patient and try to study it at my own pace. This has taught me to be self-reliant. It also made me realize that with faith and determination, I can overcome any struggle and ultimately achieve my dreams in life.”
Kumon also instilled in Jessica the importance of honesty – by writing the time she started and finished her work especially during assignments. This served as a measure of her competence and preparedness for the next lesson. For without honesty, she could never have truly measured her improvement. She also made sure that she finished what she started. The Kumon Method has allowed her to gain life skills, which were imparted to her subconsciously and became part of a better version of herself.
Back then, Jessica just aspired to learn new lessons, study ahead of her grade level and be an ASHR Gold Awardee. She was just living her Kumon journey on a day-to-day basis. As she went on, she enjoyed her experience in Kumon which made her curious to learn more advanced math topics.
“I can say that Kumon made me fall in love with math. I remember one quote that I always saw in our Center, which became my motto in life, ‘Nothing in life makes us grow more than the way we respond to challenges.’
With this, Jessica saw the completion of the program as a challenge and an inspiration.
School and Career Benefits
Kumon helped Jessica a lot especially in math. She always got the highest score in class because she already had an understanding of the lessons to be discussed and the succeeding lectures. Equipped with the passion for learning new things and the love for challenging oneself, her performance in math radiated in other subjects.
“I aspired to do my best in any subject or activity that comes my way, especially those in the field of science, mathematics, and technology. Being one of the top students in our school in terms of academic performance, many opportunities opened up for me. I’ve been chosen as one of the representatives of our school in various inter-school math and science competitions in different universities here in Manila.”
Kumon also helped Jessica choose the course she took in college. Because she was good in math as well as being fond of science and tech savvy, she took up Electrical Engineering. Since she loves learning so much, she became a college instructor at her alma mater, University of the East.
Currently, she is a graduate student currently finishing her Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, Major in Power System at the University of the Philippines – Diliman. She also aims to pursue a PhD abroad and eventually pursue a career as an electrical engineer.
Learning from her Journey
Discipline and passion for learning are the most significant lessons Jessica learned from her Kumon journey. Without discipline, plans in managing her priorities in life would not come into realization. She could have then ended up procrastinating.
“It is said that discipline is the most important principle to success because the only way to guarantee our future success is to master ourselves amidst the sacrifices we make, the setbacks we take, and other things that affect us. Discipline is simply self-mastery while passion is the power that fills the heart with happiness. “Follow happiness and success will follow,” as said from the movie, “3 Idiots”.”
A wise man said that the greatest fear is fear itself. Jessica believes that if one hasn’t tried anything at first, it’s normal to be afraid of something one is unfamiliar with. But once we give ourselves the chance to experience new things, then we will realize that it’s all in our head.
“Difficulties are just challenges that give you the opportunity to appreciate what you have and to change for the better. Every dream has its price and thus, sacrifices are necessary to pay for it. Therefore, overcome every difficulty you will face with faith and grit, and you will undoubtedly feel more triumphant in the long run.”