Son of a Tricycle Driver Tops Civil Engineering Board Exam (Defying the Odds) – GineersNow

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The son of a tricycle driver in the Philippines has topped the country’s Civil Engineering Board Exam. This is an amazing story of beating the odds and achieving success.
People didn’t believe him, but he proved them wrong as he became an civil engineering topnotcher. The son of a tricycle driver in Camarines Norte has topped the civil engineering licensure exam. He is the first engineer in his family to graduate from college, defying the odds.
 
In the process of reaching our goal, we always have some people who will support us and guide us along the way.
But there are also those who will tell us that we can’t do it and that we don’t have what it takes to achieve our dream, so we should just give up.
This scenario became one of the most challenging parts for Engr. John Michael Sta. Clara Casiano while he was in college and finishing up his Civil Engineering degree.
Although many didn’t believe in his capabilities, he proved them wrong by becoming the Top 8 in the May 2022 Civil Engineering Licensure Examination with a rating of 92.20%.
In his interview with GineersNow, John Michael revealed how he made it.
This is a truly inspiring story that poverty is not a hindrance in pursuing your dreams.
When we were still kids, we each had a dream we wanted to achieve when we grew up.
For John Michael, or JM for short, it was to become a Civil Engineer.
When he was young, he was always amazed to see large and tall buildings and long bridges.
His passion for it grew when his dad—who experienced working in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)—told him stories about the work of a Civil Engineer, as well as the excitement and challenge it brings.
So when he was about to enter college, he decided to enroll in Civil Engineering at the Camarines Norte State College.
Throughout his school years as a Civil Engineering student, JM encountered many subjects that he considered difficult but interesting as well.
Despite this, there’s not one subject that became his least favorite as he enjoyed all the challenges that came his way.
Amazingly, he didn’t get any failing grades, even just once, but he did have a failing score on many quizzes and major exams, which he believed to be because of his lack of confidence and drive to achieve high scores.
Nevertheless, he was still able to become a Dean’s Lister.
While he did well academically, he struggled financially—and this was one of the biggest problems he faced during college.
There were times when he didn’t know where to get money for his contributions, research expenses, purchase of a laptop for his building design subject, and other expenses.
Instead of worrying about it too much, he decided to become a tutor to other engineering students to earn money.
He tutored the students as a group and met them on weekends and sometimes after school hours when he had free time.
But that’s not all that he had to deal with; JM also had to endure the negative environment he lived in.
There were people who continuously told him he couldn’t make it and that he should just stop studying and find a job to earn money.
No matter what they said, JM didn’t let their words affect him.
Instead, he used their comments to study even harder to attain his dreams.
He then successfully graduated from college and started to gear up for his board exam.
Like most board examinees, if not all, John Michael enrolled in review centers to have an in-depth preparation for the exam as there were a lot of subjects and topics to focus on.
He enrolled in three different review centers, where he had a full review and refresher scholarship.
Fortunately, he was able to complete these three review classes without hindrances.
Even though he already had his reviews in three different centers, JM felt he still needed more time to prepare for the May 2022 Civil Engineering Licensure Exam (CELE).
When he saw the questions from the November 2021 CE licensure exam, he needed more time to further review for the CELE exam.
He discovered many new topics from the test that he didn’t know, as well as unfamiliar terms and concepts.
 
This made him think that his knowledge was still not enough.
Thankfully, there were many people who were willing to help him overcome his worries.
They told JM about their experiences on how they passed the board exam and also gave some pieces of advice.
Little by little, he was able to calm down and remove his fear.
 
The board exam ultimately came.
The first few subjects were pretty average for JM, and he managed to answer them with ease.
What he had major troubles with was the Applied Mathematics subject because there were terms and concepts he wasn’t sure of.
 
All he did was rely on his comprehension and the elimination method as he went through the questions one by one.
Moreover, there were also 20 objective-type questions, which made the exam even more difficult for JM.
But overall, the examination’s difficulty level was above average for him.
Following the conclusion of the May 2022 CELE, John Michael was so nervous and extremely anxious about his answers in Applied Mathematics as he wasn’t familiar with the terms and concepts included in the test.
Due to his performance in the said subject, he didn’t expect nor think that he would make it to the top 10 of the board results.
To lessen his worries, JM took the time to pray that he would pass the exam.
When the rankings were officially out, JM’s family was the first one to inform him that he was included in the top 10.
Upon hearing the news, he didn’t believe them at first, so he checked the results himself.
As soon as he confirmed his position on the boards, he jumped out for joy and shouted, “Thank you, Lord!”
John Michael’s story tells us that we should continue chasing our dreams and not let people’s words bring us down.
Because only we know what we want, and as long as we put our minds to our goals and also have faith in God, we can achieve anything.
Here’s the full transcript of Engr. John Michael’s interview with GineersNow.
 
I chose Civil Engineering because this has been my dream since I was a kid.
Large and tall buildings and long bridges really amazed me at that time.
Plus the fact that my father worked in DPWH in the past, and he keeps telling me stories of how exciting and challenging the work of a Civil Engineer is.
There are many subjects in engineering. In my opinion, all of them would really challenge each of the students to their limits.
But if I were to choose, I think Reinforced Concrete Design would be a great choice.
It really teaches us not just to memorize the process but also to require the student to understand why and how these procedures were made or derived in the first place.
I don’t think I have an answer for the least liked subject.
Not because I’m good at them but because I enjoyed the challenge that each engineering subject has given me.
I didn’t have any failing grades, but there were many times that I had a failing score on quizzes and major exams.
Most of them are caused by my lack of self-confidence and the drive to pursue high scores.
To be honest, I was always content with passing scores in each evaluation, but I never aimed for a perfect score.
So whenever I have a failing score, I always say to myself that I should work even harder to pass each exam and also prepare myself for the board exam.
One of my struggles is in financial terms.
There are times when deadlines for contributions, research expenses, and other expenses arrive, and I don’t know where I would get such money.
This also includes a requirement for a laptop for our building design subject.
I don’t have any idea how to afford such things.
So I used my talent to be a tutor to other engineering students to earn money for my different expenses in school.
Another struggle is the negative environment I live in.
There are people who continuously say I can’t make it, that I should have just stopped studying and tried to find some work to earn some money.
But all of these didn’t affect me.
Instead, I used them to study even harder to achieve my dreams and prove to everyone that real success doesn’t come overnight but by every effort that you put into it.
 
Always pray before and after review.
It really helps us think more calmly and effectively.
Consistency and time management is the key.
Do not let a day pass by without studying anything. Always create and follow your schedule for the review.
Master the concepts of each topic.
If possible, try to remember how the formulas were derived.
Always aim to surpass what you did yesterday.
If you did solve 50 items today, try to increase it the next day.
Create an objective or mission that you want to accomplish.
For example, your objective is to finish reviewing hydraulics and geotechnical engineering in three weeks
Or you want to aim for a perfect score in the board exam, or you want to finish all of your books before the board exam.
There are many objectives available.
Choose one at a time and take these challenges seriously.
Engineering was never and will never be easy.
Some say it is not for the fainthearted.
It would really bring the challenges that we never had in our past school life.
Some subjects would tear our hearts apart. But despite all of these, we should not lose hope that one day we will become Engineers.
Always listen to the discussions.
Taking down notes is also a great help when the review comes.
If you can help someone having difficulties in a subject or topic, please help them.
Teamwork makes the dream work. But don’t use teamwork in quizzes or exams, only when you are reviewing.
Remember the people who supported you.
Do not forget that there are people who will always support you and root for you to achieve your dreams.
And mostly, do not forget God, who always listens to our prayers and answers them in the most unexpected and amazing way.
 
When I first saw the questions from the previous civil engineering licensure exam (CELE November 2021), it really hit me.
There were so many new topics that I did not know, including the terms and concepts.
I was afraid that my knowledge and preparation for the exam were still not enough.
Thanks to the people who gave me different advice and experiences on how they passed the board exam before.
I was able to remove my fear little by little for the upcoming May 2022 exam.
Yes. And I recommend that everyone enroll in a review center.
There are five years or more in engineering, and there are only more or less six months of review for the board exam.
Most of us will find it difficult how we will be able to fit all of those subjects in such a short period of time.
That’s where the review centers come in.
They have a systematic arrangement of subjects and topics to be discussed and, at the same time, monitor the performance of each reviewer using different evaluation and pre-board exams.
I enrolled in 3 review centers where I have a full review and refresher scholarship, namely:
For me, the problem-solving part of the board exam is on average.
The main problem is the terms and concepts included in the Applied Mathematics subject.
There were more than 20 objective-type questions in the May 2022 CE board exam, making it even more difficult.
So for the overall assessment, I think the May 2022 board exam is above average.
I was actually kind of nervous after the board exam.
Especially in the Applied Mathematics subject.
I didn’t have any references for the terms and concepts that popped up in our exam.
I just relied on the comprehension and elimination methods for those types of questions.
That’s why I did expect an average rating, specifically in the first subject.
Because of my performance in the Applied Mathematics subject, being included in the top 10 didn’t cross my mind.
I was just praying that I would pass the exam so that my efforts would not go to waste.
My family was the one who first discovered it and told me that I was included in the top 10.
But I didn’t believe them, so I checked it myself.
After I saw the results, I jumped in joy and shouted, “Thank you, Lord!”
I was about to tell my older sister in Manila that I was in the top 10, but when I checked my messenger, there were so many messages already congratulating me on my achievement.
I didn’t expect that my name would be included in the top 10.
It was something that God had given to me after all the sacrifices and efforts that I made.
God really knows our sufferings and hardships, and He will give us what we truly deserve.
First is to Almighty God. For listening to all my prayers and giving me more blessings than what I asked for.
To my father and loved ones, who didn’t stop supporting me in this journey.
To my alma mater, Camarines Norte State College, and to the College of Engineering instructors, who rooted for us in passing the board exam.
And to everyone who believed in me from the very first day, this achievement is for all of you.
I am not aware of any incentives.
But regardless of anything, I am still thankful that they helped me prepare for the board exam.
 
Always pray before studying.
It helps us remove all the worries and anxieties that we have.
And always aim to become a better version of yourself than you were yesterday.
There is always room for improvement. Every one of us can be so much more.
1. Know yourself.
It is important to know your strengths and weaknesses so that you can prioritize what needs to be done.
2. Remove all of your doubts.
Nothing is impossible for one who believes.
3. Overestimate the difficulty of the board exam.
This will help us to study harder and smarter.
4. Rest.
If you’re feeling sleepy, sleep.
If you’re feeling dizzy, take a rest. Health is still more important than anything else.
5. Share your knowledge.
If possible, teach the topics to your co-reviewees. This helps us to understand and memorize the topics effectively.
 
 
My father, Ismael Casiano, is currently a tricycle driver.
He’s one of my biggest supporters throughout my entire college and review days.
My mother, Prima Casiano, passed away when I was eight years old.
After that, our father found someone to become our stepmother to support us, namely Vilma Casiano.
My older sister, Camille Casiano, is already a Certified Public Accountant and currently working in the NCR.
She’s also one of my solid supporters in achieving one of my dreams.
I’m the second child in our family.
The next one is Cyrille Casiano. She’s currently studying BS in Biology at Camarines Norte State College.
She’s also a great achiever in her academics and an aspiring Medical Technologist one day in the future.
Next is AJ Casiano. He’s the first child of our Father and stepmother. He’s currently studying at Basud National High School.
And our bunso Alex Casiano. A jolly and playful brother is spreading happiness inside our home.
No. It was my own choice to take engineering, and I’m glad they supported me throughout my college days.
 
 
Extraordinary
Engineering has become an important part of a community’s progress.
From the homes that protect us from disasters to the roads and transportation means that get us to our destination.
 
I see myself as a well-experienced Civil Engineer engaging in different fields and working with different people.
A successful Engineer equipped with more knowledge and expertise in the field of construction and is still hungry for the different opportunities the world has to offer.
— End of Interview —
 
The answer is No. Poverty is not a hindrance for a civil engineering student to graduate. Even if you are a son of a tricycle driver or fish vendor, you will still be able to pursue your dreams.
There are many Filipino students who come from humble beginnings and have to face various difficulties while attending college. One such difficulty is poverty.
This is a classic example of Engr. John Michael Sta. Clara Casiano, a son of a tricycle driver from Camarines Norte, Philippines. Although it may seem like an insurmountable obstacle, there are many ways to overcome it.
For civil engineering students in the Philippines, the cost of tuition, laptop, and books can be a major barrier to graduation.
In addition, many Filipino civil engineering students who are low-income may have to work long hours to support themselves or their families. This can make it difficult to attend classes and do well on exams.
However, there are some programs and scholarships that can help civil engineering students in the Philippines who are struggling financially.
Even if you are a son of a tricycle driver, you can avail yourself of these scholarship programs.
For example, various city governments in the Philippines offer scholarships specifically for students who are studying engineering.
And there are various organizations and societies of engineers that provides need-based scholarships for Filipino civil engineering students.
If you are a Filipino civil engineering student who is struggling with poverty, there are a few things you can do to help yourself graduate.
First, seek out financial assistance from your school or the government. There are many programs available that can help you cover the cost of tuition, laptops, and books.
Second, get a part-time job to help pay for expenses. This can be difficult to balance with schoolwork, but it is possible if you are organized and prioritized.
Finally, make sure to take advantage of free resources on campus, such as the library and computer labs.
A civil engineering degree is one of the most difficult degrees to obtain. Whether you are a son of a tricycle driver or a businessman, Filipino civil engineering students are struggling academically in college.
The main reason why students find it so difficult is that it requires a lot of theoretical and practical knowledge.
In addition, students need to be able to apply this knowledge in a real-world setting.
Another reason why civil engineering degrees are so difficult is that they are very interdisciplinary.
Students need to be able to understand concepts from a variety of different disciplines in order to be successful in civil engineering.
This can be very challenging for students who are used to thinking about things from just one perspective.
Finally, civil engineering degrees in the Philippines are very demanding in terms of time and effort.
Filipino students need to be prepared to put in long hours of study and work in order to complete their degrees.
This can be very tough for Pinoy students who have other commitments outside of their studies.
When you’re working hard to get your degree in civil engineering, it can be disheartening when people tell you that you won’t graduate on time.
Especially if you are a son of a tricycle driver. But don’t let other people’s doubts get in the way of your success!
When you’re in civil engineering school, people will tell you that you won’t be able to graduate on time.
They’ll say that the curriculum is too difficult or that you don’t have what it takes to succeed. But don’t let anyone discourage you from achieving your goal.
When you’re in civil engineering school, there will be times when it seems like nobody believes you can graduate on time. Here are some things to keep in mind when nobody believes you will graduate on time:
1. Believe in yourself. If you don’t believe that you can do it, then it will be much harder to actually achieve your goal. It may sound cliché, but self-confidence is key when taking on a challenging task. If you don’t believe you can do it, it will be harder to convince others that you can.
2. Stay focused and stay on track. It’s easy to get sidetracked when other people are doubting you, but if you stay focused on your goals, you’ll be more likely to achieve them.
3. Prove them wrong. Make sure that you finish your degree on time and prove to everyone else that you can do it.
4. Keep going! No matter how hard it is, just take one day at a time, and eventually you will reach your goal.
5. Stay positive, and don’t let the doubters get to you.
6. Use your support system—whether that’s family, friends, or fellow students—to stay motivated and on track.
7. Keep your eye on the prize and remember why you’re doing this in the first place.
8. Make a plan and stick to it. This means setting realistic goals and deadlines for yourself and following through with them.
9. Be prepared to put in the extra work required to reach your goals. This may mean studying more or working harder than others, but it will all be worth it in the end.
10. Use the doubters as motivation to elevate yourself. Use their lack of faith in you as fuel to work even harder and get closer to your goal of graduating on time.
11. Don’t let anyone else control your destiny. You are the only one who knows how hard you’re willing to work and how badly you want to succeed. So believe in yourself and never give up on your dreams.
12. It’s also important to connect with other students, both in and out of your program, who can offer support and advice.
A civil engineering degree is a professional engineering degree that helps prepare students for a career in civil engineering, which is the application of physical and scientific principles to the planning, design, and construction of structures and facilities.
Most civil engineering programs include coursework in mathematics, statistics, mechanics, materials science, geology, and environmental science.
Students also learn about the principles of project management and how to apply them to the planning and execution of civil engineering projects.
In addition, many programs offer opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience through internships or co-op experiences.
Civil engineers are employed in a variety of settings, including government agencies, consulting firms, construction companies, and utility companies.
They may work on projects such as bridges, dams, roads, tunnels, buildings, airports, water treatment plants, or sewage systems.
A degree in civil engineering is one of the most versatile engineering degrees that you can get in the Philippines.
It opens up a wide range of career opportunities in many different industries, from construction and transportation to environmental and government organizations.
Especially if you are a son of a tricycle driver, civil engineering is very rewarding. You can help your family in mitigating financial woes.
There are many reasons why you should consider studying civil engineering.
A degree in civil engineering in the Philippines can lead to a variety of interesting and well-paying careers abroad.
Filipino civil engineers are responsible for designing, constructing, and maintaining the infrastructure of our society—such as roads, bridges, tunnels, water treatment plants, and buildings.
They also plan and oversee construction projects.
A civil engineering degree can prepare you for a career in many different fields, including environmental engineering, transportation engineering, urban planning, and construction management.
A career in civil engineering can be both challenging and rewarding. It is a great way to use your technical skills to make a difference in the world.
If you are interested in making a difference in your community and improving the quality of life for people around you, then a career in civil engineering may be right for you.
Whether you are a son of a tricycle driver or a businessman, civil engineering is one of the most difficult courses because it requires a lot of knowledge in various subjects.
For example, students need to know about physics, mathematics, and chemistry.
They also need to be familiar with the different methods used in civil engineering.
In addition, they need to have strong problem-solving skills.
Civil engineering is one of the most difficult courses because it requires a lot of critical thinking and math skills.
The coursework is also very challenging, and students often have to put in long hours to complete assignments and projects.
However, civil engineering is a very rewarding field, and those who are successful in the coursework can look forward to a career that is both challenging and rewarding.
Civil engineering in the Philippines is one of the most challenging engineering disciplines, whether you are a son of a tricycle driver or a business management professional.
It is a highly technical field that requires a great deal of theoretical and practical knowledge.
Filipino civil engineers must be able to apply their knowledge to real-world problems and projects.
They must also be able to communicate effectively with other engineers, architects, and construction workers.
One of the most challenging aspects of civil engineering is its vast scope.
There are many different sub-disciplines within civil engineering, such as structural engineering, transportation engineering, and water resources engineering.
Each sub-discipline has its own set of challenges. For example, transportation engineers must take into account the effects of traffic on infrastructure and the environment.
Water resources engineers must be able to plan for floods, droughts, and other water-related disasters.
Another challenge for Filipino civil engineers is the ever-changing nature of the field. The field of civil engineering is ever-changing due to new developments in materials and technology.
Many older bridges, roads, and dams are being replaced by newer models that are more efficient and safe.
The field of civil engineering is broad and varied.
 
Engineering students, there is still hope to redeem yourselves!
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