Biology major Tiffany Grace Uy shared some of her secrets after finishing summa cum laude in University of the Philippines Diliman's graduating class of 2015 with a record general weighted average (GWA) of 1.004.
1. Be an agent of change.
The feat has earned this reluctant star much public recognition. So, on ANC's Headstart, Uy called on lawmakers to channel more support for the country's premier state university.
"I wouldn't change a thing in the U.P. education. I found it amazing. I met so many people in all walks of life. But if there's one thing I do want, it's to have more funds and more support for students in need. I know a lot of people (studying there) who really can't afford the tuition fee," Uy said.
2. Recognize your greatest fear.
As Uy prepares to pursue a medical education with the Philippine General Hospital in August, the level-headed girl chooses to proceed with caution.
"The one thing that really hits home is the huge responsibility and the expectations of all these people. I hope I can fulfill them after many years of practicing medicine. They say nothing can prepare you for med school, apart from what you really study in the books. It's an art. The application is an art. The healing touch, some are blessed with it, some are not. My biggest fear is if I make a mistake and fail to save someone, it may scare me. My parents also fear that for me." Uy noted.
3. Grades are just numbers. Focus on learning.
Uy shared she does not like computing her test scores just to get a specific grade. She believes that grade is not the important part of education.
"Grades are really not important. At the end of the day, a number or piece of paper won't mean anything. When I make a mistake, I get sad not because of the number. But I worry. What if that mistake means someone will die on my table someday? I guess that's the motivation," Uy said.
4. Dont take things personally.
With her record-breaking numbers, Uy's achievement sparked debates on being grade-conscious and competitive-- a discussion started by Associate Professor Gerry Lanuza. Uy did not take his online comments personally.
"A lot of issues are being brought to light. For instance, students focusing too much on their grades. And it's true, grades are just numbers. There are also several issues like social injustices, a lot of students not being able to go to UP. Because of him, people are talking about it. It brought discourse to the topics. And I'm really thankful for it, because people would like to act on it and do something about it. I think it's something we have to celebrate also," Uy said.
5. Find your inspiration.
Uy knew she was going to be a doctor after being inspired by her own experience with needing stitches for a head injury at 6 years old.
"When I was in kinder, I got into an accident. Like all kids, I run around. I hit my head on a shoe box cabinet and half of my face was bleeding. I had to be rushed to the ER. There's a doctor who had to make stitches while I was conscious. I was really scared. She was the one who re-assured me that everything was going to be okay. I got out of that surgery wanting to be just like her," Uy recounted.
6. Even cartoons can inspire adults.
Unfazed by high public expectation following her stellar scholastic finish, Uy's Facebook page proudly bears her childhood fondness for the Pokemon, Pikachu. Today, the character is also a symbol of her life's mission.
"I also watched the first movie Pokemon, and in that movie, clones of Pikachu come out to beat them. But Pikachu, although her clones were slapping him and electrifying him, he did not attack his clone because it was a Pokemon like him... He's been my idol ever since, I always wondered how selfless can a person be, to be slapped and offer the other cheek."
7. IQ is not everything.
Though a consistent valedictorian, Uy admits she is bad at math and spatial knowledge.
"I don't know my I.Q. level, but a lot of people I know say that I don't have common sense. I don't have spatial knowledge, I get lost in buildings. When I was young, I had to go to two pre-schools, I couldn't understand subtraction," Uy said.
8. Parents, never pressure your kids.
Uy chalks up her academic achievement to having a balanced life and the support of her parents.
"I'm super, duper, duper grateful to my parents because they never pressured me. They just supported me. I get addicted to a lot of things, I procrastinate, I watch a lot of TV. My parents just accepted that part of me," she said.