When Elso was still trying to figure out which course he’d be taking in college, his first choice was to study accounting. Little did he know that he will top the 2016 Mechanical Engineering Board Exam when he decided to pursue the said course instead. Taken last September 28 and 29, Elso Umbao Elumbaring Jr., a graduate from Notre Dame University and a DOTA addict, was already positive he’d pass the exam but didn’t expect that he would be number one.
In this feature story, let Elso’s story inspire young mechanical engineering students to “dream and work for it.”
When did you figure out that you wanted to be a mechanical engineer?
Actually, my first choice was BS in Accountancy. Then, I was applying for CHED scholarship that time and figured out that BS in Accountancy was not offered for the said scholarship. The courses that were offered are education and engineering courses. I really love math and chose between electrical and mechanical engineering. I inspected the prospectus of electrical and mechanical engineering to see which course would attract me. Then, I was attracted by mechanical engineering and took it as my course.
What were the most important life lessons you’ve learned from a professor?
“Failure is not an option” and “Success is not handed to us on a silver platter”. Our professor always said that and it really helped us become motivated in achieving our vision.
How did you prepare for the licensure exam?
I prepared for the licensure examination by taking review classes on a review center. After every daily review class, I make sure that I understand all the topics discussed. I also scan and read the basics and the formulas used in our course. But I don’t spend all my time studying. I also play computer games specifically “DOTA 2” because it gives me great enjoyment and relaxation. I don’t study hard, I just study well. And I always pray to God every night.
What was the most difficult challenge you’ve had while reviewing for the exam?
The most difficult challenge I encountered was when I was totally broke and I didn’t have my allowance yet. I didn’t know how to survive the days without money. I always borrowed money from my friend to buy my food. I also encountered emotional problems because it is my first time to be far from my family for a long period of time.
Did you have any “rituals” before taking the exam?
Before taking the board exam, even though there is a prayer, I found time to pray personally in silence. And I always brought my lucky charm – the holy rosary.
What’s the first thing that came into mind right after you took the exam?
After taking the board exam, the first thing that came into my mind was that I will surely pass the exam because I was confident that I will score at least 70 in each subject. My estimates were 75 in power plant, 70 in mathematics, and 90 in machine design. But, I did not really think that I will land on the top spot. I was just really thinking that I would pass it.
What do you plan on doing next?
I plan to spend my time with my family first because it’s been a long time that we were not together. Then I plan on taking a masters degree in mechanical engineering while having a part time job.
What is your advice for young engineering students?
Dream and work for it. You have to earn it, be dedicated to it, and be passionate about it. Set your goals and objectives and impose self-discipline and hard work. Take academic pressures as challenges and develop a very strong teamwork with your batch. Most importantly, the secret to success is to enjoy what you are doing. If you do, nothing is considered as hard work – no matter how many hours you put in. You will never achieve real success unless you like what you are doing. And lastly, poverty is not a hindrance to success. I am a son of habal habal driver, but this does not stop me to achieve my goal.
While asking Elso other information about him, he admits that he is addicted to DOTA. He’s been playing it for nine years and even plays it to destress after review classes.
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