The Cena Effect

Cena_FU_AnimatedWho would ever forget John Cena, the Face of the WWE? His Five Knuckle Shuffle is just one of the many signature moves he is known for. If I were his opponent, I could have raised the white flag without even starting the match. His given name is John Felix Anthony Cena.

I do not know if it’s pure coincidence that my professor’s first name is the same as John’s second name, not mentioning that they have the same surname. Aside from that, Mr. F (we’ll call him safely this way) causes the same formidability as John does. A simple analogy can best illustrate their relation to each other:

John: Wrestling Arena

Mr. F: Academe

They may be operating in different fields but they both have the same qualities that discourage one to attack back, after having been offended by their multiple suplex variations.

When was the last time you were ready to throw in the proverbial towel? Did you end up letting go, or decided to fight on anyway?

a lesson learned

I purposely decided not to tell the series of not-so-good treatment we had undergone. I want to focus on my own default. The photo featured above shows a life event I added to my Facebook timeline after answering Mr. F’s  (it’s with an F, not an eff; we have to be safe) spinebusting exam. I was confident early that day. I solved all practical problems in my book and even memorized all formulas. In the exams Mr. F administers, students are allowed to bring with them “present value and future value tables.” Overflowing with confidence, I opted not to bring any copy. Surprise caught us all when the proctor entered the room. It wasn’t Mr. F. A young man in his early twenty’s gave out the questionnaires. I don’t know if what I felt was relief. My heartbeat slowed down. Panic left me. It was really unusual. I was even more terrified. Call it a paradox but,

I’m more nervous when I feel relaxed. 

I know it may be psychological. When I began answering the problem-solving section, I didn’t know what to do. All the answers that my calculator computed came out with negative signs. I told myself, “There is something wrong in my formula.” In the spirit of “The Three Sillies,” I disregarded the signs and foolishly wrote them as if they were positives. Bad thing is, I only memorized; I failed to employ analysis.

We were supposed to have a farewell dinner after that draining exam but I told them I was feeling unwell. Everybody was talking to each other about his/her answers and it pained me to see them clasping and hugging one another whenever they figured out they had the same solutions. Hearing them brought me confirmation: I FAILED THE EXAM.

I went home with a broken heart and many nuggets of wisdom to ponder upon. I acknowledged my mistakes and promised never to be overwhelmed with confidence next time. I shared all my apprehensions to my sisters, my parents, and to almost all my classmates. I fleshed out my dream of graduating SUMMA CUM LAUDE, MAGNA CUM LAUDE OR CUM LAUDE. I opened myself to the idea of completing my degree only with the non-Latin honors distinction: Academic Achievement Award. I felt like I was the losing boxer who was very ready to be thrown the towel by his coach.

Fervently I prayed for favorable results. Our grades can be accessed online through a student portal. It was during the semestral break when I checked my grade. As I hovered my cursor to the Grades tab, I had to wait for a few minutes…loading

An excited endterm grade of 78 was waiting for me. Of course, it wasn’t welcome to my Transcript of Records. But just like an invited but unwanted guest, I accepted it. It was a day of thanksgiving. My final grade turned out to be an 85. The CUM LAUDE dream was reborn. It felt like I was a phoenix successfully rising from the ashes of ruin.


It was more than 2 years ago. Now, I have about 2 months to complete my bachelor’s degree. Just last week, I have seen my name in the list of expected graduates with Latin Honors, together with three of my classmates. But as the famous line goes, “History repeats itself.” I have another 78 in my preliminary term grade. Unlike in Mr. F’s subject, I have a chance to calculate my choices and to plan strategic actions; two more terms can serve as my saving graces.

Enough wasn’t enough. I wanted more so I had more. I’ve gone through many teachers but that Cena Effect will always be remembered for it inculcated in my mind valuable lessons in a torturous way.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Enough Is Enough.”


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