Beating the odds

FOR 23-YEAR-OLD Ben Jay Maxino, the priority now is how to pay things forward. Last Sunday, the Professional Regulation Commission gave him the best news of his life so far: he had topped this year’s results of the 2014 Dentistry Board Exams.

Ben Jay Maxino admits being overwhelmed with the results but sees it as an opportunity.

We began our conversation with his entrance to the Mindanao Medical Foundation College.

Ben Jay said that he was supposed to take up another course at the school. But he immediately grabbed the opportunity when the school found out that he had very good grades in science and was qualified for its scholarship program.

“I still can’t believe the results,” he said, citing difficulties like financial resources and other challenges.

Ben Jay said it took a while before he fully dedicated himself to the profession which he would study in the next six years.

He said that even with the scholarship, his parents could barely send him to school, his father being a farmer and mother, a housewife.

At some point, his mother cried because of the expenses necessary for the review classes he needed to take for the board exam in Manila. But he said this has never stopped him from pursuing his dream and that he has managed to budget what he has, taking odd jobs if necessary, to meet his expenses.

Maxino averaged 85.43%, according to the PRC, topping 725 takers of the December 2014 written exam and the 271 practical phase this month.

Two other Dabawenyos made the list of topnotchers, both of them coming from the Davao Medical School Foundation (DMSF).

Strong faith

During our first attempt at an interview, Ben Jay excused himself after a few questions as he was attending church services.

We would find out later that his faith was a central motivation.

“I prayed every night during my review classes,” he said.

Even during the celebrations, Ben Jay remains anchored to his hometown of Carmen, Davao del Norte.

He said he was looking forward to giving back to his community, with thoughts of giving free dental services to members of his community as one of his priorities.

At the moment, Ben Jay said that he still did not know what to do after the oathtaking ceremonies, which was scheduled to be held in Manila earlier this week.

There have been offers, he said, and he has yet to choose which one to take.

But asked if he was thinking of going abroad, Ben Jay’s answer was a direct no. “The best way to give back to my community is to stay here,” he said.

According to the PRC release sent to the TIMES last Tuesday, 268 out of 725 passed the test in December while 257 out of 271 passed the practical exam held this month by the Board of Dentistry.

The results were released in four working days after the last day of examination.

Other topnotchers include students from Southwestern University, University of the Philippines Manila, Cebu Doctors’ University, and Centro Escolar University.

Last Tuesday, Ben Jay joined two other topnotchers as they were honored by the City Council for their achievements and the honor that they brought the city.

This was the morning before his flight to Manila for the registration at the PRC central office.

After that, Ben Jay still faces more challenges, these ones mostly breezy after his achievement.

For now, the dentist is giving himself time to think his future over. One step at a time, perhaps on achievement upon another.