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Son of a tricycle driver who topped medical board exam almost quit medical school

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Karl Emmanuel Mercader of University of Perpetual Help achieved the top spot in the Physician Licensure exam, but can you believe he almost quit school? Be inspired by his story of perseverance, here!

Being a scholar and the son of a tricycle driver, Karl Emmanuel Mercador didn't lead the life of privilege many of his classmates in medical school did. But this didn't stop him from pursuing his childhood dream of becoming a doctor.

Aside from overcoming challenges of meeting the financial needs his chosen path demanded, the exceptional student had to battle his own self-doubt and the stress of his first internship, which made him want to school and give up on his dream.

In an interview with ABS-CBN's DZMM, he recounted how despite of being consistently at the top of his class, the stress of interning at a public hospital took its toll. During his final year at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM), he took a leave of absence.

"Very stressful po kasi being a public hospital and all, iyung dami po ng mga pasyente, and you're expected po bilang interns sa ospital na iyun to stay there nang kung misan, lagpas ng 36 hours straight po na walang pahinga at minsan po ay nalilipasan ng gutom. Eventually po, na-burn out ako," lamented Karl to DZMM.

"When I see iyung tatay ko po na umuuwi, gumagarahe po ng minsan hatinggabi na po just to be able to provide yung daily expenses ko po sa school, namo-motivate po akong lalong pagbutihan."

After his leave of absence, he recalls losing his self-confidence and feeling too ashamed to face his classmates.

"Shortly after umalis po ako [ng paaralan], naisip ko na baka hindi para sa akin talaga ang medisina, not everyone is cut out to be a doctor, ika nga," he shared. "Kasi hindi po biro ang pagdadaanan mo para maging isang doktor. Ika nga, dadaan ka sa butas ng karayom to be a physician."

So he stopped for two years and started working as a call center agent in Alabang. It was his family and 90-year-old grandmother who believed in him and pushed him to resume his studies.

He went back to Medical school at University of Perpetual Help-Las Piñas and graduated in 2015. As he studied and prepared for the board exam, he recalls how his confidence was shaken yet again.

But his father, 71-year-old Perfecto Mercader, who diligently drove around his tricycle to support his needs, inspired him to press on.

"Iyung mga gabi when I was preparing for the Board na puyatan po, may mga times na parang gusto kong itigil na, bahala na lang. But when I see iyung tatay ko po na umuuwi, gumagarahe po ng minsan hatinggabi na po just to be able to provide yung daily expenses ko po sa school, namo-motivate po akong lalong pagbutihan," he recalled, emphasizing how diligent his dad was, not caring if he had cataracts in both of his eyes.

"Huwag po nating hayaan na iyung previous failures natin to prevent us from reaching iyung mga pangarap natin..."

When he found out that he landed at the Top 1 spot out of the 813 passers of the exam, he thought it was a joke. When well wishes started pouring in, that's when it sunk in.

"Sabi ko po sa kapatid ko, paki kurot ako at baka nananaginip lang ako," marveled Karl, who achieved a grade of 88.58 percent.

After his amazing achievement, he looked back on all that he overcame. Through his success, he wants to inspire his fellow youth to repay their parent's love and sacrifices by excelling in school.

"Huwag po nating hayaan na iyung previous failures natin to prevent us from reaching iyung mga pangarap natin," he urged. "Para po sa mga kabataan, ang maipapayo ko ay pahalagahan po nating iyung pagsisikap ng ating mga magulang para po makapag-provide sa kanilang mga anak by doing well sa pag-aaral nila. Huwag nilang i-take for granted ang pagpupursige ng parents nila to give them a good education."

READ: Daughter of welder and vendor becomes Nursing Board exam topnotcher

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