Here’s How a UP Graduate Used an Insult as a Tool for Success

How do you handle insults and put-downs? It’s always tempting to take insults personally as these words stir painful emotions in us. Despite the fact that many easily feel disempowered by negative criticisms, a UP graduate chose to use the hurtful words by a former classmate as a tool for success.

Mont Albo owner and medical doctor Nol Montalbo was a freshman at the University of the Philippines Los Baños when he learned a valuable lesson in life. According to Nol, he was the laziest student in block 22 BS Biology batch ’96. Unlike his scholar classmates, Nol would come late for class, copy answers for assignments, didn’t submit projects on time, and flanked exams. His attitude towards his studies angered his blockmates, while his classmates despised being his groupmate in projects since they knew he wouldn’t be making any contribution.

That was how Nol dealt with college life in his first two semesters at the University.

However, his encounter with a blockmate he called “Einstein” made him change his ways and get rid of bad habits. His blockmates were comparing scores after a laboratory class when his particular blockmate suddenly insulted him after seeing his low score.

Nol was told in front of his other classmates: “Ang BOBO mo kasi!”

The embarrassing experience inspired him to do better and prove his critic wrong. Aside from acing  Chem 40 or Organic Chemistry, a rather difficult subject at the University, Nol involved himself in extra-curricular activities such as joining student organizations and performing in theater. He also worked as a crew of Wendy’s fast-food chain and managed to bag Best Thesis awards from five institutions. Interestingly, both Nol and his blockmate both graduated Cum Laude. But unlike the latter, Nol was able to earn his degree in Biology major in Genetics in just 3.5 years.

“That was the start of big things. For every achievement, I pushed myself even further – I joined 5 student organizations, worked in #Wendy‘s, became the lead role in several theater performances, was awarded Best Thesis by 5 institutions and the list went on and on,” Nol recounted.

Insults, for Nol, “can either hurt or change you”. In his case, Nol used the hurtful words of his blockmate to reach the “right places”.

“Let them break you for a while but heal fast and mend strong. Turn those piercing insults and criticisms into lasting compliments,” Nol ended his post.

Nol is a recipent of UPLB’s Distinguished Alumni Award for 2016.

What is UPLB?

Located at the towns of Los Baños and Bay in Laguna, UPLB is a public university formally established in 1972 and has played a big role in Asian agriculture and biotechnology. Nine of its research centres are deemed as Centers of Excellence by presidential decree.

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