Scaling the BELS Wall

BELSI have never been good at marking or recording career milestones, but this one feels like one of those odd moments that I need to post about before I get overtaken by events and it completely slips my mind.

During the course of my early start as a copyeditor, BELS (Board of Editors in the Life Sciences) certification was always one of those things that stood out like a giant landmark — a huge street sign emblazoned in bold letters — that looked imposing even from a distance. You could find a way to ignore it, but you know the issue will always be there.

In a vague sense, it feels like a mountain that a science editor would need to scale if (s)he wants to be taken seriously in this field. Back then, it was easy to set aside because of several roadblocks. For one thing, the test was not offered locally. The BELS certification exam, which is run and administered by BELS (St. Paul, MN, USA), was routinely given in the United States, Europe, Australia, and some parts of Asia (India, Japan, South Korea), but going to those places (to take the test) was just too prohibitively costly.

That all changed in 2015. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Jam P. of Synchrogenix, BELS finally agreed to hold the test here. After hearing that welcome news, I set out collecting all the documents I needed to qualify for the exam.

The BELS exam was held in Makati last March 12, 2016. I went through the questions with mounting trepidation and varying degrees of reaction — some questions were thankfully easy to deal with, some were rather tricky, and there were others that stumped me. The one thing that buoyed me through the rough patches was my editing experience, years and years of it.

I wasn’t gung-ho about my performance, but I was fairly confident with some of my answers. When the test finally ended, I felt drained and uneasy. I knew the next stage was going to be murder on my nerves — waiting for the results. The proctors told us that results would be sent by mail (snail mail!) and would likely reach us within 6 weeks. To maintain my equilibrium, I blocked all thoughts about the BELS exam from my mind. I wasn’t entirely successful, but I kept myself busy in the mean time.

And then last week came in with all the grace of a haphazardly launched cannonball. The results started arriving (barely 4 weeks after the test). I was basically on tenterhooks until my own results arrived — in a large white envelope. When I noticed a slight “bulge” in the lower left corner of the envelop, I heaved a giant sigh of relief. I knew it was the BELS lapel pin (picture), which BELS gave out to successful examinees.

I finally scaled the BELS wall.

BELS pin

For freelancers like me, this is a huge moment to be filed away and revisited when things get a little challenging. I know the glow will eventually fade away and feel comfortably familiar like a well-worn glove, but for now my biggest lingering doubts have been laid to rest. Where I’m headed after this is anybody’s guess. Adding those 3 letters (ELS) after my name feels a bit odd though. Maybe in time I will feel comfortable about using them, but the BELS pin feels and looks nice.

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On a related note, I feel like this needs to be said. Among the 20 examinees (plus one foreigner who was in our batch but whose fate is unknown to us), 11 passed — of whom 8 were former office mates (some of them have moved on to other firms, and two turned to freelancing, like me). That passing rate blew our mind because we never expected to get that far (9/11). To me, this was icing on a lovely cake. 🙂

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens — it’s almost here.

Oh man (*tries to breathe slowly*). I guess it’s about time to dust off those light sabers and Star Wars costumes that have been gathering dust in your closets, people.

Here’s another batch of Star Wars VII trailers featuring Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Han Solo and Princess Leia‘s twin kids, Jacen and Jaina.

and here’s another one…

The seventh episode (yes, it’s officially called Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens — as if you didn’t know) is expected to hit theaters worldwide by Christmas this year (2015).

However, along with the mounting anticipation is a nagging, uncomfortable dread that this could turn out to be another disappointing turn (Star Wars I, II and III, anyone?). Let’s all cross our fingers that this time it will be different.

 

 

 

 

Easter Sunday 2015

Happy Easter everyone :).

 

easter 2015

I know. I know.  It’s been like forever since I last checked in here (if it were not for my Twitter feed I might as well have fallen off the grid). It’s kind of difficult to get into that — I’ve been held up for various reasons and I’m not even sure if I can still do this (blog) on a regular basis, but for now it feels like a good time to get online again and wish everyone Happy Easter.

Hope you guys have a great day/week ahead. Happy hunting, folks (the egg hunters, that is).

 

 

 

UCC 3rd Wave Clockwork (Blue Bay, Macapagal Ave.)

UCC Cafe

I finally had the chance to check out UCC 3rd Wave Clockwork about a week ago. It wasn’t exactly a planned move, although I got curious about this newly opened place when I passed by its doors a few days earlier. It’s just that Starbucks (Bluebay Walk) at that time was rather full and I still had not eaten any lunch, so I retraced my steps and entered UCC Clockwork.

Upon entering its doors, it soon hits you that this place ain’t no regular coffeehouse for the pedestrian shopper (it is one of those places that, unless you have well-lined pockets, prompts you to check your wallet before entering) — it is spacious and the store layout is pleasing after the heat outside — in short, this cafe is consciously designed to impress and appeal to the burgis coffee-guzzling crowd.

Oh well, not that I ever really cared for any of that. All I wanted was a place where I could eat, drink coffee, work undisturbed for a couple of hours at least, and with a good wi-fi service and lots and lots of convenience outlets (please!). And what do you know, UCC Clockwork has all of that (4 check marks out of 5 would have been good enough for me).

Meanwhile, here are a few more snaps of the place.

UCC 2nd FLUCC Function Rm 1 view from the balcony view from upstairs

Based on some press work from the UCC management, UCC Clockwork is the company’s centerpiece (they have several stores scattered around the metro) for their current approach on third wave coffee. The logic of it escapes me, but you’re into a more detailed explanation of this newfangled concept, here is a good place for that.

Sorry, I only managed to take a few pictures. I didn’t want to attract too much attention lest they mark me as an undesirable busybody and refuse me entry next time hahaha. As you can surmise, I was at the second floor at that time, so I was not able to get a good look at the ground floor.

And here’s a sight to warm the cockles of a freelancer’s heart:
electrical outlet

Why yes, that’s a convenience outlet right there. And what’s more, they are scattered all over the place (practically under every table in the second floor), so there’s no need to worry about losing steam while you’re in the middle of your work.