Rizal, upon entering the university, was not certain which course of study he wanted to pursue. The Jesuit priests who had been his former mentors had advised him to take up farming, or to join the order and be a man of the cloth. However, his tastes went towards law, literature, or medicine. In the end, he decided to sign up for Philosophy and Letters during his freshman year because of the following reasons:
- It was what his father would have wanted for him.
- He had failed to seek the advice of the rector of the Ateneo, Father Ramon Pablo.
- Cosmology and Metaphysics
- History of Philosophy
Shifting to Medicine
After completing his first year, Rizal decided to take up medicine as his university course. This change of heart was due to two factors:
- Father Ramon Pablo, rector of the Ateneo, had advised him to pursue the course.
- Rizal's mother had failing eyesight and he thought he owed it to her to become a doctor and cure her condition.
Why the poor performance?
Unfortunately, Rizal was not happy at UST and this reflected on his grades (Zaide & Zaide, 1999). There were three main factors that contributed to his unhappiness at the university, namely:
- The Dominican professors were hostile to him.
- Filipino students suffered discrimination.
- The method of instruction at UST was obsolete and repressive.
- Rizal was not satisfied with the system of education at the university.
- There were plenty of things to distract a young man in the peak of his youth.
- Medicine was not Rizal's true vocation.
For more information on the above factors leading to Rizal's poor academic performance and how he reflected his university life in his books, click here.