By Rosa Martinez

A new school years began this week in Guantanamo, Cuba. Photo: venceremos.cu

HAVANA TIMES – Most of my eldest daughter’s friends are going through one of the most important stages of their life, right now.

They are having to take the three admission exams that are needed in Cuba to get into university. They already got back their test scores, including the one they dreaded the most, in Math.

Now, they are impatiently waiting to be admitted and a place to study for their preferred degree. They will spend the next 4 or 5 years studying, and then exercise this profession the rest of their lives.

My daughter didn’t do these exams. She decided to do for vocational Health diploma instead, which she didn’t need to do an admission test for.

But two of her best friends have chosen to study Medicine, and a third friend is applying for Telecommunications Engineering. So, we’ve been following the admission exams in one way or another and whether students pass or not.

The day they had to go and take the Math exam, we ran into Alexandra.

Alejandra is one of the so-called whizz kids. She’s a very smart young woman, but she is also quite arrogant. So much so that while most of her classmates admire her intelligence, very few of them actually talk to her.

My daughter is always telling me horrible stories about the girl. I always encouraged her not to talk about any of her classmates like that. I would tell her that you have to like people with all of their flaws and virtues. I’d tell her that we didn’t know why gifted Alexandra is how she is. And that maybe we will understand her a bit better one day.

Maybe it was fate or whatever guiding force there is in our lives, but we ran into her the day of the Math exam. We were heading to the store and she was in a rush to get to her important exam.

Good luck with the three subjects. May God shine a light so you have a clear mind when answering each question…

I was going to say something else when she cut me off quite brusquely. She dryly answered: good luck is for losers. And who needs God when you’ve studied so much?

I was really left quite astonished…

I wanted to say many things to Alejandra, but I didn’t. First of all, because she was in a rush and so were we. And secondly, because I’m not sure it would have been worth it.

There was only one thing left for me to do, and so I did: I prayed for her and a lot… She would soon find out whether luck was just an excuse for losers. It’s best not to say anything about a divine power.

Read more posts by Rosa Martinez here.


Rosa Martínez

Rosa Martinez: I am another Havana Times contributing writer, university professor and mother of two beautiful and spoiled girls, who are my greatest joy. My favorite passions are reading and to write and thanks to HT I’ve been able to satisfy the second. I hope my posts contribute towards a more inclusive and more just Cuba. I hope that someday I can show my face along with each of my posts, without the fear that they will call me a traitor, because I’m not one.

5 thoughts on “Who Needs luck?

  • Look beyond that comment from Alejandra. She is intelligent but has no social skills. She will be alone most of her life and that is ok with her. Maybe she is Autistic. She takes what you say literally and does not read body language. Otherwise she would have known that you were just being polite, with encouraging words towards her exam. And the proper way to respond to your well wishes would have been to say Thank you.

  • And the moral of the story is….
    Pray for the precocious ?????

  • Alejandra obviously models herself upon Fidel Castro Ruz. Why pray for her?

  • Obviously the readers of this post were not there witnessing the situation so are basing their comments on hearsay.

    To me Rosa’s comment: “Good luck with the three subjects. May God shine a light so you have a clear mind when answering each question…”. is anything but religiously aggressive as Mary Ann portends it to be.

    To me, Rosa’s phrase seems to be only a friendly, amiable, neighborly compliment wishing Alejandra the best in her exams and quiet a stretch to suggest as Mary Ann states: “…push their religion unwanted on someone who is clearly not a believer? Perhaps Alejandra is a non-believer; I certainly to not read any pushing going on in their verbal intercourse.

    I agree with Mary Ann that “luck” comes from within the individual who strives to excel by hard work, diligence, motivation, and perseverance. Absolutely, I also believe from what was written that Alejandra will be successful.

    Again, I disagree with Mary Ann painting Rosa as a “pious” person. To label Rosa as pious says more about Mary Ann’s beliefs about religion than about to whom the adjective was directed. Let’s get a dictionary definition of “pious”. From my Random House dictionary “pious” means: 1. having or showing reverence for God or a deity. 2. of or pertaining to religious devotion. I will stop there.

    Mary Ann, do you think that Rosa in her greeting Alejandra in a kindly, friendly, benevolent manner and referring to God in a seemingly helpful comment was instilling in Alejandra a “reverence for God”, and that Rosa in her amicable nature was evoking “religious devotion” by saying “May God shine a light …”? That is a very long stretch. Pious obviously is not the adjective you had in mind.

    I certainly do not see any hurt or harm Rosa was imparting on her friend. If someone comes up to you and says “God speed” or “God only knows” are these statements evoking piety in the sender and whose directed speech at another person to be seen as religiously negative; and, is the speaker trying to push their religion on someone who is perhaps a believer or non believer?

    I think most people would be quiet content if not happy to receive a kind word or two from a friend even if that kindness evokes the word “God” in the compliment.

    I believe there is a country not very far from Cuba whose coinage has “In God we trust.” Is the country “pious”? Is the country trying to instill religious fervor in its citizens? No. It simply a country who believes, whether rightly or wrongly, in reverence in a higher power but certainly does not push that belief or reverence unto its citizens and if the word “God” was seen to be a negative connotation the Divine word would have been removed eons ago.

    At the end of the day, I am sure Rosa and Alejandra get along just well with or without God in the communication mix.

  • Well done Alejandra! What gives anyone the right to push their religion unwanted on someone who is clearly not a believer? Alejandra is right – she is a clever girl who knows you make your own ‘luck’. She will go far in life. I see that the apparently pious Rosa is wishing that Alejandra suffers for not being religious – how very holy and charitable of her!

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