Dr. Normita Amethyst Arco-Valencia
Empowered and multifaceted.
These adjectives describe Dr. Normita Amethyst Arco-Valencia, one of Silliman's university doctors — quite contrary to how she felt about herself back in her elementary days when she was bullied for being the smallest in class.
Amy, as her colleagues fondly call her, is a medical practitioner, a practicing civil engineer and a part-time musician rolled into one.
It is not common for a woman to hurdle the challenges of what can be considered two of the more difficult degrees, with the first dubbed as a “man's course”: engineering and medicine. But Amy had enough inspiration and commitment to pursue both, and even had time for formal training in music in between semesters.
While studying Civil Engineering in Silliman, Amy was member of the Silliman University Band. To her, this experience taught her discipline and enabled her to manage her time effectively.
This fascination for music she carried as she heeded the advice of her parents to enroll in summer school at the then School of Music (now College of Performing and Visual Arts). That's how she learned to play the flute, the same instrument she can confidently handle until today. The same instrument that she turns to, especially whenever she would want to take a breather from work.
And Amy's love for music resonates in the home. She married her lifetime accompanist, Alan, in 2009, after 12 years of courtship. Amy and Alan were both members of the Silliman University Band, and it was there that their relationship flourished. Until today, Amy occasionally plays in weddings and other gigs with her husband.
Amy is not new to the Silliman campus. She practically grew up on the campus, at the Duhat Cottage, with her parents, Dr. Roy F. Arco, a medical practitioner, Mrs. Normal Merecido-Arco, a registered nurse who was connected with the Silliman University Medical Center.
How Amy decided to pursue medicine, even with a degree in civil engineering obtained in 1999, is a story of a daughter's commitment to take care of her parents someday. It was a motivation that she considers was not prompted by the fact that her father was a doctor and her three brothers are in the same field.
She then proceeded to Cebu to pursue medicine. When she graduated and obtained a license, her mother became ill with cancer. Like any daughter, it was scenario that she was not prepared for. But her medical training came in handy. She considers it a blessing that she was able to attend to her mother personally for around a year before she passed away in December 2010.
Amy considers her father and husband as among her priorities now. She looks forward to having children someday. Family-oriented, she is happy to be working in the University on a regular schedule, compared to her father before who always lacked sleep because of urgent calls of clients admitted in the hospital.
In 2010, she applied and was accepted as a University Doctor at the University Clinic which services have been expanded and enhanced. She attends to students, faculty and staff and their respective dependents.
At age 35, aside from being a caring daughter, sister and wife, she brings with her a mission to continue taking care of others. To many parents, teachers, staff and students who have come to her clinic, Amy is not just a doctor but a friend with whom they can relate and talk.
Describe yourself in three words.
Simple. Friendly. Boring.
What is your mantra in life?
Get an education, involve In sports or self-defense and play a musical instrument.
What makes you laugh/cry?
I cry at anything that deals with family and I laugh at random things.
What’s your favorite time/day of the week and why?
Weekends. That's when I have time to spend with my family.
What do you love doing when not working?
Sleeping, eating, engaging in sports and playing the flute.
What is your favorite hangout place in the University?
Guy Hall (Band Room).
What makes you blush?
I normally blush when I’m embarrassed.
If you were an actor/actress, who would you be?
I’d rather be a musician than an actor.
Tell us a fact about yourself?
I don’t know how to sing and dance.
What’s your favorite game growing up?
Chinese garter and “takyan.”
What is your idea of a relaxing day?
Sleeping for more than eight hours.
What one thing would people be interested to know about you?
I am a freelance musician.
What song best describes the YOU and the life you have now?
“So What?” (Instrumental) by Miles Davis
What is the first thing you do right after waking up in the morning?
Look at the watch.
What’s your idea of a family?
It’s where your heart is.
(NOTE: “Colleague of the Week'” serves as a window into the life of the faculty and staff members of Silliman University. It seeks to showcase colleagues from different departments and units, and present them as “the” faces that form part of the foundation of Silliman. Featured weekly are faculty and staff who have committed themselves to providing members of the Silliman community a campus experience that cultivates competence, character and faith within one and all. We get to know them as people who like any of us also have their fair share of challenges, successes, and an inspiring story to tell. Not all of them may be popular, but not a single one of them lives a life without hope and meaning to share.)