To my circa 2009 self.

To my circa 2009 self.

 

My 2009 self.
My 2009 self.

It’s finally May, and graduation is just around the corner. Few days from now, we’ll be bidding farewell to the walls of the laboratory, saying goodbye to our white unique uniforms/lab suits and to be honest, I never really imagined I would end up graduating as a medical technology student. 

In fact, my 2009 self kept on dreaming that I’d be seen in television doing news reporting, or learning politics and basic laws of the land. Definitely, my 2009 self does not have an idea what kind of adventures and misadventures he is up to. 

So here are 10 lessons the James (2014) would like to impart to James (2009) and those other similar people out there. 

  1. It’s okay to shift courses. I thought I had always planned my college life well, so well that my 2009 self had already set some deadlines for each phase of my life. College. Boards. Masters. Med School. It was smooth sailing, till I got bored, and eventually hated the fact that I chose my former degree over so many opportunities that were laid for me.Breaking the news to my parents was definitely not a piece of cake, it was not like a walk in the park either. I’ve kept on asking myself whether it is really what I wanted or if I’m ready to get pushed back for another year, but you have to have that courage in order to get what you really wanted.Yes, you may get pushed back for another year, but if it’s what you really wanted then it’s all going to be worth it thus the adage, “Nothing worth having comes easy”. Mind you, in college, it doesn’t matter that much how long you have obtained the degree, or how many years it took you to finish it, but what matters more is the quality and the quantity of the things you have learned and potentially apply in the future. Remember, you’re making your life in college.Nota bene: Even if you shift, you should have a game plan.
  2. Make many acquaintances, but choose your friends. As what I’ve earlier said, it is life that you are making in college and whether you like it or not, your friends, the very people whom you are close to will surely influence the way your life will go. So choose your friends wisely because part of your success in the future, part of whoever you will become in the future, part of whatever you will achieve in the future, you owe it to them.
  3. Remember to take a break (especially for Velezian Medtech students). Remember the famous saying, “All work and no play makes John a dull boy”. It’s true. Undeniably. You see, you are already worn out because of the many exams that your teachers give, and if you decide not to take a break, to have fun for a while, to loosen up, it will make things worse. So have a break once in a while.
  4. There will be mistakes, setbacks, frustrations. The world ain’t perfect, always bear that in mind. You’ll make a lot of mistakes, but that’s okay. They’re not really mistakes if you learn from them. 🙂 Allow one experience to unfold into a another one. Learning is a continuous process, it doesn’t end.
  5. Grab opportunities. Learning is not limited within the four walls of the classroom, it goes beyond it. Last year, I was one of the lucky few students that were sent to Japan for the JENESYS 2.0 Program of the Japanese Government. After how many rejected applications, I received the golden ticket exactly a year ago. It was a life changing moment because it made me learn about different culture, different traditions, different technologies, different people, things you can’t or won’t learn in the classroom.And believe it or not, learning beyond the four walls of the classroom makes learning itself a holistic one. It does not only purely focus on the academic side, but there are other aspects incorporated as well.
  6. Fall in love (Shit! For real?) Scientifically speaking, according to Abraham Maslow, it’s one of those “needs”. I don’t really want to elaborate on this matter.
  7. Stay in school. But don’t stay in school for too long. Remember the game plan that you have, whether you shifted or not.
  8. It’s not the school that dictates brilliance, it’s YOU who dictate brilliance. At the end of the day, the school is there to teach, it’s still you who’s responsible how to process what has been taught, how to apply it, how to learn from it. Otherwise, it’s a wasted knowledge if you don’t learn from it, if you don’t apply it.
  9. Affirm people, prove your detractors wrong. You should learn how to thank people, you should learn how to affirm them. Thank your teachers either by saying it verbally, or making a note for them, or go back to the old days by writing them a letter. Do it also to your classmates, intern friends, other school officers. These people are going to help you reach the summit of success. For your detractors, prove them wrong. But don’t gloat. Don’t boast of what you have achieved. Let your success be your noise.
  10. Remain a student, never become an expert. I always tell this to people whenever they would ask me what advice I could impart to them. In this kind of world, where there is a stiff competition, where the only objective people could think of is how to become experts, only few of us realize that once you become an expert, you cease to learn. Contrary to that, when you remain a student, learning goes on, and on, and on. So be humble, and always remain as a student. 

So go ahead James of 2009, make the most out of your college life, because it will only pass once in your life. 

2014 Self.
2014 Self.

 

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What I am up to these days

What I am up to these days

It’s been a long time since I last updated this blog, school has taken its toll on me, made me too lazy to write. But since my enthusiasm on updating this blog rekindled, so here I am up with this short note.

I have just survived what my superiors say as the most challenging year in my Medtech life and by next week, I shall become a full-fledged intern.

I welcomed that with mixed emotions, I was happy because I was able to survive junior year without failing or flunking any subject, but at the same time anxious because internship will test what I have learned from those major subjects I have taken up.

But let’s leave it to that for now as I will still know how well will I tread the path of internship.

Rappler’s Ambassador

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CITIZEN JOURNALIST. Rappler through its MovePH arm launched the “Rappler’s Ambassador Program” to train citizen journalist for the 2013 election coverage.

Over summer, particularly during the election season, while I was busy trying to keep up with my academic life, I was also busy contributing to Rappler.

Rappler, is a social news network, led by then CNN Jakarta Bureau Chief and then ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs Chief Maria Ressa.

In Rappler, they had this program called “Rappler Ambassador” which was aimed at training citizen journalists for the election season. Although I was not able to attend the proper training in Manila, which I highly regretted had it not because of the conflict of schedules, Rappler was still kind enough to include me as one of their ambassadors.

I was throwing updates about the local elections in Pagadian, my hometown. I even went home not only to vote but to be able to give updates and reports about the election scenario in Pagadian.

I can say that even for just a short while, I was able to do again the thing that I so enjoyed doing back when I was in high school, reporting. I am forever grateful of Rappler for giving me the opportunity to be one of their Rappler Ambassadors.

In case you are interested about the stories in Pagadian or the news site itself, just visit Rappler.

JENESYS 2.0

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ACCEPTED. The National Youth Commision’s official email informing me that I have been accepted in the JENESYS 2.0 Program.

Debate with me, but I think it’s almost every student leader’s dream to represent his own country especially in international gatherings of the crème de la crème. I know that very well because it has been one of my unrealized dreams.

Not only last Tuesday.

While I was checking my email, it was surely a pleasant surprise to see an email coming from the Philippine National Youth Commission congratulating me for having been chosen as one of the youth ambassadors that they will be sending to Japan this coming June 21-30 as part of the JENESYS Program.

Up to now, I am still in disbelief considering that after how many rejections I had received from the NYC following the countless applications I had attempted, I was still chosen to be part of the 3rd batch.

It is still clear to me how my initial reaction was upon reading the email, I could barely talk at all, perhaps because of excitement and happiness. I urged myself to re-read the email, and it was followed by series of shouting and exclaiming.

My parents and relatives were happy to hear the news too and they promised support in whatever ways they are capable of.

Indeed, this is one of the best early birthday gifts I have received. As I would turn 20 on the 28th, I know that I would surely enjoy it, and will make the most out of it in Japan.

As for now, I will just try to compose myself and prepare. It has been my practice not to really formulate some “expectations” to not invite disappointments.

One thing’s for sure, three weeks from now I will surely exclaim, “Konnichiwa Japan!”

Here’s to the pleasant surprises in life,

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National Youth Development Summit 2012

National Youth Development Summit 2012
NYDS 2012 Logo
NYDS 2012 Logo

I found myself traversing the roads of the City of Gentle People last December 17-19, 2012 when I participated the National Youth Development Summit held at the Silliman University. Initially, I had no expectations for the activity since I didn’t know by then that it would be a great, fun-filled, and would be an avenue where I could learn many things about the youth of the Philippines.

Kaakbay Youth Development Initiatives in partnership with the Silliman University Student Government organized the National Youth Development Summit in response to the need to holistically develop the Filipino Youth. Indeed, they have not failed to carry out that thrust for the activity has been tagged as the “first of its kind”. “The most holistic and progressive youth conference of the Philippines yet” as its website says.

Initially, I had my reservations in joining the activity perhaps because I got afraid it might cost me too much especially that the registration package does not include accommodations, however, what pushed me to really go to the event and join was one, because of my friend Kuya Joe who had been very consistent in telling me to not let this opportunity pass, and for two, the different speakers that the activity have in line for us.

True enough, the speakers were worth listening to, and one thing I could say is that after all the different lectures and different things that they have shared to us, it rekindled my passion to advocate for the Philippines. (Corny, but true.)

Tito Tony Meloto of Gawad Kalinga graced the event even though he had to rush to Bacolod to be with his family because his mom died a day before the event. He said, he “lives for the living” thus he still went to NYDS.

Tito Tony Meloto during his talk.
Tito Tony Meloto during his talk.

May-I Fabros then talked about some women who are 12-13 years of age with kids. Indeed, a her unparalleled dedication to Women’s Health has been rewarded by the great news that week that the RH Bill (now RH Law) has been approved for the third reading that time.

With Kuya Joe and Maam May-i Fabros
With Kuya Joe and Maam May-i Fabros

The ever-famous historian, Prof. Xiao Chua impressed me when he emphasized that it does not take an old-age, or many people to start a revolution. Bonifacio and Aguinaldo were the clear examples for it. The youth was not wasted in the young during their times, and we can do it again with our time. It was only in his talk where I got to know the motto of the Philippines: “Makadiyos, makatao, makakalikasan at makabansa”.

With Prof. Xiao Chua and Kuya Rodd
With Prof. Xiao Chua and Kuya Rodd

Cong. Jocelyn Limkachoing of the first district of Negros Oriental started day two by opening our thoughts about how bills are passed in the congress.

Cong. Jocelyn Limkaichiong during her talk.
Cong. Jocelyn Limkaichiong during her talk.

Prof. Leonor “Liling” Briones followed the talk of Cong. Limkaichoing. Indeed, Maam Liling made an impact on me. She shared on how a 70 year old grew up in the mountains because her dad was a guerilla,  how a 70 year old grew up till high school without eating rice, but kamoteng kahoy. How a 70 year old succeeded those trials in life and eventually became the National Treasurer of the Philippines. Indeed, the life story of Maam Liling is an inspiration for many youths in the Philippines.

The inspirational 70 year old, Maam Liling.
The inspirational 70 year old, Maam Liling.

Anna Oposa, one of my idols was there. In fact she’s also one of the reason why I really wanted to go to the summit. I’ve been following her through her blog, and has always wanted to be like her, or at least to champion my advocacy. She’s another proof that the youth was not wasted in the young. She advised us, “You have to be bothered to keep you work”.

With my idol, Anna Oposa.
With my idol, Anna Oposa.

Paola Deles of InciteGov said that there is so much wisdom we could learn from people especially when we interact with them. Indeed, she even said that we should turn out a sad story into something that could change you.

Paola Deles of InciteGov.
Paola Deles of InciteGov.

Atty. Golda Benjamin from the Office of Sen. Koko Pimentel gave us four rules to follow. Rule No. 1 is to stay in school. Rule No. 2 is to not stay in school for too long. Rule No. 3 is to learn everything (But you must have the humility to believe that you do not know everything). Rule No. 4 is that you should be an ambassador of the Philippines. One thing I will surely remember about her is this quote: “It’s not the name of the school that dictates brilliance, it’s you who dictate brilliance”.

Atty. Bejamin delivering the rules we should never forget.
Atty. Bejamin delivering the rules we should never forget.

Juana Change was the last speaker of the NYDS. She inspired us by showing the different videos she made that had made an impact to other Filipinos. She proved that social media can be a very good tool in influencing others. She challenged us, “Kung may gusto kayong baguhin, kailangan kaya niyo silang banggain”.

The ever famous Juana Change.
The ever famous Juana Change.

Other speakers include Prof. Serafin Arviola, Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian, Mayor Karen Villanueva, Arlene Burgos of ABS-CBN.

Prof. Serafin Arviola
Prof. Serafin Arviola
Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian and Mayor Karen Villanueva.
Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian and Mayor Karen Villanueva.
Travel Blogger Ivan Henares
Travel Blogger Ivan Henares
Checkmyschool.org's Jecel Censoro
Checkmyschool.org’s Jecel Censoro
ABS-CBN's Arlene Burgos
ABS-CBN’s Arlene Burgos
Representing PNoy for the event, Ms. Risa Hontiveros Baraquel
Representing PNoy for the event, Ms. Risa Hontiveros Baraquel

Also, one portion of the event was the different contests where I participated in the Elocution Contest. Kuya Joe and Kuya Rodd really know that I was at first not sure and not convinced in joining the contest. It was not until they had pushed me to join, and face my fears that I decided to join. Grace be to God, I emerged as the champion.

During the elocution contest.
During the elocution contest.
Holding my clay plaque (from Laoag) as Champion for the Elocution Contest.
Holding my clay plaque (from Laoag) as Champion for the Elocution Contest.

While I was traveling back to Cebu early in the morning of December 19, I realized that I was wrong in having reservations to attend. Indeed, it has been a very good avenue to grasp knowledge and to become inspired in advocating not only for the Filipino youth but also for the country in general. I now bring with me that aim to be inspired and be inspirational. Know more about the NYDS through its website at www.nydsph.org.

Inspired and inspirational,

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Some photo opps:

Extra-“conference” activities. Adventures after the International Day of Peace Seminar.

Extra-“conference” activities. Adventures after the International Day of Peace Seminar.

It was funny to know that the conference that we will be attending in Manila had changes, although we did not notice it at first, but because of the “sunod-sunod” na lectures that we were having, I was already getting the impression that they might be chasing after time. Well, looks like it.

Imagine, lecture after lecture after lecture, who wouldn’t think it was sort of a suicide, and epistaxis on our part. Boy was I wrong on deciding not to take even just a nap the night before, good for those who were able to prep themselves because they were not in a battle against sleep.

Result of not getting any sleep at all. 😀

Continue reading “Extra-“conference” activities. Adventures after the International Day of Peace Seminar.”

Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers for Mindanao.

Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers for Mindanao.

It never really crossed my mind that I would be able to join a conference that would let people understand what Mindanao really is. In fact, I have always thought that it would just be a wishful thinking of mine to have such a kind of activity with the kind of apathy we have been receiving as Mindanaoans from our fellow Filipinos. Continue reading “Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers for Mindanao.”