The Recipe for a Psychology Major

Over the course of my four year navigation in the world of Psychology, I have also traversed over different creative pursuits aside from the study of human behavior. In my case, it was the world of Gastronomy that became my escape from the uphill journey to Psychological proficiency.

In the typical Andrei Paras fashion of merging two different worlds together, this blog post is intended to bridge the gap between Psychology and Gastronomy—resulting in this recipe for a psychology major that is Andrei himself.

Allow me to share the ingredients of the recipe I’ve developed over the last couple of years.


Calories: 2022 calories

Preparation time: 2 years

Cooking Time: 4 years

Ingredients:

Flour

Just as flour is sifted to get rid of lumps and to have a smoother texture, before I entered college, I sifted my choices and filtered all the possibilities so I’d have a smoother experience.

I had a lot of courses in mind, but there were three programs I was mostly leaning towards. I considered taking up Communication because of my journalism background in Cor Unum and my stints in DSPC. And partly because mom finished the same course, I thought that she would be able to guide me. Next, I also wanted to take up Hotel and Restaurant Management because of Old Town and because I love food and fancy stuff in general. However, I took up STEM in senior high, so I thought I might struggle with business subjects in college. Last, I was very interested in Psychology and I know that it’s a diverse field and I can pursue different paths should I choose it.

Long story short, it was Psychology that ended up passing through the sieve. If you have been following my blog for years, you know that it came to a point where I wanted to become a dermatologist because of my undying love for skin care. But then again, I am also bound to run the business. Hence, I was confused. Either I’d pursue medicine or I’d pursue the business. It was Psychology that became the balancing act. I thought to myself, “I can use it as a pre-med course and I can also use it for the business.

It was in this school event that I first shared how interested I am in Psychology. This was in March 2017. Lo and behold, our guest in the seminar ended up being one of my profs in college—Ma’am June de Leon.
This event was my first impromptu hosting. I was notified the same day that I’d be in charge, and I wrote my spiels right before the event. Little did I know it would be a serendipitous event for my Psych journey.

Sifting my course choices was one thing, sifting my choices for university was another. As I continued to narrow down my choices, I applied to Ateneo de Manila and the University of the Philippines—only to not make it to the cut because I admit I didn’t prepare enough. It was AUF that became my saving grace. AUF, again, passed through the sieve.

Me and my high school friends in our remaining days in high school.

Initially, I was interested in Psych because of the LINGAP services in HFA. Familians know this too well. Akala ko dati, kapag Psychology ka, ang trabaho mo is to give advice, to analyze personality and behavior, and to administer all those tests. Boy, I was so wrong. So so wrong! I even thought na I’d learn how to hypnotize people if I study Psych! Hahaha! Budol-budol lang pala sa shopping ang matututuhan ko!

I remember way back 8th grade, my friend Yan, or Duys, as we call her, owns a Kokology book. It is a Japanese game, like a projective test, where you’ll be given various situations and then choose among the answers based on your gut feeling. In short, your answer would reveal your unconscious intent and personality. It was fun. My friends and I would gather around reading it and trying to decipher each situation and figure out our personalities. I think it was this book that preluded my interest in psychology.

Me on the way home after my high school creative shoot. I remember how eager I was to document my last few days in HFA. It was in these moments when I still couldn’t process the fact that I’ll be finally leaving for college.
Graduation Day 2018.
How can a person know everything at 18 but nothing at 22?

Writing this down got me reading my blog entries from high school and walk down memory lane. Looking at it now, if I could talk to my 16 year old self, he’d be so proud of how far I’ve come and that the things happening to him all prepared him for his future journey in Psych.


Eggs

Just as eggs give structure, form, and volume to breads and pastries, the things I learned in SHS coupled with my innate talents and capabilities have prepared me to stand firm and strong in college. These are what I’d call the “eggs” in my recipe for Psychology.

Before entering college, I have always said that the K12 program was also a blessing in disguise as it gave me ample time to decide which path I’d take. In which case, Psychology still ended up being my choice.

I knew that the lessons and experiences in my extra two years in high school would be beneficial in my quest for Psychological knowledge. Be it in research (I’m very thankful for the intensive training in research I had in HFA), journalism (Psychology requires one to have an extensive vocabulary and stellar writing skills), leadership, and the arts. I knew that these were the “eggs” that would hatch and emerge as time goes by. I owe it to HFA for instilling in me the discipline and diligence I have for academics. I would not have it any other way.

No turning back. This was my Instagram story on the day I officially enrolled. I was still in disbelief that I’m finally a college student. I remember Ma’am Che asking me why I chose Psychology, and I answered “to have a better understanding of myself and other people.”
In my first year in college, I was still fixated in high school. I missed the familiarity, the routine, and the friends I interacted with for six (even twelve) years. I even rationalized why I felt this way, it was probably due to the fact that we overstayed for 2 years. When I entered AUF, it took a year for me to finally detach myself from my HFA fixation. I would even visit HFA when I had free time during my first year.
Me and my fellow Psych Familians. My first friends in college—Micalaine, Hazel, Camille, and Lims. We fulfilled our dream of visiting HFA as alumni and finally using a visitor’s pass to enter the campus. Nostalgic!

Although all the “eggs” were ready to hatch, it was mostly the academic eggs that I was able to cultivate further. My college life was mostly academics, and I no longer involved myself in extra curricular activities because studying Psych was already too overwhelming. I’d be spreading myself too thin if I involved myself in other endeavors. Apart from that, there were only few opportunities around. I didn’t join the school publication anymore, I didn’t get to host an event, nor did I dare join the university pageant. All of which were also halted further because of the pandemic. This blog also took a back seat. I was just focused on reading books.

I love how we were given the freedom to play with the microscopes in the lab, which we did not experience in high school. I’d literally examine anything under the microscope. Be it a leaf, a hair strand, or paper. I enjoyed this subject so much!
Pangarap ko talagang manusok at mag-dissect ng mga echoserang frog. Char!
NSTP Graduation

My first year in Psych was all about academics, and to an extent, baking. It was either baking or Psychology. Nothing in between. Dissect ng frog sa morning, dissect ng cake in the evening. Hahaha!

It came to a point where my love for my Zoology class met my passion for baking. It was ambitious of me to attempt doing a cake model of animal and plant cells with my very novice cake making skills. Thankfully, I was able to pull it off and this became my first shining moment in class. Haha! Worth the three day experiment!
Back then, I was seriously thinking of dropping out to pursue baking. But I feel like I’d be a failure should I quit and not finish Psychology. Na parang it’s such a shame na hindi ko siya tatapusin after spending time and effort to study and enroll. Pero ayun nga, wala naman akong ibang school na mapupuntahan so I just learned how to love Psych while pursuing my passion.
Cue the Tiktok “these came from my hand.”
Even before the pandemic, naka-face mask na talaga ako. I’m on THAT level na before COVID. LOL.
Lab classes during the day, baking classes sa gabi. Haha!
The best seller Momofuku Milk Bar cake, which was Taylor Swift’s all time favorite.

Apart from my world of Psychology books and lectures, the presence of Old Town further intensified my interest in gastronomy. And because of the pandemic, my culinary talent has gone to new heights. It was the culinary and pastry eggs (and actual eggs, lol) that cracked during the lockdown. In short, may incongruence ang course ko at ang passion ko. Haha!

Garlic bread, pasta, pizza >
My 21st birthday which was celebrated far differently from what I initially planned.
Mango tart during mango szn.
My first time baking puff pastry from scratch. Not bad for a first timer. Nakakaloka because these were so difficult to make.
Oh ‘di ba, saan ka nakakita ng Psych major na todo effort gumawa ng Charcuterie board?! Haha!

Apart from food, the pandemic also gave me the opportunity to return to my love for the arts. I would like to believe that the lockdown unleashed my creativity. I did this while still studying Psychology online. Crazy how I used to juggle all these before. I had all the time in the world.

I painted on a denim jacket. Ala Love Marie!
Two of the paintings I did before turning 21. These two are now displayed in my room.

It was in the course of my journey in Psych that I really expanded my skill set, and the pandemic even intensified this need of mine to know more things related to my craft. I’d rather be able to do a lot of things and not just excel in one, rather than excel in one thing and suck at doing everything else. I have always believed na maganda rin yung marami kang alam gawin para marami kang choices in the future, yun nga lang, minsan mahirap pumili ng career. Haha!


Butter

Smooth. Fatty. Indulgent. Pleasurable. Positively reinforcing. Dopamine inducing. Serotonin boosting. My oxygen. My life. Cheret! When warranted, I always see to it that I still have time for self-care and leisure. Pero minsan sumosobra nga eh. Char ulit. I’ve always believed in the power of reinforcement and punishment. Oh, BF Skinner, be proud of me. Matagal ko ng ina-apply yung concepts mo sa buhay ko. To strengthen good behavior, dapat may reward ‘di ba?! Otherwise, mabu-burnout ako! I don’t let it reach that point naman. Just because life is hard does not mean you have to deprive yourself. Sabi nga ni Karen Horney, a form of self-hatred is self-frustration! No no!

When things were rough and life was tough, these were the moments that made my life smooth like butter (BTS pun intended).

Went out for snacks with my friends after we finished our Psychological Assessment test construction. Then Ai also treated us with cake! It’s just sad that weeks after this, the lockdown happened. Kung wala sigurong pandemic, nakarami na kami ng desserts!
Ai’s birthday celeb. I missed eating here with my friends. Sinigang was our go-to meal, along with Stephen’s daily Coca Cola fix. Ugh memories!
Jamaica’s birthday! We surprised her before we had our chem lab.
Lance’s birthday naman was celebrated over Korean food.
Okay Via isasama na kita dito kahit bago lang ‘to, baka sabihin mo nakalimutan ka na naman. HAHAHA. Di mo kasi kami niremind!! Buti na lang nagkita pa tayo the next day kaya nabigyan kita ng something! Hahaha!
Totoo bang college student ka kung hindi part ng college life mo ang kumain sa Mcdo after class?
Jollibee > Mcdo. Fight me. Jollibee is love. Jollibee is life. Forever and ever. Amen.
The four of us believed that this was our last meal in the old normal. But it was not. This was taken a week earlier than March 10, pero nung March 10 kasi dito rin kami kumain. Kaya nung naghahanap kami ng old normal pictures, akala namin ito yung last. So ayun. Mandela effect realness.
This was the last place na sama sama kaming kumain ng friends ko before the world changed. Grabe. Di ko akalain na yun na yung last meal namin as normal university students. Abnormal na kasi kaming lahat ngayon. Charot!

Before COVID happened, my friends and I have a tradition of celebrating little accomplishments by eating out. Mapa-exam yan, project, birthday celebration, name it, we would always gather around food and enjoy each other’s company. This is also what the Psych department promotes—that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Self-care is very important. We’d treat ourselves with food, online shopping, or a salon day, basically anything that makes us happy! Satisfied dapat yung basic needs!

My 2018 self did not lie.
Ai’s wedding. This was our first time seeing each other since the lockdown. Halata namang takot na takot ako ma-COVID sa picture na ‘to ‘di ba.
I also prepared a garden dinner for my friends earlier last year, since COVID kind of slowed down that time. This was the only time I saw them in 2021. I can’t join them outside since we were not yet vaccinated then, and we (my family) were also taking care of Tang that time, he was immunocompromised because of his cancer. Kaya ayun, I can’t bear it if may magkasakit sa family dahil lang lumabas ako with friends.
Ito yung day na sinabi sa akin na kinabukasan na agad yung Clinical OJT ko and wala pa akong white uniform noong time na ‘to. Imagine my stress habang nagsha-shopping sa Nuvali. Walang alarm walang anything OJT agad!

When the pandemic slowed down, I only go out with my family. I was not allowed to have coffee with friends. And super inggit ako sa mga nakakapasyal at nakakapag-gathering. It was only in 2021 that my family and I dined out for the first time. But then again, marami pa ring surge and variants last year so limited lang din. But now that the situation is becoming normal, and because we all have our vaccines and boosters, we have slowly explored and compensated for the years we were locked inside.

Casually going to IKEA because there’s a power outage at home. Dapat may pasok nung day na ‘to eh, pero pinakiusap ko kaya ayun, unofficial holiday. LOL.
Chilling at Swissotel kahit first quiz ko sa PCA ng Abnormal Psychology the next day. Buti na lang may binigay na handouts si Doc Renz, and madali lang yung quiz niya…so far.
Tagaytay muna bago ko iyakan yung result ng Quiz 2 ng Abnormal Psych. Hindi naman ako bagsak, pero yun yung first line of 7 ko sa lahat ng quiz sa PCA. Kaya ayun, I attributed my “failure” to my going to Tagaytay instead of reading anxiety disorders. LOL.
Na-cancel ang IO class for Leni. Thankfully, lahat kami Kakampink, including my teachers and friends. So ayun, kalahati ng class nasa rally pero wala akong nakita ni isa sa kanila. Totoo yung 220k, wag kayong ano!
Christening of my new inaanak, Franco. Another time to catch up since it’s my first time to see my college friends this year. Sorry Ai, nagbabasa kami ng Psych Assessment ni Stephen nung binyag ng anak mo. HAHA.
My first time seeing my high school besties since God knows when! We found ourselves having afternoon coffee in Marriott dahil puno sa ibang cafe. We have to go out again!
Din Tai Fung muna bago iyakan yung result ng election. Nakaubos ata ako ng isang tray ng xiao long bao dito. Haha!

When the PCA started, I thought my world would just revolve around it, that I won’t have the time to go out and have fun, that I’d just lock myself at home reading and studying. I was wrong, mas marami pa yata akong napuntahan during the PCA season than last year combined. Yup. Ganung level. Partida na-surgery pa yung tuhod ko in the middle of it ha. Kaya yung anxiety ko bago mag-mock boards all time high kasi feeling ko babagsak ako dahil pasyal ako ng pasyal.

Mom and Dad’s anniversary celebration at Maranao.
When the online classes began, my goal was to survive and finish without buying a new laptop. The one I’ve been using was from 9th grade pa. It turned 7 years old this year, kung bata siya, Grade 1 na siya ngayon. But then again, hindi na niya kinaya at sobrang bagal niya na so my dad bought me a new one. Kahit patapos na school year, binili pa rin niya ako. Pero yung latter days ko in school F2F na. Hahaha! In short, for aesthetic purposes na lang ‘to. Char!

I can’t thank my parents enough for giving me and providing me with more than what I need. Siguro naging tradition na rin talaga namin as a family to implement a reward system, even if it’s just a small achievement or award in school, we’d celebrate, cook, go out or whatever. We’ve been doing this since time immemorial. And I think that really helped too, on a personal level, because when something motivates you, you’ll work harder to achieve what you want. In short, hindi lang naman ako puro capricho and kaartehan, I would proudly say that whatever it is I am enjoying right now, I worked hard for it. I earned it. Pinapakita ko talaga na I deserve whatever it is I may be asking for. (Talagang nag-justify pa eh no!)


Sugar

It’s close to impossible to bake without sugar. Sugar provides sweetness, balance, and gives moisture to baked goods. Sugar is absolutely essential!

To analogize, I’d compare our dreams and aspirations to sugar, as they give us a taste of the sweet moments in our life. In this regard, you can’t achieve something without dreaming of it first. We feel a sense of direction when we set goals, plan, and dream of that sweet life. Once they’re all set and we’re ready, it’s time to do everything to let them come to fruition. In my case, the life I can see ahead of me literally involves a truckload amount of sugar. Lo and behold, the sugars in my life are as follows.

Excerpt from my 2018 blog post. This was my mantra for college, that my parents would get the best seat on my graduation day. Weird, I know, but it helped. Dapat feel mo empowered ka, para ma-boost yung morale mo, para yung good and positive energy yung ma-attract mo.
My nameplate! Feeling ko talaga nung na-receive ko ‘to totoong college student na ako kasi dati naiinggit ako sa ibang courses na may nameplate tapos naka all-white uniform. When I got this nameplate, I’ve envisioned my name with the letters RPm sa dulo.
Selfie muna habang nagre-review with friends sa DR. Of course, to maintain my academic performance, review dapat! I missed reviewing here with my friends.

In my early days in Psychology, I planned on taking the board exams after I graduate. Everything I’ve written on my journals all say the same thing, that I wanted three extra letters after my name. But looking at it now, I am quite unsure. I think the pandemic also affected this plan, that the things I learned online won’t suffice and that the preparation I had was not enough. Maybe the pandemic redirected me to what is really for me. As of this writing, I am still unsure what to do. But one thing’s for sure—my future job would require me to wear white, and would literally involve sugar.

Syempre to make myself feel like a cOnYo cOLLeGe sTuDeNt, magre-review ako sa Starbucks. Pero ayun, mas mataas yung bayad ko sa kape kesa sa score ko. Ems! ‘Di ko talaga ma-gets kung paano nakakapag-focus yung iba sa binabasa nila eh ang ingay kaya sa mga coffee shop!
Of course, as someone with needs for law & order sabi nga ni Maslow, may schedule rin ako for the things I have to accomplish. I can’t function without structure. #Conscientiousness char
I can’t recall how much money (and time) I spent para lang mapa-print and bind lahat ng reviewers na ‘to. Malaki rin yung kinita ni Mauchi sa akin ha. Char! Siguro kung ‘di pa nagka-pandemic, mas marami ‘to and mas pagagandahin ko pa. Nakakapagod rin ‘to ha, imagine I carry all of these in one plastic envelope everyday habang nagco-commute!
f2f mood 4evs. Thank you Stephen for taking this pic, ayan may documentation ako of my different states of consciousness.
Fresh at 7am! Waiting for our Psych Assessment class. I arrive at school as early as 6 am to read my books sa stone benches. Grabe. Kahit nakakapagod, I miss those days. Tapos biglang nagbago lahat dahil sa COVID.

Because of the abrupt shift in education, we were all forced to study at home. But we didn’t think it would last this long. Akala namin before na the lockdown would only last for two weeks to a month and they’d be able to control the virus. Mali na naman kami. Two weeks mo naging two years! In whatever scenario, tuloy pa rin ang pangarap. Aral pa rin.

My room renovation also further intensified my aesthetic needs, and as Maslow claims, when they are not met, I become sick. Not literally sick, but I can’t stand disorganized and dirty spaces anymore. Eventually, the whole house got revamped because of me.
I’ve used this lifetime table since high school. I can’t believe that there was a time na ganito itsura ng study setup ko.

And since the lockdown extended, I have decided to renovate my room and have a proper study setup. I am lucky enough to have parents who supported me in this project. Nahihirapan na rin kasi ako with my old bed kasi lumalagpas na paa ko. I can’t sleep well! So ayun, everything was custom, even my desk. Kaya pinush na namin yung renovation talaga. In July 2020, I painted my whole room with the help of my cousin. Then over the next few months I slowly decorated it and as of this writing, it’s looking better than it ever was. I knew I had to invest in this because the pandemic would take time before it ends, and that I can’t bear studying and working in a disorganized place.

In 2019, we were told that once we pass our qualifying exams, we’d finally switch to an all-white uniform. Thing is, there’s no existing uniform design for Psych. So I thought I’d design one and submit them to the department. Na-approve naman, pero….coronavirus happened. Naputol yung excitement ko. Nakaka-gwapo kasi yung all-white uniform eh. #feelingmedstudent lol
Since the pandemic happened, the department decided not to push through with the qualifying exams anymore since we were all trying to survive the new learning setup. So I thought, wala na, drawing na lang talaga yung white uniform.
Surprise! The Clinical OJT happened and we were required to have our white uniforms done. Ahhh, na-fulfill yung pangarap kong mag-all white. Yun nga lang nasa bahay ako. Kaya ayun, nagmukha akong caregiver! No charot!

Since I just couldn’t let go of my love for clothes, I was ecstatic when they announced that we have the chance to design our white uniform. And as your resident fashion enthusiast, cinareer ko talaga. I was so happy when the white uniform design came into fruition. I just wished we had more f2f classes para sana nasulit ko siya.

School OJT. This is the most memorable setting for me since it’s our first f2f duty since the lockdown. And I got to spend it with my friends! ❤
This is how we looked like in white uniforms. Oh ‘di ba nakakaganda at nakakagwapo! Akala ng mga bata may vaccination or purga drive kami. Hahaha! Niloloko ko pa mga students ko na isu-swab test ko sila. LOL. Tinawag pa akong doc nung guard ng school! Nacacaloca!
Special shoutout to Angelyn na kasama ko sa lahat ng OJT setting. ❤
The last leg of my college life. I told myself that I have to pass the PCA since it’s the make or break subject. At wala talaga akong choice kung hindi ipasa siya!! I did everything, and nilabanan ko lahat ng anxiety and self-doubt at halos mabaliw na ako sa kaka-overthink. I would proudly say that this is, by far, the bravest thing I’ve done.

Alfred Adler’s theory of personality postulates that we all experienced feelings of inferiority at one point in our lives, hence we try to compensate and strive for success. In layman’s term, you will try to compensate for what you might have lacked earlier in life.

It was this theory that applied to what I experienced in the last two graduation ceremonies I had. When I finished elementary, I went home empty-handed because my final average didn’t make the cut. I told myself that once I finish high school, I’d get all the awards I can possibly get. Then came 2018, my average was beyond my goal. However, it was my grade in Physics that pulled me down from the ranks. Instead of graduating with high honors, I finished with distinction. But I still garnered all the other merits.

It was during these moments that I’d implicitly declare to the universe what I wanted to happen in the future. And…..!

These two experiences got me thinking that in college, I must (yes, must) finish with flying colors. This was the fictional finalism I have embedded in my mind, that I have to compensate for what I “lacked” before. It was such a dream. Take note, I imposed this on myself, and my parents do not demand anything from me. It was me who set these standards. Baka i-chismis niyo ako na pine-pressure ako ng mga magulang ko! I told myself that I’ll only graduate college once, so I better do everything to make it worthwhile.


Yeast

The bread won’t rise without yeast. However, without the sugar, the yeast won’t have anything to feed on, therefore it won’t thrive. As the yeast feeds on the sugar, there would be no way but up. Hence the bread rises. Without the sweet dreams and goals, coupled with hard work and determination, I won’t rise to the peak experiences I’ve had in the course of my stay in the Psychology program.

My first college recognition day. It was unfortunately my last face to face school-wide recognition.
does it ever drive you crazy…
…just how fast the night changes
When I was in first year, I was forced to join a science quiz bee by my prof. I was so afraid because the results would affect my Chem grade daw, so, dapat sumali at manalo kami para may extra points. In the end, my group emerged as the 3rd runner up naman. Super takot ako sa Chem and Physics dahil sila yung nanira ng average ko in HS, that’s why in college I still feel anxious at ayokong maulit ‘yun. Thankfully, wala na yung sumpa.
Class of 2018. 6/6 With Honors!
Will never not be grateful for my alma mater.

In my first year in college, I kept on thinking about how I should utilize my Familian training. I always tell myself that I can’t let my alma mater down, which made me want to do better and excel further because my performance in college would reflect what I learned from HFA. Eh sa HFA kasi, lagi nilang sinasabi sa amin na pag college ka na, madali na lang dahil maaga kaming na-train at nadisiplina sa HFA. Eh yun yung tumatak sa ‘kin, na dapat mapanindigan ko ‘yung standard na ‘yon. Kaya ayun. In short, we were primed that Familians do really well in their respective universities. Magaling ang self-fulfilling prophecies ng mga Benedictine sisters! Pygmalion effect is real!

I found these when I transferred to my current room. O ‘di ba, dagdag pressure pa! Upon seeing the awards mom got when she were in college, I told myself that I have to do better, if not as well as she’s done. Nasa dugo pala namin ang archetype ni Bobbie Salazar as a corporate communications manager with an extensive vocabulary. Charot!

Furthermore, because mom has been with AUF for 25 years, whatever I do in college would also be a reflection of her. In short, wala talaga akong choice kung hindi ayusin ang studies ko because I can’t let her down. I can’t afford to fail or do something bad, because whatever I do would gravitate back to her. And hello, ayoko namang i-chismis ako nga mga former colleagues niya and ng Angeles clan na I’m not as good or excellent! Besides, I went to college for free because of her! I have a full scholarship, kaya I really can’t afford to fail or slack off because I should prove them that I deserve that merit.

Well, conscientious and studious naman talaga ako, and I know that mom and my HFA experience do not directly cause my academic performance. Siguro lalo lang nare-reinforce yung good study habits ko dahil sa mga iniisip kong ‘to.

In August 2019, JCI Angeles held an exhibit in SM Telabastagan and my artworks were included! These were the artworks I donated before graduating high school and it’s so good to see them in this event after so long. I hope that whoever owns them will treasure them!
This is me in PAPJA 2020. I was sent off by the department as a finalist for the quiz bee, but things did not go our way. We just watched and enjoyed the program.
PAPJA 2020 team! This is the second time I was tasked to join a quiz bee again. But this time, about Psychology. So wala na yung trauma kagaya nung sa Chem and Physics. Dahil hindi kami nag-qualify, lumibot na lang kami sa MOA. Ngayong natapos ko na yung PCA, pwede niyo na akong ipadala ulit dito. Challenge me! Charot.

I was fortunate enough to join PAPJA 2020 because this was the last major event for Psychology students all over the Philippines before the pandemic happened. I was so happy to see thousands of Psych majors in one event. Grabe, ganoon pala kami karami. It was an event worth remembering.

Mukha kaming normal distribution nina Sir Roger and Ma’am Lala dito. Ako yung central tendency. Mean, median, mode yarn?! Char!
Last face-to-face CAS recognition day.
Recognition 2021. Gusto ko lang sabihin na sana isang name per slide, para naman may shining moment kami. Eme!
This was taken after our mock boards in TOP. Super memorable ng day(s) na ‘to, probably because it’s our first time to take an exam onsite since 2020 and that we knew before going home that all 5 of us passed our mock boards in TOP. And all 5 of us eventually passed the PCA!
Taken after the 2nd day of PCA. Finally free from exams na ako! I told myself na if I took my entrance test in SCC, it’s also in this place that I’ll be taking my last ever exam in college. Ginawa ko talaga lahat ng pamahiin and all, lahat ng santo sa langit tinawag ko na. Hahaha!

When it comes to achievements, I’d only say one thing: you reap what you sow. Don’t expect to have desirable outcomes kung yung performance mo and efforts na binigay mo, hindi ka-match ng outcome expectations mo. And small achievements and mastery experiences also matter, as they further boost your self-efficacy (uy, Bandura concepts). Additionally, it helps to surround yourself with good people, who are equally competent and driven as you, kasi nakakahawa yung energy that other people give out eh. If you surround yourself with lazy ones and carefree ones, alam mo na kung anong pwedeng mangyari sa’yo. Choose your friends wisely! Wag lalapit sa mga taong nanghihila ng morale mo pababa. Dun tayo sa may collective efficacy!


Bake at 350° Fahrenheit

With all things combined, it’s now time to bake. The ingredients are now complete and set, it’s time for the real deal. Without heat, no finished product will emerge. However, there may be times when the temperature fluctuates and gets out of control. Too little heat may result in a raw and undercooked product, too much heat may burn and ruin everything. Just the right temperature is enough for a desirable result.

Similar to an oven, life offers challenges and intense emotional experiences that when you can’t cope, you’ll come out burnt, damaged, and deformed. But if you know how to ride the tide, you’ll come out well. And strong. And in your best shape.

Taken during my high school graduation. I didn’t know na ito na yung last graduation ko na nakita ni Tang. If he were alive right now, he would be so proud of me. Siguro na-spoil na ako ng food at pera kung nakita niya akong pumasa sa PCA at mag-graduate.

If there’s one thing I’d like to tell you about my college journey, it’s that it was not without struggles. The road was not as smooth as expected and there were obstacles along the way. There were moments that the heat was too much and I felt burned, but there were also times when it was not enough and I was not in my best.

First month in AUF. I always go to SB because it’s the place I am familiar with as I still try to navigate my environment. Furthermore, I still am not acquainted yet with most people. Honestly, I think it took me a year to get accustomed to the university life.

The first month of my Psychology journey was all about the adjustment period, brought about by the shift in my school environment and the onset of Tang’s cancer. He met an accident in the first two weeks of my college life, he got a long bone fracture and spent 2 weeks confined, and bedridden for several months. Little did we know that it was the prelude to his almost four year battle with the big C. I spent two weeks of my first month in AUF going in and out of AUFMC to visit him. It was just the beginning of it all.

I miss you Tang.

Just as personality theorist Alfred Adler’s childhood was marked by an awareness of death and sickness, I feel like my journey in Psychology was also the same. It was marked by a series of hospital visits, admissions, medication, and countless lab tests; not just of Tang’s but all of us in the family. To make things worse, the unthinkable pandemic happened.

My last “first day” in college was spent at the hospital. Mom had Dengue, Popons had a viral exanthem; both of them got admitted just two days apart. And worse, Popons got admitted on his birthday. We managed to get them together in one suite so it would be more convenient. This was the longest 1 week of my life, which even included the fear of contracting the Delta variant and the fear of overstaying in the hospital.
Waiting for Popons to get “checked in” in the room. This was around midnight of his birthday. He was in the ER with dad, on the way upstairs. Mom was just beside me, and her bed is in front of his bed. This was such a difficult time. You know, I love preparing outfits and stuff for travel and overnight stays, but that excludes a stay in the hospital. Yung gusto kong check-in ay sa Marriott, hindi sa AUFMC!
I have always marveled over the view of Mt. Arayat and the landscapes of Pampanga when I am at AUFMC. I can see as far as San Fernando, Mexico, Porac, Clark and the nearby places in the city. Everything looks still, quiet, and beautiful from above.

However, it got me thinking that when I am this high up in this building, there has to be something wrong. That is, I only get to see Pampanga from above when someone in the family is hospitalized. Suddenly, I never want to see this view again. I don’t want to see my school building from this view ever, ’cause that would mean someone I love is in pain.

I have this rule of not taking pictures of difficult moments, not wearing perfume or scents, and not listening to music when times are tough. All because of the potential connection between these stimuli and the painful memories. In short, when these things are paired with the painful memory, their presence might elicit a pain response where you’ll feel like you are reliving the difficult moment again. That’s the reason I don’t wear perfumes in these times, kasi baka pag naamoy ko siya again in the future, maaalala ko yung bad memory. I don’t want that to happen. Ivan Pavlov, ikaw naman ang dapat maging proud.

However, I took these photos because I thought that when I look back, I’d think of how I survived and went through all of these, and how much I have grown after these experiences.

It was 2021 which exemplified the oven temperature exceeding 350 degrees. Siguro kung yung mga past years normal temp na 300 degrees, yung 2021 siguro mga 550 degrees siya. Hindi na siya pang normal baking, pang broiling na siya! Sobrang nakakapaso, nakakasunog, nakaka-damage. But still, there’s growth after the difficult times.

I might be smiling and looking fine in this photo, but I was very anxious about the upcoming quiz bee I was forced to join. This was I think, 2 days before that event. Punong-puno ng cortisol at adrenaline katawan ko at sobrang baba ng GABA levels ko.

If you’re going to tell my 18 year old self that I’d spend 2 years of my college life studying at home, I probably would have laughed at you. But the unthinkable happened. COVID-19 happened. I didn’t think it would last this long, none of us did, and that something so miniscule would literally change the world.

On a similar vein, when I was younger, I was fascinated with volcanoes and earthquakes, so much so that I always ask my parents about their experiences during the 1990 earthquake and the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. I even watch related documentaries as a kid. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, sana wala ng mangyaring ganoon, kasi maraming masisira at mahihirapan kaming lahat. Pero during those times, iniisip ko what if something big happens that will collectively affect or traumatize us? When Pinatubo erupted, my mom was in her 2nd year in college. So iniisip ko, what if something happens pag ako na yung 2nd year? And you guessed it right, COVID happened when I was in 2nd year. Until now I am still in disbelief that the past two years went by just like that. I feel like I saw this coming, but nope, that’s just my hindsight bias. Coincidence lang na pareho kaming 2nd year ng mom ko when a collective traumatizing event happened. But it’s still unbelievable. I am still processing how and why all of that happened.

Title defense. Online.
Clinical OJT. Online.
HR OJT. Online ulit. Sorry selfie lang ‘to.
First few days of School OJT, online again. And this was my mood.

If you think it’s easy to attend school online, like fully online, nagkakamali ka. It was not. Pero it is made easier if you have the means, of course. I recognize my privilege in saying this. Pero hindi talaga lahat ng students nag-thrive sa online setting. Blessing na rin siguro na introvert ako kaya na-survive ko yung 2 years na isolated sa mga tao.

Last March, I underwent a surgical removal of an infected wound which was initially an allergic reaction to a topical muscle pain reliever. I had no idea that it had ibuprofen and aspirin, and months later, the location of the allergy on my knee swelled and had small skin ulcers. There’s no way it could be solved than by going under the knife. My surgery even coincided with my first day of Abnormal Psych in PCA. Operating room sa umaga, Zoom sa hapon. I was nursing a wound in between readings. Painful as hell. Pero nagawa ko pa kumain sa labas after ko sa operating room. Haha!
Me reviewing for the PCA, aka the biggest challenge in my Psychology life. But when it began, I set my mind na if I did well before, I’m going to do just fine. Along the way, I felt like giving up, pero labanan talaga ng mental fortitude yung PCA. It won’t only test your Psych knowledge; but also your grit, study habits, emotional stability, and faith, among others.

As mentioned earlier, the PCA was the make or break subject in my program. Either you pass it and graduate, or fail it and gradwait. It was never easy. It came to a point na talagang bare minimum na lang talaga target ko. I just needed to pass, and not ace it anymore, I told myself. Basta pumasa okay na. Yun lang naman talaga nagma-matter. However, God heard my prayers and guided me throughout the mock boards.

It was in this experience that I learned how afraid I am of failing, more so with the thought that failing would mean getting delayed. And if you’ve read earlier, alam niyo na ang iisipin ko—that me getting delayed would be such a shame because I invested so much effort, time, resources, learning materials, and all. I felt like if I would fail this, it would define me, and that my thought that Psych is really not for me would be further reinforced. Sabi ko, ang lapit ko na sa finish line, hinding-hindi ko afford ma-delay kasi sobrang lapit ko na sa goal ko, nakakahiya kung maiiwan ako. Nakakahiya sa parents ko, lalo na, dahil talagang binibigay nila lahat sa akin and my only job is to study well. Ang laki laki ng ginagastos nila sa akin, tapos ‘di ako mag-aaral nang mabuti? (This is not meant to offend or shame those who did not pass though, in case you might misconstrue it. This is just how I viewed itthat I can’t fail it because I had all the resources. I had nothing or nobody to blame but myself if I fail. You get me? So I told myself that failing it is not an option.)

Hence, I knew I had to exert more effort and devote more time in this challenge. I knew I had to do well. There’s no other option but to pass it, bonus na lang talaga if I emerge victorious.

It’s also important to remind yourself once in a while that you have to enjoy the process, and not just passively wait to arrive at your destination. Dapat active learning rin, not passive. I don’t know if it’s just me, pero yung takeaway kasi sa PCA is like proving yourself again na kung kinaya mo yung mga subjects na ‘to before, kakayanin mo rin sila the second time. Thing is, compressed lang sila and added pressure yung passing rate, kaya mapa-praning ka talaga kung hindi mo ma-manage nang maayos yung thoughts mo. Again, mental fortitude talaga and test taking skills ang tine-test dito.

In the course of the PCA, one thing na nilo-look forward ko was to know the things and lessons we missed when we took the classes the first time. Kasi ang dami pa naming hindi alam na nalaman na lang namin sa mock boards. Nakakainis kasi yung iba hindi rin na-cover sa mga review lessons. Pero nakakaproud rin, kasi most of these concepts which were new to us, naaral lang namin on our own, and kinaya naman namin sila!

Sabi ko kanina, I don’t put on scents during struggling times. However, I can’t review well if my desk is neutral or boring. So, I’d warm up scented candles depending on my mood and how I’d like my room to feel like. Minsan amoy coffee shop ang room ko, minsan amoy spa. But, in my mock boards review, I chose a scent that smells expensive and hotel-esque. Para naman ma-motivate ako to do better, para actual hotel na ang puntahan ko agad after ng PCA! Char! Penhaligon’s Neroli and White Barn’s Blackberries and Basil smell like my PCA days. Grabe, the scents even lingered on my notebooks when I brought them to the testing site. Eventually, na-classify as good memories ang amoy ng candles.

These scents remind me of the arduous days of my mock boards review. Talagang I’d cry randomly over messages of support from my friends, family and teachers, over random quotes on Instagram about motivation and determination. With their support and enough mental fortitude, I was able to rise above the anxiety and struggle.

The morning of June 2, the first day of my mock boards, my alarm vibrated and caused my phone to fall straight into my desk, shattering my desk’s glass cover and my phone’s tempered glass. Mataas yung binagsakan niya, refer to the previous photo. There were glass shards on my chair and on the floor. I felt terrified, as this happened right before I left home to take my mock boards in the SCC. Sabi ko, baka bad omen ito—na mayroong hindi magandang mangyayari, na baka bumagsak ako.
But, as someone who tries to debunk superstitious beliefs, I thought of it differently (Uy, George Kelly, maayos yung personal constructs ko oh! Ems!) Siguro kaya nabasag yung salamin ng desk ko at kaya nagkaroon ng bubog sa upuan ko, sign na yun na hindi na ako babalik sa lugar na ‘to para mag-aral. And true enough, when I tried to study the same night na nabasag siya, nasugat yung arm ko. So ayun, I neutralized the thought talaga na, last na ‘to, hindi na ako magre-review ever sa desk na ‘to. And totoo nga! The next time I returned to this place was when I received a congratulatory message.

In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl once said, We may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement. This book is one of my all time favorites, as it renewed my perspective on the challenges we, or I, face. That it’s possible to derive meaning out of our struggles, fears, and challenges.

There are two more quotes from Frankl which struck me. Allow me to share them to you.

“But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.

Suffering is not necessary to find meaning, meaning is possible in spite of suffering.

Without the heat, again, no product will emerge. No baked goods will be available without heat. Again, it’s important that we recognize these instances as growth opportunities, not just as inconveniences and frustrations.


Cooling Time: 24 Months

Cakes, breads, and pastries need rest after being subject to intense temperatures. Just like them, we need rest and cooling time too. Otherwise, we’d crumble and fall apart, just as when you try to grab a freshly baked cookie, you’re left with crumbs and pieces. When you allow it to cool, you’ll get it in its most perfect shape, in its most delicious state, and in its entirety.

I would consider the pandemic in general as the cooling stage. It was the quiet part of my life as things shifted abruptly. I attended school at home. Ironic, I know. I spent my time doing things I love while isolated from the rest of the world. The world was much more quiet. Silver lining siguro ng pandemic ‘tong mga ganitong pangyayari. Yung walang ibang tao, walang crowd, walang traffic, walang pollution. It was a time for personal growth without anyone else’s input. Absolute solitude.

After the intense heat of 2021, things were eventually falling into place in 2022. I would admit that I manifested this. After Tang’s death, when the pandemic (the Omicron surge) kind of slowed down, things were getting better.

Our house was slowly being renovated and improved. Our sales was improving, and marami kaming naging clients because of the campaign season. Moreover, I don’t see mom getting stressed over hospital arrangements, searching for blood donors, and funeral preparations anymore. Siguro the silver lining of Tang’s passing was that he is in a much better place and that he is no longer in pain. And that we don’t suffer also by seeing him in pain. I know he is watching over me, over us.

My first day of PCA was also Tang’s 40th Day. Siguro siya na talaga yung lumapit kay God para sabihin na kailangan ko ng divine intervention sa PCA. I’ve also noticed how fortuitous all the dates of these events were! Siguro this is God’s way of reminding me that He’s there, and hindi niya ako pababayaan.

It’s also in this time na tanggap ko na ring kasama talaga sa Psych journey ko yung PCA. Because at first I was in denial, and was constantly rationalizing kung bakit ko ba ‘to tine-take eh hindi naman ako magbo-boards. In the middle of it, I have come into terms that it’s something I can’t escape. Nag-enroll ako dito eh, wala akong magagawa kung hindi harapin siya. And again, kung kinaya ko naman siya dati, kakayanin ko siya ulit.

This OJT was the last straw. It was the beginning of an end. Officially gradwaiting na kami when the internship days passed.
The most memorable OJT Setting ever! We didn’t feel like we’re working at all dahil sama sama kaming magkakaibigan, at masaya ring kasama yung mga bata.
Family portrait ng mga chaebol heirs. Char! We look so expensive, ‘di ba! Nakuha pa naming kumain sa sidegate na ganito ang suot ha! Hahaha!
Shoutout to Anj and CJ na lagi kong groupmate since first year. You guys never gave me a hard time in the school activities we did together, I feel a sense of relief whenever I know na kagroup ko kayo. I’m thankful for both of you!
Class of 2022. Mga tamad daw mag-aral pero lahat College Scholar! May apat na Magna Cum Laude at isang Cum Laude pa! Tamad pa po kami sa lagay na ‘to ha. Imagine na lang kung sisipagin pa kami. Charot!

I can’t imagine my college life without these people. Kagaya ng sinabi ni Lanceleine dati, hindi ko rin alam kung saang kangkungan ako pupulutin kung wala ang friends ko. I am so proud of us for reaching this far, and for sticking until the end!

Grabe, I’ll graduate college at 23, samantalang yung parents ko nung 20 or 21 years old sila nagta-trabaho at lahat na!

It is in 2022 that God answered almost all my prayers. I am living through and experiencing the things and events I fervently prayed for before. Everything just fell into place. I am the happiest. Worth it lahat, and nagma-make sense na rin kung bakit nangyari lahat ng mga bagay na iniyakan ko before. Almost everything I manifested at the beginning of this year have happened, and are bound to happen. I am so thankful!

Of course, I wouldn’t be where I am right now without my family. Thank you for the gift of education and for everything!


Finished Product:

It’s time. The timer is off. The oven is back to its cool temperature. The product has also cooled down. It’s time to serve (Dasurv!), it’s the good part! Ito na ang exciting part!

Andrei Mari Chilian T. Paras
Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Angeles University Foundation
Class of 2022
Magna Cum Laude
Topping the PCA was not what I envisioned, but God did not fail me.

When all of this is over, I’d look back with a grateful heart; for the years I spent studying human behavior allowed me to fulfill my goal—that is to have a better understanding of myself and other people. I am grateful for the experiences, the people, the lessons, and everything in between.

After traversing the world of human behavior, I know that I’d be choosing my passion next. I will study the things I love, the things I’m interested in, not the things I’m unconsciously afraid of, or the things that no longer spark joy. I know that the next destination would be sweeter in nature, and would involve actual ingredients and a legit recipe.

Psychology is not the end-all be-all of my life, it just had to be there for me to discover that I am capable, and that I can relate with others. It is not bound to limit my career path, I believe that it just diversified my career options.

We’re out of the woods! Adios, Psychology! Veni, vidi, vici!

That in all things, God may be glorified!


Author: Andrei Paras
Initial Draft: February 2019
Publishing Date: July 19, 2022
Featured Image by: Air Pocket Creatives
Edited by: Andrei Paras
Graduation Portraits: Cimmaroon Photography


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The Complete Senior Year Guide

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Just me on a regular day in high school. Legit missing those days. (Wow kala mo naman ang tagal na.)

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED OR A PAID POST. THE VIEWS AND OPINIONS ARE MY OWN AND THEY DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS AND BELIEFS OF THE SCHOOL.

This is it. This is going to be your final year in high school and you’re about to graduate after ten months. At long last. It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for as the Department of Education deprived you of this for two years. I know the feeling. You are officially graduating from basic education and congratulations for making it this far. It is going to be a blast!

Grade 12 is the make-or-break year of your high school life. Why? It’s the “filtering” stage because one mistake or failure can cost you your diploma and one bold move can launch you into the spotlight. You either take the stairs to success or dig your own grave. The decision is yours. I won’t talk much further because everything I want to address is already written down below. Let’s cut it short.

Here’s the final chapter of my Senior High Guide series and perhaps the last entry dedicated to my alma mater. Let’s get down to business. Allow me to share my senior year experience in full detail. This post holds nothing but the truth. It’s a LONG READ but I promise it will be helpful! Read on!


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THE BASICS

  • Mind over matter. – This will be my first tip because it’s the most important. You have to condition your mind that it’s your best year ever, that you’ll do everything you can to make it worthwhile. It’s your last shot in high school so you better get focused. You need to have this I’m-gonna-do-my-best-whatever-it-takes mindset. Dapat motivated ka to ace your graduating year because it’s a make-or-break year. You have to imagine a prize waiting for you at the finish line para ma-motivate ka. Actually, may mga weird akong motivation. Minsan iniisip ko na dapat kong gawin ‘to para mahaba yung sasabihin ng emcee bago ako mag-bow sa recognition. (Dapat mapagod magbasa yung emcee sa dami ng awards!) O kaya dapat mahaba yung caption ng Facebook post ko or ng parents ko. O kaya minsan isipin niyo na lang na dapat naka-reserved seats yung parents niyo pag graduation na.  And that helps too! Akala niyo ha! Hahahaha!
  • Review your old Biology and Physics lessons. – Once again, your notes in JHS will be of help. Your lessons in Bio and Physics will be taken again in your senior year and you might as well review them! Good luck sa Physics! Hihihihi.
  • You’ll miss Math. – Life is so much better and lighter because there’s no Math.  And it worked to my favor because most subjects are more on linguistics and arts. Physics lang talaga ang kalaban nating mga bobo sa math.
  • Creativity is a prerequisite for STEM. – Yep. Dapat marunong ka sa mga scrapbook scrapbook doodle chena and all. Hindi ko alam bakit ang tatanda na namin tapos ganito pa rin, well kung mas mahirap naman ang ipapagawa mas magrereklamo kami. Hay, kaya di tayo umaasenso eh. LOL. Basta ayun, dapat may art skills pa rin because Grade 12 is more on creative work. Magazines, music videos, short films, presentations, name it you’ll do it. Star Magic workshop lang ang peg. Tip: If you struggle with creative ideas, the internet is there. Just as long as di ka deretsahang kumokopya ng trabaho ng iba.  Nakakatuwa rin kapag creative projects kasi nai-insert ko yung mga interests and ideas ko. I remember one time I reinvented skin products for a business proposal. Then we produced a magazine and I chose Lifestyle as the theme. Haha! Share lang.
  • Memorization skills are vital. – There’s Bio, SocPol, Contemporary Arts, Theo, ETech, Entrep, and all the other subjects na puro terms ang inaaral kaya kailangan ng matinding memorization skills. Tip: Rewrite your lectures at home. I use my laptop to type lectures inside the class and then I rewrite them at home for memory retention. Guaranteed effective guys! Don’t rewrite the stars, rewrite your lecture. LOL.
  • English Proficiency is key. And because most subjects are research-centered and more on humanities, expect essays, written reports, and research work as your performance tasks and outputs. Tatlong thesis pa niyan! English proficiency is very crucial. You’ll experience producing magazines, advertisements, short films, TV and Radio broadcasting and all that research work. Feel ko nga AB Comm talaga inenroll ko eh, hindi STEM.  
  • Google Docs is a life saver. – It’s very very convenient to use as long as you have a stable internet connection. Basta online lang yung mga ka-group mo magagawa niyo yung dapat gawin. (Sana maayos na groupmates nga lang!) Oh and by the way, high tech na ang ibang teachers! May pa-Google Classroom na sila!  I just love how we are able to utilize these apps, super napapadali na yung mga ginagawa. And these apps are suited for our education system. Our generation is very lucky indeed, so don’t complain!  Di ko maintindihan bakit tinatamad at nagrereklamo pa yung iba eh mas convenient na nga ngayon. *rolls eyes* 
  • In Voice Records We Trust. – My classmates can attest to this. Using my laptop, I voice record my teachers during discussions. Lalo na pag Bio, Theo, at sa mga Research subjects because it helps when you listen to them again at home. Parang nadi-discuss ulit sa’yo. Bale lecture sa laptop, voice records, tapos lecture ulit sa bahay. Yes, this is peak GC. Oh, record your teachers during discussions to keep receipts too! “Sir, wala kayong tinurong ganyan, may ebidensiya ako!”
  • Th(re)esis – You have THREE (3) Research subjects. Practical Research 2; Inquiries, Investigation, Immersion; and Capstone Project. And please, don’t ever take these subjects for granted, makakatulong din sila kahit di mo nakikita yung relevance nila ngayon, promise yan. Promise. ‘Wag niyong unahin yung reklamo. I’ll dedicate a category for this! Continue reading!
  • Socialize. – Dapat marunong kang mag-PR, mag-salestalk, makihalubilo. Dapat marunong kang makisama. ‘Di ba sabi ko nga dati dapat pang Mister/Miss Friendship yung attitude. Hahaha! Make sure that you have connections, dapat kilala ka nila at dapat kilala mo rin sila, iba kasi pag kilala ka ng mga tao. This isn’t just about the fame, but you know you’ll need each other in certain events too. Mutualism oh. Haha!
  • Dance Again. – Gird your loins. UGH, THIS WAS MY MAJOR STRUGGLE. After a year of intense work outs, prepare yourself for dances again. Samba and Chacha were one of the lessons and sadly, wala talaga sa DNA ko yung pagsayaw kaya mababa grade ko sa PE. Then the next sem fitness ulit, so dapat pumayat ka o ma-maintain mo yung katawan mo kasi kung hindi, babagsak ka. Joke lang! Haha!
  • Connections can be very helpful. – Dapat may kilala kang sikat or professionals; i.e. nurse, doktor, negosyante, priest etc. You need to have connections too! Why? Because they can help in your research, school projects, and in other shoots! “We need to shoot in blablabla.” “Ay may kilala kami diyan! Perfect!” This will make your life easier and I’m very thankful to have connections with so many people.
  • Learn how to drive. – This isn’t totally necessary but it will help you during shoots outside the school. Dapat may marunong magmaneho sa mga kagroup mo kapag shooting ang projects, kahit pagmaneho lang yung naambag niya ayos na. Bayaran niyo na lang yung gas niya non! I ain’t kidding!

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2/3 of my Research Studies. I remember doing both of them simultaneously (see the checklist above). So stressful!

#ThesisIt

  • A GOOD RESEARCH PROBLEM WILL SAVE YOU.–  I repeat, THREE RESEARCH SUBJECTS. Not just one, not just two, but THREE. DepEd, why the hell?! Tatlong thesis in ten months?!  Ito yung tipong ultimo paninigarilyo o pagtapon ng basura ng ibang tao problema mo rin. Ganung level! So dapat magaling kang mag-isip ng research problems. Make sure you have available respondents for the topic you choose and see to it that you’ll be able to solve the problem (even in a little way lang) in the given time span. Hindi yung singka-ganda or singka-galing ng title pero pahirapan naman pag nag-data gathering. Yikes. Again, ‘wag niyong pahihirapan ang mga sarili niyo.   Dapat isipin mo, “Saan ako kukuha ng respondents?”, “Is this feasible?”, “May enough bang RRL for this?”, “Malalaban ba namin sa title defense ‘to?”, “Who will benefit from this?”.  In the first few weeks of Capstone and InqRes, your life will revolve around Variables. Yes, how this independent variable impacts the dependent variable chuchuchu. Bakit ba ‘to nangyayari, ano ang causes, anong effects, what can we change etc. Dapat alam niyo lahat  ng basics na ‘yan. 
  • Choose your workmates wisely. – Only if possible. Choose the best of the best. Make sure you get someone na masipag, magaling sa salestalk, magaling sa writing, sa Math, sa Arts. See to it na lahat sila may maiaambag. If not, weightlifting fairy ang kalalabasan. 
  • Work in a systematic way. – Because I’ve been the leader and main writer in all my thesis subjects, I make sure that my groupmates aren’t stagnant. I jot down all their work for them. “O eto mga gagawin mo, do it this way, ganitong time dapat tapos na, if not I’ll give you something else to work on otherwise you’ll pay.” This is what I do to exercise fairness. Naka-lista lahat ng assignments nila para alam nila yung dapat nilang gawin. As in organized lahat. Kung leader ka palagi, siguraduhin mong all their tasks are written or posted. Para ma-track mo kung sino yung nagta-trabaho nang maayos o hindi.  Gusto ko kasi maayos at nagagawa ang trabaho on time and in a very systematic and strategic way. Oo, demanding talaga ako kasi dapat may respeto ka sa oras at effort ng ibang tao.
  • Connections will save you. –  Life is so much easier if you choose a research topic tackling about something na connected sa ‘yo or importante sa ‘yo. Make sure it’s a topic close to your heart. This is very helpful sa Capstone and Inqres because they’re community based studies. So dapat bago ka talaga pumili ng topic, isipin mo kung di ka mahihirapang maghanap ng connections or access sa mga respondents na kailangan. If you wish to pursue a study in your barangay or your hometown dapat may mai-interview ka na about the research problem or may makukuha kang respondent na makakatulong sa ‘yo. In my case, our Capstone study was about Malnutrition kaya nagpa-feeding program kami sa amin, and it’s easier kasi malapit na lang. Then for InqRes we interviewed college students from AUF and I have access there so I managed to accomplish ten interviews in two hours. This is going to be of help, I solemnly swear. If you have the privilege, please please please use it to your advantage and do it para sa ikabubuti mo.
  • Google Docs is LIFE. –  Once again, utilize technology. Google Docs, Google Sheets will be of help pag nagta-tally na ng questionnaires for Quanti research. Just input the results, the formula, and  et voila! You have it. This is also where I get to see the progress of my groupmates in real time. I know who works well and who doesn’t. *sips tea*
  • EBSCOhost is LIFE TOO. – You’ll know this soon! If there’s no EBSCO, natural selection is coming for you.
  • Rehearse your OD. – I have a habit of over-preparing for things I need to do. I practice lines and speeches days—weeks even— before the actual event. I think of questions na pwedeng ibato sa akin pag OD and I answer them, I review my manuscript a week before the scheduled defense, and I can say that rehearsing is indeed effective. I practice my lines, the questions, the rehearsed answers, lahat. Tapos naka-summarize lahat in my “final script” kumbaga. Inaaral ko lahat kahit part ng mga ka-group ko just in case mag-choke sila. And one time I prepared for the Capstone OD  tapos nung nandun na, the only question was, Let’s proceed to the conclusion na, so ano yung mga nagbago sa respondents ninyo?” and that’s it. As in yun lang. I’m like, “binasa ko lahat ng parts, ni-rehearse ko lines ko, nag-blazer ako at lahat tapos isang question lang?!” The important thing is prepared ka!
  • Prepare for cash out. – You need cash for questionnaires, tokens, pamasahe papunta sa ganitong place, pang-gas, pagkain, and other expenses. It also depends on your research topic. We conducted  a feeding program for two weeks kaya medyo magastos but come to think of it, it’s actually more feasible than doing community work na tipong lilibutin niyo buong barangay para mangolekta ng tubig tas may lab tests pa. Ours kasi dapat mag-gain lang ng weight yung mga bata then you’re good to go. Yung ibang problems kasi maraming gastos tapos walang assurance na effective or what. Hahanap sila ng leaf na pwedeng anti-bacterial chuchu, anong tubig yung safe, saan yung dapat pagtaniman ng gulay et cetera. GANUNG LEVELS. Basta maghanda kayo ng pera. Kung may pang-Starbucks at pang-H&M kayo, dapat lang may pambayad kayo ng mga mas kailangang bayaran.  
  • Research Benefits –  I know that doing research is a very tedious task but from another perspective, this will benefit us in College and in life as well. Ask me why and how? We’ve mastered how these research studies work—how they’re done, who are the potential respondents, where to get information and all. Tbh, hinahanap-hanap na nga namin eh. Di kumpleto yung sem kung walang thesis. So basically, pagdating ng college, piece of cake na lang. Oo, mahirap siya ngayon, pero when you look back, you’ll be thankful na na-experience mo na beforehand. Jusko 6 research studies ba naman in two years ‘di ka masasanay?! At least may prior knowledge ka na ‘di ba?! Research na English, tapos meron ding Filipino dati. Kulang na lang ata Baybayin o Hangul yung medium of instruction! HAHAHA.  O ‘di ba, ahead ka na sa iba mong blockmates soon! Plus you get to hone your oral and written communication skills. Nawa-widen vocabulary mo, nate-test yung fluency and proficiency mo. Your creativity and interpersonal skills are tested too. That can be applied to other practical and daily activities. And that’s our edge as Familians or as K-12 Pioneers. Ibang klase yung training natin so better be thankful!

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This is me looking down at my haters. Just kidding!

PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE

  • You’ll get tired of the people around you. – Whether you like it or not, you’ll eventually outgrow the people around you. Lalo na yung mga taong walang magandang impact sa buhay mo. Yung mga taong walang ibang ine-emit kung ‘di negativity. You already know everything about everyone in your batch. Pero kahit ganon, may attachment pa rin sa mga good friends eh, kahit may mga bad memories ka with other people, hahanapin mo rin yung company ng mga totoo mong kaibigan. Imagine being with the same people for 12 years. You basically saw each other grow up but, it’s time to say good bye as you move on to a new chapter. 😉
  • Keeping up with the Kadramahan. – It’s Mean Girls brought into life. There are times when  I think that some of my batch mates matured in reverse. Kung kailan kami tumanda dun nagkakaroon ng petty issues at catfights na burn book worthy. Regina George is shook.  Cyberbullying is rampant too. Honestly I have no idea bakit ‘di nare-report yung mga ganitong cases at ‘di nasa-sanction yung mga perpetrators. Well, feel ko mauubos yung mga estudyante. No joke! So much drama lies ahead mga kids, grab your popcorn with large softdrinks. Get a daily dose of tea. MARAAAAMING TOXIC. Dapat talaga sina-sampolan yung mga taong ganito eh, ano pang use ng handbook kung hindi nai-impose yung sanctions?! Ang dami sanang di nag-graduate!
  • Yes, people will talk shit about you. – Some people have so much time in their hands that instead of studying, they keep on spreading false rumours and malicious gossip about you or other people. They also have time to stir things up and create issues. Kung sanang pinasa niyo na lang yung oras na sinayang ninyo sa akin, marami na sana akong nagawang productive.  I think it’s a projection of their own insecurities or maybe because they’re just jealous? (Pero most of them are really problematic based sa mga observation ko.) Or wala lang talaga silang magawang maganda sa buhay? May mga tao talagang maraming time magchismis at gumawa ng kwento pero pag lessons na, wala na silang alam. Merong iba na chismis lang din yung ambag sa mga group work. I’m sooo done. Tip: Laging niyong tatandaan  na kapag marami kang ginagawang mabuti o maganda, hahanapan ka ng faults and ima-magnify ng ibang tao yung mga pagkakamali mo. It’s part of life so just shake it off. Never retaliate. Let karma do its job, just continue doing you and find your way to the top. Yung mga gossipmongers na yan din yung mga hihingi ng tulong sa’yo pag minsan! Marami silang humihingi ng tulong sa akin pag minsan!  😉
  • Leave toxic people – Never ever tolerate toxic behavior. I’m no cactus expert but I know a prick when I see one. And please do keep the circle small. You don’t need to endure the toxicity of other people just because may pinagsamahan kayo. Iba yung mental and emotional pain na ibinibigay ng mga toxic na tao so don’t think twice about leaving them. Negativity begets negativity and you don’t want it to be part of your system. And if I cut you off, chances are you handed me the scissors. Bye feeeelicia.
  • I…I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative… –  Stay away from gossip. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in trouble and in inescapable situations. It’s better to be alone than in bad company. Tip: Wag kang lalapit sa mga taong mali. 

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My high school squad and I candidly pose after the graduation rites. We all graduated with honors and with other awards! 6/6! Now that’s what you call #SquadGoals. 

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The first and last time I joined DSPC and as luck would have it, I bagged a Best News Presenter award. 

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Forever with distinction because Physics was a disaster. Better than nothing at all.

Rise Above

  • Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. – No matter what you say or what you do, you feel like you’ll never be right. I’ve shared about this in my Graduation letter if you remember. There will always be someone who will try to point out your flaws or will try to bring you down in your moments of success. Alam mo, tama o mali man ang gawin mo, may masasabi at masasabi pa rin ang mga tao sa ‘yo, and that’s their problem na, not yours. You can’t please everyone guys.
  • Smart Shaming? – I don’t understand why people try to bring down those who are competent in class and those who excel in what they do. Never ever justify your laziness and your incompetence, you might want to keep up instead of dragging these people down.
  • All About Branding. – Ask yourself, “How do I want to be remembered?”. How you see yourself is how other people are going to see you. Be a role model or someone to look up to. Ask yourself if the 5 year old you will be proud of who you are right now. It’s not just about keeping a squeaky clean reputation, it’s just that you have to leave an impact, a really good impact, on the lives of others. Be genuine. Be someone worth knowing and make your story something worth telling. Mag-iwan ka ng legacy. THINK OF WHAT WILL BE WRITTEN IN YOUR YEARBOOK WRITEUP. (Minsan isipin niyo reaction ng mga tao in case bigla kayong mamatay, matutuwa ba sila o malulungkot? Kaya dapat magpakabuti ka. HAHAHAHAH Hehehe half kidding!)
  • You. control. your. mood. – Emotional stability is necessary. Ewan ko, gumagana yung Psychology powers ko when I’m under pressure, in toxic situations, under intense stress, pagod and all. Whenever I’m not in my “normal” state of mind, I always say to myself na “Drei, don’t think of this.” or “Drei, positive thoughts, think of happy thoughts.” “Drei, wag mong iisipin yan, wag.” I just remind myself to pay attention to things that matter than to sulk and whine, and eventually ruin my day. Sometimes it’s how you react to things. It’s how you think. It’s all in the mind.
  • Individual Work > Group Work – I prefer individual works more than group works because you can track your progress, you don’t depend on anyone, and you are in control of everything. Mas gusto kong mag-isa nagta-trabaho and I really plead my teachers to allow me to go solo during other projects. I like working alone because I get the best ideas out of nowhere then I can execute them better by myself. Maybe it’s because I don’t like bothering or depending on other people or maybe I’m just totally done with their excuses and selective participation. Basta dapat masanay kayong mag-isa magtrabaho kasi pag college na you’re on your own!

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OJ Preparation. 

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#FunTime2017 was the best. IV of Spades, Ben&Ben, Patty Tiu? At the covered court? HFA DID THAT.

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Serving looks as we go on the way to the Met Gala. Kidding! #Regalia2018 was a blast!

The Last Time 

  • Meet new people –  It’s refreshing to learn from new people. Choose people who choose you. It’s okay to be friendly, it doesn’t hurt to be nice but you don’t go around trusting everyone you know. As I’ve said earlier, other people suck. Be friendly pero wag kayong lalapit sa mga taong mali. Yun lang talaga. Mafe-feel mo naman kung may mali eh. Some events like Science fairs, bazaars and club meetings will require interpersonal skills so better grab the chance to meet new people!
  • Enjoy your “Lasts – Last Culmi, Last Intrams, Last First Friday masses, Last Apostolate, Recollection sa SACOP, Christmas Party and all school events. Attend all of them because it’s the last. It will never be the same again. Please make the most out of it, and take lots of pictures para may memories! Enjoy it while it lasts because before you know it, you’re already on your way to college!
  • Love what you do, do what you love. – Involve yourself in a club or org you really love and it won’t feel like work at all. You have a lot of choices. There’s Cor Unum, The Student Council, Health Sci, ABM Org, Benedictine Club, Athletics, Academic Team to name a few. Basta ang mahalaga, nage-enjoy ka sa ginagawa mo at panindigan mo ‘yan kasi ginusto mo. 
  • Live for the moment. – No matter how seemingly toxic it was before, mas pipiliin mong maging Grade 11 or Junior High ulit. Trust me, sasabihin mo rin ‘to if you reach this point. Pahirap nang pahirap at patanda na tayo nang patanda. Ang bilis ng panahon kaya sulitin niyo lahat ng experiences and events. Minsan lang yan kaya enjoyin niyo na, next time Adulting101 na. I know I always tell this to almost all my undergrad friends, feel ko deep inside ‘di ko talaga masyadong na-enjoy yung high school or I still seek for more enjoyment kasi focused ako sa acads. Hahaha!  But anyway, from a viewpoint ng isang adult, mas pipiliin pa rin nilang mag-aral so enjoyin na lang! 
  • UNEXPECTED FRIENDSHIPS ARE THE BEST.Dito mo makikilala yung mga totoo mong mga kaibigan. Yung mga masasandalan mo kapag nangangailangan ka, mga masasabihan mo ng lahat, mga nandyan para suportahan ka, mga masaya din pag masaya ka. YOU WILL MEET YOUR FRIENDS FOR LIFE. And that’s given in high school. But I made a lot of friends—real friends—in Senior High. I won’t meet the best people ever if it weren’t for SHS. I also met so much people who made a significant impact in my life. I couldn’t be more thankful for you all. Shoutout to Japs, Caltex Buddies, Best Sec People, Hilary & Gerard friends, my servicemates, and my Skin Care followers! I miss you all!!!!!!

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This is me taking advantage of the golden hour to get good photos. It was after a “paper plane flying” activity during our retreat!

CLASSIC REMINDERS

  • Don’t go to school if you’re SICK. – Oh please, you don’t go around spreading virus in pursuit of that perfect attendance and punctuality award. Please please please, if you’re not feeling well, stay at home. Get enough rest. ‘Wag mong pilitin yung sarili mo dahil magkakasakit ka lalo. ‘Wag ka ng manghawa ng ibang tao dahil mahal at mahirap magkasakit. Or do us a favor and just wear a face mask. Madaling maghawaan dahil naka-aircon na! 
  • Complaining ≠ Making a pointSome students nag about everything. Ine-explain pa lang ng teacher kung ano yung work, complain agad. I won’t exclude myself because know I complain on social media sometimes. Pero yung iba kasi wala ng ginawa kung hindi mag-complain. Bibigyan ng work, magre-reklamo. Deadline, reklamo ulit. May ganitong requirement, reklamo na naman. Nakakastress!!! Actually may mga taong mas marami pang nareklamo kesa nagawa. Why don’t you just comply?! Nag-enroll pa kayo! There’s a fine line between complaining and making a point, the former wins no sympathy. Bakit pa kayo nag-aral kung ayaw niyong sumunod, ‘di ba?!  (ok before you attack me, yung iba kasi ultimo maliliit at simpleng bagay na lang ang ipinapagawa magrereklamo pa. FIGHT ME. loljk bye)
  • Kung alam mong bawal, ‘wag mong gagawin. – I repeat. Kung bawal, ‘wag gawin. Four words, 17 letters, do it and you’re still in the running towards graduation. LOL JK. Kagaya ng pagdala ng phones, vape, at kung anu ano pa. And when they get caught, they still have the audacity to complain or make up excuses. Hay. You’ve studied the handbook for six years in a row yet nothing was instilled in some of you. So disappointing.
  • IT’S OK TO BE GRADE CONSCIOUSBasta balanced, ‘di yung ‘di ka na natutulog para sa grades. I actually thought of something that would eventually help me. Tip: Isipin mo every start of the sem na 98 lahat ng grades mo and you should do everything to maintain that 98 in your card. Tapos kung hanggang saan yung binaba dapat malagpasan mo next time. Let’s say for Physics I assume that I have a 98 on the first day of the second quarter, tapos di ko kinayang i-maintain so naging 84 nung cards out. The following sem dapat bawiin ko yung 84, ipu-push ko para maging 85. Ganon. Gets niyo ba? Haha!  #MAINTAIN
  • Extra curricular activities are just as important. – Enjoy your pull outs and contests! Get out of your comfort zone, as I’ve said countless times. The past year made me enjoy the perks of being a student writer. It’s my first and last time to compete in DSPC and luckily, I won!
  • Learning outside the classroom is better – Experiencing things on your own teaches you things you won’t learn inside the four corners of the classroom. I wish the education system focuses more on immersion or activities that will help you develop your talents. It shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all type of education. Syempre iba iba tayo ng capabilities, you get me?
  • Reward yourself. – Remember my first reminder about having a motivation or a reward waiting for you? This is what I’m pertaining to. Every time you achieve something or when you pass a difficult exam, make sure you get to treat yourself. Dapat may reward system ka with your parents or with yourself. Be it a good massage, a nice haircut, a bunch of clothes, two piece Chickenjoy, or whatever floats your boat. Make sure you feel fulfilled and happy about yourself after accomplishing something. #SelfLove2018 tayo dito mga friends!

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Grad invites and portraits, tassel, and an unexpected award. 

…ready for it?  

  • College Preparations. – I remember writing this in this letter to myself from two years ago. Fast forward to present, I’m about to start College in a few days. Going back, your senior year is all about college preparations. Please review for entrance exams and prepare yourself mentally for another chapter in your life. Kung may time kayong magwalwal at lumibot, dapat mas marami yung time niyong nagpe-prepare for your future. It’s nerve-wrecking and sometimes you’ll just cry out of disbelief because you’re growing up too fast and everything is changing. I wrote an article about this in the tabloid issue of Cor which, I believe, will be out this month because it was delayed for cards out last April. Tell me if you want me to publish it here instead!
  • Money Matters. – You need money. Intrams, Fun Time, Contests, Birthdays of your friends, photocopies, College Admissions, Donations, and other incidental expenses will exhaust your wallet. This year lang nag-sink in sa ‘kin na kailangan talaga ng pera para makapag-aral. That’s why you need to save money and spend wisely. ‘Wag na ‘wag niyong wawaldasin sa kaka-walwal o kapricho yung perang pinagpaguran ng parents niyo. Bago mo unahin mga wants, needs muna dapat. (Wow, coming from me pa ‘no?) Nakakainis lang kasi, yung iba wala daw pambayad sa mga kailangan or donations sa school tapos makikita mo sa snaps nila na nasa Starbucks or F21 sila. Ang sarap niyong batukan! 
  • Sleep is a luxury. Kahit gaano pa ka-busy or ka-hectic ang sched mo, make sure you get at least 6 hours of sleep every day. It makes a difference. Para ‘di kayo mukhang dugyot pagdating sa school. Haha!
  • Overloaded everything. – Your senior year is going to be jampacked. Both school work and extra curricular activities come in increasing number (and intensity, charot!) so you should know how to manage your time! #PagodIsALifestyle #BawalMagreklamo #MababashKa  #BawalMapagod 
  • Burn out. –  You’ll reach this point wherein you’re going to question your worth, your purpose, your life goals. Kung yung mga ine-enjoy mong bagay o mga ginagawa mo dati ‘di mo na ma-appreciate ngayon, baka burn out phase yan. You’ll ask yourself at times,  “Am I enough?” “Will I survive this?” “Ga-graduate ba ako?” “May sense pa ba ang ginagawa ko?”. I’ve been there and the only solution is to take a break and spend time alone.
  • Weight? Wait! – Jollibee is there. Manchoo is there. Chowking is there. Kimbob time is there. Different food stalls are there. HFA is surrounded by restaurants so mate-tempt ka talagang kumain nang kumain nang kumain lalo na pag stressed out ka.  Lalo na’t maaga pa ang dismissal so… kain > uwi.

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The end of an era. 

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The best people in life are free. 

Direk, ready na po ako for mature roles.” : The Personal Development Game

For young adults out there, here are some things I realized in the past 10 months.

  • Check your privilege – This is the first year I’ve noticed that my seemingly normal or seemingly boring life is already treasure to someone else. Thinking of that makes me feel bad and grateful at the same time. We’re all born under different circumstances so you either be thankful for everything, or you work hard to achieve what you want. Make good use of your privilege and please be grateful for whatever you have. That being said, if you have the privilege to study and if you have the access to information and other resources, please use them for your own good. Aral nang mabuti please. Maraming gustong mag-aral pero hindi nila kaya. Be thankful that you’re given the chance to study in a private institution pa. 
  • Education is key – It will take you further in life so don’t waste your chance. No matter how draining it is, just remember that it’s a big big blessing because not everyone has the chance nor the means to study. Mahirap mag-aral pero mas mahirap pag walang pinag-aralan. 😉
  • Make your parents proud – As mentioned earlier, getting a good education is a blessing and see to it that you study well. Isipin niyo na dapat hindi niyo sinasayang yung perang pinang-enroll ng parents niyo, isipin niyo na magiging proud sila kung nag-aaral kayo nang mabuti, isipin niyo na magiging masaya sila at mawawala yung pagod nila kung responsable at mabuti kayo. Siguraduhin niyong aakyat sila sa stage pag ga-graduate kayo! Make them proud always in all ways. It feels so good when you see how proud they are of you! Sobrang sarap sa feeling. ❤ 
  • Compete with yourself. Mind your own growth. – I know I’ve mentioned this in a blog post from before but it’s just now that I realized how important it is to focus on your own progress and to stay in your own lane. It’s a relief to actually ignore how others work and [ignore] their progress. That’s why I mentioned earlier that I like working solo ‘di ba? Better to focus on yourself and your work alone. Turn your attention to yourself and your own growth. I ain’t sure if this is a selfish act but it actually helps you become a better version of yourself. Or maybe it worked for me because I’m an introvert? Hmmm.
  • “Being busy is a blessing” – Truth be told, I feel stagnant and lifeless when I’m not busy. I don’t know why but I think this is already part of my DNA, that I’m destined to be workaholic. I personally don’t like wasting time because I feel useless when I’m doing nothing. It’s unlike me to stagnate and I weren’t raised to be lazy. Ewan ko pero iba yung adrenaline rush or thrill na naibibigay ng pagiging busy. So much that it has already become part of my system. Whenever I’m bombarded with school work, tasks, and errands in between, I honestly feel weirdly happy and blessed because I know that the universe gave me these things to work on because I can accomplish them. It’s this mind set na “ibinigay sa ‘yo kasi kaya mo”. That’s what I repeatedly tell myself when I’m busy. Not quite sure if this is good or bad though (para kasing nano-normalize yung stress). Iniisip ko na lang lagi na blessings lahat ng ginagawa kong ito because I know  I can and I will. Basta dapat may breaks pa rin in between! Balanced pa rin lahat dapat!
  • Have P.R.I.D.E. – I made this acronym up and it stands for Perseverance, Responsibility, Integrity, Discipline, and Excellence. All these should be instilled in you because you have to fend for yourself someday. Perseverance because you need to keep that drive or fire igniting inside of you. Otherwise, you won’t get anywhere. If you easily give up, you will miss out on life’s surprises. Responsibility because you’re already old enough to know what’s right for you hence, be accountable for anything you do or say. Another is Integrity because your training as a young individual will eventually shape you to be a morally upright person. May paninindigan, may prinsipyo at may isang salita. Do the right thing even when no one is watching. Discipline? That’s what most of us—as teenagers, as Filipinos, and/or as a country— lack today. We’re in dire need of discipline because we need to have control, order, and direction in our lives. Lastly, Excellence. In this day and age of settling for the bare minimum, it’s high time that we should put our best foot forward to get what we want and be consistent upon achieving our desires. It’s not an easy climb to success and excellence but you have to start right now. These five values, I believe, are part of the education that our school tries to establish in our minds and hearts. Formation plays a big role in your future and I know that HFA gives it best among others.
  • You have to give more than what is expected from you. – I over-prepare for everything. If I have a scheduled defense or report, I’d practice my lines a week before or days before the actual event. I always go the extra mile even if it means spreading myself too thin. I want everything to be perfectly polished and practiced  like there’s no room for error. Then once I’m in the situation I’m preparing for, I’ll tell myself, “Ay ganito lang pala.”, “Ay, sobrang naghanda ako tapos eto na yon?!”.  Thing is, you’re not gonna lose anything if you come in really strong, right?  NEVER EVER DO THINGS HALF BAKED.
  • But sometimes, you gotta take things lightly. – Sometimes, it’s just us who overthinks about things. Siguro dala na ng pagiging subsob sa pag-aaral. There are times na maririnig mo pa lang yung words na “Thesis” o kaya “OD” (in my case, Physics lang ang nagbibigay ng anxiety sa akin) then you’re going to feel anxious or tensed already. Yung tipong iniisip mo pa lang naloloka ka na. Pero pag nalagpasan mo na lahat ‘yon sasabihin mo sa sarili mo na, “ay ganun lang pala?” or “How did I survive that?” Tip: Minsan isipin mo na lang na nasa reality show  ka tapos weekly challenge yung pinapagawa sa inyo so you’ll be motivated to do your best and enjoy it at the same time.
  • Learn from your mistakes. – I’d be lying if I say that I didn’t commit a mistake this year. I also have my fair share of careless actions which I kind of regret doing. Think of my tweets or IG stories. I’ll leave it up to you to guess which of them almost got me into trouble. Hint: It’s about a drink. 😉 And please, DON’T BE AFRAID OF FAILURE. 
  • Negative thoughts are lurking around – It’s difficult to not entertain them, it’s hard not to overthink, it’s hard to avoid them when they kick in, most specially when you are at your lowest. Ang hirap. Minsan gusto mo na lang magkulong sa kwarto. Pag vulnerable ka doon ka lapitin ng negativity. You guys know that I am an optimistic person who’s always happy and in a good mood. Honestly,  I also have bad days. I experience break downs too. Minsan nga I’m questioning myself why do I entertain these thoughts when I always preach na it’s all in the mind, about positive thinking. One thing I learned is that it’s very inevitable. This is why mental health is crucial because these negative thoughts can lead to depression. And others resort to bad habits like alcohol and drugs and that makes it worse! Don’t let the demons win.
  • Choose Your Battles – also known as “No to Negativity.” I came across this  ‘5-5-5 mindset’ online and it says, “If it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes [over]thinking about it.” As young adults, this is something we should apply into our lives. It’s the fact that not everything deserves our attention and time. Same applies with other people. Don’t kill them with kindness because not everybody deserves your kindness, kill them with silence because not everybody deserves your attention.” But let’s not be apathetic either, you should only focus on what matters.
  • You’re growing up fast. – Maybe it’s just me who thinks of it this way? I always think that being 18 or being in my final stretch of education (and my teenage years) is tantamount to adulting. I’m not quite sure if it’s just me or I feel that I have an approaching deadline for success? Like I should achieve this certain thing at this age, I should be able to do this at this point of my life. It’s very confusing. Finding your purpose is no easy task. It’s part of early adulthood to feel lost and confused about your purpose in life and/or your career path. I just hold on to the fact that everyone my age also struggle with the same thing. We’re not alone!
  • Task and time management is everything.  – I wake up at 4:30 am everyday then I leave home at 5:30.  I arrive home at around 5 p.m. and I still have time to do everything that needs to be done. Kung nagawa kong mag-honors, magCor Unum, mag-blog, at mag skin care routine, magkaroon ng enough sleep simultaneously, kaya niyo rin yan. Although there are opportunity costs like less family and friends time, mababawi mo naman yan during the weekends and holidays. If there’s one thing I learned about time management, it’s that it can’t be mastered overnight. It’s a long process and I’m thankful because I was raised to use my time wisely. Dapat may respeto ka sa oras mo at sa oras ng ibang tao.

 

That officially ends this series. I hope you enjoyed reading my confessions. Most importantly, I wish you all learned a thing or two in this long post! I will absolutely miss writing these blog posts for you Familians! Make sure you keep them all into mind!

Adios, Colegio de la Sagrada Familia! It’s been a good 12 years with you. See you all around!

To all Grade 12 students, enjoy your Senior year and make it the best of the best! Congratulations for making it this far! You can do it! #YourYear 

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That in all things, God may be Glorified!

 

Veni, Vidi, Vici.

 

0807

At this very moment, happiness is an understatement. No words can express how wonderful I’m feeling right now knowing that I made it this far amidst all the plot twists and turns I encountered in the past ten months—or should I say, the past 12 years. The sleepless nights, painstaking efforts, and stressful days of the past 6 years all come down to this significant day. This moment is the culmination of my 12 year stay in HFA, and you know that I hold my alma mater dear to my heart. I am thankful for every single thing—the important lessons, both important and obsolete, the friends that turned into family, and the happy memories that I will forever cherish.

Looking at how far I’ve come never fails to make me feel sentimental. Merely thinking that it will never be the same again is also a tough pill to swallow. There were lots of questioning and doubts along the way. I constantly felt lost, I felt that what I’m doing is pointless, I felt that everything doesn’t make sense. I felt stuck. The uncertainty is killing me and the anxiety is slowly getting the best out of me. I have questioned Him a lot of times, I endlessly doubted myself, and I just wanted to quit. I thought I won’t make it. But looking at it now, all that had happened serve a purpose. God has led me to the right path and He has given me the answers I’ve been dying to know. I know why He placed me in this certain spot. His plans are slowly starting to unfold and all the puzzle pieces have come together. I successfully finished Senior High School, I excelled in the strand I was forced—hesitant, even—to take.

Truth be told, I am more than grateful for having experienced K-12 and for being part of the pioneer batch of DepEd. Sounds perplexing, I know, as I projected sheer disgust over this issue two years ago. You might be wondering why I express gratitude over the additional two years in high school. It’s because during these years that I finally found my potential and my confidence. Big thanks to all my role models and inspirations who have motivated me in achieving what I have right now! My Senior High School experience was absolutely remarkable as I journeyed my way to the top. The first four years in junior high school were nothing compared to Senior High. The achievements I had this year alone outnumbered all my junior high achievements combined. All the fun moments and unforgettable memories happened in the past two years as well. I was lucky enough that Senior High happened in my time for it brought out the best in me and made me shine even brighter. It was my year.

On the lovely side of that, I was given more than what I expected— performance tasks, writings, research studies, and everything that required mental and physical strength come in increasing number. There were blessings on top of another. I had the power and authority because of my position. There were exclusive perks and privileges I enjoyed as a writer. Frankly, I was fortunate enough to ace almost everything—academics, extra curriculars, my online presence, relationships with my family and friends, and most importantly, my self-fulfillment. I had the best of everything. It was overwhelming but come to think of it, I am beyond blessed and I am having the time of my life.

On the other other side of the coin, there were people who tried to destroy me and my reputation. My drive and my academic competence has been trivialized as nuisance, and my newfound confidence has been mistaken as arrogance. There were people who doubted me, who attacked me for my personal choices and convictions, and hated me for giving my all in everything I do. And to tell you honestly, in my quest for excellence I felt truly alone. No one understands how driven I was to make the most out of everything and there’s this lingering feeling that I was the only one working hard, that I was the last one standing. Some days I felt that whatever I do will never be right for others, that in their eyes I will never win. The negative atmosphere nearly took its toll on me and almost affected my mental health. But I thought that was it. I thought that the seemingly difficult situations were over until I lost people I love—literally and figuratively. There’s the never ending high school drama by toxic people. Oh, and I forgot to mention that this goes with the ever present negative thoughts. I was terrified of the idea of not meeting the expectations and standards I set for myself. I’m afraid of being a failure. Of being a disappointment. It was tough. However, I know that all the pain and sorrow I experienced yesterday have made me stronger and wiser.  As optimistic as I can, I know that these adversities are opportunities for growth. They are vital for our development. I am well aware of the fact that pain is inevitable and as John Green says, it demands to be felt.

Inasmuch as I want to quit, I remember my younger self saying that I should remember why I started. That quitting is never an option, that whatever I’m going through will eventually pass. Seeing my old entries and recalling how motivated I was to get to the finish line makes me want to do even better. I know that I have more people who constantly support and love me than those who deliberately pull me down. The detractors and critics were my biggest motivators. I always tell myself that I need to prove them wrong and I need to step up my game. Instead of sulking and getting consumed by negativity, I used it as a fuel to drive my way to success. If you experience the same, a change in mindset is all you need. You have the power to block negativity from your mind and not to let it get into you. It’s all in the mind. You either let it destroy you or strengthen you. Look at the bigger picture and convert negative situations into positive learning experiences. It ain’t as easy as it looks but here I am right now.

Remember that you need to find ways to get back up once you trip. And in times of adversities, remember to start strong, to stay strong, and to end strong. You have to keep up with the pressure, both from within and from the external forces around you. You just need to keep on getting better than you were before. Focus on your own race and stop looking at your competitors because YOU ARE YOUR BIGGEST COMPETITOR. I always preach that you need to compete with yourself, and that’s what I did. Let me say it louder for those in the back, instead of pouring your energy on other people’s lives, focus on yourself and your own progress. Focus on what matters. You have to remember why you are doing this and who you are doing it for. Is it for yourself? For your family? For God? Think about it.

With all that in mind, I managed to end the school year with a bang. As luck would have it, I am graduating with distinction  and with a couple of awards I managed to collect in the past year. Albeit the road was bumpy and the ride was tough, I found my way to happiness and success. As quoted in Designated Survivor, “There’s no victory without sacrifice.” and all the sacrifices and opportunity costs paid off. It was worth the blood, sweat, and tears. I know I deserve what I have right now because I worked hard for it. True, these things may be forgotten soon but what matters now is how I managed to survive and achieve them all. God has given me enough strength and courage to face everything. All experiences taught me how to value integrity, responsibility, and perseverance. Senior High taught me the value of education and hard work. ‘Di ibig sabihing nakikita mong tinatamad mag-aral ang iba ay tatamarin ka rin. Dapat hangga’t kaya mo, gawin mo. Don’t conform to their standards just to fit in. Don’t drag yourself into the incompetence of others and never settle for mediocrity. Remember, your education is something that cannot be taken away from you. The learning experience might be mentally draining but it’s going to work for your advantage in the long run.

I am extremely grateful that I belong to this experimental batch, I’m thankful that I was given enough time for myself for I have grown and developed into a more matured person. The universe has given me time to decide and to prepare for my future as well.

Senior High might have been a burden to some but it’s more of a blessing to me. I know that it will benefit me in the long run and it prepared me for all the things ahead. It taught me lessons I need more knowledge about. It opened my eyes about important things. I am thankful for all the experiences I had and now that I am graduating, I vow to bring all of these lessons and memories with me as I go on further in life. This is just the beginning and I am just getting started. May God guide me for all that’s ahead. UIOGD.


There are things I would like say to the following people who played a vital role in this journey:

To the Almighty Father, THANK YOU. Thank You for giving me everything—the guidance, protection, blessings, answered prayers, every single thing. Thank You for finally making me realize that it was all part of Your plan. I will always let Your will be done. All of this is for You and for Your greater glory.

To my parents and my whole family for the support, guidance, and love you continue to give me. Thank you for giving me the best that the world has to offer just like getting a good education such as this. I promise to not let you down. I’m doing this for you and I hope I made you proud!

To my beloved advisers, teachers, and to the whole HFA community, words can’t express how much I loved being in this institution for more than half of my life. The quality education I got from Holy Family Academy is something I treasure the most and I promise to uphold the Benedictine values as long as I live. You all played a big role in my formation. I will miss you all!

To my real friends who were with me in this bumpy ride, I just want you to know how thankful I am for meeting you all and for always being there whenever we need each other.  You all made my high school life better than it ever was. You all know who you are!

To my followers and readers who keep on believing and supporting me, the little things you do are all appreciated and I’m thankful for all of you. You guys are one of the reasons why I am doing what I love. You are one of the reasons why I’m here. Thank you all!

This milestone won’t be possible to achieve without all your love and support. I am eternally grateful.

Love, 

the guy in navy blue blazer


Andrei Mari Chilian T. Paras

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Holy Family Academy

Class of 2018

 

How much GC is too much GC?

“Ay masyadong gc, di marunong mag-enjoy sa buhay ‘to.”

“‘Di na kita tatanungin, obvious namang nag-review ka. Memorize mo na lahat eh.”

“Sus, pabibo. Grades lang ‘yan!”

These are just some of  the most common lines that grade conscious students normally hear. And yes, I am one and I experience this all the time. I believe these lines are a testament of the rise of smart shaming in the society. The aforementioned lines are like music to our ears, to tell you honestly. The term “Grade Conscious” or “GC” has eventually become our scarlet letter that seems to be wrapped all around our head open for public scrutiny. Frankly, it’s already part of our identity. People think that once you belong to this club, you become that student whose attention is directed exclusively to grades and studies. You are that student who aces everything without breaking a sweat. You are that student who is stereotyped for being anti-social. You have established a reputation that your life revolves around your grades and you get anxious about the thought of getting 85 below. Being grade conscious is like joining a religion that is yet to be entered by the masses. I admit that I am part of that cult. For the record, let me answer those who keep on sneering at GC students like me.  No, we don’t know everything and we don’t claim superiority over others. And yes, we still have time to socialize and have fun. And of course, we get to experience difficulties in some lessons too. We are still considered normal students who also commit mistakes and encounter failures. But instead of dwelling on them, we search for ways to gain more knowledge, to learn from our wrongdoings, and to find room for improvement.

The only difference is our standards. What’s enough for others might be insufficient for us. A passing grade for some might be our most dreaded mark. Label us “fishing for compliments” but it’s unlike us to drag ourselves into the incompetence of others. We are always on the hunt for the best. We are afraid of being average. It’s not being papansin, it’s not being pabibo. It’s about striving for the best and adhering to your own standards. I know that some students have diverse thoughts regarding this. Yes, grades are just numerical and abstract representations of your academic efforts and they don’t necessarily measure your intelligence, creativity, and interpersonal skills. And yes, grades don’t guarantee you a brighter future. Your medals and certificates don’t determine success. But I digress. As opposed to majority, I believe that there will always be a correlation among the two. Your progress in one thing can lead to your excellence in the other. Grades can, somehow, tell how far you are willing to risk in order to achieve something. They are a concrete evidence of your consistent labor and discipline hence, they are more than just numbers.

Now you ask me, how much grade conscious is too much grade conscious? When does it become too much? On a personal note, I say as long as you keep everything balanced and your genuine desire is to learn and to give your best, nothing will ever be too much.  As long as you don’t step on anyone’s toes just to get ahead, as long as you strive, then it’s fine. After all, focusing on your studies is better than slacking off.


#GCLife

Is it difficult to be GC? Being the quintessential grade conscious student I am, I may say no because it’s innate in me to give my best in what I do. Since then, I’ve always been a studious kid. My level of grade consciousness, however, might be brought by certain circumstances such as being surrounded by competitive individuals for many years or being faced with the high expectations of my teachers. Admit it or not, being GC is not the hardest part. Maintaining your grades and assuring that you get past the cutoff grade is. Going the extra mile and spreading yourself too thin is. Keeping up with the pressure and the expectations from yourself and from your family is. It is draining. It can even lead to burnouts. But how do we keep up? It all comes down to your mental strength. It’s hard to be consistent. It’s hard to stay focused, and with the screwed up education system we have at present, it’s impossible not to be grade conscious. Hence, there’s a need for a  motivation. You have to visualize a finish line or a trophy for you to keep on pushing and hustling. You need to keep your eyes on the prize and when you see the result of your hard work, you’ll get motivated to do even better.


Best of You

In this age where people consider it normal to deliberately mock those who are vocal and firm about their beliefs and knowledge, it’s better to stay above it.  Don’t ever think that it’s wrong to study hard or it’s wrong to be aware. It’s your duty to educate and motivate yourself and not let anyone tell you otherwise. Turn their annoying edi wow’s to uplifting OMG How?!’s.  I kid you not. 

Being GC pushes you to your boundaries. It pushes you to your limits and this way, you’ll get to know how far you are willing to go for the things you want. In all honesty, I view school work as challenges that I need to surpass and complete within a given time frame. That’s how I see it. I always find a way to complete them in a systematic way, and there needs to be a step by step process in their completion. And this is what others don’t understand. Regardless of the merit, I always remind myself that learning should be the main priority. Learning is just as important and it goes hand in hand with getting nice grades. This keeps you motivated and competent. It makes you want to strive harder. And if you keep that drive, once you get to college or if you get employed, it’s going to work on your advantage. Your persistence and discipline will save you. You don’t underestimate the power of grades, they can help in your future as well. 


When is it inappropriate?

On the downside, if you use your knowledge or intelligence to blatantly display superiority and to belittle others, then it’s high time that you should reevaluate yourself. And if you think that getting into the honors list gives you a sense of entitlement, then settle your personal issues. There are those who deliberately pull other people down just to get forward. And worse, some even cheat their way up. I would rather enjoy my humble achievements than get awarded for something I didn’t work hard for. Academic dishonesty is a whole different story. Going back, instead of being condescending, aspire to be inspiring. Lead by example, you know, if others see that you have this unquenched thirst for knowledge, chances are they will do the same. And also, if you neglect your personal health, sacrifice family time, and ignore your personal recreation just to get that 98, you’re not helping. Stop normalizing and sensationalizing burnouts and toxic practices to get straight A’s. Quit glorifying sleepless nights to ace that exam. You have to rest if you need. Learn how to step back in order to make multiple steps forward. I know the dilemma of wanting to push yourself further and wanting to quit. Just train your mind to see the positive. The glory and prestige goes away with time, but learning does not. I repeat, it’s all about balance. There will always be a healthy and an appropriate method in achieving your aspirations in life.


Being gc isn’t only limited to getting good grades, it’s also about knowing the importance of learning, being competent, and excelling in your own field. It’s also about igniting the fire inside you. There’s more than what meets the eye. I think that’s what people should remember, it’s never wrong to be grade conscious. You just have to know your limits and have the perfect balance of everything. Again, grades measure how willing you are to exert effort on something. And I wish that people regard that value of persistence and labor in their daily lives. That’s all. 

 

 

Thoughts? Comment down below.