Monthly Archives: May 2013

It’s Finally SATurday! May the Odds be in our Favor!

It’s finally tomorrow, the day I’ve been preparing for for a month now, the day of the SAT. Profuse amount of time spent learning both new and old concepts, thousands of new words stuffed into my brain, countless of hours answering worksheets and practice tests, tedious moments figuring out why I made a mistake, and it all boils down to one test and that test is tomorrow. To be honest, this is probably the one written test I’ve prepared for the most in my entire life. I don’t know if I’ve done enough but what I do know is that I’ve tried everything in my power to prepare myself to a certain extent given the time.

IMG_2991I’ve done everything that I can to control what I can control and learn what I can. Like they say, “Do your best and God will do the rest.” I just have this feeling inside me that this Saturday will be my lucky day.

Like the old adage also says, “Pray for the best but expect the worst.” Reviewing for this test has definitely been quite an experience in itself. From the early stages where I was still a bit lax and complacent to the past few weeks where I’ve been pushing myself to my limits. I’m really thankful for this experience for not everyone has a chance to apply to colleges abroad, let alone take the SAT.

IMG_2931 Reviewing for the SAT, reading success stories online, reading about tips and tricks from successful test takers and simply learning as much as I can has really opened my eyes to the power of knowledge and the joy of learning. I may have gone to an SAT tutor for a while to brush up on the fundamentals but towards the latter part, it was truly all on me and whether I was up to the challenge. The 8 hour a day self study sessions, the memorizing of vocab while eating breakfast, the late hours solving a math problem will all be fond memories of mine when I look back at this period of time.

63_20120409_081736_shoot_for_the_moonTomorrow, I’m shooting for the moon so even if I fall short, I’ll end up in the stars! I’m going to seize the day, give it everything I got and leave the testing room knowing that it definitely has been one hell of a ride reviewing for the test! I’ll probably forget a good chunk of the vocab words I’ve been cramming into my brain but all the profound and eye-opening insights, realizations and even the constant headaches I gained from reviewing for the SAT are things I’ll forever remember.

I may not have the best study habits, I may not have been the most studious student during the past years, but one thing I can say about the last few weeks is that I really gave my best in trying to make every second count as I prepare for probably the biggest written test in my life so far! Without a doubt, it’s been a growing process, and I’m proud to say that I didn’t just grow as a student or learner, but I’ve also grown as a person!

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Good luck to everyone taking the SAT and may the odds be in our favor!

-DOitChoco

Lessons I Learned from the “Kindness Revolution” (A Celebration of Volunteerism)

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Last saturday, I attended Hands On Manila’s Kindness Revolution where VOLUNTEERISM was celebrated. Several volunteer organizations and charity groups were present in the event but more importantly 5 zealous change makers delivered impassioned talks that really moved the crowd. From their speeches, I was able to take away several quotes, lessons, insights and realizations that I would like to convey with the rest of the world through this concise but meaningful blog post.

943042_10151485783559482_1751295322_nFrom the first speaker, Shaina Tantuico, the co-founder and executive director of JeepNeed:

1. Reflection makes a difference. It’s during reflection that you learn the most!

2. You learn more about yourself when serving others!

3. Embrace your fears ; being comfortable is no longer safe!

970959_10151485784994482_1789024731_nFrom the second speaker, Ana Kristina Arce, a deaf advocate who stands for the cause of believing in the ability of a person, instead of focusing on the person’s disability:

1. Appreciate who you are!

2. Always find ways to communicate.

3. Think outside the box!

4. Don’t just volunteer, volunteer with HEART! ❤

248196_10151485789269482_119676394_nFrom the third speaker, Rendy Eligio who is currently heading the community pillar of ADP Philippines’ CSR initiative called “CIRCLES”:

1. You can’t blame others for saying NO.

2. You will face challenges and people will give excuses but don’t give up!

3. Lead by EXAMPLE!

4. Do what you think is right, somebody else might just be waiting for you to do it before they do.

5. It has to start SOMEWHERE by SOMEONE.

972337_10151485791074482_496955118_nFrom the fourth speaker, Ica Fernandez who currently works for the Office of the President and is part of PAGASA (Peoples Assembly for Genuine Alternatives to Social Apathy):

1. Relationships are both means and ends of transformation.

2. I am because WE are.

3. EVERYONE matters!

4. Find a way to CONTRIBUTE!

432036_10151485786524482_584154722_nFrom the final speaker, Jose “Quest” Villanueva III, a Filipino singer and songwriter, known for his song “Sige Lang” in 2012. Quest is a hip-hop and R&B singer wherein he won ‘Best Urban Music Video for 2010’ at the MYX Awards Philippines

1. Wherever you go, wherever you are, there’s a need, there’s a problem.

2. VISION: Have a vision in your life; Begin with an end in your mind.

3. PASSION: Do what you LOVE, LOVE what you do.

4. FAITH: It takes faith to embody your VISION and fuel your PASSION!

It truly was a lesson filled and inspirational event. I truly hope that everyone is able to embody and apply these lessons and values that these Change Makers highlighted in their talks. What matters  most is that you don’t only take these lessons to heart, but that you also take ACTION! Like Rendy said, “It has to start SOMEWHERE by SOMEONE,” and why can’t that someone be YOU?

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-DOitChoco

HISTORY and why preparing for the SAT has become FUN!

In preparation for the 25 minute essay in the writing part of the SAT, I’ve really been researching a lot and reading up on a myriad of topics ranging from leaders who bravely fought for a cause to inventors who through their inventions, created a lasting impact in the world . I’m really trying to be more cultured, knowledgeable and aware so that I may be ready for any prompt or topic the test gives.image

It’s really astonishing though how I’m really enjoying learning more about our history, the prominent figures who changed society and the significant events that forever altered our world. I used to find history really mundane and languid but recently, I’ve really learned how to appreciate it and I feel a lot more humane to know these things.

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I guess my perspective and approach to history has really changed. Instead of looking at all these as mere facts that I’d need to get an A+ in a test, I’ve learned how to see history as a bridge that will help me learn more about not only myself but about the world. It also helps that reading about these things and then sharing what I learned to others make me sound a bit smarter.

Abraham_Lincoln_November_1863 Honestly, one can’t help but be amazed at what several people were able to do and how they were able to make a lasting difference. Men like Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and a lot more fought for what they believed in and sought for equality. It’s truly inspiring reading about their beliefs and what pushed them to make a stand.

Moving away from politics and equality, I’ve also learned so much about inventions, technology and innovation by reading about the lives of Thomas Edison, Leonardo Da Vinci, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and the other prominent inventors of both the past and the present. Instead of just taking note of their achievements, I’ve learned how to look beyond that and more importantly, analyze and see how they came up with innovative ideas and what traits enabled them to reach new heights. 10974v7-max-250x250

I’ve definitely learned so much already the last two days, and it’s truly amazing how technology allows us to learn about a broad range of topics in such a short amount of time. Knowledge truly is power and with everything I’ve learned the past few days, I’ll hopefully be ready with a couple of examples for the essay no matter what prompt or topic may come out!

edisonLooking ahead though, I plan to continue reading more about history and I definitely think everyone should be more knowledgeable about the past for it truly does have a profuse amount of lessons that we can learn and apply to our present lives!

To end, I’d like to share a quote from Thomas Edison “I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.”

No matter how mentally draining, tedious and arduous preparing for the SAT may be, I’ve found a way to enjoy the process and it has definitely been a lot more fun!

I’ve learned so much already from preparing for the SAT not only about math, reading, writing but most importantly, I’ve learned more about the world and myself! Our perspective, outlook and attitude towards life really does make a difference! Life truly is what you make it!

-DOitChoco

The Road to June 1 – An Uphill Climb To That 2400 Peak!

It’s been a few days since I’ve last posted here because of the fact that I’ve been really immersing my self in review material and trying to do my best as I prepare for the SAT the I will be taking in June 1.

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The last few days, I’ve been really spending time reviewing for arguably the biggest test in my life, the SAT. It’s quite absurd how one test can be so abstruse, challenging and at the same time be so universal. The Scholastic Aptitude Test is suppose to be able to measure our reasoning and analytic skills in the three core subjects of Critical Reading, Math and Writing.

It’s mind blowing how fast time flies! It seemed just like yesterday when I was telling my dad,”Relax, I still have X number of months to review before the test,” but in a blink of an eye, I have 10 days left to buckle up, put on my nerd glasses and give it everything I’ve got. In all honesty though, I didn’t expect it to come this soon; actually, I’m quite astonished that SUMMER is about to end. This summer has honestly been just one roller coaster ride full of extreme highs and lows. I’ll save my senti feelings and reflection about what a summer it has been for another time for this post is all about conquering that Blue book and the test it represents!!

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Preparing for the SAT has been a really tedious and taxing process. I really only started seriously reviewing for it during April and that was only on weekends because I had Chem Camp and Basketball Training everyday. It’s also actually the first time in my life that I’ve gone to a tutor to help me out in preparing for the English part of the test. This was only on weekends though and I was still having a hard time mustering up enough discipline to do serious review on weekdays because of the tiring everyday basketball practices.

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But you know how the story goes, I ended up tearing my ACL two weeks ago and these last two weeks, I’ve been really ambivalent but at the same time, I’ve decided to really give it my best and review and prepare myself for June 1 as much as I can. During the last week, I’ve been really hitting the books hard and trying grasp all the concepts and lessons that I’ll be needing to get my desired score in the test.

The road has been really daunting and there have been times when I don’t even know if what I’m doing is worth it. The past few days I’ve been taking practice tests and my score seems to be stuck in the 2000 range. This may seem like a good enough score to some but it’s not good enough for me. It’s really a dream of mine to study in Stanford and based on my research, I’d need to get at least a 2200 to give me a fair chance at getting in. Being Asian also doesn’t help for we all know how Asians are stereotyped as “nerds” and “brainiacs.”

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I’m different though. Although I’ve always been in the top percentile of my batch when it comes to grades, the last time that I really studied for something was probably when I was a 4th grader and my parents were still really strict about my grades. Ever since then though, I’ve been winging it and just doing enough to be in the honor roll. I’ve honestly studied harder than ever before these past few days. Although I know this is not the best way to get a high score, I have no other choice but to just pour everything out and give my 10000% in these next days leading up to the exam.

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There have definitely been moments when I question myself and whether or not I’m doing the right thing, shutting myself from all the distractions (I deleted my twitter and instagram app on my phone to avoid distractions) is worth it. There are times when getting a 2400, no even just a 2200, seems so impossible. Aside from that, getting the aforementioned scores don’t guarantee anything. It seems as though the chances are 1 in a million.

During these moments though, I just tell myself,”Damn it David, you know you have lots of potential, you’re a smart man, you just have to learn how to stick it out, persevere! Don’t give up!!” Yes!! I guess I just have to believe in myself, use the remaining days I have before the test wisely and just simply, do my best! If I do these, I’ll definitely have no regrets!

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It may be an uphill battle but anything is possible! I’m just looking at this as a challenge that I have to face head on!! I definitely won’t back down and lose to a test! No way! NEVER!

-DOitChoco

 

 

Blessings in Disguise – When One Door Closes, Another Opens!

“How did you find out about this?”

That was question that I was asked yesterday during the Hands On Manila Volunteer Orientation that I attended. I didn’t want to explain the whole story so I simply said that I googled it out of curiosity during my free time. To be honest, this answer was very vague and superficial, and does not fully explain how I really ended up finding out about Hands On Manila and the orientation.

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That lackluster answer is actually half true and half false. There are times where the vapid answer is the safer answer especially when you just met the person who’s asking you the question but her follow up question really struck me, “Why did you search for something like Hands On Manila?”

9780874478525_p0_v2_s260x420Obviously, my friend and I were the only high school students there so they must have been really shocked and at the same time intrigued as to why we were there. The first answer that popped out of my mouth was because I had some free time that I didn’t know how to kill but the truth is, I’m actually really busy right now reviewing for SAT, answering practice tests, writing blog posts, planning projects for my committees and clubs and other things, but I nonetheless decided to go.

comfort-zone To be honest, I wasn’t really planning to attend because of all the aforementioned things I have on my plate and to add to that, I’m still recuperating from the knee injury I suffered and I can’t really walk properly yet but there was just this little voice inside me saying why not, it might be an opportunity of a lifetime. Aside from that, I recently wrote a blogpost about “stepping out your comfort zone, taking the initiative, being the change and volunteering” and I wanted to walk the talk especially since I wrote that blog post in support for the organization that was hosting the orientation.

Looking at it from a different perspective, if I had not tore my ACL, I probably would have been coming home from practice at the time of the orientation and I probably wouldn’t have gone to the orientation. Actually, I probably wouldn’t have even searched for volunteer organizations, let alone find Hands On Manila. But because I did tear my ACL, I realized how unpredictable life is and how anything can happen in an instant.

tumblr_lbf0c1DYVk1qahvtyo1_5001At the same time, I learned how to accept my situation, appreciate what I have and count my blessings. It occurred to me that there are a lot more people out there in a worse situation. Because of these realizations, I wanted to make the most out of my injury, find a way to make a difference in the society and share my blessings.

Because of a bit more free time I have for I can’t go to practice, I ended up finding the Facebook page of Hands On Manila, participating in the Bloggers for Social Change Project and going to the Volunteer orientation.

The orientation really opened my eyes and introduced me to the different philanthropic organizations out there. I also got to meet several convivial and amiable people who were very easy to approach and talk to. I really learned so much last night and I’m really happy that I decided to join the orientation.

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So far, the fulfillment and genuine happiness I’ve gained from doing the aforementioned has really been priceless. However, for now, I’ll have to focus first on reviewing for the SAT since I have two weeks left before one of the biggest tests in my life! Nevertheless, I’m really pumped up to share my blessings and talents and I really can’t wait to start volunteering in the different projects!

Attending the orientation is definitely a step forward to my goal of making the most out of this year by losing myself in the service of others and really making a difference in the lives of the less fortunate! 🙂

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-DOitChoco

Step Out of your Comfort Zone, Take the Initiative, Be the Change and Volunteer TODAY!

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The harsh reality is that it’s human nature for us to choose the easier and more comfortable path. At the same time, it is also human nature for us to do things that bring us happiness but the things we do and spend our time on, more often than not, rewards us only with partial and transient happiness. How then does one attain genuine fulfillment and happiness? Well, the formula for authentic happiness isn’t that perplexing, it’s quite simple actually.

what-everyone-wants-from-life-is-continuous-and-genuine-happiness-sayings-quotesIt all starts with a simple ideal called “Volunteerism.” One doesn’t need to be exuding with altruism or benevolence to volunteer, all it takes is one simple step and the rest will fall into place. This crucial and vital stride is more commonly known as, “Stepping out of your comfort zone.” 

comfort-zoneTo a lot of us, stepping out of our comfort zone is not the simplest or most facile of tasks. It takes a lot of willpower, potency, self-esteem but most importantly, a lot of heart. Volunteering entails that you leave all your superciliousness and ego outside as you enter a whole new environment.

8It’s about putting everything aside, becoming more aware of your surroundings and simply caring more. Once you are able to do the aforementioned, you are well on your way to attaining that unparalleled genuine happiness that everyone desires. 

Today, we need more people who are willing to step out of their comfort zone and make a difference in the world. It’s not just about personal fulfillment anymore, it’s about being humane, and simply caring more about life and our society.

Be-The-Change-2 A lot of people complain about how imperfect and flawed our society is but they don’t even ponder upon the possibility that their complacency may be the root cause for the flawed society they live in. The key to solving this is to have the INITIATIVE. The initiative to be the CHANGE you want to see.

So what are you waiting for? Volunteer TODAY! It doesn’t have to be so grand or colossal, even simple acts like volunteering to cook for your family, participating in your local charity program, starting a Green initiative or just the simple act of volunteering to teach your siblings or classmates who are having a hard time can make a big difference.

Volunteerism Rome wasn’t built in one day. These simple acts you voluntarily do will build up and a ripple effect will start, and before you know it, what didn’t seem like anything then was the start of something new. Aside from that, volunteering is about building the habit. The habit of caring more about the “You/Them” and less about the “Me.”

484543_4074475639492_1032367188_nAside from the surreal feeling one gets after volunteering for a just cause, volunteering goes a long way. For instance, when you volunteer in a Youth Organization, a Christmas Charity Program, a Peer Counselors Club or maybe even a Teach to Read program, you get to meet new people, broaden your horizons, experience new things, all while making a difference in the lives of others.

We won’t live forever but volunteering and taking the initiative to make something happen can change the lives of many. Isn’t this what life is about? Life is about finding that purpose that will bring you fulfillment and enable you to sincerely say that you made the most out of your life. What better way to leave a legacy then by VOLUNTEERING!

The-best-way-to-find-yourself-is-to-lose-yourself-in-the-service-of-others.-Gandhi-quoteYou’ll be amazed how much YOU can make a difference as long as you have the will to. There are so many outlets out there for you to and find your niche and share your talent and passion to others. You have no excuses for information is so easily accessible now a days, from announcements in Social Media sites to just simply going to Google and searching for local organizations.

Think about the smiles, joys and happiness that you won’t only attain but you’ll also be able to bring to others as well; that alone is reason enough to start volunteering. Don’t wait until it is too late, make a difference TODAY!

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-DOitChoco

PS. For local Filipinos out there who are interested in volunteering and making a difference, I’ve done the research for you and I’ve found a list of volunteer orgs you can join:

http://www.interaksyon.com/lifestyle/7-volunteer-orgs-to-share-your-talents-with-this-summer

Just in time for the season, one of the organizations that will be having a back to school project is Hands On Manila. Please do check out their Facebook page for details on how you can make a difference TODAY:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hands-On-Manila/80263279481?fref=ts

 

What is Love? Love is YOU!

This is my response to the Daily Prompt on Love, a very touchy and unique topic.

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Love is something abstract, something queer, something that cannot be put into terms. To many, love may seem like such a simple and prosaic word but the truth is, it has a much deeper connotation to it. 

Love is what makes life worth living. It’s what makes each day of our lives special. Without love, one wouldn’t have purpose or reason to live. Love is what drives us to wake up every morning, may it be to go to work or to cook a heart warming breakfast for your family. Love is what makes the toughest obstacles, the deepest quagmires, the lowest moments bearable. Love is what allows us to push, fight, bite, claw our way out even if the odds are against us.

Love ultimately affects everything we do. The power of love is magical and really transforms lives! This may sound absurd to some but it’s the truth. We may all have different understandings of love, but it’s because of love that you are who YOU are today!

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-DOitChoco