Monthly Archives: June 2013

First Senior Sunday – The Importance of Rest

It’s the first Sunday of Senior Year. What are Sundays for? REST! I wasn’t really planning on writing a blog post today but this day just wouldn’t feel right if I did not write about today, the first Sunday of Senior Year.

In the Changi Singapore Airport

In the Changi Singapore Airport

Today was actually a bit hectic. Going through the checking in process, boarding the plane, getting out of the plane and all the other things that one goes through when travelling is actually quite draining. However, it was quite a light day for my brain in contrast to the past few days where I’ve been really stuffing my brain with information and working on several different projects.

To be honest, I was really looking forward to this Singapore trip. Although, the next few days will be quite busy since the program of the seminar I’m attending lasts almost the whole day, I’m happy to be able to get out of my daily grind and routine.

Dinner at Wee Nam Kee, one of the best hainanese chicken rice restaurants I've ever eaten in! :D

Dinner at Wee Nam Kee, one of the best hainanese chicken rice restaurants I’ve ever eaten in! 😀

Throughout the last few months, I’ve realized how important a perfect timed rest or change of routine can be to one’s overall health. I’m sure everyone has experienced those days where you felt so sluggish and tired of the everyday grind. Those days when you wonder what happened to all the enthusiasm and excitement you had when you were still starting out.

This is a common occurrence when people get into a routine and after a while get tired of it. In order to avoid this, one has to constantly change up their environment or vary the different variables every so often or find new sources of motivation to keep pushing on.

Changing up ones environment at certain moments can really help one regain the zeal and fervor he once had. The rejuvenating effects of taking time off and/or changing your routine can really do wonders for anyone’s overall well being.

Having said all that, I’m glad to have this once in a lifetime opportunity to participate in a wealth management seminar and learn more about the real world. The next few days will all be novel experiences for me. Just going through the program schedule, I can already tell that these next few days will without a doubt be memorable in so many ways!

Now time to do some light reading and get some rest for tomorrow will be the start of a whole new adventure! 😀

-DOitChoco

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H2C, Yoda and Singapore – 1st Weekend of Senior Year

I’ve been really lacking sleep the past few days yet I had to wake up early once again today even if it was saturday to attend refresher classes. Although I was a bit groggy because of lack of sleep, I was still able to learn a lot today from the refresher classes I took in Math and Physics. Even if most of what we tackled today were just the basics, I learned a lot of different tricks and shortcuts from the teacher that will definitely help me when taking the college entrance exams.

The venue for our Physics refresher class made me feel quite nostalgic. We stayed in H2C today, the classroom that I stayed in during my second year of high school. I couldn’t help but feel sentimental as I saw the H2C plaque which will be eventually changed to Grade 10-C next year.

H2Champions - 2nd year was definitely a big part of my life even if I had a lot of wrong decisions that year and sacrificed a lot for basketball.

H2Champions – 2nd year was definitely a big part of my life even if I had a lot of wrong decisions that year and sacrificed a lot for basketball.

I’ve definitely grown up a lot since my 2nd year days but I’ll always remember that year and everything I went through. 2nd year was the year I really focused on training for basketball and improving my game. I was really dedicated to the point that I followed a very strict 8 meal a day diet, slept at 9:30 pm every single day and simply sacrificed a lot just to get my body right and take my game to another level. Looking back, I’m actually surprised that I was able to be that disciplined and dedicated.

The highlight of this day though was visiting my SAT review center after almost a month. I just felt a different spark rush through my body as I stepped inside that room once again. I was also really happy to see my teacher, Mrs. Lim and hear her calming voice and wisdom filled advice.

It was even more surreal seeing her talk to my older sister who once also reviewed under her. Mrs. Lim was really proud of my sister who is now heading to Yale-Nus this coming school year. It’s amazing how much Mrs. Lim enjoys helping students achieve their dreams and make it to top schools in the world. As she showed us her new additions to her wall of fame, which is filled with pictures of her students and the schools they ended up attending, I was left in awe and I could not help but feel inspired.

Throughout the years, she has been able to help hundreds of Filipino students go to top schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Upenn and a lot more. Hopefully, one day, I’ll also be able to see my picture in her wall of fame. All the weekends I spent in her classroom for around a month are days that I will always treasure. From the very first day where I was pampered with ruthlessly difficult tests to the final day, where I confidently answered a final worksheet after having built a foundation from all the previous tests.

Just like what Yoda said, Mrs. Lim emphasized the importance of breaking bad habits. She truly was an English Yoda.

Just like what Yoda said, Mrs. Lim emphasized the importance of breaking bad habits. She truly was an English Yoda.

As we looked through the wall of fame my sister commented, “Wow Mrs. Lim, you’re doing your job,” Mrs. Lim replied to that with a resounding, “No Joan, this is not a job to me; this is my hobby. I enjoy doing this.” That reply of hers really struck me. Work really never feels like work when you enjoy doing it. I’m really happy that I was able to be the student of such a wise and at the same time, caring teacher even if it was just for a month.

One of the greatest lessons I learned from her was the importance of breaking bad habits. When I first started, I was making a lot of mistakes because of the fact that I never really grew up learning the proper grammar concepts. With her help though, I was able to build a new foundation and I actually ended up getting pretty high in the Writing part of the SAT (I scored a 790/800). Without a doubt, she deserves her moniker, Yoda.

Even with all these moments, the weekend has only just begun. Tomorrow, I, along with my dad and sister, will be heading to Singapore for a business seminar. I’m honestly really excited to learn more about wealth management, case analysis, marketing and other aspects of business. Aside from that, I also can’t wait to meet new friends since the seminar is an international seminar that will be attended by young individuals from all over the world.

Since my sister is studying in Yale-NUS, she’ll also be meeting up with her friends in Singapore and she has invited me to tag along. I’m honestly quite excited to meet her friends. These friends of hers are some of the most talented and unique individuals in the world and I will definitely be able to learn a lot from them.

Everything comes with a cost though and since this seminar is a week long, I’ll have to skip 4 days of classes.  Luckily, the school year has just begun and after talking to my teachers, I won’t be missing that much and I’ll still be able to quickly catch up once I get back.

This is a unique experience that doesn’t come often so I’m happy to be part of it. Although this is an out of school activity, this is very much still a part of my Senior Year. Like I said in my previous posts, this year, I plan to take every opportunity and make the most out of my Senior Year both inside and outside Xavier School.

Senior Year is definitely off to a good start and I’m ready to accelerate the engines and experience even greater things!

-DOitChoco

The Gift of Counsel & Taking a Leap of Faith – 4th Day of Senior Year

The past few days have been really jam packed and lightning quick yet these first few days of senior year have been simply amazing. Yesterday was a really bi-polar day that ended with my seeing of my SAT score. I was honestly a bit disappointed with the score I got but yesterday was yesterday and today is today. Everyday is a new start to my surprise, today was actually one of the best days of this year so far.

The day started off with the first mass of this school year. It was a mass of the holy spirit and it really gave me time to reflect. It’s really amazing though how the homily was related to a recent article that I wrote for Inquirer about the recent “Man of Steel” movie. I guess this just shows how movies are able to connect us humans and help us relate with each other.

What I really liked about this mass was that during communion, we were given a strip of paper that had one gift of the Holy Spirit written in it with a short piece of reflection. Here’s the one written on mine:

Today God gives you the Gift of Counsel (Right Judgement)

With the gift of right judgment, we know the difference between right and wrong, and we choose to do what is right. A person with right judgment avoids sin and live out the values taught by Jesus. The gift of truth that allows the person to respond prudently, and happily to believe our Christ the Lord.

This really struck me and made me pause to reflect and think about the past few days, weeks and months. Everything has been happening so quickly and there have been times where I didn’t know what to do. Up to this day, there are still some confusing choices and decisions that I have to make. However, after reading this, I remembered that I should always go back to the values I’ve been taught from the very beginning and whatever I do, I should always choose to do what is right.

After the mass, everyone was excitedly talking about the NBA finals and almost everywhere you went, you could hear people asking, “Bro, what quarter is it? what’s the score? who’s leading?” Basketball has become a renowned sport here in the Philippines and is getting even more famous by the minute. Just like movies, it’s really nice to see how basketball is able to bring us students together. It’s not a surprising sight to see several students huddled up in a group with one laptop projecting the play by play and stats of an NBA game.

Moving on to the classes I had today, I’m really happy to say that my teachers this year are really interesting and are able to summon a different energy from us students. I’ve never seen my classmates more excited for a class than today. I guess the heavens saw that it was last year already in High School and decided to give us teachers who will really be able to help us maximize our Xavier education in this final year of ours.

More often than not, all it takes is a leap of faith to achieve your dreams! Just like Superman, I took a leap of faith and it has been every bit worth it!

More often than not, all it takes is a leap of faith to achieve your dreams! Just like Superman, I took a leap of faith and it has been every bit worth it!

Aside from all that, I also received my batch rank today and I just couldn’t help but smile as I saw the number 1. I know that rankings don’t truly show who we are but at the same time, I was just happy to see all my hard work last year pay-off. A lot of people were congratulating me and it honestly felt so fulfilling. The journey isn’t over yet though. I still have one more year and I definitely will strive to do even better this year!

What really made this day so surreal though was the fact that I had my article published in a national newspaper, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, for the first time. When I got out of school, I just had to go to the nearest bookstore and grab a copy. Words just can’t describe how I felt seeing my name and an article I wrote in the newspaper. It has always been a dream of mine for my name to be seen in a newspaper and also for me to be able to write an article for a newspaper. I guess I can now check that off my bucket list! (check out my article at: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/109433/taking-a-leap-of-faith-superman-did-it-so-can-we)

First time to have my work published in a newspaper....definitely going to treasure this for the rest of my life!

First time to have my work published in a newspaper….definitely going to treasure this for the rest of my life!

I’m thankful to God for everything that happened today. I’m truly blessed to be able to experience all these things. Senior Year has just begun yet it has already been such an incredible ride! I can’t wait for the upcoming days that will hopefully be even better!

To end, I’d like to quote a principle our Economics teacher showed us today from Greg Mankiw, a Harvard Economics Professor, “The cost of something is what you give up to get it.”

It’s actually quite a simple yet very powerful line. Everything in life has a cost whether it’s monetary or not. This senior year will definitely be full of costs and there will be times where I’ll have to decide whether the costs are worth the somethings. These decisions won’t be easy but with the gift of counsel, I can hopefully take a leap of faith and make the right choices as I try to make the most out of every single day of my senior year!

-DOitChoco

Senior Year Day 3 – Everything Happens For A Reason

We started the day off with a bang as we had our first general assembly of the year where we met our new school director, Father Ari Dy. His message to us was quite simple. He wants to help improve our Xavier experience by improving the way we learn and helping us appreciate our Chinese culture even more.

The talk that stood out though was the talk of our school principal about working hard this school year. She emphasized the importance of hard work and the fact that there is no substitute for it. If one wants to excel and get high grades, one must work hard. Actually, in everything we do, we need to work hard in order to succeed. Aside from that, she also told us to “just do it” when it comes to our homework and other non-graded things. I actually believe in this for these non-graded things are there for a reason. They are there to help us succeed in the long run.

Following the general assembly, we finally got to meet our teachers. I’m really happy that all of our teachers so far seem really good at teaching and are able to make the class very unique and interesting. As our teachers showed us the course outline for the year, I couldn’t help but feel excited for most of the topics were really interesting topics that have direct applications to real life.

I especially enjoyed our last subject, economics. Economics is something I’m really interested in and something I want to learn more about. Right now, to me, economics explains why certain things happen in our world. Who wouldn’t want to know why some countries are richer than the other? This subject seems to be really exciting and our teacher is also very vibrant and passionate about education.

It was a really hectic day though for after the bell rang, I headed to debate. Joining the debate team is probably one of the best things that could happen to me. In the 3 sessions I’ve attended, I’ve already learned so much about the world. To be honest, I actually learn so much more from Debate than from my actual subjects in school. I’m really glad that I decided to join Debate and hopefully, I can continue to improve as a speaker and more importantly as a person.

What happened next though was something that I didn’t expect. Today was the day that the SAT results would be released and as I prepared to call my driver when debate ended, I got a text from my dad of my score. I was a bit disappointed as I saw my score. To be honest, my score isn’t that bad but I was simply expecting to get higher.

The problem with my score is that it’s in the safe range and is good enough for certain schools but if I would like to pursue my dream schools, I’d probably have to retake. Right now, I feel a bit down because I got really low in the Critical Reading section. However, it’s just a test. I still have the opportunity to take it a second time but I can also opt not to. My score is good enough to pass in a lot of top schools but I guess it’s not enough for Ivy league level schools like Harvard, Yale and Stanford.

Right now, I’m leaning towards retaking the test for I know that I could still do better. The fact that the gap of my scores are quite far means that there is a lot of room for improvement especially in the Critical Reading section. Everything happens for a reason and maybe this was a wake up call for me to study even harder.

To end, I’d like to share the quote of the day from my Physics teacher about discipline, “Discipline is doing what you’re suppose to do and not doing what you’re not suppose to do whether you like it or not.”

This year will definitely be a jam packed year and how much discipline I can muster will definitely play an integral role on how far I can go!

-DOitChoco

My Last Second Day – Maximizing All The Resources in Xavier

Today was my last second day in Xavier (hehehe are the “last” everything getting annoying?). Similar to yesterday, we had a few different orientations again. This time, we were oriented and given talks by our principal, assistant principals and student activity programs head about the different issues and things that we should keep in mind in our final year in Xavier.

They stressed the importance of making the most out of our last year and not wasting it by doing stupid things. They encouraged us to all be more involved in the different clubs and committees. As seniors, it is our responsibility to lead and be role models to the younger batches. Being a “senior” in Xavier hasn’t really sinked in yet. It seemed just like yesterday when I was a freshman looking up to the seniors and thinking that they were so amazing and that I wanted to be just like them.

A few quick years and here I am, a senior myself. This year, I will definitely try my best to step up, inspire my fellow Xaverians and simply leave a mark. Today was another chance to do just that. Just like yesterday, a few of my batch mates and I gave talks again to the lower batches and really tried to empower them to try out new things, take every opportunity, make the most out of high school and create lasting memories.

Something I really learned today is that we students pay so much to study here in Xavier that we should really maximize what the school has to offer and all its resources. We should take our studies seriously. We shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions and debate with our teachers. We should try out new things and join the different clubs and committees. We should use the different resources like the gym and library. SImply put, we should make the most out of our stay in Xavier.

The power of the internet has definitely changed the way we live but how has it also affected the way we think?

The power of the internet has definitely changed the way we live but how has it also affected the way we think?

All these things are things that I wished I did earlier. I guess it’s never too late to change. I still have one more year and I really will maximize this last year. Aside from joining a few comms already, today, I actually visited the library and borrowed two books. Imagine that? Who actually still visits the library to actually read and borrow books in this day and age where everybody is so addicted and engulfed in their gadgets and in the internet?

It was only really last year that I discovered a love for reading books. Knowledge is power and instead of buying books, why not save money and borrow from the library? So this is what I’m trying to do this year. I’m going to try my best to read as much as I can and maximize the resources in our library.

The first book that I borrowed is titled, “Is the internet changing the way you think?” and the second book is titled, “In search of history.” From the titles themselves, these two books seem like very interesting books and from reading the first few pages, I’ll definitely be learning a lot more.

Excited to learn more about the transcending events in history!

Excited to learn more about the transcending events in history!

Reading books about different topics helps you learn about things that you don’t learn inside the classroom. There are thousands and thousands of books in the library and I’m sure you’ll find one that will interest you. Knowledge is power and learning never stops, so the library is one of the best places you can go to in school!

To end this blog post, I want to share with you a quote that our assistant principal shared with us from the “Man of Steel” movie, “One day, you’re going to have to make a choice. You have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be.”

Senior year will definitely be about making choices and will play a vital role in helping all of us decide what kind of men we want to grow up to be as we enter college year from now!

Tomorrow will finally be the start of regular classes and I just can’t wait to meet my teachers for the school year!

-DOitChoco

Looking Back, Moving Forward – My First Day of Senior Year!

I honestly didn’t know what to expect and how the first day of senior year would go but man, it couldn’t have been better. It was just so surreal to see all my friends, classmates and teachers once again all in one place. Aside from that, today was just filled with such vibrant energy that it was contagious and I just couldn’t help but be zealous throughout the entire day.

The first day of classes started out quite well as we all gathered for the usual orientation, except that this orientation wasn’t so usual. It’s our last orientation as a batch and a lot of us were just nostalgic and at the same time excited to start the last year of ours in high school.

The student council reemphasized school pride and making the most out of our last year. Aside from that, they also encouraged each and everyone of us to break new grounds and make a difference in our last year.

Loving every second of Senior Year so far!

Loving every second of Senior Year so far!

This was followed by our student activity programs head’s talk which was about this year’s Xavier China Experience, or XCE. I was really blown away by his presentation and I just can’t wait for XCE! The activities seem so awe-inspiring and it will also be my first time to join XCE.

Aside from XCE, our class adviser also oriented us about the different events for 4th year. Aside from college entrance exams, we’ll also be having our recollection in Xavier Nuvali, our SM immersion and our Entrep Bazaar. These are all things I’m really looking forward to and will without a doubt, make senior year memorable!

Moving on, what made this day also so fantastic and surreal was the fact that I, along with a few other seniors, were given the opportunity to talk to the younger batches about Xavier pride and making the most out of high school.

Through this, I was able to look back at my stay in high school and at the same time, share my insights, regrets and realizations with these young guns who will eventually, one day also be seniors trying to make the most out of what’s left of their stay in Xavier.

I’m really glad that I was able to share my experiences and pay-it forward. I really don’t want them to commit the same mistakes that I’ve committed and regret it later on. Everyone is talented and these younger Xaverians have so much potential. Hopefully, the other seniors and I were able to inspire these young men to step out of their comfort zone, try out new things, find their passion, strive for excellence, make the most out of high school and simply, make a difference.

After giving talks to the younger batches, I had lunch with a few close friends of mine from freshman year. It was really nice catching up with them and talking about how fast time flies. When we first entered high school our problems were just about fitting in and getting good grades but now, life is just so much bigger. Most of us are looking forward to college and our future career yet a lot of us also aren’t entirely sure what we want to be and what the future holds.

Everything will definitely work out for the better for all of us. Right now, we may have so much uncertainties but that’s what makes life exciting! Right now, we may be confused but eventually, we will find who we truly are and what really matters to us. A quote from that our guidance counselor showed us perfectly embodies this and what our mindset should be in facing the future.

“The big picture doesn’t just come from distance; it also comes from time.” – Simon Sinek

The first day of Senior Year has been nothing short of amazing. Every second, every minute and every moment just seemed so surreal. Day one is over but there are definitely a lot more memorable days to come! This is only just the start! I honestly can’t wait for tomorrow, the second day of Senior Year!

My Senior Year Schedule! Excited to meet my teachers! :D

My Senior Year Schedule! Excited to meet my teachers! 😀

-DOitChoco

A “Last” Year – Let Senior Year Begin!

Today’s finally the day I’ve been waiting for. It’s the start of my final year in Xavier. 12 years of studying in Xavier and it all boils down to this final year.

Obviously, this last year will be a full of lasts. Later today will be my last first day in Xavier, a place that has become my home away from home. I never imagined that this day would come. I didn’t think it would come this fast. I honestly still remember my nursery days, where I was so carefree and didn’t care about my future, let alone the world.

I’ve changed so much through the years and Xavier has played a vital role in making me who I am today. Here I am right now, writing this blog post while getting ready for my last year in Xavier—my last chance to get it right, my last chance to leave a mark.

Right now, I honestly have mixed feelings about finally starting Senior year. One part of me is super excited to get back in the classroom, see my friends, get to know my teaches and go through the high school life a final time.

This is an excitement and feeling that I’ve never experienced before. I honestly just want to make it the best year ever and be able to simply, enjoy the final ride. At the same time, because of the fact I’ve been loafing around the past three years, there are so many things I want to accomplish this year that sometimes, I just feel that the whole world is against me.

That part of me is scared that I won’t be able to accomplish all my goals for my last year and that I won’t be able to meet my expectations.

Luckily, there’s that thought I have nothing to lose anymore and everything to gain. It’s my final year in high school. It’s about applying everything I’ve learned for the past 12 years and just taking that leap of faith or in my words, telling myself, just DO it CHOCO!

Honestly, I know that these next few months won’t be all smiles but these are the moments I live for. I’m truly thankful to God that I have one last year to do everything I’ve always wanted to do. Nobody’s stopping me now. I can shoot for the stars, dream big and just make it happen.

It’s not anymore just about the grades, the extracurriculars, the friendships. It’s now about leaving a mark and making difference.

This is it — One final chapter, one final go at it, one final chance and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Let Senior Year begin!

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-DOitChoco