Tag Archives: freshman year

When One Door Closes, Multiple Doors Open (My Common Application Main Essay)

*This was my common app essay that answered the prompt, “Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.” Given that high school seniors are probably going through the process of writing their college application essay, I figured it wouldn’t hurt if I shared mine on the internet to help inspire high school students.

Numerous times I felt like giving up on my basketball dreams yet I didn’t want to be labeled a quitter. Instead, I wanted to one day tell a story just like Michael Jordan’s and how he was initially cut from the varsity team only to end up becoming the best player in the world; this became the driving force of my basketball obsession after I didn’t make the varsity team during my freshman year.

I spent countless of hours working on my game, pushing aside my friends and what a “high school” life was supposed to be about. Yet as my Junior Year ended, I sat there tired of the whole routine of working my butt off every single day only to have sub-par performances during actual games.

And after another dismal performance, I was ready to call it quits when my dad told me that if I quit, all the hours I spent working on my game would be wasted, and I’d be labeled a quitter, forever– this led to a renewed fire to stick it out in hopes of making the most out of my last year in high school.

I promised to double or even quadruple my effort in the next practices when, lightning struck. In a blink of an eye, everything I had worked for in the past 8 years disappeared as I lay on the court shouting in pain after tearing my Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), an injury that would sideline me for the rest of my senior year.

I suddenly remembered all my daily sacrifices of swallowing up those gooey protein shakes, shooting hoops under the scorching heat, doing dribbling drills during lunch breaks, refusing to indulge in junk food, sleeping at 9 pm in hopes of growing taller and turning down my friend’s invites to hang-out just so I could work on my game instead.

I was devastated as I stayed up all night in pain thinking about what I had done with my life, then I suddenly remembered why I even worked so hard in the first place — the story I wanted to tell couldn’t end here.

How could I give up when my senior year essentially hadn’t even started? I now had a blank page to start writing a renewed story.

6 months later, my story continues to unfold. Who would’ve thought that the same injury that felt like the world falling on my knee would catapult me to a much bigger world. I wasn’t afraid to fail anymore, for I already knew how it felt to hit rock bottom so I went ahead to pursue opportunities that I was once too scared to even consider.

I tried out for the debate team, where I was forced to step out of my comfort zone and learn more about global issues. My devastating injury suddenly seemed so trivial compared to the pressing societal problems we debated about. I was now playing a much bigger game than basketball.

More importantly, as I fulfilled my dream of representing my school and country in international tournaments, I got to meet people from all over the world — each one with their own dreams of one day making a more profound impact in the world.

This inspired me to spend more time working on community service projects while continually trying to inspire others to do the same through my blog posts and newspaper articles that document my Senior Year journey — one that saw me change from the health-conscious basketball freak that my friends used to call me to who I am today, an ambitious global citizen constantly looking for novel solutions and stories to share.

Maybe I was never meant to have a story like Michael Jordan’s because ultimately, we all have our own unique story to tell, and I’d like to think that tearing my ACL was just the start of a whole new chapter.


Feel free to let me know what you think about my essay by emailing me at david.ongchoco@gmail.com. Do let me know as well if you need any help with your essay.


The “Last Full Show”, and A Dance That Doesn’t End Here

It was around a month ago when I ballposed to my friend from ICA through the newspaper http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/152132/will-you-go-to-the-ball-with-me and in a blink of an eye, our Grad Ball is all over. That was it, our last full show.

We weren’t little kids anymore running around the playground.  We weren’t high school freshmen anymore excited for all the interactions with girls’ schools. We were fine young gentleman enjoying one of the last events in high school.

Time certainly didn’t wait for us. So many things have happened since we’ve stepped on the grounds of Xavier School. A lot of us have gone through so many different things in the last 4 years in high school, yet here we all were gathered for one last time.

For one night we got to sit down with our dates and appreciate everything we’ve been through in high school. They say that the Grad ball is a rite of passage, a last event that is supposed to celebrate the end of high school; and true enough, it was and so much more.

Many thanks to Mai Ting for making my "Last Full Show" a memorable one :)

Many thanks to Mai Ting for making my “Last Full Show” a memorable one 🙂

As they played the throwback and grad ball video, I couldn’t help but feel sentimental as pictures starting from our very first day in Xavier School to the Grad ball event itself flashed. Yet, part of me didn’t want to believe that the night was soon coming to an end. As I dropped my date off her house and said good bye, I couldn’t believe how just like that another last in high school was over. Continue reading

When The World Falls On Your Knee…..Life Still Goes On!

Life never fails to surprise me! I will never understand the complex and abstruse nature of this world, and how one week can be the time of my life then the following week ends up being one of the worst ever.

After the last day of Chem Camp last week, I honestly felt so accomplished and happy with how things were turning out for me. Then in a blink of an eye, the world goes upside down. Obviously, to begin with, there was no more vibrantly waking up each day knowing that you’d get to see friends who just make life seems so surreal in Chem Camp.

To add to that, I’ve been really having a hard time regaining the focus, edge and passion that I used to have for basketball. I wasn’t even sure anymore if basketball was the thing for me. I hit rock bottom and really had to think and reflect as to what I should do. As I looked back, I remembered my freshman and sophomore year in high school when I was really dedicated and motivated to become the best player I could be. I’d spend countless of hours working on my game, watching game film and even going on a strict diet to build up my body.

A year of sporadic playing time during my Junior Year and a desire to explore life outside of basketball took away from my inner drive. Aside from that, SAT review and Chem Camp was also taking a toll on me.

I needed to get back the spark and a heart to heart talk with my dad and a day of reflecting and recalling everything I’ve done for basketball got me back on track. I regained my exuberance and I was ready to give it my all and leave it all on the court especially since I’m an incoming senior already.

I realized that nothing worth it in life is easy and if I wanted to be an integral part of the team in my last year in Xavier, I’d have to regain the unmatched motor, dedication and zeal I used to have.


The plan was in place and I was really going at every drill in practice with my 110%. Then as we were finishing practice with our usual scrimmage, everything fell apart. One drive to the basket, one hop step, one pop and BOOM, I felt as if the world fell on my knee. It was the first time that I felt such excruciating pain and here I am having a hard time even walking from my room to the bathroom. In a blink of an eye, everything that I had worked for in the last 8 years had disappeared as I lay on the floor shouting in pain.

Everything happened so quickly that I’m not quite sure what to feel right now, but like what my coach said, “Stay positive.” I truly believe in the fact that everything in life happens for a reason. Right now, I ask myself, “Why does this have to happen to me? and why NOW?” Hopefully, weeks or months from now, I understand why.

One things I’ve learned is that life never fails to surprise and leave a lot of us dumb-founded. I may have hit rock-bottom but things could be worse. Looking at things from a different perspective, maybe this is a blessing in disguise. Maybe, I just have to find the silver lining in this.

Like my favorite quote and motto in life states, “Life is what you make it.” This may seem like a setback but it will only be that way if I choose to make it so or I could choose to see this injury as a learning experience and just make the most out of my time off the court.

The uncertainty right now kills especially because of the fact that I can barely move my right knee anymore. I’ll be heading to the doctor later to find out what exactly is the condition of my knee. No matter what happens though, I’ll just have to accept my fate for it’s not like I can change the past; I can only learn from it and move on for LIFE GOES ON!



*editors note: David found out that he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) an injury that would sideline him for the rest of the season