Tag Archives: high school

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.

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FINALLY!!! College Admissions Results!! The end of a journey…the start of a new one!

I’m still overwhelmed right now from graduation and then college results but I just have to write this note of thanks to everyone who has helped me in this journey! 

After a few rejections and wait-lists to some of my top choices for university, I wasn’t expecting anything anymore. Yet, just like how I tore my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) last May, life surprises you when you least expect it. I’m glad I ended up making it to UPenn, UC Berkeley, UMich, and UCLA. 

Thank you to my friends, classmates, parents, family, relatives, teachers, mentors, coaches and everyone who has helped me become who I am today.

When I was a high school freshman, I just wanted to go to La Salle since they are on a trimester system and I could quickly graduate. But I’ve come to realize our plan at 14, isn’t always our plan at 18 or 22 or 30. There are so many factors in life that all we can do is to cherish every moment

At the start of last year, I wasn’t even sure whether I would apply abroad but I decided to give it a shot. At the beginning, I was still skeptical about it but after I tore my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), I was really confused and unsure what would become of my senior year.

Yet I decided to trust the Man above and still make the most out of my senior year……and now that it’s all over, funny how things didn’t turn out how I expected it to be……because it turned out to be so much more than just a school year!

Who would’ve thought that as tiring as it was, this past school year would turn out to become the most memorable, amazing and surreal year in my life! I will miss Xavier but glad I was able to end my stay in Xavier with a bang!

So last but not the least, thank you God for everything that has happened, all the blessings I’ve received and of course all the family, friends, classmates, schoolmates, mentors, teachers and relatives who’ve made me who I am today. I questioned you when I tore my ACL yet you did have a plan! I may not have seen it then but it’s a bit clearer now.

To end I’d like to quote our graduation song “Thank you, Xavier” written by Lorenzo Arceo, “All the memories made, tomorrow’s already yesterday. Our roads will cross again, and we’ll be even better.” “Wherever we may go, whoever we may be, I’ll just let you know. I’ll let my light shine. I’ll be someone greater.”

Thank you again everyone for everything and all the shared experiences we’ve had. This one is for you guys  Wouldn’t have made it if it weren’t for all of you!!

This has been my dad's dream school for me :) super glad that I made it!!

This has been my dad’s dream school for me 🙂 super glad that I made it!!

 

UC BERKELEY!!! SILICON VALLEY BABY!!!

UC BERKELEY!!! SILICON VALLEY BABY!!!

 

BRUINS!!! John Wooden is the man!! HAHAHAHA

BRUINS!!! John Wooden is the man!! HAHAHAHA

 

WOLVERINES!!!

WOLVERINES!!!

Finally a High School Graduate (Repost from the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/155231/finally-a-high-school-graduate

Right before graduation!

Right before graduation!

High school flew by so quickly. I couldn’t believe I was sitting there, ready to graduate. We were finally at the finish line, about to walk up that stage to get our diploma.

It’s amazing how much all of us have changed over the past few years. Going through all our photos, I realized much has happened since we entered high school. Some of us have gotten fatter, while others have gotten thinner. Some of us have gotten into relationships, while others have explored various activities, ranging from academics to athletics and extracurricular activities.

High school was about growing up and discovering ourselves, trying new things and exploring our interests. It was also about getting acquainted with the opposite sex, hanging out with friends and learning how to socialize. It was about finding a group to be part of, or in local terms, a barkada. But more importantly, high school was about learning how to care not only about ourselves, but also about the people around us.

As I went through the Facebook timeline of my different batchmates right before graduation, I couldn’t help but feel sentimental as I remembered the different experiences we had had in Xavier School.

Honestly, it was only this past year that I really learned how to fully appreciate my Xavier education, which has given me a plethora of unique experiences like the One2One Program (where we got to use laptops in class), the SM Immersion Program (where we got to experience being an SM employee), the Gawad Kalinga (GK) Entrepreneurship Project (where we partnered with GK social enterprises) and a myriad of other programs and activities.

But now the challenge is using all these to try and make a bigger impact on society as we move to the next chapter of our lives. We may not know how exactly we can make a difference in such a complicate d world, but I firmly believe that our generation will find a way.

Our generation is known as the one that has been given the gift of being able to share every single moment in our life. We have gone through our high school years documenting every memory and sharing them with the world with the different social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And it’s exciting to guess what this connectedness and advancements in technology will do for us in the future, as we enter the next chapter of our lives.

Separate ways

Nothing will ever be the same. I will honestly miss seeing the faces of each one of my classmates from section A. I will miss the A-men and H4A, the class that taught me that school isn’t all about the grades; it’s also about learning how to have fun in life. They taught me how to value every member of the class, and how to simply enjoy the moment.

Although we may be going to different universities in the Philippines and abroad, we will always carry with us the values and skills that we learned in Xavier School—from cramming assessments, going on service programs and class retreats, and reflecting upon all these experiences.

As I look back at the past year, I couldn’t have asked for more. It’s perfectly fitting that I end my senior year by thanking everyone who has made a difference in my life over the past 18 years, and more specifically this year.

Thank you to my family for their never-ending support, and for being there with me every step of the way. Thank you so much to all my teachers who taught me lessons both in and out of the classroom. Thank you to my coaches and mentors for challenging me and for bringing out the best in me. Thank you, Xavier School, for teaching me how to make the most of my talents, and to always strive for excellence.

At the start of this school year, after I tore my anterior cruciate ligament, I wasn’t sure how exactly the year would turn out. But I told myself that I would make the most of my last year in Xavier School by joining as many activities as I could and by giving my best shot both in academics and extra-curricular activities.

Yet, throughout the year, I realized that senior year was more than just about the test scores, college applications, achievements or the clubs and committees I joined.

Senior year was extremely memorable because I chose to spend more time with the people I care about. It was about choosing to make new friends and cherish old ones. It was about choosing to stay that extra hour in school so I could spend more time with my friends. It was about turning every single day in class into a shared experience. And finally, it was about turning every single experience into a memorable one.

So, thank you to all my friends, who have made this senior year of mine the perfect encapsulation of what a journey it has been. May we never forget the little wonders, small hours and shared experiences we spent with each other because 10, 20 years from now, when we cross paths once again, we will be looking back at high school as some of the best years in our life.

Class picture :)

Class picture 🙂

 

Read more: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/155231/finally-a-high-school-graduate#ixzz2xGcZizuQ
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A Priceless Night …. just like all those high school memories :)

Today we underwent the National Achievement Test (NAT) administered by DEPED to be taken by all senior graduating high school students.

But for me, this day was more than just about taking a standardized test that is suppose to test everything we’ve learned in the past 4 years. For me, taking the NAT was another reminder and symbol that graduation is getting closer and closer and that high school is about to officially come to an end.

And so as I finished answering the test early, I initially thought of taking a nap then I realized that there was something else I had to do so I went ahead and took out pieces of paper from my notebook binder and started jotting down notes. I wasn’t just jotting down any kind of notes. I was jotting down everything I’ve learned in the past year in every subject. I was trying to recall all the lessons and takeaways I got from every subject. I listed down all the sabaw moments i had in the past year from my different classes and teachers.

Then I realized that it truly has been one hell of a journey indeed filled with so many lessons, insights, realizations, memories, experiences, takeaways that go beyond the classroom. Simply put, it has been a school year like no other.

And then there was the dinner and outing I had with some of my classmates tonight and wow, I will really miss being a high school student.

At Men San with a few of my super sabaw classmates!

At Mien San with a few of my super sabaw classmates!

Continue reading

When you want to graduate already but at the same time, you don’t

After I took my last SATs, I thought I’d finally be able to go back to blogging regularly. Yet, from the day my SATs ended, so many things have happened that I’ve been unable to fully cherish every single moment.

A few of the many photos during my last school fair as a Xavier student.....

A few of the many photos during my last school fair as a Xavier student…..

Suddenly, a string of events blows past me. Just last weekend, we had our last school fair and variety show as Xavier students. It was a sentimental moment for us as we look at each other and how far we’ve gone since we entered high school yet in a few months, we’ll be leaving the place that has become our second home.

Everyone is thinking of the future, and what awaits us. All the seniors are excited to graduate and move on to college. Every single class suddenly seems so different. Even our teachers notice it and starting to teach in a different way. Or maybe, it’s also me seeing things from a different perspective now that there’s only 3 more weeks of classes.

It’s like I want to graduate already but at the same time I don’t. Continue reading

Last Quarter of Senior Year – Let’s Make It Count

I sat there finishing my common application during New Year until the very next day, pulling off an all night-er after spending the previous week just working on several different drafts.

Then a few days later, the Christmas break is all over. Got to admit, time does fly by quickly. Freshman year seemed just like yesterday yet there I was finishing up my college applications then BOOM!

TOMORROW is finally the start of the final quarter of my senior year. First quarter was the warm-up, second quarter was the start of the race, third quarter was the mid way mark and finally, here it is, the trek to the finish line, the fourth quarter. Continue reading

In Search of the Picture Perfect Moment

I couldn’t help but walk down memory lane as my classmates and I had our grad picture taking last Saturday. Thinking about what I would wear for my creative shot made me look back at my high school journey. I honestly didn’t know what to wear for my creative shot for I wanted to wear something that would encapsulate my high school experience.

My high school journey has been alien-like; no, it has been MARTIAN-like, unpredictable and capricious in the most abstruse of ways. A lot of people say I’m different but I’ve become a firm believer that it’s the choices that we make to be different that allows us to be who we are.

As I pondered upon how I could encapsulate my high school experience in my creative shot, it hit me that I wouldn’t be able to come up with a perfect costume or outfit to embody the diversity and uniqueness of the entity of my entire high school experience.

Just like my senior year, my creative costume couldn't have been more eccentric, crazy or unique as wearing a Martian jersey with a Pikachu hat =))

Just like my senior year, my creative costume couldn’t have been more eccentric, crazy or unique as wearing a Martian jersey with a Pikachu hat =))

Many times we wonder whether or not we could have done something better. At the end of the day, there’s no such thing as a perfect shot or moment. What makes a moment so picture perfect is how imperfect it is. The mistakes, the flaws, the craziness and all the imperfect moments is what makes high school, high school; In a much bigger scale, it’s what makes life, LIFE!

The closest thing to a picture perfect shot that I could come up with was by wearing my Martian Galaxy Jersey along with a Pikachu hat made by my mom.

Why the Martian Galaxy Jersey? Well, being a Martian is about being different and embracing all the unique individuals around you. It’s about not being afraid to look like an alien. It’s about doing something that nobody else would do. It’s about making every moment count! Continue reading