Tag Archives: Life

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.


Values and Principles I live by – Life is what you make it


Daily Prompt 

Have you got a code you live by? What are the principles or set of values you actively apply in your life?

In the past year, I’ve learned that having a set of principles and values that we constantly live by allows us to step out of our comfort zone and making the most out of every single day.

1. Carpe Diem – Seize the Day

We’re never really sure if we will have a tomorrow.  Anything can happen in the blink of the eye. This is a fact that I remind myself whenever I’m too scared to do something or too scared to approach someone. This is what I tell myself when I’m feeling lazy or when I don’t feel like doing anything at all. This is what I tell myself when I doubt whether or not an idea will work. Simply put, this motto is what allows me to make the most out of each day.

2. You never know until you try

Whenever we encounter something new, our subconscious tells us to stop and go the other way. We immediately think of the possible repercussions. We are scared by the fact that we might fail or waste our time. We research and ask the opinion of others whether or not it’s worth a shot. Yet I’ve come to realize that you’ll never really know what something is like unless you experience it yourself. You won’t know whether you like something or not unless you try it out. Continue reading

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!!





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

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




Are we actually living life or something else?

What if the world we live in is just a lie? As I continue to read the latest installment of the Divergent Trilogy Allegiant, I’ve started to ponder upon whether or not the world we live in is just a world within a world. 

Along with our current lessons in CLE class on argument by design which talks about the philosophy of design and how every object that exists must have a designer, I’ve been asking myself day in and day out what the true meaning of life is.

Time has flew by quickly. My days as a high school student in Xavier are numbered. Yet sometimes I feel as though it doesn’t matter. I shouldn’t care because all things come to an end. I shouldn’t feel happy or sad just because I’m about to graduate already.

Where do these feelings stem from? Why is it sometimes so hard to make decisions? Why is it so hard to live in the present and accept reality?

We talk about all these dreams, all these plans about the future but will we really be able to turn these dreams into reality. More importantly, does it actually matter if we’re able to turn these dreams into a reality?

At what point do we draw the line between thinking about living, dreaming, planning our life and most importantly, living? 

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

EDSOR 2014 – A peace camp like no other

*My Edsor article taken from the Philippine Daily Inquirer http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/149291/a-peace-camp-like-no-other

The EDSOR participants going through a Wu-Shu Session

The EDSOR participants going through a Wu-Shu Session

What happens when you combine red, blue, green and yellow? You get one of the biggest inter-school events of the year where students coming from the EDSA-Ortigas Consortium of Schools, namely Xavier School, Immaculate Conception Academy, La Salle Greenhills, and the Saint Pedro Poveda College, gather in Edsor—a two-day peace camp for grade school and high school student leaders.

Opening Program

 Held last January 16 & 17 at Xavier School, this year’s Edsor was one like no other. This was evident right from the get-go as participants were greeted by Xavier’s amazing Lion and Dragon Dancers, followed by band performances by equally talented Xavier performers. Continue reading

A Reminder that Life ain’t Perfect

 I miss playing basketball and that’s a fact.

Just last monday, as my friends rushed to the basketball court in my house, I simply couldn’t resist the temptation anymore, I just had to shoot some hoops.

Simply put, it had been so long since I played a pick-up game that when my friends brought up the idea of a half court 3 on 3, I said why not? I mean, I told myself, you don’t need to jump or anything, you just need to chill and have fun.

Yet, muscle memory got to me and I ended up soaring for a lay-up midway through the game and boom, my knee without an ACL anymore, which I haven’t had surgery on, gave out.

I fell to the ground remembering the first time I tore my ACL. The excruciating pain brought back so much memories of the day I tore my ACL and how all my basketball dreams were subsequently crushed. Yet at the same time, a few moments later I realized that tearing my ACL also brought about a lot of new memories and opened a lot of new doors. Continue reading