Tag Archives: story

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.


“We All Have “Kwentos” (Filipino for Stories) to Tell”

It’s friday again, and another week has just quickly evaporated and flew by. Actually, I am really happy that this week has ended for it was really one hell of a week emotionally for me. I don’t really know why, but I just really felt sentimental about life and started really questioning myself about what life is truly about. Different scenarios, situations, memories, questions and problems started popping into my head and I was just really confused and my mind was messed up.

Like I’ve said numerous times before, I believe that everything has a reason and so I want to end this school week by writing about the things I’ve learned. The two main things I’ve learned is that first of all, “We must keep ourselves busy in order to avoid over thinking things,” and second, “We all have stories to tell.”

Yesterday was probably one of the hardest days I’ve had to go through in the past months. My head was just gonna explode and right from the beginning of the day, I was really emotional already. It was really uncharacteristic of me to be that way. I usually try to think positive and be happy, but everything was piling up and I just wanted life to slow down and give me a chance, a chance to think about what I’ve been doing in my life. I guess, yesterday was just another one of those days, where one starts to question his existence and purpose in life.

Luckily, I have friends who are there for me when I just need someone to talk to in order to forget about all the crazy things that has been happening. The problem was, my friend who I usually talk to wasn’t in such a good mood also, so instead of feeling better, I just got more emotional and felt sorry for my friend also. Although, I’m usually the one who tries to cheer people up and give words of wisdom, I was just to down yesterday to be in the right state of mind. Sometimes, I really need to learn how to listen to the advice I give others more often.

Although, my friends were not in such a good mood yesterday, one piece of advice from another friend of mine that really helped me overcome my emotional state was to find something to do and keep myself busy in order to prevent over thinking and questioning about life. After hearing that advice, I knew that she was right and that I needed to get back to just living life one day at a time and stop thinking about the past or the future. Like they say, “Live in the moment.”

Today was probably the only day, where I was back to my senses and thinking properly again. I told myself that it’s February already, a new month and a new start once again. Leave everything behind in the past months, move on and don’t commit the same mistakes again.

Because of the fact that a lot of my classmates were builders for the fair, the classroom was a bit empty, so our teachers were kinda light on us today. The lessons weren’t really that heavy and during chinese and CLE class, I got a chance to make “kwento” (tell a story) to a really close friend of mine about what has really been going on with me. Prior to this, no one really knew the full story of what I was so troubled about, and felt really relieving and gratifying to take out all those emotions and feelings by making “kwento” everything that has been really bothering me to this particular friend.

From this “kwento” session with my friend, I realized that I’m not as crazy as I thought and that what I’ve been thinking about is actually normal. Aside from this, I also realized that we all have stories to tell. Nobody is perfect and we will all have those trying times, challenging moments and surreal experiences. To say the least, that’s LIFE. At times, we don’t appreciated how blessed we are to be living such adventure filled lives. Now, I know that this is just another one of those stages of growing up and that I just have to stay strong no matter what, and keep believing that everything will turn out for the better.

I now have to hit the sack for this coming weekend will be AMAZING!! I can feel it! #ThinkPositive #LiveInTheMoment