med school

First of (not) summer


Truth be told, I’m excited to start studying in med school. I know, I know. The enthusiasm will gradually wane and my future self, faced by massive volume of topics to be understood, will ask, “What the hell were you thinking, Lour?! The closest subject related to it in your college years is animal science which you didn’t take seriously!”

But why should I deny myself this feeling of excitement although I must eventually squeeze out the last drop of resilience and comprehension left in me? All feelings are valid. If I permit myself to wallow in misery and self-doubt, why should I suppress this enthusiasm — partly triggered by the thought of buying school supplies?

Other than having to develop a learning style and organizational skills that work best for me, I’m worried about not having friends. Seriously. My parents laugh at this seemingly trivial concern but as much as I value solitude, I’m a social being.

I wonder if I’ll find the type of friends with whom I can talk about studies, goals, fears, national interests, and crushes; who will stick with me through sober and intoxicated times; who will tell me that my jokes are corny; whose sense of humor can be self-deprecating; who know that sweet balance between life goals, and adventures and revelries; who unknowingly encourage me to be better.

(As I thought about my recent routine, I figured I intentionally don’t stay out late because I’m not doing anything fulfilling. I’m waiting for school to start, that’s all. I don’t want to be a person whose time and energy are spent mostly on going out but progress on fulfilling work is at a standstill.)

This feeling is reminiscent of my second year in high school when I transferred to another school. My schoolmates have their circle of friends and, because my social skills were insufficient to have a steady group on June 23, I invited random classmates to have lunch with me on my birthday. On the bright side, some of them are my most trusted friends until now.

Of course, I will always treasure old friends and make time for them but I have to prioritize my studies. My mother said many may not understand but the genuine, understanding ones will. I’m at that stage of acceptance of missing out on several social events. I doubt if I can have regular hang-out-till-dawn weekends, spontaneous gatherings, and the like. I might as well steer away from social media at the peak of FOMO. Anyway, school breaks are there for a reason.

Perhaps I’m excited because I’m officially starting a new chapter. Adventures are typically associated with travelling to towns and cities far from one’s hometown. But adventures could also mean acting on that risk I have been meaning to but apprehensive to take. Then again, what will I gain if I let self-doubt overshadow my dreams?

My books and sets of uniform are ready for use. I’m excited because am closer to making my dreams a reality instead of simply talking about it. I just have to remember my purpose and to trust myself I can handle each day. Focus, prioritize, follow through. Keribels, besh.

lists, musings

22 points on 22

My teenage self might have found these a surprise. My future self might either inculcate or disagree. Here are notes to self that have accumulated in 22 years:

  1. The only limits I should believe are the ones I set upon myself.
  2. All people are smart but in different ways. Nobody is dumb; some either lack knowledge and understanding or are willfully ignorant. 😬
  3. I’m glad I have unintentionally mastered the art of laughing at myself. And at my jokes, sometimes.
  4. My toughest competitor is myself. Success is typically defined as being superior to others yet nothing compares to realizing I’ve outdone myself.
  5. Comparing myself to others is pointless. Learn from aspects worth emulating but never measure my abilities against theirs. Go at my own pace.
  6. Some of the best things in life: long walks at sunset right before darkness sets in, conversations without incessant phone-checking, clouds worth appreciating, and rainy days with cold breeze and petrichor. 
  7. There are different kinds of fun. It can be watching a movie with my family, going out with friends, or having a much needed alone time.
  8. Written exchanges over the Internet are prone to misinterpretation. 
  9. Outgrowing things that my younger self deemed indispensable is normal.
  10. People I constantly surround myself with can heavily influence what I consider normal and acceptable. 
  11. Writing is an effective form of catharsis that helps present matters in a bigger picture.
  12. Things can be worse in my head than they actually are.
  13. My thoughts can become my reality. That is, if I see studying as an abyss of the difficult and impossible, I’d find reasons for my situation to match my expectations.
  14. In choosing a path, interest alone is not enough. Having a clear reason and purpose for others is as essential.
  15. Passion is not found; it doesn’t fall magically on my lap. It is cultivated.
  16. One of the most fulfilling moments is having contributed to people’s growth and know how then seeing them improve.
  17. Misery can be caused by clinging to past events or an older version of myself.
  18. No matter how awful or mundane a day, there is always a reason to be grateful.
  19. How I say it is as important as what I say.
  20. Words can reaffirm and-or shift perspective. Read more.
  21. Acknowledge and label a wide spectrum of emotions, all of which are valid.
  22. I can always choose to become better.
inspiration, musings

Seven minutes

This video from School of Life, otherwise known as a treasure trove of thought-provoking, inspiring, and succinct insights with beautiful animation on YouTube, is one of those internet finds I re-watch and revisit. Here is its outline, some points of which I’ve paraphrased; others I’ve copied verbatim:

  1. realistic
    1. conscious of the realities and challenges entailed in a project but is not devoid of hope
    2. knows that something difficult is being attempted, thus remains steadfast, calm, and less prone to panic when  problems arise
  1. grateful
    1. alive to moments of calm and beauty, even on extremely modest ones
    2. aware of the harsh realities, she draws full value from the peaceful and sweet
  1. foolish
    1. unsurprised by the coexistence of deep immaturity and of “adult qualities” like intelligence and morality
    2. tries to budget for madness and is slow to panic whenever irrationality rears its head
  1. humorous
    1. takes the business of laughing at herself seriously
    2. laughs at constant collisions between the ideal way of plans, dreams, and events happening and the demented way they turn out
  1. polite
    1. realistic about social relations like the difficulty of changing people’s minds and of having an effect on their lives
    2. reticent on being frank about what they think
    3. realizes how seldom it is useful to get censorious; is aware of how differently things can look through the eyes of others
  1. accepts own self
    1. has made peace with the yawning gap and common ground between her ideal self and actual self
    2.  is not ashamed of herself and can give reasons she is difficult or easy to live with
  1. can forgive
    1. recognizes extraordinary pressure everyone is under, especially in a world where resources are scarce and limited
    2. slow to anger; doesn’t lead to worst conclusions about what’s going on in the minds of others
    3. generous to reasons on people’s behavior
  1. resilient
    1. has a solid sense of what she can survive
    2. knows how things can go wrong but remain livable
  1. doesn’t envy
    1. sees the role of luck, and twists and turns that lead a person to a state of fame, wealth, and power
    2. doesn’t overcast herself to having a different fate
  1. acknowledges regrets
    1. aware of the impossibility to fashion a spotless life, no matter how glamorous it appears; one can make extremely large and utterly in-correctable errors
    2. aware that one cannot see a life story without devastating mistakes etched across it
  1. calm
    1. knows that turmoil is just around the corner, thus she finds the need to nurture a strong commitment to the idea of being calm. For example, a quiet evening is an achievement and a day without anxiety is to be celebrated.
    2. not afraid of a “boring,” more quiet, and calmer life as something worse could be happening

As I acknowledge my 22nd year of living two weeks from now, my birthday wish remains: be wiser in this sense. Yes, I would greatly appreciate tangible gifts — like a watch with minimal design and a leather strap, a book, or cold, hard cash — and greetings from family, friends, and acquaintances but nothing beats a present that brings peace of mind and doesn’t depreciate even when my 22nd birthday is but a distant memory.

lists, people

1 pm outline


The night right after my father was discharged from the hospital.* (May 22, 2016)

Fragments of thoughts on a calm, sunny Friday afternoon:

  1. This impulse to use social media without a definite purpose is alarming. My friend’s right: social media addiction is real. For one, you experience “withdrawal symptoms,” like feeling odd when going offline even for a half-day. You might miss out on a lot of happenings, right? Being disconnected from the Internet is the modern-day equivalent of running to the mountains where nobody knows you.
    1. You feel the need to share an update at that very moment — people use the hashtag “late upload” for a reason — and express dismay when a restaurant doesn’t have WiFi. Next to asking for a menu, people request for the WiFi password. When eating out, family and friends train their eyes on little glowing screens instead of facing each other while having long conversations.
    2. I find it alarming because using social media is so wired to my system that it has been a catalyst for procrastination and it has squandered a significant amount of time I could’ve used on more important matters.

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Don’t be part of the problem


In the 2010 national elections, I didn’t care who would lead the country until 2016. I only liked how, amplified by bright lights and loud music, the crowd’s energy was contagious. I wore a baller of a candidate only because many people were wearing it and I felt in.

My news feed and timeline looked nothing like today. Today, these are bombarded with election-related posts most of which are emotionally charged. Some posts are cohesive and thought-provoking, contributing to a fruitful discourse, while others tend to be crass and barbaric at the slightest hint of an opposing view.

I understand why people are so passionate in supporting their chosen candidates. After being on the receiving end of incompetence, people are desperate for change that transcends socioeconomic status, that is not confined to a circle of the elite, wealthy and connected; change that can be experienced in everyday life particularly among underserved, impoverished communities. People long for sustainable solutions that benefit not only the present generation but also the children of today’s children.

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musings, Uncategorized

Go figure

As I browsed through forums and blogs, the challenges that come with my decision seemed insurmountable. If students well-versed on life sciences are struggling in passing even one quiz, how would a development communication graduate cope with such a time-consuming and mentally demanding course that tests one’s resiliency and determination?

Then I figured: Why would I compare myself with other people? Shouldn’t I try to outdo my past performance instead of following a common definition of ‘success’ as having a score higher or credentials more stellar than most people? If I scored lower despite the efforts, why would I classify myself as a failure when all feats require constant adjustment and improvement?


Thank you for the reminder, Frankie.

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On the 15th


You know that brief yet intense feeling that hits you unexpectedly on mundane times? Instead of trying to find distractions to avoid a feeling, you identify and bask in it because, whether it’s good or bad, it is fleeting. And a feeling surfaces for a reason.

I was scrolling through my News Feed when I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude, as my father remembered how he underwent a Miles operation at this time 15 years ago. (I was on a year-end evaluation in Bukidnon when his phone call woke me up at 7 a.m. I thought there was an emergency. He asked for a grammar check in posting this status update on Facebook.)

My father was diagnosed with colon cancer. He is surviving.

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