It's a very human experience to feel troubled, especially in times of uncertainty. Six years ago, I was a senior high school student going through a very difficult time in my life. I was worried about my future, particularly where I am going to end up in college.
I have always wanted to go to Ateneo de Manila University; but knowing how tough it was to enter gave me a bit of fear. Also, it was never my forte to write an essay; more so in English. Since this was part of the requirement, I thought I had the slimmest chance to get in. But still, I studied hard and did my best. I ended up writing about an experience that opened doors for me to become a better person. It was regarding my journey as a dancer in high school. I wrote it when I was an incoming senior high school student applying for the Ateneo College Entrance Test (ACET).
Now it's been a year and a half since I graduated from Ateneo. I managed to land a fulfilling job abroad and achieve several other things along the way. But somehow I still can't get away from this fear of failure and uncertainty. As a newbie in the workplace, I would always find myself in new situations that I've never dealt with before. Sometimes I worry about whether I'm doing the right thing or not.
Also, I would ponder if I have put myself on the right track, thinking whether I'm scaling high enough. It often overwhelms me when I realise how there are so much things to accomplish -- yet so little time.
Thus, in the words of my 16-year old self, here's a reminder to my grownup self and to other young people how we ought to deal with worries, disappointments, and self-doubt -- especially when you feel like you're running out of passion:
My ACET Essay (Written 31 July 2010)
These past few years of my high school life were never easy for me. I had taken roads of failures and successes which had brought me to where I am now. I met strangers, friends, and enemies along my journey.
Through the years I can say that life was simply imperfect. Sometimes, I would even consider changing the past because of my regrets. However, that is the reality of life. Every one of us makes mistakes. All of us hurt others too. We all make decisions that we later regret.
I love to dance ever since I was little. Dancing had actually shaped the confidence in me. Seeing people entertained – seeing them smile, clap, laugh and cheer – inspires me to dance. It's what keeps me going. However, my enthusiasm for dancing and for the Dance Club had been driven away by my addiction to online games. I became so fond of spending my time and allowance on computer games that I ended up missing trainings and practices.
At that time, I did not have a sense of commitment. I actually lack focus which is why it was always been hard for me to catch up with the choreography. Because of that, I would always be the reason for the delay of the whole group. Since our club moderator would have nothing but perfection, if we did not move in sync then it wasn’t good enough. We would end up repeating the whole piece over and over again while there are mistakes.
Because of this, my club mates started to dislike me. A lot of people hated me and talked about me behind my back. The worst of all is that my membership for the Dance Club was not renewed for the next school year. As a result, I ended up having no choice but to look for another club.
It was truly hard for me to accept that I failed to keep up. Because of the shame of getting "kicked out" of the dance club, I was tempted to just give up dancing. But I did not allow that to happen. With faith and determination, I realised that this is not the time to stop; instead, this is the time to learn. And so I decided to take this experience as an opportunity. I chose the path to move on and grow. I worked hard and attended dance workshops for my improvement. I learned so many things including the value of discipline and hard work.
I never really imagined that this experience could become a life-changing experience for me. I learned the value of sticking to my commitments. Even though it was a terrible mistake to have neglected my priorities in the past, I realized that I should be grateful for these mistakes. For in fact, it is through this experience that I have become who I am today. And that is actually the best part of it.
Now, I can say that I had changed for the better. I did not only turn into a better dancer, but a better person as well. I was able to rise up from my failure and realise what I am capable of. As the great Chinese philosopher have put it: “Our greatest glory in life is not in never falling; but in rising up every time we fall.”
Six years down the road, staying in the Dance Club is obviously not a big deal anymore. But I saw how this experience made an impact in me, especially in terms of how I deal with my work and commitments.
Despite this season of my life being over, there will always be new trials to overcome -- and definitely more doubters to prove wrong. Spending a year as a working professional made me realise that there will always be challenges. Thus, room for improvement will just keep getting bigger.
Mistakes and failures are all part of the growing process. And so my advice to other young people is this: When things don't seem to go right, don't fret. If you ever find yourself worrying about whether or not you are scaling enough; or whether or not you are on the right track, just relax. You're probably not the only person who does. Some things take a year or two before you can get it right. Always remember that great things take time.
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