Letters of Youth


/ 9 May 2021

When I entered high school, I was not at all driven to succeed. I would go about the daily circumstances of what was deemed as one of the most prestigious high schools in the country—-the Philippine Science High School-Central Luzon Campus situated at Clark, Pampanga. Every day at this institution proved to be one of the hardest realities I had to face. Not only did I have to study with high standards emanating in every corner of the classroom, but I also had to do this without the much needed moral support from my family (I had to stay far away from my family, who was all the way in the far province of Bulacan to stay within the school dormitory). During these times, perhaps a passing grade there and then would be sufficient to keep me sane. My freshman year served as an adjustment interlude from my once sound life. Nevertheless, I had good character conduct and a few friends that kept me company during what I would describe as “the dark ages” of my life.

The last quarter of my sophomore year was, however, my turning point. Without knowing it, I unconsciously became part of the Director’s Lister. This truly made me joyful more than ever.

Conceivably, however, happiness was not the best fruit of this unexpected twist. It was the persistence and perseverance that it brought to life that, beyond doubt, had me moving upon my feet. Sentient of what was possible, I decided to try out different opportunities during my remaining years of high school. I tried out theater, joined the school paper, tried out for various competitions, and even volunteered for numerous non-government movements. I ended up trying things I never even dreamt of achieving, and surprisingly did exemplary well! I won the school’s award for Best Actor during the annual theatrical play, won competitions in writing for both English and Filipino, went on to compete in Engineering and Robotics competitions, and was able to give back to the community by joining different summits and non-government organization movements that gave light to society’s problems and gave alleviations accordingly.

Perhaps the real highlight of all my accomplishments was when I went to the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom to receive an award as one of the finalists of the John Locke Essay Writing competition. Truly, it was here that I realized the most essential veracity of life: it is when we try and attempt to do the goals that we bridge the gap between what is a dream and what is reality.

Albeit our dedication, it is not a prerequisite to be the brightest or the best. Time and time again, I have seen that seeking to be the best is not the path I am willing to take. Rather than being the best, we should aim to be excellent. To be excellent is not to have the highest of marks or the greatest of accomplishments, instead, it is realizing that in trying, one can be the best version of his/herself by harnessing their preeminent strengths.

Behind my various accomplishments lies tenfold failures that almost left me lost in hopelessness. I still remember how I joined six writing competitions during the summer of 2018 and ended up not even winning one of them. But, during the last quarter of 2019, I ended up grabbing a finalist place in the John Locke Essay Writing Competition and winning the DepEd’s Division, Regional, and National School’s Press Conference. Like an eagle’s beak, we constantly grow and go about the consequences of life. According to the laws of nature, an eagle has only two options once its beak grows to its maximum size: die or go through a painful process that would allow it to live for another 150 years. This natural occurrence speaks so much of how life is reflected in our choices. Should we soar high like the wings of an eagle and constantly try, constantly hope, and constantly unveil opportunities for ourselves? Or should we disregard trying all throughout and live out our years without ever meeting the best version lying within our souls, without knowing what we truly are capable of, and without truly realizing the meaning of excellence?

Unveiling Opportunities: Soar High like Wings of Eagles. When I entered high school, I was not at all driven to succeed. Now, I am not only driven but also invigorated with the true essence of excellence. If tenfold failures are what it takes to achieve one victory, I would gladly take it. Trying and keeping a strong spirit is the key to unveiling our own opportunities. Soar high like an eagle, my friend. Spread your wings without looking at what’s beneath the wind.