I started writing when I was in high school. Writing was just a part of my hobby and a way of expressing my frustration to be one of our school's representatives in the press conference and be trained on the basics of campus journalism. It was my dream to have one of my articles/poems published in our school publication but it never came into reality. I finished high school without experiencing the joy of having my name printed in the school paper.
Although frustrated, I never stopped believing that I could have my name printed in a school publication someday. Since I already graduated high school that time, my only chance was to achieve such dream in college. I was hoping that my English teacher would send me to the local campus journalism workshop one day so I could hone my writing skills and would have chances to join campus-based writing contests which were the only key toward joining the staff of the school publication and have one's articles published. I already took two English classes during first year but none of my teachers recommended me in any of the campus journalism workshops held in the college. I was a bit frustrated but I never lost hope.
When I was in second year college, I joined the campus journalism workshop sponsored by our college publication even if it would cost me two consecutive days of absence from my classes. I was not recommended by any teacher. I was just asked by one of the publication staff if I was interested to join and without hesitation, I said "YES". I knew my limitations in writing (especially in grammar and correct usage) yet I also knew that it was my only way to achieve my dream and taking that opportunity for granted would be the worst decision that I could ever make because I knew that the days were counting and too soon I would be leaving that college and I could not afford to leave without having my dream fulfilled.
I attended all the workshops on that two-day activity and joined every contest I was qualified to join. I had my shot on feature writing, editorial writing, news writing and copy reading, photojournalism and poetry writing. Of all the contests I've joined, I luckily got third prize in poetry writing. My poem "Unleash Me!" which was written on the spot (right after the poetry writing workshop) got the third prize and that qualified me to become one of the staff writers for our college publication in the same school year. From then on, I had my articles and poems published in our college publication and was given chances to improve my writing skills by attending in various seminar-workshops.
Unexpectedly, on that same school year, because of my active participation in our school publication, I was luckily chosen to be one of the school's representatives in a national youth leaders' seminar in Baguio City (Philippines' summer capital). There, I had the chance to meet youth leaders and fellow writers from all over the country and became a part of a timely national youth leadership newsletter. Indeed, I had my works published not only in a school paper but in a national newsletter as well. I thought, "This is more that what I imagined."
The following school year, I became a literary editor for our school publication and attended more writing and literary workshops like Literary Criticism Workshop with a group of Boholano poets and Film Appreciation Workshop presented by University of the Philippines film professor and director Nick de Ocampo.
With those experiences in life I learned that when no one seems to believe in us, we could still run to ourselves and keep our dreams alive with strong conviction that with passion and hard work, we could still make our dreams into reality. In the same way, we always have to do our best and show that we are capable so people would know. I admit, I was not that good in writing and I do commit a lot of mistakes but deep within me, I had a dream and I continued to believe in it.
If we want people to look at us with belief, respect and admiration, we need to look at ourselves that way first. We need to understand that we are what we believe we are. It's not other people's criticisms that make us feel down but it's our way of perceiving those criticisms and comments that build or destroy our character. Apparently, we need to maintain a positive outlook towards life for we are the molders of our own dreams.
"No one can stop a man with the right attitude but nobody in the world can help a man with the wrong attitude."