I came with my game face. I entered the Academy with the principles of competition in my head. I was prepared for the challenges I thought the regular academy would give.
I was really shocked during the first session as my fingers browsed through the handouts of S-Leadership. Half of myself told me that I have to quit because I cannot win the game as it has bible verses on it. Traditional things about religion flashed inside my mind that made me uncomfortable as I am a non-conventional believer.
Nevertheless, I submitted myself to the session. Little by little, the words Ms. Selene shared got inside me. My heart melted three times. I was not spank but I was given gentle reminders. I took it positively and decided to re-package my outlook regarding the academy. I put down the idea that it was a game. Instead, I grounded myself that this is an opportunity for me to gain lessons and share my talents selflessly.
Classes went on. Assignments were given out. Feedbacks were exchanged. There were happy times and of course pressures were also around.
In the academy, I met a lot of personalities. Despite the fact that I gave up most of my Saturdays and some of my Sundays, I always look forward to every gathering as it gave me a chance to learn new things together with my new friends.
Now that our classes were over I am beginning to miss my life in the academy. On a positive note, I can always refresh it with what I have learned:
· Citizenship starts in the self but does not stop in the self. Though difficult, you should share what you know to the people around you. And you should accept the great chance to receive comments with eyebrows raised.
· The best motivation is to self motivate. No matter how you look up to someone, there will always be discoveries that will give you discouragement. Accept the fact that your role models are also human. They have their own weaknesses. So just keep on moving forward and tap your shoulder if you must. Don’t wait for someone to do it for you.
· Take the responsibility wholeheartedly to take care of the young ones. In the harsh world, do not over protect them. Instead, give them the handles they need. Help them understand that what they experience is a chance for them to see what to follow and what not to follow when they are grown ups already.
· Always ask, “How is my heart?” I always share this in all of the trainings that I am doing. I believe that this is the door towards enriching your spirituality. Believing in higher ideals and the supreme force gives comfort when you find yourself in the crossroad.
· Make a stand to express and not to impress. Listen to other people and gather your thoughts to come up with your own position. Do not be afraid to challenge the effectively existing concepts. Just remember that it is possible to be direct yet polite.
· Do not expect recognitions when doing something either for your self or for other people. Just give your best and believe in your good intentions. I admit that I deleted the email that mentioned about the awards to be given out during the graduation as I want to be consistent with my outlook about the academy after S-Leadership. Thus, I was really surprise about the first award I received which is the Bridging Leader. I was absent when voting happened and no one mentioned it to me before the graduation. (So to all who voted for me, my words of gratitude will not be enough. I hope my prayers will be. Thank you all for the friendship.)
· Co-exist with nature. Do not step on her toes. Treat mother nature with respect and dignity. Before you do something, always ask yourself, “ If I were her, will I like it?”
· Learn from the stories of those who have experienced hardships. All my learning visits were really priceless. Until now, I make the stories I have heard from the people I met during our learning visits as my basis for my decisions if the moment calls for it. The sincerity of their words and gestures is indeed a blessing to me.
· Keep the spirit of youth stay within yourself. It gives you a fresh outlook on something and the enthusiasm to cultivate your creativity in making something significant to the lives of other people.
These are just some of my realizations from the academy. I will take all of them as my inspiration.
As the recipient of the Jon Ramon Aboitiz Medal for Personal Excellence and in behalf of our group who received the Roberto E. Aboitiz Medal for Team Excellence, I will always put my best foot forward with the intention and effort to become a good citizen to our country and to the world.
Let us bring our hopes closer together as we work hand in hand to a better future for us and for the generations to come.
Let us believe in ourselves and trust our fellow alumni that we can always share a piece of ourselves in the name of growth and development.
To the Young Minds Academy and to the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc., I take my hats off for giving us the youth a chance to prove ourselves that we can be of help in coming up with solutions to answer the challenges our country and our world is facing. Your trust and confidence is an encouragement for us to do more and share more.
Kudos to everyone who contributed to the success of this youth and citizenship program! No greater rewards can be given to you than to see us, the alumni, taking our responsibilities as good citizens.
Okay, time to keep on moving - not down but up! See you around. J