Monday, January 23, 2012

A reflection paper where I did not really reflect. The sabog Legacy Project Reflection paper

I made this in 30 minutes so don't expect anything good. :D

As the word legacy enters my mind, I can’t help but wonder what legacy I’ll be leaving in the Ateneo de Naga University. I have spent a total of 8 years, 4 being in high school and hopefully just another 4 here in college. For 4 years in college, I’ve been a student of IT and a student volunteer at the College Guidance Center. I admit that I have not brought anything worthy of any shiny thing like medals or perhaps a certificate that would make the University make me a banner to be hung on top of the gate. In fact I’ve never gone out of the school to participate in any academic contests to represent the school. I am just another average student taking his college course. I am very lazy and I procrastinate a lot. But somehow, there’s something that people see in me that makes them think I’m worthy of something greater. Some of my colleagues think of me as someone to look up to. However, I’m not the kind of person who steps in the limelight and enjoys catching the spotlight. I enjoy being in the shadows just watching what other people do. I just sit in one corner and observe people do stuff and learn more about them. Being in the spotlight feels awkward for me. Every time someone greets me for something like a job well done, I could only give a “thank you” without thinking that I’ve actually done something. That’s me, plain and simple, living in the shadows, behind other people who are capable of actually doing something better. But no, I’m not the one who gets jealous of that stuff, I am contented.

So what legacy might I bring? Apparently, the shadows might not be the place for me as my passion keeps burning setting ablaze something within me. My once darkened corner has found something worthy to keep a fire burning. I could not say that I actually excel in academics. I suck at it and I can easily admit it without regret. On the other hand, I like my task as a student volunteer and peer counselor. I must admit that it’s very tiring and it sometimes coincides with my more important academics. But somehow, every sweat that I get from volunteerism is easily wiped off by a happiness that comes out of nowhere. I learned a lot from my volunteer group and I have tried to apply it several times to my academics. It proved very successful so I treasure the knowledge and experience that I gained a lot.

Several sentences and two paragraphs, still I cannot justify what kind of legacy I’ll be leaving. But anyway, that’s too much for MY legacy so I should start talking about OUR legacy as a graduating batch.
What does it mean by “Legacy”?

According to a website called, a legacy is anything handed down from the pas, as from an ancestor or predecessor.

Apparently, some of my batch mates defined “legacy” as a curriculum requirement needed for a DCS student to graduate. Yes that’s sarcasm and I was really disappointed at the very start of the planning phase. I have to admit that the legacy project is another curriculum requirement but for God’s sake, this is the Ateneo de Naga University where “magis” is very much at play. To make things short, some batch mate suggested that our legacy project be a “coffee maker” for our beloved department. Alright, 4 years of studying IT and we settle with a coffee maker. No offense to our dear faculty members but I’m pretty sure they could make coffee with a simple mug, instant coffee, and hot water, which by the way are already existent in their office. More importantly, how the hell can a coffee maker help the department? I was thinking of something more useful that could very much benefit the whole student body, not just the teachers. Personally, I think that the legacy project should be something handed down by our batch to the next batches. It should be something that could help them in any way through our batch’s effort. I don’t expect the students of the College of Computer Studies lining up in front of our department’s office with their mugs so that they can ask for a cup of coffee. Well, that could work BUT seriously, no. Jesus Christ might even slap the Asian out of my face if I easily agreed to that suggestion.

Luckily, aside from me, there were other batch mates that have very open minds and have greater ideas. Finally, we’ve vanquished the evil coffee maker out of the picture. It was time to get to the serious stuff and finally we’ve came up with the idea of creating a software for a queuing system during the enrollment period. This could bring convenience upon the student’s enrollment by allowing a proper organization and lining up of students. This way, we could eliminate the unscrupulous people who tend to insert in a part of the line. There will be a proper lining up and viola, expectation of faster enrollment. (Maybe that coffee maker could help after all, the students could sip a cup of coffee while waiting, I’m just saying J )

And there it was, the preparations followed. I admire how some of my batch mates took initiative to organize the committees needed in the preparation of the software. I volunteered to be part of the coders or programmers because I know that I can help much in that group (aside from the fact that the other groups are already filled with people). Unfortunately, there’s very little time left for the creation of the system. I am very hopeful, with our skills, that we could still finish it on time. We would not allow such a very brilliant idea to be put to waste just because we couldn’t finish it on time.

Honestly, I haven’t really been hands-on yet on the programming part. The scheduled meeting always coincides with my meetings and other academic requirements. Not to mention there’s a midterm exam ongoing and there was a needed preparation for our outreach program. However, I take time to be updated with the progress in the project so that I could be aware where I’ll be butting in. Finally, a task was given to me so that I could start getting involved. I was asked to design an interface and I gladly accepted the task. Now, the preparation is ongoing and it’s not yet finished but I’m pretty sure we could accomplish it.

This talk of legacy system makes me feel excited as the time goes by. The fear of facing the unknown obstacles before the graduation is gradually fading. Moreover, I am happy enough to see that my batch mates are gradually being glued together because of this piece of work. I look forward to celebrating with them through the Tribute to Seniors. Working with them made me realize the value of team work and cooperation. Lastly, the legacy project is a milestone where it slaps me in the face with the reality that I’m about to graduate so instead of procrastinating, I should be doing my best to make sure that I graduate.
It’s the time to be more optimistic and gladly say that I can graduate. That is because we hold the capability and the responsibility to our actions. There is no more time for slowing down because the finish line is looming on the horizon.

This legacy project has somehow been the tool for me to look back at the beginning of my college life. It would somehow show me how much I have progressed in this 4 year race that I’ve been involved with. I was just a fresh high school graduate back then simply looking to hang out with my high school friends, not caring too much about academics. Now I am here typing this reflection paper as if this is the most important piece of literature that I am writing. In any sense, I look back to all my failures and mistakes that made me like this. I look back and am grateful for all the experiences and knowledge that I have gained and ready to share and impart to others. There were up and down moments but in the end, I always succeeded. As I look forward to the graduation, I do not look forward to any awards or any medals. These are just material things that manifest how much you’ve done and succeeded academically in college. I was not the kind of guy who aims for high grades and medals anyway. It was just not for me. So those nerds who get the medals can enjoy drooling on their shiny things as they lose their social life (Yes, I stereotype that those A grade-powered students don’t have social lives, they’re all study and stuff haha). My medal and certificates would be my experience.

As I’ve expressed earlier, this legacy project is something like a milestone. You would not have a legacy if you’re not leaving right? So yeah, this milestone marks the end of my college career and the start of something new. Pretty much cliché but it’s still classy.

This legacy project is the totality of my college years. It’s like a senior project but you don’t do it alone. You do it with your batch mates. It’s like a memento you’ve done together with your batch mates. It is the gold in El Dorado that we’ve discovered together after a long journey.

1. I hope you've not wasted 3 mins of your life. Else, blame it on yourself for reading aheuaheuhauehauehuhaeuhaueha

Reflection Paper 1: Outreach


That is the first word that I can think of as I gaze upon this white sheet of virtual paper in front of me. As of now, nothing can ever express how much exhausted I am for the past few days in my hopefully last semester in college. My schedule has never been this full. There was no time for me for my usual leisure like playing a video game or perhaps watching a good movie. I’ve slept for a good 16 hours and I’ve slept another 4 hours. That’s enough to manifest how much I am lacking in sleep for the past few days. If not for the Senior Project ruckus I’m currently involved in, it’s the midterm exams. Else, it would be some other academic stuff that will make me feel more tired if I mention it.

Last Saturday, January 22, our group conducted our outreach program dubbed as “Triple E: Experience, Educate, Encourage” at the Naga City Science High School. It was a seminar workshop for the senior students of NCSHS to learn more and be encouraged in being more aware of Information Technology by having first hand experiences on some products produced by the event organizers. The students had a session on Introduction to Information Technology which gave them an overview of what IT was all about. They also learned about how applications, both in the desktop and web, come into being. Lastly, they had a tutorial on HTML Scripting.

So much to my surprise, almost everyone in the audience had no idea of what Information Technology was. There was no one interested to take IT as a course. All they knew what IT was about is Facebook and Games. For me, it was quite shocking and displeasing since my realization with IT is that college is already too late for IT. What I had in mind back then was that I could have done more if I knew more about the potentials and benefits that I can get from Information Technology. Nevertheless, their less knowledge on the field sparked more interest to me.  It’s like being proud to be the one to tell them what IT was all about, the advantages, the history, the disadvantages, and the benefits and opportunities that await them.

It was my first time to hold a talk like that. I’ve only done facilitating groups before but never a speaker for a seminar. When I try to think about it, seminar speakers are usually judged with only two things: boring or not boring. As much as possible, I do not want to be in the “boring” level because if that happens, the audience will not be interested and will not be attentive to me which defeats the reason for conducting the talk. Luckily, amidst the half-baked preparation of my slides, I was able to gain their attention. My public speaking and humor skills that I gained here in college paid off. I don’t like to brag, but I guess I’ve found a certain charisma which sugarcoated my less preparation. While my other group mates charmed the audience with their knowledge on IT, wonderful presentations, handsome faces and bravado, and lastly the IT projects that they produced, I’ve finally found my own style of delivery. This was an important piece of the puzzle as I have gained the confidence and optimism that I may be able to instill something about IT in my audience’s mind. Never did I know, I was spending almost 10 minutes in each slide and I almost totally forgot that I only had 1 hour to present. The students’ pleased faces and gleaming eyes spelled only one thing: I got their attention.

For that outreach, there was no excitement on my part. My interest in everything right now in college has dwindled from wanting to get A’s to simply passing since I was expecting to graduate anyway. It did not matter for me if I get a C+ a B or whatever, as long as I don’t fail it didn’t matter. In fact, the most important thing for me right now is my Senior Project. Everything else, I could forget. It was a rainy day during the seminar; my guts told me that it was not going to be a happy day. I’ve entered the room awkwardly as most of the students I passed by gave me stares that tell me “who’s this stranger walking directly upstairs”. Their noises reminded me of the noises I and my batch mates made in high school. Their noises manifested ridicule or maybe I was just thinking too much. Maybe they were actually noisy because they were talking about other stuffs. Nevertheless, our group just continued our preparation. Some students actually helped us by bringing the projector, the microphone, and setting up the extension cables. Good students, I may say.

It was getting nearer, that moment when I take center stage. It would be really awkward for me since there was no podium, nothing to hold on to as I speak in front of this unknown faces. My group mate came in first with his presentation. Then, it was my turn. It was my stage. I gave them a bit of introduction, a bit of humor with it that seemed to have appealed to some of the students. Some gave some smiles, but no crackling laughs that I have expected. The good thing was I saw no faces that told me “you’re nonsense”. I was testing the waters, and now I know how I’ll be delivering my talk.

This talk really felt different that simply giving a public speech, or maybe conducting a meeting, or simply presenting an oratorical speech on stage. Almost everything is at stake here. My credibility, which is a vital part of me, might be lost if I make the slightest mistake in my presentation. They must know that I am credible enough for them to gather knowledge from. I was thinking to make it formal like how most of the teachers or speakers do their talk: prompt and proper. Secondly, the name of the school and the department is at stake. I don’t want them to think that Ateneans are really poor in delivery. I don’t want them to think that the students from Ateneo de Naga University, the best university in Bicol, don’t have students that could support this claim. I don’t want them to think that the Department of Computer Science has students who have mediocre knowledge in their own field. I don’t want them to think that we’re merely there to accomplish our requirement in the curriculum. Maybe it was just my pride but no, it did not matter for me. What mattered was the name of the school is at stake. I don’t want to break the trust of the department that allowed us to conduct a seminar workshop in another school. In the end, I realized: No, if the talk is too formal, they will get bored. I myself do not want a boring speaker because it will make the audience lose their interest. What I did was make my presentation less proper on some parts where going informal was okay. It was my way of reaching the students more. It was my way of making them realize that I’m not too far from their age. It was my way of telling them we’re just at par and we’re only almost doing a casual talk where I do the talking. It seemed like it work.

Then there it was, I kept talking and talking. Good thing I actually studied and listened to our discussions in Technopreneurship and E-Commerce. I’ve applied a lot of learning from those two fields. I was able to relate Information Technology to a lot of things. As I gave my examples, I made sure that they were closely related to what a fourth year high school student does. It seemed to work as the students came to react to almost everything that I said. They were surprised, awed, happy, enjoying, and excited. It worked. My confidence level skyrocketed.

The most important thing that I imparted on the students is my personal experience with Information Technology. I have mentioned earlier that college level is already too late to be aware of Information Technology. In front of me are students who’re studying in a science-oriented a school. To spell it out for you, it is a school with brilliant students who are conducting science research far more advanced than other schools.  It made me happy to realize that I’m giving this talk to them. If they be aware of the potentials that they could unlock with Information Technology, they’ll be getting rich in no time. As I kept on telling them, Information Technology is not all about programming and code; it was supposed to be all about ideas. With one idea, everything else could be revolutionized. The skills that we also gain through our lives will give an impact on how we apply Information Technology. There was this talk I gave about “demystifying”, something I learned from Sir Josh’s class. I explained to them how ideas and their individual skills could very much influence and give good results. However, I reminded them not to be drowned too much on the ideas that they may already be brewing in their heads. I reminded them that they still need to learn programming in order for them to actually apply their innovations. With all the things fit in the puzzle, IT skills, their ideas, their skills, this could already give them advantage on other people as they could already start businesses or invent things that could very much help in the society.

After all the talks done, I encouraged the students to ask questions. Asking questions was very important since they could clarify some things that they did not understand and so that they could gain additional knowledge. Our group encouraged them to widen the scope of their questions; they could even ask us personal stuffs about our experiences in college, which of course, we gladly answered. At first, there were a very few who raised their hands. Some hesitated but later on, we were glad that more hands were rising. It went on and on until the giving of the certificates. I was surprised we were able to push through with the seminar and I was able to successfully give my talk. Who knows? I might even be capable of teaching in our department, but that’s another story.

All in all, everything went well. We were surprised when some of the students actually asked us for pictures to be taken with them. Then there it was, our time to leave. My expectation of how bad this day could be was fully erased by the sunlight that finally showed itself to us after a whole day of grey clouds. The sun gleamed as if telling us that we did a good job. Indeed we did, after the tiring day; we rewarded ourselves with a Hungryman’s Meal at a classy restaurant that I learned from one of my group mates. It was really for a hungry man as I needed to unbutton my pants so that I could breathe. As I came home, I rested and later on checked on the usual stuff, Facebook, gmail, etc. I was surprised that two of the students already added me in Facebook. When I checked their profile, their status was all about how great the seminar was. So there it is, the Triple E Seminar Workshop was a success!

1. Too lazy to format the text, just copy pasted this
2. I suck at endings so yeah.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

That silly girl

I asked for her permission over this. She agreed for me to post this in exchange for my consent for her to spend more than 70php tomorrow for food.

 “Sultry. I remember that dullest time of the day when all there is to hear was the sound of strides on the floor damped by the morning rain.
There I was, in a room lit by a little streak of the afternoon sun, heavily seated on an old wooden chair, taking deep breaths and giving a stare at anything that’s to be seen, with grimace written on my face. Dreary days have passed where all things just stay the same; seeing through the door people passing by, lost in thought by things in their minds.

As I began to lose my hope for anything to happen, you came in. You aren’t anyone new to me but new enough for the past days that I have been seeing the same faces. The small, dark eyes of yours, that big and rounded face with that comical smile, and that cute bear-like physique, a teddy bear just entered into the room and that changed everything.”

My teddy bear, my cute yet big best friend, so yeah, he’s a big guy and he pretty much sits and do nothing most of the time, so I don’t know how I can explain his mannerisms other than his sitting and smiling. And oh, he likes to make fun of the people he sees. Poetic, that is one thing to describe him and ridiculous, that would be another. He likes to eat, given, and likes playing football. Getting thinner or I’m sure he prefers the term healthy, is one of his goals, but I’m not sure if he remembers that. Anyway, he forgets things and that makes him repeatedly talk about things we already talked about; he is fond of asking questions which sometimes irritates me, oh well. More than that, he is a smart, loving and sweet person.

When we are together, it is more of like spending time trying to make everything look absurd or discussing how silly things are, even if they are not. We usually hang out at.. no particular place J but wherever that is, it is there where he would hold my hand and lock his fingers with mine, a single glance would say everything and his gentlest touch would just be enough for me to know and feel how blessed I am to have him.. and that flatters him. Gahd. It is with the silence that we realize how much more it means for us, letting our hearts do the talking, he says; the sweetness of doing nothing. And then he would try to blurt out some words, a few simple words that would already make my heart pound.

And that flatters him again, gahd, I hope he won’t get a way to read this. You, reader of this, please take responsibility for that.

  I just wanted to post this aehuaheuhaeuhauehae