Another Day In Paradise

“Oh, think twice. ‘Cause it’s another day for you and me in paradise.” -Phil Collins, Another Day In Paradise
5pm, just another slow Monday afternoon. It was a stressful day in every definition of the word. I, together with many of my comrades, were basically feigning sleep to absorb as much knowledge we can. Not only is this essential to accomplish the short-term goal of passing exams and surviving courses, but it is also essential to accomplish the long-term goal of being functional physicians.
Of course, the work goes beyond that. Once you go home, it’s almost as if the day is just starting. Medical school is time-consuming, but life goes beyond medical school. Countless chapters, notes, and transes are still to be mastered. You still got to attend to your family who anticipated the time of day they’ll hear your voice echo “I’m home”. There are still house tasks, work, extracurriculars, all that shit.
Life goes beyond medical school, so unless you are an island or an android, you still got to do all these. With whatever energy you still have left. There are even times when the things you do become so overbearing that you forget to do it with a smile on your face and a joy in your heart.
However, even though you forget the joy of being where you are right now sometimes, you should never forget it.
This is because the opportunity you have is basically your own personal paradise.
Picture the opportunity you have in your hands at the moment. It might be messing up with you at the moment, but there are more than a few people out there who will happily put themselves to your position. Remember the price you paid to get into this position; not everyone has the ransom to pay for this chance but you have it. You earned the position you’re into, or at least have others by your side to enable you. That by itself is a miracle.
Think of the people you once rolled with side by side but did not make it for one reason or another. I am very sure they would love to be with you: make progress with you, share your victory and pain together with you, accomplish dreams with you, only they weren’t able to make it with you. I’m not saying it’s your moral responsibility to do so, but the fact that you made it should be an incentive for you to keep going.
Think of the people who are supporting you in your journey, those people who go all in just to make your life just a little more bearable. Think of the people who financed or continue to finance your pursuits. Think of the people who help you get ready daily. Think of the people who continue to support you, even if that means they will somewhat be relegated to the background on some (if not most) days. They may not be the ones passing the requirements, they may not be the ones taking the exams, but they are the ones who stay in the background to ensure you have all the leeway in the world to do what you have to do.
When things get too hard for you, try to stop and think of all these. It may not be all flowers and sunshine, but someday it shall be. You may not be living comfortably right now, but trust me, a lot of people would love to take your place. It may be a struggle, but don’t forget to see the silver lining behind the struggle. You are where you are for a reason. Think of it as a good thing.
Before you even think of quitting, think twice. ‘Cause it’s another day for you and me in paradise.

10 Things You Need Will Learn When Going To Medical School

Much have been said about what it takes to survive medical school and be a doctor. Some tips you might already know might have already been mentioned by physicians or at least physicians-in-training. Some of the tips you might have read might be written (or composed?) by their secretaries. Regardless, perhaps you might have read other tips online and perhaps already have at least have a vague idea on what it takes to survive in medical school and become a full-fledged physician. At least in my eyes, here are 10 things you must have in order to survive medical school.

1. Not everyone is built for it

This is something that any well-meaning aspiring doctor must know. It is possible that medicine is something you want to do for all of your life. It is possible that you have all the resources to make it all work. However, if you don’t have what it takes, if you are not willing to do what it takes, then chances are you won’t survive medical school, get that coveted degree, and live to tell the tale. It’s a sad fact and a harsh reality at the same time.

2. Your background doesn’t matter

Depending on which side of the fence you are on as a potential medical student, this would either be a rude awakening or a glimmer of hope. You may have graduated from the best school there is or you might have graduated from a school that might not even be accredited by the local authorities. You might have enrolled in whatever course critics say “prepares you most” for medical school or you might have enrolled in a course that’s better suited for law. For what it’s worth, regardless of what the application requirements say, it doesn’t really matter.

3. You must be well-rounded

Consider this as an extension of tip number 2, or maybe not at all. As in the case of most professionals, you got to be ready for anything, not just in the matters of how ready your skill sets are for the big leagues. You got to ready to face unexpected circumstances. You got to face problems you got absolutely no idea how to deal with. You got to deal with cases that go beyond your level of expertise. You got to be well-rounded to survive in medical school. More importantly, you got to be willing to expand your horizons because what you already know won’t be enough.

4. There will be jackasses

This is a harsh reality if you are intending to be in the medical profession. You don’t have to face internship or residency to learn this fact. As early as medical school, you will be dealing with a lot of jackasses. There would be classmates that would think they are better than you or everyone else. There would be teachers who would think you are not good enough. There would be ramdom people who will spread random rumors about you. Bottom line is there would be a lot of jackasses. You got to have thick skin if you’ll be a doctor as you will receive setbacks from others, deserved or otherwise.

5. No doctor is an island

The previous item might suggest that you must shun human contact and just do things your way. Bad news for both introverts and cynics: there would be a lot of situations both in training and in practice that you’ll need others to survive. You need to understand as soon as now that no physician is an island. You got to learn people skills to properly communicate both with patients and co-physicians. You got to act socially even if the people you’re working with has zero social skills. Such is the reality of being a professional. So what if they are unprofessional. You still got to be a professional.

6. There will be a lot of sleepless nights

Perhaps all the primers you have read has prepared you for this reality. Howevr, just wait until you are in that exact position. No guide, no advice, no survival will prepare you on how exhausted you will be once you get started. Sure, there are excelling medical students who did nothing but party (who knows, that might be their adaptive mechanism!), but they are the exception rather than the rule. There will be a lot of sleepless nights. There will be days that you will do nothing but study. Just consider this fact, and that no guide will ever prepare you for it.

7. You will question yourself at least once along the way

Medical school is no cake walk. The realities of such a life will hit you hard and knock you down. Trust me. There would be at least one instance that you’ll be questioning yourself if you made the right choice. There would be days when you’ll question your own motivations, and there would be days when things become so unbearable that quitting crosses both your mind and heart. It’s not a matter of if, but rather a matter of when. While there is no way to prepare for it, you’ll need to find the answers to these questions, one way or another. I hope that when you do, your answer will be at the affirmative.

8. You will need your friends more than ever

You’ll be making a lot of lifestyle changes once you enter medical training. Instead of playing or partying during your precious free time, you would rather study or even get some sleep. In spite of these changes, it is important to note that you’ll need friends more than ever. You’ll need to maintain your relationship with your pre-medical school friends. At the same time, build friendships while you are at medicine. In so many ways, you’ll need your friends more than ever.

9. Make it right with the people who matter

There is the popular misconception that in order to become a great doctor, you’ll have to sacrifice your social life. While this is true in the aspect that you’ll have to rearrange your priorities to survive, it doesn’t mean that you should abandon your connections and commitments, especially to the people that matter to you. Family and those you consider family, friends and lover(s), you need them all in your life, and you’ll need them now more than ever. Never forget the people important to you. Give them the attention, the time, the respect, and the love they deserve, because they are more than willing to give all those to you unconditionally.

10. You must have this thing called “heart”

This has been said time and again. It may sound cliche, but you will need to have heart to survive medical school and beyond. There will be a lot of moments when everything, from the day-to-day workload to the pressures of fulfilling such an enormous commitment, will eat into you. There will be times when you’ll seriously consider hanging it up, if not hanging yourself. There will be times when your sanity will hang by a thread. To survive each passing year of your training, you’ll have to dig deep. This may sound cliche, but often times the best doctors are not the most talented, nor the hardest working, nor the one with the deepest pockets. The best ones are often those who are the toughest, the most willing to learn, the most resilient, the ones with the biggest heart.

Attending medical school will be a wild ride. There will be a lot of ups and downs, and it will take a lot to survive. Survival would largely be up to you, and you just might learn other things not mentioned here to get closer to your dreams. I provided these tips to give you an idea of what it takes to survive medical school and be a doctor. If there is one piece of unsolicited advice I can give to you, it is this: By any means necessary, go for your dreams.

Missing Pages

As you could see, it’s been almost a year since I wrote anything here. Much has changed since I’ve shared my thoughts publicly. In the year that’s passed, I was finally able to make it to medical school after years of stops and starts. I wouldn’t have been able to make it here if not for some wonderful people who’ve been supporting me all the way. I’ll tell more about what’s going on as we go along, but rest assured that I am currently having the time of my life.

That said, being on medical school has changed my life in so many ways. It has changed me for the better and perhaps for the worse as well. I’ve realized that one of the worst things that has happened to me when I entered this realm is that I’ve actually missed a lot of things. More than this, I’ve come to realize that perhaps as I go deep into this chosen vocation, I just might miss more of these things.

Opportunity cost. Every opportunity, no matter how free it may seem on the process, has its own cost.

Perhaps the price I got to pay for being here is that I would sacrifice a lot of the things that I was able to do routinely in the past.

I was oriented to this conundrum numerous times. It was mentioned to us by our professors during our first weeks at school that there would be a lot of sacrifices, including lifestyle changes. It was mentioned to me by colleagues who went to this profession long before I decided to make the jump. Even if it was said to me many times and I’ve tried my best to prepare for it, it was still difficult. In spite of my best efforts to keep my life as is, I’m not sure anymore if that’s possible.

Take this week for example. Because the end of the year is fast approaching (and our school’s schedule was skewed up by all kinds of aberrations), our schedule was very much loaded. Even though this week’s schedule is more benign than the past weeks, let’s just say that it’s still a handful. And yes, there are going to be weekend activities.

On these situations are where complications begin.

This Sunday, I am actually invited to the 25th anniversary of my best friend’s parents (yes, they treat me like family over there). The problem is that we’re going to have a presentation on that same Sunday. Safe to say, that appointment is currently on a limbo. Just earlier, a family trip was organized for Saturday. More likely than not, I won’t be able to join there too. As frustrating as it sounds, I’ll be going “missing in action” mainly because of my career commitments.

Mind you, these are high-profile events that I would go to without hesitation if the circumstances are right. However, in order to make my dreams come true and to do justice to those who’ve committed to my cause, I’ve got to forego all these opportunities. It’s frustrating to think that instead of building memories with the people who matter, I’m more likely to watch from a distance, more likely to be content with secondhand stories after the fact.

Opportunity cost, my friend.

Perhaps I should just make up for it on another day. I know that they would understand. But this feeling still stinks. I know that this would not be the last time this would happen. Such experiences would help me better prepare for such situations (and perhaps bigger decisions) in the future. Still, the fact is not lost in me that such situations still suck.

Opportunity cost has basically permeated in every single thing I’m doing at the moment. And this includes sharing my thoughts. When I tried to look at my own notebook, all I see are missing pages. Pages I failed to write on. Pages I failed to mention. Pages I can only wish to take back but ultimately can’t. All those missed pages sometimes make me think if what I am doing is going to be worth it.

I’m still keeping the faith that somehow, all these sacrifices are going to be worth it. I’m keeping the faith that all the missing pages would be filled by something good. I’ll continue to find a way to make good with whatever I have at the moment. That’s the least I can do so I may be able to accomplish the higher good.

Whenever I have the time to write or you have the time to ask, I’ll let you know. That’s all that I can say for now.

A Preview of the 2014 PBA Philippine Cup Finals

There is no doubt that the Philippine Cup is the trophy every PBA team wants. Without the X-factor effect of imports, it would be totally up to how rosters are constructed and how coaching staffs make the most out of the talent they have. Regardless of which team you are rooting for, you can say that both the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers deserve to be in the finals. These 2 teams took different routes to make it there, but both of them earned it. So in the end, who’s going to win it all? Here is my take on how the All-Filipino Conference shall be won.

Rain or Shine Elasto Painters

Eliminations: 11-3 (2nd)

Quarterfinals: Defeated Global Port Batang Pier 1-0

Semifinals: Defeated Petron Blaze Boosters 4-1

There’s no doubt that the Elasto Painters are the hottest team in the league today. Still smarting from their embarrassing 4-0 sweep on last year’s Philippine Cup finals against the then-dynasty Talk N Text Tropang Texters, Rain or Shine is definitely playing like a team that’s on a mission. They currently won 12 of their last 13 games (including 10 straight before getting shellacked by Petron in Game 3 of their semifinals series), with a lot of those wins coming in dominant fashion.

Using Coach Yeng Guiao’s patented equal opportunities style of coaching, all players in his roster get equal opportunities to shine. This presents a tactical advantage, of course. Not only are teams facing the Elasto Painters hard-pressed to come up with a solid scouting report on how to defend them, but it has also kept virtually everyone on the roster fresh. The injury bug hasn’t hit them hard so far, they play relentlessly both in offense and defense, and you simply don’t know where their production will come from every night.

San Mig Super Coffee Mixers

Eliminations: 7-7 (5th)

Quarterfinals: Defeated Talk N Text Tropang Texters (2-1)

Semifinals: Defeated Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (4-3)

Compared to Rain or Shine’s rampaging run, it’s safe to say that San Mig took the much-harder route to get to the finals. At one point, the Mixers are 1-6 in the eliminations and are in danger of being out of the playoff picture. However, they eventually picked up their pace to get into the playoffs. It wasn’t an easy ride though, as they faced 2 early-season favorites Talk N Text and Ginebra in their playoff matchups, respectively. Both series went to do-or-die games, with the Mixers surviving both of them.

Coach Tim Cone has been implementing his Triangle Offense system with precision, which provides multiple players with a lot of opportunities to shine at every given night. Their battle-tested core of James Yap, PJ Simon, and Marc Pingris still lead the way for this team. However, role players such as Mark Barocca, Joe Devance, Rafi Reavis, and even rookies Ian Sangalang and Justin Melton had their moments on the spotlight, too. While you know that the combined performance of the Mixers’ version of the Big 3 will ultimately determine their fate in this series, you’ll know that their supporting cast is more than capable of taking over games.

Offense:

With their equal opportunity system, you know that everybody in the Rain or Shine roster will have opportunities to contribute in the stat sheet. What’s more, because their entire team is on such a serious roll right now, that anyone in that Rain or Shine bench can end up as the hero of any given game. On the other hand, while San Mig Coffee does not show the same unpredictability in offense, anyone in that roster can carry their offense at any given time. The triangle offense rewards unselfishness, and the Mixers are one of those teams that love to play unselfishly.

Edge = Rain or Shine. They simply have too many weapons. San Mig Coffee has their work cut out for them.

Defense:

Both of these teams pride in playing rock-solid defense against any competition. Because of their sheer depth, Rain or Shine can afford to pressure their opponents from tipoff to final buzzer. Plus, they have defensive specialists for just about every kind of offensive player. Last but not least, the Elasto Painters can play dirty if they have to (read: Extra Rice Incorporated). The Mixers, meanwhile, has jelled into a defensive juggernaut as the season progressed. All-around defensive ace Pingris is still the linchpin of the Mixers defense with his ability to lock down anyone from point guards to centers. He is aided by a long-limbed frontcourt (aptly named Sampayan Brigade), and the emergence of Barocca and Melton on the defensive end is the revelation of the Ginebra series.

Edge = San Mig. Their team defense is simply too good to ignore.

Backcourt:

Gabe Norwood/Jeff Chan/Paul Lee vs. James Yap/PJ Simon. This shall be epic. It’s easy to give that edge to Rain or Shine, but if Yap and Simon will carry their vintage form (like in Game 7 vs. Ginebra), this verdict can swing to San Mig’s favor quickly.

Edge: Rain or Shine. 3 heads are better than 2.

Frontcourt:

Extra Rice Incorporated vs. Sampayan Brigade. Beau Belga and JR Quinahan vs. Marc Pingris and Joe Devance. This is an interesting matchup both offensively and defensively to say the least.

Edge: San Mig. Pingris is definitely the best frontcourt player in the series on both ends, and that’s enough to swing this verdict.

Bench:

The bench will play such a huge role in determining the outcome of this series. Mark Barocca and Justin Melton vs. Chris Tiu and Ryan Arana? Larry Rodriguez/Jervy Cruz/Raymond Almazan vs. Rafi Reavis/Yancy De Ocampo/Ian Sangalang? Compelling matchups all around. For all we know, we might even see surprise appearances by Jeric Teng and JR Cawaling. Expect bench play to at least swing the outcome of a game or two in this series.

Edge: Rain or Shine, but only for a very slight margin.

Coaching:

For those who appreciate great coaching, this match-up is a can’t miss affair. For the last 20-something years, Guiao and Cone are regarded as 2 of the best coaches who made an appearance in a PBA bench, and they transformed different generations of players into championship squads in the past. For Guiao, this is one more shot to win that elusive first All-Filipino championship ring. For Cone, this is a shot to win championship number 16, which will make him the PBA’s most successful coach in terms of rings. Both prepare their teams well before the game, and both make timely decisions as the game progresses. However, it must be noted that Guiao is 2-0 against Cone in their head-to-head finals matchups.

Edge = Tie. Either way, one has to make history.

X-Factor:

For Rain or Shine, their X-factor is momentum. They seem very invincible at the moment, and their system is clicking at maximum efficiency at the moment. Even 2 consecutive ejections (and a subsequent 1-game suspension) by Yeng Guiao did not derail them at all. As for San Mig Coffee, their X-factor is experience. The San Mig core of Yap, Simon, and Pingris has been to a lot of wars together for too long. Tim Cone has seen more than his fair share of playoff battles. What’s more, it can be argued that the Mixers are peaking at the right time.

Edge: Tie. This can go either way.

Final Verdict:

Rain or Shine is a team on their prime, a seemingly unstoppable juggernaut when they bring their A-game. San Mig Coffee is a proud team that knows and has what it takes to win it all. This is perhaps the best possible way to cap off the 2014 PBA Philippine Cup. Whether we are fans of either team or not, anyone who pays attention to this series will be up for a treat.

My prediction: Rain or Shine in 6.

The 5 Best Things For 2013

(Writer’s note: This is actually planned as an entry for a contest in my job. I found my list compelling enough to share with others around here. If you feel like sharing your own experiences for 2013, you can share it in the comments section or just give me a link.)

A full year ago, people are thinking if we would even live to see 2013 come (rock on, Mayans!). Today, we’re looking forward to open 2014! How big was that! While the year hasn’t been the best time for me (there are some rocky patches, who knows I might make a worst list too before the year was over), there are still more than enough great moments for the last 365 days to get my fill on. So without further ado, here are 5 of the best things to happen to me in 2013.

5. Still play basketball at a somewhat high level

Sure, I may be just 25 years old, but this is a big deal for me. Of course, by this time, I have already embraced the fact that I can’t be a professional or even a semi-professional in this craft. However, the fact that I lasted the entire 2013 without experiencing any nagging injuries is something to be really thankful for. Although I know for myself that I lost a step or two (mainly due to rust), at least I can walk back home after the game without any of my knees or joints bailing out on my ass. As for 2014, adding some facets to my game should be in order.

4. Last a full year as an Elite Writer at Essays.ph

I know this might sound crazy, but I do take my job seriously. It’s not all that easy to be a freelance worker if you are also freelancing a number of things. It’s a blessing to make it to the top file of freelance writers in the company (and should I say, in the country), but I know I still have room to grow. The education still continues. I faced a number of highs and lows at work. There are great articles I know I can be proud of, and then there are brutal revisions. I’m surprised I survived a full year of holding that title, not that I’m planning to relinquish it any time soon. The agenda for 2014 is to come back even stronger for a company that I consider as family.

3. The family is still here

Another year has passed, and yet family bonds still remain very strong and tight. It’s a reality that everyone is starting to get older now. My sister just had a baby, and my brother just had a new “baby”. What’s more, cousins are now going to college or even having kids of their own. In spite of the constant transition, one thing I am happy about is that the bonds are still there. While the concept of family for some has eroded, you can’t say the same for us. In fact, I can only see our bond going stronger moving forward as new faces and names get incorporated in the mix. That’s something to be definitely thankful for.

2. We are still together after 6 years!

I’ll leave it to this conversation.

Me: “What can you say about people claiming that we are an it couple?”

She: “We are NOT an it couple!”

Me: “Why?”

She: “Because if we are an it couple, we would have split already. Relationships are not supposed to last this long nowadays!”

I guess really relationships don’t last for too long nowadays (but that’s another story best reserved for another day). But the point is that we did last. And hopefully you’ll see more of us next year and in the coming years. I’m such a lucky guy.

1. A second chance at glory

I’ve always dreamed of making it to medical school. I really do, as improbable as it may sound. While I know that the odds are not really on my favor, I ought to give it one more shot, just to say I did not try at all. What transpired is something I never expected at all when I applied for the NMAT. I mean, 99%? Who plans that? Definitely not me. But I got it anyway. I feel blessed not really for the bragging rights, but because I know this could turn out to be a watershed moment. I entered the year looking for one more shot. Now, I got¬†exactly what I wish for.

Almost Famous

Aside

And so it has all ended. A year’s worth of preparation and tribulation has gone down to smoke. ¬†All the hype and goodwill all ended in a failure, an asterisk that’s probably going to be glanced on for years to come. A classic situation of “What if” has now turned into a classic situation of “What might have been”.

I was almost famous.

The story all began 14 months ago when I was able to pass the National Medical Admissions Test. And I wasn’t just able to pass it. I was able to make a breakthrough. For the first time since I don’t know when, I was able to make some sort of an academic achievement. Once more, everything made sense again.

You may criticize me for romanticizing too much the passing of a test. But that was more than just a test for me. For I celebrated that success together with everyone who hasn’t given up on me yet, those who continue to make a stand for me even though I myself am ready to pack it in.

But of course, everything did not end there. In fact, everything just began right after that day. As soon as I was done with the hangover of the moment, I quickly realized that yes, there’s a boatload of work ahead of me. And I got to buckle down to work if I intend to make it to the promised land.

All of a sudden, all efforts now have an eye towards the future. I got to admit that since that time, every time the prospects of going to medical school is enough to make my eyes light up. In fact, I came into June 2012 with a firm purpose in mind. I’ll do whatever it takes for me to study medicine, even if the odds are very much stacked against my favor.

If anything, that prospect, no matter how small it may be, gave me a purpose for the entire year. I know that in the event that I shall make it there, I must be hard-nosed. And as such, I worked on both my determination and my discipline. My desire to improve has expanded more than a couple of notches, understanding that continued improvement is the way to making it big there. It even affected me in the financial sense. I know that I have to collect a sizable amount of cash to survive there for the first year at least, and that pushed me to invest more money than I ever did in the last 24 years.

Eyes on the prize. I had my eyes on the fucking prize.

I understand that going through the application process would be like going to the gauntlet. There are so many things to do and I can only be at only one place at every given time. Even the procurement of the necessary enrollment papers has been tricky to say the least. Traveling from school to school in the attempt to sell the prospects of having me on their rolls has been especially tricky, especially considering that I got to shuffle not just one, but two different jobs.

But did I mention that trying to sell myself to these schools has been a fun experience? I never was the most self-confident person in the world, but this time I have to be. After all, I’m not just my own biggest fan here. I just might be my only fan during those moments. I impressed a ton of people, including the screening committees and myself, with how I handled myself out there. At least, that’s what I want to believe. To put it kindly, I’m just an applicant, but I thought I carried myself like I’m a medicine student in the making.

Hey, if I am going down, I am going down swinging. I got to show these people that I belong, that at least I deserve to get at least a flyer.

But as the months progressed, the question changed from “where can I get a flyer?” to “will I ever get a flyer?”. Winter turned to spring. Then spring turned into summer. With the emergence of the leaves came the emergence of a different kind of silence. To be more specific, it’s a deafening kind of silence, the type of silence you don’t want to hear especially when you are alone. While my passion and drive hasn’t wavered one bit, I can’t help but feel bothered.

Then little by little, bad news started to trickle down my news feed. One school called in that I did not make it. Another school called in that I did not made their quota and standards. Others still never even bothered to let me know. All of a sudden, doubts have started to creep into the surface. From the scepter of getting to the next level, I’m on the scepter of picking up the pieces of a project that was ultimately doomed.

And now it has arrived here. I ended up not making it to medical school altogether. That, of course, was messed up. I still can’t believe that after all that I’ve been through, from losing hope to somehow regaining it once more, I lost in a really tough way. An entire year of dreaming, preparation, and action somehow ends up getting flushed down the drain. And now, I’m facing the lonely prospect of dealing with all the broken pieces.

I was almost famous.

I got to admit that I passing the NMAT and ultimately having the chance to improbably chase the dream of making it to medicine was inspirational. More importantly, it seems like most people were moved by the story as much as I do. It’s just unfortunate that I fell short to my ultimate goal, which is making it there. But I am fully aware as well that I’ve gained so much from this experience, that ultimately, becoming a student of Medicine would have been the perfect icing on the cake.

Perhaps the question you want to ask me is if I am willing to do this again. I asked myself the same question just days ago. And to tell you the truth, even though I was unsure at first, I have decided to continue living the dream. If it’s meant for me, it shall be mine. But I’ll never know unless I find it out for myself. And if that pursuit ends up being not for me in the end? I know I’ll make it somewhere.

Before I end this, I would like to thank everyone who showed their support for me during that entire year. Your kind words and affection really meant a lot. Rest assured that I shall be back better than ever.

Perhaps most importantly, you should never underestimate the power of your dreams.

I was almost famous. And I am good with that.

Essays.ph: A Place to Work and Play

I can confidently say that writing is one of my personal passions. Whether it’s just random scribbling of thoughts or making multiple futile attempts at literature (trust me, I had a lot of futile attempts over the years), the ability to write was a great way to express myself and kill time in the process. Though the thought has crossed my mind, I never really took seriously my chances of earning a good salary for writing. At least not until I crossed paths with Essays.ph. This review is my personal story as a writer for the number 1 premiere online writing community in the Philippines.

How it all began

It all began in April 2011. Fresh from graduation and now ineligible for allowance, it’s safe to say that my well of money is starting to run dry. In addition to this, I got to find something that’s worth investing time to.

The natural recourse for these situations is to search jobs over the World Wide Web. And look what I have found, a freelance writing company that pays me to write just about everything under the sun! For me, that sure sounds like fun.

Starting up

When applying to any company, especially to a company that doesn’t seem to have an established reputation, you’ve got to calculate the risks. This led me to read reviews and potential scam alerts. And while the freelance writing profession in general is rife with random stories of unpaid articles and bogus clients, there’s none of its kind for Essays.ph. In fact, others (probably those who are working or used to work for them) have given them high scores for reliability. That sealed the deal for me. I read the Writer’s Manual, answered the sample test, and within weeks I already have a job!

Growing pains

Any job has its own set of trials and tribulations. And it would be a travesty if I say that I made it this far without much drama. Back then, I was having major problems making it through the 24-hour (can be extended to a 48-hour) deadlines. I was also a frequent flier on the “Revisions Hub” back then. I virtually have no idea about concepts like CopyScape hits, keyword densities, and the like. During my first weeks, I got to admit I wasn’t ready for this. In fact, quitting did cross my mind.

Only I didn’t quit. In spite of my numerous transgressions as a rookie (and even now, I still make mistakes every now and then), the editors and administrators stayed patient on me (which I would later realize, is not the easiest thing in the world to do). Also, hanging out at the forums allowed me to meet new friends that go beyond the realm of my virtual workplace.

I can say that right now, I’ve made enough progress that I can now call myself a full-fledged SEO writer. And I wouldn’t have made it this far without the writers, editors, and staff who make up the EPH community.

A place for work and play

By the time this article is published, I am about to complete my second year as an active writer for Essays.ph. And I can say that the joy is still very much there. As a job, I can say working here is a very viable means to make a honest buck. Though it takes practice and patience, you’re guaranteed to laugh all the way to the bank when all is said and done; as long as you make your article sets the right way.

And obviously, staying here has been a lot of fun. I get to learn about all kinds of stuff, ranging from foreign exchange to electronic gadgets. In fact, there are times when work feels more like play. And of course, there are the people. Ask for help, and you’ll get a helping hand. Say something, and someone will listen. Get to know the people behind the user names, and you’ll understand why this company is a community in a truest sense.

For me, Essays.ph is the perfect place to work and play. Join us and you just might find your perfect place as well.