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Young Blood

This is life

I fall; I rise. I fail; I succeed. I laugh. I love. I bleed. I stumble and stand. I relish every glory; I learn from every loss.

Momentous events in my life are not only life-challenging but life-changing as well. These experiences changed my whole being, defined me. They are memories that preoccupy me and that I will treasure all my life. They have molded me into the work of art that I am today.

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I’ve met many obstacles that ascertained my soberness. I’ve accomplished simple and strenuous trials based on what I think is right for the common good. I’ve been judged. I’ve received sardonic advice from people I thought would be my strength in the face of danger. Because of the many events that happened to me from my childhood to the present, I’ve found that I’m a person, a human being, a believer, a dreamer, a resident of this mysterious and wondrous world.

I’m an enthusiast of history, literature, the news, eating, adventure, and all the other things that concern creativity. I’m an amateur in everything. A full-time history student documenting my life and putting experiences into words. A moment collector. Living in the Philippines but recently dreaming of living in Europe and exploring the world.

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I always do my best in school. I strive to excel in class. I study hard. I’ve been bullied so many times because my classmates think I’m weird. They hate me because I’m not a Catholic. It’s been a struggle for me to grow up in a Catholic school and keep dealing with people who will never understand me. Thanks to them, I became brave. Little did everyone know that I always understood their views. I only change mine toward things because I never want to do something based on “what’s in,” the mainstream one.

I always speak up about what I think is wrong. If not me, then who? My adviser hated me, but it never stopped me from doing my best. I did my best to be in the top section. I made it. I was able to find true friends that made grade school life more colorful. I met different people; they taught me a lot of things: that one must always understand, and that things might fall apart, people might judge you, but you must never give up because life is awesome and there are many great things along the way.

Because I always want to excel, I do not just do homework, projects, and other requirements. Rather, I always do everything with great love. That’s why I was able to finish grade school with honors.

High school was a big shift from the environment in which I was raised: different curriculum, different people. But I found true friends. I always did my best to excel in class, to always have a goal for an award. The last day of my freshman year was the day I realized that grade school is really different from high school. I had to adjust. It’s been difficult to adjust my study habits in order to fit into my new school’s curriculum.

My high school life was a roller-coaster ride. I found it difficult to deal with different people, most especially those who will never understand one’s view. One has no choice but to understand them, and allow them to think the way they want to. Being hated by my religion teacher was one of the best things that happened when I was in high school. She always hated me. She never read my reflection paper in front of the class, unlike my classmates’ works. She always put sermons in class pertaining to me. It didn’t stop me anyway. I always did my best to excel in Christian living. So many sleepless nights just to get the grade I deserved. At the end of every quarter, I got the “Christian Living Award.” I received the Social Studies Award when I was in Grade 9. I wasn’t able to be part of the batch honors. I was only part of the Top 5 of our class.

Another thing that made my high school life awesome was when I encountered a lot of issues but still stood firm in what I believed. I found pabida friends and sticker girls who always jived on my craziness. There were many shortcomings due to different views, but I learned how to deeply understand. Too many lies were told behind my back, but there was always room for forgiveness and hope to start a better friendship.

College is killing me. It’s a million times more difficult than high school. I almost failed in my subjects. I joined an organization where I thought I could live my passion, but things didn’t work. I have been judged for not doing what they intended me to do. But though things might fall apart, I keep telling myself that things will be all right.

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Pain is inevitable. Whether you look nice or not, whether you did right or wrong, people will judge you, anyway. Sometimes I ask the Lord why he is allowing me to experience all these frustrations. I am not a great person, but I try my best to be good to my neighbors. Why does life have to be unfair? As life was tearing me apart, and I wanted to die because I was so sick with dealing with my academics, friends, family, and even finding myself, I decided to continue this life in search of my worth—that someday, physical looks and grades will stop being the basis of respect and worth.

I have begun to hate our government, and I believe that judgment really starts from the house of the Lord. That’s why I had a lot of doubts. This view changed when I realized that we must not depend on how others see us. We must have faith.

After all, life is all about having faith. It’s not doing what others expect us to do; it’s doing all things with all our heart.

This is life. I’ve learned that we must play through the pain and make the most of it. We’re still blessed to have this kind of life, unlike others who’ve been living in pain all their life. We are blessed more than we truly deserve.

I’ve attended retreats to grow in the love of the Lord. I’ve been hurt—physically, emotionally and mentally. I fell in love with my best friend. I’ve experienced heartache. I’ve destroyed myself by loving other people. I’ve been tormented by the boisterous sermons of my teachers. I’ve had the chance to understand the scarcities of my country, to know the responsibilities of our leaders. I’ve become a responsible leader and a member as well. I’ve been in many activities and found that cooperation is the only key to succeed.

I’ve written letters to the people I love. I’ve written inspirational thoughts for the people I truly love and believe. I’ve met the most inspiring teacher who never failed to tell me that I can achieve my dreams. Most of all, I’ve experienced so many things that molded me as a person, more than I thought I could.

These experiences have given me proof that I’m truly a person who knows how to stand up after a great fall, a person who knows that no matter what happens, great things will still come. I can do things that an ordinary person can do, I feel things another person can feel, I dream of things another person will dream of. Failure has been my instructor to be a better person and to strive hard to succeed in life.

I have a life, a heart, a mind and a soul. I exist to live, to make mistakes, to learn, and to make a change. That is what my experiences have taught me, which helped me define who I am at the moment.

Hannah Joy Ibarra, 18, studies at the University of Santo Tomas.

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