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What I Would Say to My 22-year-old Self? After 5 years!

April 4, 2011
College of Engineering, Graduation Day at Bulacan State University

Hey Chad!

How are you? You're already 22 and about to graduate with an engineering degree! Yes, you will no longer study in school. Maybe you'll miss it, maybe, not. As Andre Maurois quoted the great English writer Carlyle, "A man ought to spend the first part of his life conversing with the dead, the second with the living and the third with himself.” and you already finished the first stage of life. Congratulations!

Now, you have an exciting future and career ahead of you. Don't worry too much about the next step. You can do it! Just stay focused. I know by now you're worrying about getting the license. Hey man! You can make it to the list! Trust me!

After that, you will be entering the corporate world. I know you’ve always wanted to be in the IT field and it has always been your passion since you entered college. When you get there, my advice to you is to focus. You have to calm down and stay focused on what matters. It's a big world out there and you have to listen to me and absorb every single word that I will be saying.

First, find the job that will give you want you want and support you on what you need. A job that will pay you for what you love doing - aah, yeah, I quoted Confucius. LOL! When you get that job (and I hope you will), make the best first impression and make it last. I know you. You know your way to stand out.

You have been getting things a little easy since you were a child; but now, don’t expect your job or anything to always be like that. Work hard, as time and people will make unceasing demands on you. Be certain of yourself at all times because you can rest assured that not everyone will always show their faith in you. Prove them wrong. Learn to say no, learn to challenge yourself, tackle difficult situations.
Had a bad day at work or anywhere else? Don’t be afraid to cry when you’ve had one, just wait until you get home. Next day, move on. The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest.

And always remember, you work to live life happy and not to pay bills. And not the other way around as well – “Live to work”.

Second, you have to surround yourself with people who celebrate your existence. Befriend people who are true and open about the experiences that have had in their lives. Again, you are in the second stage - conversing with the living. Learn from them. Allow people to take you higher and teach you things about yourself. In return, always show gratitude to them.

Be gentle with yourself and treat your real friends like treasures. Value your friendships. Not the ones that are short-lived and only maintained on social media but the ones that are unpretentious and real.  You will meet a group of people who will be your friends for life. Stick with them, they are worth investing your time in. They will see you at your best and at your worst and they will love you all the same. They will support you, make you laugh and never judge. They will be giving you constant reminders of what is important in life. Again, you must also do the same for your real friends. Give and take.

Third, explore! Take your time figuring things out but keep in mind that time flies – really fast, especially when you are having fun. Try new things so you can get an idea of what you do and don’t like. Pay attention to the things you’re obsessive about and set aside time to achieve goals and make plans. Always do the best and take every opportunity that will be in your way. Know that we are defined by those opportunities, even those that we missed.

One day you will find what you’re passionate about and when that happens, stay focused and remain humble. Be confident and don’t be scared to share your ideas with the world. Start something new – a business, a habit or any. Remember that the first draft of anything is shit so don’t be afraid. Accept fear as a necessary ingredient for success.

If things aren’t going according to your plan, just be patient. Maybe, it’s not yet time for it to come. Patience isn’t a virtue. It’s a requirement. If it’s really or still not going according to your plan, learn to accept and move on. Don’t dwell too much on that. It’s normal.

Whenever you are stuck in a situation that doesn’t favor you, just put this into your mind - every situation we get ourselves into, keep asking yourself: What am I supposed to learn from this and what am I going to give for this? Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for something that’s meant to come.

Fourth, I know it's already much but this is about relationships. The biggest piece of advice I have for you is to put yourself first. You’re young and you have time to meet someone special. Focus on your goals first and loving someone second. Don’t allow your emotions to get in the way of your progress. Don’t waste time on things or people who don’t make your heart sing. Don’t focus so much on finding love. Let it find you. I know it will. Just be you!

Second to the last, rejoice in your parents. They will make your busy life easier and will always be firmly on your team. Cherish every second with them. Hug them. Care for them. Treat them once in a while. Have a meaningful time chatting about the past when you are a kid. Kiss them when you leave the house and always respect them. Let them know how much you love them. Say “I love you Mom and Dad.” You only have one set of parents. It will be much of a cliché but I will tell you, you will be busy growing up while you might forget they are also growing old.

Finally, look forward to the future. Keep on learning new things outside of school. Keep on loving and keep on dreaming. Trust me! I have been there!

Aged 27
April 4, 2016

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