Saturday, April 30, 2011

a dog's high five

My dog, Powie, isn't only a family pet.
She has been my playmate...
My silent but loyal confidante.. 
She knows how to please you, 
feels bad when scolded,  
knocks on the door when she is hungry, 
has been practicing opening the gate.. but never keeps strangers near
High five. My sister-in-law with our dog, Powie

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cutter diaries

I miss you, Marj~! (just a repost from my friendster blog)

When the office requested us to decorate the stage for this month’s program, my great friend, Marj, didn’t really looked pleased or excited as usual.  Then, she cracked laughter when she said she would be willing for as long as using cutter will be discouraged. Cutter phobia, anyone?


I woke up so late; I didn’t realize I was back in my room at home. It was 10:30 am, and I wasn’t in Boracay anymore. At least that’s what the room, bed, and pillows told me the moment I opened my eyes and started to regain consciousness of the world around me.

It’s Monday.. but what the hell am I doing in my room? I was supposed to be at work this time. Then reality sank in. I went home a little past midnight (May 4, 2009), informed the office I will be absent for a day, emphasizing I wasn’t in a good condition to perform my job that day.

Waiting for a cab in from of UCPB Jaro the other night, one female freak has turned our vacation into a mess. We had been excited about that… in fact, we were convinced it was perfect…the beach, the company, the experience, the fun. Then, the incident. While I was talking with my mother on the phone, a woman just stabbed my friend (marj) with a cutter, not once, twice, thrice but four times! Good thing all she got were bruises. Maybe the cutter was old; it never performed its part in the crime as intended. “What’s wrong with you?” she shouted at her as she tried to attack her again. Police came, and so was the short “crime scene” investigation. Problem was, it seemed like nobody saw what happened. Alibis raining everywhere. Just when I knew that it’s possible for a dozen of people to go blind simultaneously. 

No doubt it’s very difficult to avail justice in this country! Luckily, though, another friend recognized one of the guys present. So what’s his part in this? It was only later when we knew that the woman who stabbed my friend was his live-in partner, who was so jealous and insecured of the way my friend looked. The trouble with the guy was that he denied he knew the suspect. So congratulations to him, he just got the award “obstruction of justice”. Jokingly, another chum said, “Oh, he is of the same level with Ted.” Going back to the story, the news has spread at lightning speed, and we found ourselves surrounded by the suspects’ folks. Damn! Can you imagine the feeling of being confronted by a mother telling you that their poverty shouldn’t be the reason his son be put to jail? Damn again! We are the aggrieved here! Is poverty an excuse for attacking others who don’t even know you, or would never ever dare to get involve with your lives? 

Don’t go storytelling here; you were never the only people who lived life at its most difficult challenges. The only difference it made was the fact that we were raised aware of the limits we have as free humans. You messed up with us, now is the time to give you lessons. Some people play stupid to get themselves excused of the things they did. Nevertheless, if you didn’t really know what law is, then this is the time to learn the hard way. If you have been successful with your other victims, then take this differently. If you got personal troubles, count us out. We don’t even have time to settle our own issues.

The distress you caused can never be eased by an insincere sorry. Every single day we always play detectives on our way to work. Don’t you think it’s reason enough for you not to be forgiven?  You have got you day, now let us have ours. 

Love-hate with English Fun Day

There is one common thing between the coin and every single story; they both have two sides!

I am an NPA (no permanent affiliation) in school. I bet they think I like to multi-task! Ha-ha-ha~ I belong to three groups; my first love, writing department, the reading group, and the option class (IELTS reading). So what’s the good side? I never get to work with a single group of people. It would mean meeting and developing close relationships with more people than others. The bad? Can’t find my entire piece of loyalty somewhere~ can you please pick it up for me?

Today is quite different from the usual class days. There have been some divisions by the ballroom area for days. The scenes have been an explanation enough to look forward to an “out of routine day”.

Everybody seems to be so excited. We are in a hurry, trying to figure out what to do, planning our way to outwit other groups. Ha-ha-ha! So there must be something really special with this event. For others, this will be the perfect time to get oriented with the faces we get to see everyday but are never really close with… there have been some groups around here… and we can’t get to meet all students in our classes.

Beware!! We’re anti-dictatorial! It’s common knowledge we are one of the most easily-led people. People here are mostly of liberal arts or communication majors… what else do you expect??? We are a bunch of loud talkers, editors, above all, college-days rebels, so talk nicely. We’ve been a team for always. It is a custom with the group I used to lead (writing) to work together, being asked or not. I’m glad we still have that spirit!!!!  Teamwork was so effective. In fact, when I dropped by the booth, they have had something marked for me to see. Guess what~ one part of the wall decoration are sets of neo tattler articles, and one page outshines them all (I’ll strangle Angelie^^) Why is that so? It was highlighted with and arrow and a heart. It was an article entitled “A Memory of Europe”, written last February 2007… I need not divulge the writer anymore. Knock it off, guys! 

Age limit? It’s where idealism almost always gets crumpled by tons of experiences. Reading/listening group is quite special. This is where most of the “seniors” gather. (Suddenly I’m confused with my stage in life…Hahaha)~ Anyway, being one of the youngest members do the charm (wink-wink). With all the things people here are busy about, don’t expect us to meet every single day and talk about so many concerns; we are a group of absolute independence, sometimes, indifference. This is quite a rare opportunity to spend the whole day together.  Luckily, we have with us the school artist, so that means our booth looks simply theme-relevant. (Didn’t look like a kindergarten… hek-hek-hek… thanks to Gracey~~~^^)

Laughter is everywhere. Countless sounds of joy. Can’t recognize which sound belongs to which nationality! Hahaha~

Say cheese~~~~ curls!!!! This is going to be one of the most photographed days! So tiring to smile!!! Expect more photos on friendster, facebook, tagged, and cyworld soon…

“Out of the routine day” is of no question, a great way to refresh ourselves. Bad thing is, it is far more tiring compared with the usual days. Years of teaching has gotten almost everyone of us accustomed to the lessons in the book. We need not stare at them at all. But now it’s not just for your own students inside your classroom, it’s for every single student around. That means lots of preparation to lead everyone else.

Who should take control? It’s damn irritable to see that after all the efforts of the teachers, well, all we have to see are… some students who preferred to go out than participate, with some crap explanation from the management that the persuasion isn’t enough just yet… worst of all, budget sooooooo “big” I wanted to donate to feel better.

Flashback and the wall posting! It wasn’t really a bad thing but it reminds me of how I wish I were stupid! Everytime we get to have this program every year, I can’t help but look back at the time when I was supposed to be in my room, having the privilege of privacy expressing my heartfelt goodbyes to the writer of the “marked article”. That time had been so selfish on us. I hate-hate-hate this program! I wish that the next year’s schedule won’t fall on the day when special people for us would have their last days! Good thing there is still something good going on between me and the writer… hahahahaha~~~~^^ (don’t complain, friends)

Just what is good planning? I think it had been a waste of time for me trying to catch up with the deadline for the game rules that never get to be played. It wasn’t because it was so difficult to follow, but because people around seems to prefer the easiest, effortless way to handle something. Another frustrating thing is, you’ll work your things out and be expected to do others’ job just for the reason they are lazy to take responsibility. I have always respected people older than I am, but that is never a part of my belief. Worst thing is, when the person who gets to hold all the game plan decides to leave the materials the day before without explaining, but with the plan never to attend the day of the event. Great!!! Soooo great! Thanks for wasting my time and effort doing something that might give you credits. All you gotta see is a big smile on my face~ I am frank for as much as I don’t want to be angry. There is always a next time~

This is a picture-perfect day! No doubt! We just hope it will be use to with the words “sincerity and truthfulness” in mind.

Stories do have two sides, and so are the coins that teachers spent due to the budget cut! How can you be so charitable, guys? Hope there are still people out there like you! Such a great asset!! Hek-hek-hek!!!! ^^ So proud of you!!! Promise!

Forever Thankful: A Mother’s Day tribute to my mom

I know that I have never been perfect but you are always there, caring, understanding, loving me more than anyone else did.

When you brought me out of this world, I know I was never really needed. You have got three already, thanks to my brother’s request, though, I was given the opportunity to see this wonderful world.  We all know what hardships we’ve been through. But thanks for always being strong; showing us everything is perfectly OK, doing personal sacrifices to cover them up. No matter what I do, I know I can never pay it back.

Thank you so much for listening whole heartedly in every single story I tell. Though some of them are soooo old to be told, you always have the eager ear to make me feel it’s a brand new story. It eases the pain I feel everytime I see your face across the table, listening eagerly to what I am saying. Or touching my hair while I’m lying on my bed.

Thanks for raising me the way I am right now. Thanks for the lessons of life. I will always live by them. Though I have many challenges ahead, I bravely face them all because I know that when I go home, I will always be hailed the winner and the best daughter there is.

Thanks for always reminding me that I still have the power to get what I wanted. When I am down, I know that you are always the crowning glory I look forward to. Thanks for always taking the shadows for me to get into success you have always wanted for yourself.  

Thanks for instilling in me the value of excellence in everything I do. I have failed to give you the highest honors in school, but you always believed that I am the first, that no one else has to bring me down. Thanks for the childhood lesson you have given, I know I have pleased countless people, but I’m not convinced I have given my best to make you proud.

When I was young, I find it hard to understand why I should take academic things seriously, but you led me to the correct path telling me that is the only way to make my life better. Thank you so much mom for developing in me the love of the written words. For giving me the chance to learn ahead of my age. For being patient teaching me how to read and write when I was two. It was later in my life when I realized that it has defined the way I had been through my dreams. For people who believed in me, I may not be smart enough to do everything but you always give hope each time I experience failure.

Thanks for the comforting words and hugs you readily give when I feel hurt. I don’t know how to get through my life if you were not there, telling me I’m just human to commit mistakes, be hurt, and learn lessons the hard way.

Thanks for emphasizing and showing me the example of how should I show love to others.

Thanks for always greeting me by the door everytime I go home, asking me about my day @ work.

Thanks for reassuring that I am still loved regardless of how bad I get sometimes.

Thanks for reminding me the value of respect, belief in God, and forgiveness.

Thanks for the goodnight kisses and hugs you offer to make me feel better just before I close my eyes every single day.

Thanks for the sacrifices you have done, to the extent of spoiling me. Sometimes I act childish when I’m with you, but thank you so much for the assuring smile telling me it’s fine.

There is no enough way to tell you how thankful I am for you…
Nevertheless, I promise to be the best I can be. I love you mom. You’re the best there is!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Exams: Crack the Code!

Got test phobia? Many of us are dreaded with the word “test”.  Have you ever failed in an exam?  Many people get stressed whenever they needed to take exams. The following are common types of tests and the strategies I found to be very effective in cracking them down.

True/False Tests
This is the most common type of exam we get in school.  Here, we are given two choices that eventually give a 50-50 chance of getting the right answer. If there is no penalty for the wrong choice, then make one. Try to identify the keywords and the qualifiers included. Be careful with the expressions “all, never, no, always” for they may express a wrong answer. Always remember that if the statements never give any chance for a possibility, then it is most likely a wrong answer. The qualifiers like “sometimes, almost always, and often” can signal a true statement. What if the statement is partly true and false?  It is believed that if a sentence has some of its parts considered false, then it is false. It doesn’t exactly follow that a partly true sentence is really true. Longer sentences are also s candidate for true answers since it takes more qualifiers to illustrate that something is true than to use wrong words to make them false. This is sometimes modified and called fact/opinion tests. If the statements include the idea as a result of a research, then it is a fact.  If the statement uses the expressions like believe, thought, or perceived, then it can be an opinion.

Multiple Choice Tests
A multiple choice test is deemed to be one of the easiest types of exam since the answer could be made readily available. In taking a multiple choice test, read the questions first. This will give you an overview of what is being asked. Look at the choices and eliminate the obviously wrong answers for they may distract you later. Stick to your first impression. It is believe that the first choice is most likely the correct answer. Watch out for the expressions like “all of the above” or “none of the above”. If one of the sentences in the choices is wrong, then don’t choose “all of the above”. If one of the choices can be considered for an answer, then don’t choose “none of the above”. It is also believed that most of the wrong answers can be found in choice A.  If you still don’t have an idea and there is no penalty for a wrong answer, make sure to write one down on your paper. You have at least 25% chance of getting it correct than leave it blank and be wrong for sure.

The Reading Test
Confronted by an exam with extremely long content? Never make the mistake of reading the whole passage! It is not the purpose of the test to know how much you know, but how much information you can confirm. Start answering by skimming for the keywords. This is done by reading the questions first. If the choice never possesses the keyword surrounding the paragraph that includes the ideas for the question, eliminate it. Also look for the context clue. There are instances when you will be asked for the meaning of the vocabulary used. If you don’t have any idea of the definition, skim the paragraph again and try to understand the surrounding ideas. One of them may contain the meaning being asked. “What is the main focus of the paragraph?” If you see a question like this, try to check the first sentences of the paragraphs. It is where most topic sentences can be found.  If most of the paragraphs share the common idea, then it is the correct choice.

Short answer test/fill in questions/summary completion

This is one of the most difficult to solve because it requires an exact answer. If you are answering a fill in test, analyze the idea first. If the blanks require a noun, then choose a noun for an answer. Don’t choose any word just because it sounds great. In answering, consider the length of the blank, the tense used, and whether or not it makes the idea run smoothly. For exams that require completing the summary of the topic, be sure to understand the idea since this test employs almost always a paraphrase. If you are asked to enumerate the answers, then make use of mnemonics. This is the strategy of assigning a special code to make memorization easier to take back whenever we needed to write them down, especially in order.

Essay tests
If you can write well, then this is just a piece of cake. However, you need to organize your ideas in order not to spend much time trying to figure out what to write directly. This is done by making an outline before writing to help you focus with your ideas. In writing an outline, make sure to include the basic parts of an essay; the introduction/background, the body/your arguments, and the conclusion. Start your essay by using the ideas of the question as part of the introduction. For example, if the question is “Should employees be allowed to use company’s computer for personal transaction?”, then you can say, “Employees should be allowed to use the company’s computer for personal transaction provided they set a certain limitation.” Copying the important keywords from the question will help your reader identify your stand and what your subject is about. What if you have no idea about the subject? It’s a big no-no to leave your paper clean! Think of any related topics and start writing down your ideas. This will at least give you a credit for the effort!

Before the test:
Avoid cramming. Make sure you prepare yourself for the test. You can do this by making sure you have studied, and with all materials ready the night before the exam. Check your pencils and pens or other required materials. Make sure to bring spares. Don’t let yourself be helpless when your only pencil gets broken and there is no extra to use.
Go to sleep early. The night before the exam, go to bed and get a full night of ZZZzzz. This will help you stay alert, and concentrate more. How can you get some sleep, then? The best way is to study ahead and take time to relax the day before the test. Enjoy the day to feel good, but don’t overdo it by drinking. Many test takers who thought alcohol will make them feel relaxed the eve of the exam found themselves having hangover! The result? You know what happens to the test papers answered by mentally-absent people!
Be on time. If it is your habit to arrive a little late, then maybe you should take this situation differently. Being on time at the venue will give you more chances to keep up with what’s needed just in case you still forget some things! If the test center is not familiar to you, be sure to check it out ahead of schedule. This will help you estimate how much time you needed to prepare for the commute, locate the room your assigned to, and be aware of what to expect in that environment.
Check and recheck the instructions. Never take your admission notice for granted. Oftentimes, they contain important information like dress codes, additional identifications needed, or even extra photos! I have known some people who were denied entry to the exam venue for not wearing the shirt/blouse of prescribed color.
Ask questions. Never hesitate to ask questions before the test. Examiners usually welcome clarifying queries. Don’t ever think you are inferior by asking questions just because people inside the room never say something. Your silence and confusion can never guarantee success to pass!
Pray. When you have done all the test preparations, the only thing you needed is the divine guidance to making correct choices.

After the test:
Recheck your answers. Even if the questions seem very simple, don’t be on the rush to turn your paper in.  If you have some time left, take time to breathe and review your answers. Make sure you haven’t left a number blank or shaded two answers for a single number.
When you get your test paper back, don’t just look at the score and throw them in one corner. Recheck your correct and wrong responses. Sometimes checkers commit mistakes even with the counting of scores!
Learn from your mistake. Checking your corrected test paper will give you the opportunity to identify your weakness. Knowing them will help you avoid committing the same the next time.
Not satisfied with the result? Be sure to study harder the next time. Once the exam is finished and grades are in, stop criticizing yourself so badly. You must make a promise to do better rather than blame yourself for not doing so.
By the time you are confronted with even the most difficult test, keep focused and make use of the strategies! They do work well!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Resume: Advertise Yourself

Résumés are one of the most important things you needed when applying for a job. It is considered as a form of self-advertising. Many employers make résumé a basis for hiring new members of the organization.  It is therefore essential in determining whether or not you’ll get the job you always wanted.
Here are the steps on how to make your résumé work for you:
The Preparation:

Employers are more concerned about the things you can do for them. A well-written résumé could get you to the first steps of hiring, but always remember you need to prove the claims you made. In organizing your résumé, consider the following:
1.) What are my skills? How can these skills prove my ability? How can I put them into writing?
2.) What kind of worker my target companies want? Do I prefer working with people or by myself? 
3.) What are my strong points? Am I a leader or a follower? How can I give proof to this point?
4.) What are my personal characteristics? Do I possess creativity?  Am I quick in learning new things?
5.) What are my communication skills? Am I good at writing or speaking? Do I speak a foreign language? How can it be helpful to the company?  How can I prove I have those skills?
6.) What are my technical skills?  Am I good at computers? Can I operate equipments used in the line of        work I want?
7.) My education, work experience, skills and personal background; do they coincide with the job specifications?
Writing them down: The Basic Parts
Personal Information/Heading: This includes your name, address, contact numbers, and email address
State the reason for submitting your résumé
Do you want a full time or part position? Is this for an internship program?
Which department are you applying for?  
Be sure your objective statement matches with the job description advertised.
There are two types of objectives to choose from:
Specific objective- it is used for a specific position you are seeking.
Example: A fulltime position as a Human Resource Officer with the focus on employees’ training
General Objective- it is useful if you are planning to apply for many jobs with a single résumé.
Example: A part-time position as an office clerk
Work Experience
Here, list your employment background from the most recent backwards.
Include company/employer’s name and address
Complete dates of employment
State your most important title or position with your duties and responsibilities.  
You can also include your work accomplishments, promotions and activities initiated or have taken part in.
a. Describe your work experience specifically.
Examples: Served an average of 50 store customers a day
Co-authored the company’s 100-page employees’ handbook
b. Include only the work experiences relevant to the job you are applying for
c. Be sure to illustrate your qualities like initiative, resourcefulness, leadership, team work, and technical skills in your the job descriptions
d. What if you didn’t have paid work experience? You can include your volunteer work, community-based activities, or organizational positions you had in college.
Here, list the names of the academic institutions you attended.
Include the dates of attendance, subjects you studied, and degrees you earned
Employers are also particular with your academic performance, so mention your grade point average (GPA) or your class ranking. However, no matter how confident you are with your academic record, avoid listing all the subjects taken for it may bore the recruiter.
You can also list the seminars or training attended if they are relevant to the position you are applying for. This is helpful if you lack the experience.   
Include keywords that are in the job specifications. This will help you focus on the kind of skills the employer might be interested in.
The most common skills are for technology, equipment use or familiarity, communication skills, people handling skills, time management, organizational skills, and acquired skills from previous employment.
If you are not confident about your skills, mention that you have the background and the capacity to learn them quickly.
Honors and Awards
It’s time to highlight your scholarships, honors, recognition, and certificates.
Be sure to describe them clearly. The employer may not be familiar with the nature of awards you received.
Examples: Recipient of the School President’s Award (don’t do this)
            Recipient of the School President’s Award, a scholarship for the university’s top 10 students (*)
If you have about two items to include here, better integrate them with your Education or Employment sections.
You can also include honors or recognition you received from your community.
Illustrate your capacity by using action words as a highlight.
Example: Initiated the revival of the departmental newsletter, serving as its editor.
Personal Data
It is a trend in today’s job market to discard information on gender, religion, age, marital status, height, weight, or nationality. It is believed they don’t relate to the capacity of the individuals to perform the job. Be sure to read the job ad for it may require this section to be included.
Other Qualifications
This section is reserved for the information you can’t group under previous sections.
Includes special talents, certifications or awards outside of your academic or employment history
This may include hobbies that are relevant to the job and can be a very good part of interview topic
It is advised that you separate this section from the résumé
To do this, list your references in a different sheet and have it handy when recruiters ask
Be sure to include the person’s full name with a title, their position, institutions they work for and its address, and their contact number including the area or country codes
Warning: Trap ahead!
Important things people overlook when writing their résumés:
·         Use common fonts like Times New Roman and avoid small prints.
·         Use bullets instead of graphics
·         Don’t put the word “résumé”
·         Use good quality paper and printer
·         Avoid using “I”. It is given that your résumé tells about you
·         Résumés don’t exactly use complete sentences, so avoid putting periods after your lines
·         Effective résumés are those written in a single piece of paper. If it’s impossible to have it    in a single page, be sure to write your name and the page number on the next pages. Remember though that the best résumés are up to two pages long
·         Never invent information to include. A false employment date or position can disqualify you.
·         Write and revise. It is better to keep a résumé ready for any job opportunity that may come along. It also gives you time to identify the mistakes committed.

Good luck with your job hunting!