My friend recently commented that I seem to blog about everything. Admittedly, I know I kind of have this pathological need to put all my experiences and thoughts down. But it’s my catharsis. It’s my way of remembering my life – good or bad. If I don’t remember, how can I ever learn?
That being said, although it’s been more than 2 weeks, this entry is a tribute to my ASLA experience. I’m aware that the event is a bit outdated, but the experience itself is timeless and worth a lifetime. Thus, it is blog worthy.
5 days. 45 leaders. Multiple ripples of change.
ASLA or the Ateneo Student Leaders Assembly is a 5 day leadership experience at Camp Explore Antipolo with no internet access, phone signal, or hot water. Wake up call is at 6am and the activities are jam packed throughout the day, ending as late as 12am or later. But despite these kinds of “conditions,” the beauty is that not one of us complained. No one had any reason to.
Honestly, it was nice to genuinely escape from the city that clutters your mind. It’s refreshing to be cleansed from Facebook, Twitter and text messaging and rely on good ol’ face-to-face conversation, hand games, cards and charades to keep us entertained instead.
Now, I’ve been to a couple of other leadership seminars before so the question I had before attending is: What makes ASLA so different from the rest? Forget that we got rained on constantly or got injured climbing a mountain. Forget that we were tired and hating extremely cold showers. Forget that we were pushed and pulled beyond our comfort zone not because we were forced to, but because we were challenged to.
The difference with ASLA is that we were not taught how to be a leader, but reminded why we should be one. Come day 6, the difference is that we’ll be different because after being completely honest about our shortcomings, we all made a personal commitment to be.
I can’t describe what exactly went down those 5 days because one, I’m not allowed to, and two, because it’s extremely difficult to. But as cheesy as it sounds, it was life changing. It’s been so long since I’ve felt this empowered not only by my own realizations but by the amazing people around me.
There have always been discussions about how the future is being shaped by the hands of our generation. With our free flowing access to information these days, there’s no excuse for ignorance. We are now all easily accountable for our deeds- whether good or bad.
Honestly, I never used to give the capabilities of our generation that much thought. I’m sure every generation thought they could make a difference. But after being with the ASLA community, now I truly believe that we, the youth, can help change the Philippines, one person at a time, each of whom are creating their own ripple of change.
The ASLA experience is different for everyone because as JQ, our moderator said, we each have our own journey and reason for being there. Personally, for years I’ve been rambling constantly about my lack of focus. But now I’ve learned that “When you’re looking for direction in life, listen to what your life has been telling you.” That’s when my calling suddenly became a lot clearer to me.
I can probably be successful in whatever profession I choose to pursue, but the one I’m choosing now is the one that can make the biggest difference – not only to myself but to others, including my country. Although it’s idealistic, that’s the kind of selflessness I’ve forgotten about. That’s the kind of selflessness that makes you realize just how self-centered we’ve been about our pursuits – mine included. That’s the kind of selflessness that puts the bigger picture into your perspective.
There’s no need to disclose the path I’ve chosen here but it is surely a rough one that promises a lot of growth. But my ASLA experience reminds me to completely trust myself. I don’t think I’ve ever fully have until now. That’s what you need not only to dream big, but to dare to live that dream and get through the rough patches that come in its way.
Why not? Kaya ko naman eh. And so can each and every one of us. That’s how ripples of change occur, one person at a time. Be the fire that kindles other fires.
Since we love quotable quotes and ASLA was full of them, here are a couple for you to ponder over. I don’t have my notes with me now so this is off the top of my head:
Challenge by choice.
Leaders facilitate, they do not dictate.
Masarap mahulog. Masarap mahulog sa kanya.
Love your calling with passion, it’s the meaning of your life.
Sometimes you have to jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.
You follow a leader not because of their technique, not because of the way they do things, but of how they see things.
A true mark of leadership is when you’re not needed anymore.
He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.
The 3 most dangerous words in the dictionary is: I know that.
Never depend on someone needing you.
Sometimes, we must distort reality to bring out the truth.
You are exactly where you are meant to be.
Click for pics.
“I got your ass” – Lauren to me. My fellow ACOMM AVP! I’m so happy we got to experience this together!
Say hello to Nth Power! I love our small group discussions. This is a testament of how it’s much easier to open up and talk with a bunch of strangers. Here it’s okay to be touchy feely.
Climbing mountains gives birth to many new metaphors for life! Hi Cam Ang!
Ang daming problema sa buhay haha.
Teamwork at its finest.
Wearing our batch shirts by the “bonfire.” Last night before we left = bonding time!
It’s nice to see how much a group can grow and open up to each other in just 5 days. That’s what happens when you’re not afraid to be honest, with yourself and with others.
On our last day we planted a tree – my first one ever! Symbolism on a whole new level
We all support each other in achieving our dreams! The sense of community is just overwhelming.
Back in ateneo. Answering the call of God.
Graduation! Thank you mommy stef! Lauren and I hugging our very awesome VP!
So what now? Change!