Something I Wish I Knew Before Series Part 3: Living the Enderun Life
In this edition of the “Something I Wish I Knew Before” series, we dive deeper into the personal lives of each generation of Titan students. We learn the dos and don’ts from the experiences of Reese Labay, Ervin Abcede, and Rainna Encabo as they share the lessons, development, and encounters they went through in the home of the Titans.
Reinelle Labay, also known as Reese, is a Grade 12 AP Capstone student who is currently the President of the Senior High Batch of 2021-2022 at Enderun Colleges. She is a leader of not only one, but many organizations in the community. Her wisdom, and integrity go hand in hand with her lively personality which is one of the many notable things about her, as well as the practical and conceptual tips she gives us in this series!
Regret can seemingly position us at a disadvantage. However, when you look deeper, you find yourself unveiling so much wisdom and gratitude for what turned out to be a redirection to a better destination. We all come from different backgrounds, and if you’re lucky enough, you’ll enter senior high with sufficient knowledge on certain extensions and apps that you need for projects and tasks. For those who differ, it may come to your surprise. Reese was one of these people; she wished she dabbled with google sheets and extensions before her senior year as there are certain things that demand your knowledge on these, so it took her a while to learn how to work around and function with them. Hence, the desire that she learned these a little earlier than time brought it to be necessary. Alongside this learning, she recognized and now advises those entering senior high to take the time and learn how to research for papers, efficiently and effectively.
We were greeted with an unexpected but insightful response in asking her what she would or wouldn’t do differently if she could turn back time. She learned to appreciate what she chose not to do, which gives us a new perspective on how sometimes setbacks or things we presume we might regret can later be something we appreciate. What at first may seem like a misdirection could actually be a redirection rather, into something that was always leading you into something better. Additionally, with what’s on your plate, though sometimes challenging, you eventually manage to learn a lot. Because of existing tasks from each aspect of her academic career and personal life, she’s developed the skill of handling them efficiently. In her case, with research and writing, she’s learned how to write a lot quicker while also picking up a technique such as canceling out certain articles that may not contribute the most effectively to her research papers. This saves up time, yet still resulting in an output that lives up to standard.
“What are your tips for the students in Enderun that you believe will get them through their school years?”
- “Learn how to take feedback” from your teachers, and from people who are better than you. Though it begins with it feeling like an ego-tearing thing to do, she insinuated that, it actually presents a student taking action on their desire to become better and improve your work and its quality through the feedback.
- “Learn how to read, and write an argumentative essay.” Be able to deconstruct an argumentative essay, because once you learn how to write a structured argumentative essay, that’s when you will be able to deviate from different points and structures while making it look cohesive. Learning how to create an argumentative essay will be the basis of almost all the other essays you’ll need.
- Learn how to manage your own time and go at your own pace. Allow yourself to experiment with other things and find what works best for you. Because trying to follow someone elses routine, study habits, and schedule, definitely won’t match with the pieces of the puzzle of your life. Managing your time properly becomes a rewarding thing afterwards.
As a leader of many organizations and President of this year’s Senior High batch, how is it possible that involving herself in extracurricular activities is a good idea? Does that imply that burnout will always be determined?
Though beneficial in the aspect of colleges weighing your extracurriculars, Reese notes that if your joining of orgs is: without substance, without the sincerity of your liking, and for the sole purpose of building your resume, the workload of your orgs will feel more like a burden than an enjoyable growing point. Her connotation is that orgs are worth it because you learn an abundance of things from handling papers, writing proposals, how to confront people, to life values.
“Regardless of whether you have an org or not, things can get pretty hard to handle. My key to a balanced student life has been time management and most of all, people I can genuinely talk to. People who will anchor you, cry with you, and keep you afloat. My friends and I keep each other in check while also giving out the best support we can give, by listening to each other’s rants and breakdowns but also making sure not to neglect our responsibilities. I hope everyone can find a community that can play as their pillars in life to lean on, and push you back when you need it. Because everyone needs one.
Join an org that you love. Because if you love what you’re doing, you’re going to continue to find another reason to continue. Dabble with extracurriculars you feel you will learn from, and which align with your goals as well as aspirations in life. If you feel like it doesn’t, then allow yourself to withdraw, remove yourself from the stigma of dropping orgs you can’t handle or aren’t growing in. We must also remember that our self worth and success isn’t derived from how many orgs we’re in, or how much we’ve accomplished. Growth can still happen behind the scenes and in places where awards may not be publicly given.
She mentions, “If you’re prioritizing your mental health and you think you’re happy where you are regardless of the current situation you’re in, then you should be proud of that. If you learn how to love everything about where you are and not base your happiness or quality of life on situations, then I think that’s worth celebrating and fighting for.”
We all know mental health is an important factor in how we perform in life, Reese ends with sharing what she believes would participate in helping the Enderun Community give concern to their mental health.
- Find your pillars in life, find those groups of people who will help you keep your feet on the ground. Find an activity or thing. Anything that allows you to come up for air every once in a while!
- Check and assess yourself. Reassess if you’re happy where you are, learn how to take a step back and reassess that if you take a break and come back to it, will you still enjoy and love it? Secondly, if you decide to continue what you’re doing, will you love it? Checking if what you’re doing is aligned with your aspirations, is necessary just as much as it is vital.
- If you’re in need of help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. There’s no shame in needing or having a need! You are important.
Ervin Abcde is a Freshman in Enderun Colleges and founder of the well-regarded SHS podcast segment, Enderun Unmuted. His easy-going, charismatic personality makes it easy for most people to talk and befriend him. So much so that he is now a newly added ambassador to the school! Yet, despite all his achievements and acknowledgments, Ervin admits that he experienced setbacks, moments of sadness, and regrets. One thing the ambassador confesses he took for regrets is taking the moments with his classmates for granted. He expresses his thorough enjoyment with the time he spent with his friends but reveals that he took some of it for granted as he thought (like most of us) that nothing could disrupt life. Throughout the interview, Ervin advises never to take friends, family, teachers and loved ones for granted as we never know what time and fate has in store for us.
Though his homeschooling journey from grade school to grade 11 may give out the false implication that he lacks experience; he shares that for all of his academic life, even until now, some tips he’s learned that significantly impact the quality of his journey is first and foremost, not overworking yourself. That means not just stopping when you’re burnt out and cannot take it anymore. But, gradually implementing intentional breaks that help you take a breather in between results in a tank that never runs empty and manifests itself in improved outputs afterward. Supportive of Reese’s advice to our fellow students, he advocates surrounding yourself with friends that will lift you up and help you mentally, emotionally, as well as academically.
A balanced work life is highly encouraged as well, but let’s be honest, life is not as simple as imagined. Sometimes, external factors can affect our working process and even become detrimental to our education. We may even experience regret and setbacks with decisions we were first confident about. With that said, Ervin was more than happy in sharing his learnings. We then asked him, “What is something you wish you knew before becoming a college student?”
His response: Listen to teachers, socialize, and enjoy life
Ervin explains that it is easy for students to take criticism and remarks as a negative form. But, he personally found it helpful and important to his growth. He adds,
“Online or face to face, enjoy your professors. Take advantage of them in a good way. They are more than just teachers. They can also be your friends, and as a friend they can give you an advantage.”
You can absorb knowledge and revelations from all kinds of people with varying perspectives. Learning from different minds expands yours as well. He explains that socializing is a must in the school. With the various organizations, events, and games Enderun Colleges provides, he iterates that students have options in meeting new friends and possible organizations. As your social circle expands, you start to surround yourself with good people (another must in Ervin’s list) in order to have a healthy and happy college life. He continues, “Focus on the things that will not make you stressed out, which goes hand in hand with surrounding yourself with good people who will lift you up. Have fun! There’s more to life than academics.”
Being emotionally and mentally healthy, he implies, is something we all need to push towards. Rewarding is the effect of an individual who is at ease mentally and emotionally. However, we all know it’s definitely not the easiest to attain as life, and its agendas can seem pretty unfitting or sometimes against the marathon of reaching stability. That’s not all there is to life, though; it’s just as possible to find peace and joy in the midst. Ervin tells us, “While many things are in the process of stressing you out, let it be a practice for you to prioritize focusing on the things that assist in minimizing the stress of those things that are doing so.” You only have one of you, so put yourself first. It sometimes feels impossible that students like Ervin struggle, seeing how intact his advice and thought process is but like everyone else, he has his moments of weaknesses and loneliness. Still, he chooses to battle it one way or another. With an honest perspective, Ervin, with uttermost sincerity, answers the question, “What is something you wish you knew before the pandemic occurred?”
His response: Taking care of yourself and those around you.
As we can see, mental health is extremely valuable to the ambassador. He shows his strength through his vulnerability. He explains that “burnout” will always be a part of student life, especially in times like these. That’s why it’s vital to find people you trust and can open up to, as well as take advantage of Enderun’s wellness programs and mental break discussions.
There is also a stark contrast of how Enderun handles mental health in comparison to other schools, making it a great school that values its students and their soundness. Still, Ervin elucidates that having friends means you must take care of them as much as they take care of you. He states,
“Your people can be your coping mechanism, you all relate and connect with the struggle and you all will carry each other. Also, People love when you show your true self, not presenting a persona.”
Nonetheless, Ervin evidently emphasizes that we must continuously reevaluate ourselves. Particularly, in difficult times. The greatest investment you can have is on yourself. if you don’t take care of yourself mentally first, it’ll affect the rest of our performance in life, on your body etc. Hence, ensure that you take time for yourself and reflect on your being.
With all this said, Ervin’s experiences are distinctive in their own ways. Being homeschooled and adjusting to a new way of learning is no easy feat! Nonetheless, the ambassador found ways to dominate school life and grow as a student moreover, an individual. His last advice is,
“Try. You’ll never know if you can do it, if you can make it unless you try. Think of something that can help create something that wouldn’t just come and go. Something that will last generations.”
We’re all on a constant inquiry on how we can find a balanced life, especially with factors like personal and academic life, with extracurriculars at hand. We learn from Ervin that before joining an org, we must make sure the work in this organization won’t feel like work to us, which is ensured if what we’re joining is something under our line of interest. A balanced student life, he explains, is that we ourselves have to find the balancer on what works for us and what doesn’t. Though there are certain things in life we can’t simply dismiss. We can see those we don’t find as much delight in, as an opportunity. Leadership roles and service can help us become balanced through not only its work but failures too. That’s how we learn and become better individuals.
Lastly, he ends with a simple yet profound statement. “Everyday of your life is a time to seize, seize the day. Always strive for greatness and take it seriously but in a very unclenched manner. Too serious may make you a perfectionist, it’s not necessarily awful, but too much can be harmful and play as a burden on your mind. Have fun! Life is more than just acads.”
MARIA RAINNA ENCABO
Maria Rainna Encabo is an alumna of Enderun Colleges’ batch 2019 and a graduate of BS-IHM specialization in Culinary Arts. During her college years, she was a part of the beloved culinary organization- Culinaire. This organization and course gave her many opportunities to expand her knowledge as a chef and businesswoman. Now, she handles her online account on Instagram, presenting tons of delicious delicacies while implementing her entrepreneurial learnings.
Yet, despite all her talents and capabilities, Rainna came from modest beginnings, just like most of us. Her initial feelings with college life were filled with worry. She assumed College would be difficult as she thought professors would be more strict, yet, as it turns out, they were more lenient than high school teachers. With the help of teachers, chefs, and eager classmates, Rainna gradually grew fond of cooking until her passions became her work.
That’s not to say her College life was perfect. She explains that she had her fair share of embarrassing moments like most college kids. One unforgettable time (that still has her laughing) is an event held in Enderun’s Atrium. She recalls that it was her 1st year in College, and the professor needed four more volunteers. Avidly, young Rainna joined them, and when her first clientele came, her nervousness rose. She narrates:
“When we got there, they just told us to serve amuse bouche dishes. I asked the guests if they would like some tuna tartare, and the guests asked what it was; I got nervous, so instead of repeating tuna tartare, I said salmon instead. On the brighter side, the guests didn’t notice what I said and ate it right away.”
Nonetheless, it’s with these experiences that Rainna has grown into a person she is proud of. From being a tongue-tied freshman to a bonafide chef who knows how to get dream events approved, Rianna has come a long way. A favorite memory of hers includes a project from her Kitchen Management Class where she experienced planning, curating and handling the whole event. Her team got the venue’s permit and drafted the overall concept of the event from the layout of the venue, food and food costing until it came to life. Still, like most adults, there are some things Rainna wishes she would have improved upon during her college years. When asked, “What is something you wish you knew before leaving college?”
Her response: Grab all the opportunities given to you by Enderun.
Rainna explains that despite being happy with her college life, she missed many opportunities by excluding herself from different RSOs and Orgs. She remarks that she should have volunteered to help for events outside and within the Enderun Campus. This advice aligns with the suggestions of Reese and Ervin so, if you’re hesitating with joining an organization, this is your sign to push those fears aside and give it a try!
She also explains that she should have packed her schedule with more volunteer work while managing academics. When you’re looking for an internship or an excellent job, it would be a great advantage to have a lot of experience in your field of work.
Her advice felt highly prominent, especially for students whose College and work-life seem so close ahead. Thus, we continued to ask Rainna a few other questions, one that asked, “What is something you wish you knew before leaving college?”
Her response: Hone Communication skills and join extracurricular activities you love.
Most jobs focus not only on your grades but also on how you communicate, present yourself, and what activities you involve yourself in during the school years. She advises that it is a great idea to join an organization you can be active in as long as you manage your “acads” and extracurricular activities. When you graduate, they won’t mainly focus on your grades, but they will also look at your experiences, so joining an organization is a must for her.
Enderun also improved her communication skills because of all the events and classes offered. Most of these events dealt with guests: entertaining, informing and pleasing them. Enderun was able to provide an opportunity for her to have an internship abroad and taught her to stand on her own feet by handling events like Culinaire’s Titan’s Week and outside gatherings.
As she narrates bits of her student life’s story, she expresses her regret in hesitating to make friends. It’s easy to feel shy or worried about how others perceive you, but the alumna agrees that she should have made more effort in getting to know her classmates since it can become helpful in her career and personal life. She says,
“Balancing your academic life and social life is important. It is great to study well in school but at the same time you should have fun by attending events/parties you were invited to. If I could turn back time, I would have socialized more with my schoolmates and would have made more friends. It is great to build connections especially if you are planning to have your own business.”
Rainna also believes that we are the masters of our own fate. She acknowledges that it is never too late to change and if you find your dream before, during, or after college, what matters is you chase it. “Success not only lies within the school,” Rianna observes throughout the interview. “It is up to the students to make memories that will last for a lifetime.” So, when questioned on, “What is something you wish you knew as a college student?”
Her response: Listen, Make and Know.
Rainna implores students (whether they be SHS or College students) to listen to their professors. When they give advice, listen to them (even when it’s hard). They have been students as well, so they know what is good for you. She also motivates students to take time and listen to their peers’ ideals and opinions since it can prove helpful in the long run. She expresses that building relationships and connections with various people can not only help in business but widen your perspective about the world around you.
“Make Connections.” She apprises as the interview progresses. “In the long run, when you are well connected with others, there will be a chance you will be needing someone’s help, and there is a saying that your biggest asset is your network.” She further explains that the time friends have together is limited. After college, most friendships will choose different paths in life and everyone will be busy. So, while you’re at the moment, take the leap of faith and make connections with those you want to surround yourself with.
From all her advice, Rianna notes this to be the most significant factor. She explains that you must know what your main goal is to live a successful life. She says, “You are one step away from achieving your dreams so you have to make sure to choose the right course you will be getting in college. Although, sometimes we only realize what we want to do once we are in college already, so for me, it is okay to shift a course, it is never too late to pursue what you want.”
Nonetheless, Rainna shares a personal ordeal that she is still finding this purpose since she graduated early. She reminds us that knowing your goals will take time, patience, and understanding of oneself. And that is perfectly fine.
Overall, Rainna prompts Enderun students to take the chance and try out things never done before. She’s relatable in every sense as she embodies the cautious yet genuine persona most of us have. She is the reminder that change is slow, it’s careful, and quiet, but it’s there and with each step of the way, you are embracing change and the new you.
Given all these learnings from these individuals, they show us that life can be a unique, fulfilling experience if we allow ourselves to make it one. Titans, we have the power to make our life’s experiences, one worth living and learning through!