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milestones pt. 1

In a previous blog post, I described how I was extremely shy and self-doubting. I was always the student who lacked oral participation. I refused to speak up even if my grades depended on it.

In 2018, I was invited to give a talk to high school students (at a posh private school) about the biological aspects of depression (check that out here). I initially declined, thinking I wasn’t credible enough. I was still in my 3rd year of residency then, and felt like I didn’t have enough (or any) credentials to be speaking in front of high-schoolers (who probably knew more english than me). However, after much thought, I decided what the heck, it’s worth a try.

Of course, this came with so many doubts, like: What if nobody listens? What if they think I’m boring? What if they won’t engage in the discussion? What if they won’t learn anything? What if I’ll make a fool out of myself? What if I’ll shame the person who invited me over?

I was excited, though, and spent nights preparing. I did my research and verified facts. was my helpful buddy in converting medical jargon into easy-to-digest words and phrases. I made colorful slides so they wouldn’t seem boring. And, I even studied in case someone would grill me. On the day itself, I wore a white coat so that they’d believe I’m a doctor.

I was so nervous, and the last thought I had before kicking in to ‘lecture mode’ was here goes nothing.

“What is Depression?” – title slide from my lecture on the biological causes of depression – November 2018


Guess what.

I had a really good time. We all did. Everybody listened and participated. The students–and facilitators–were very interested, and asked a lot of questions. They all said they learned a lot. And. I didn’t make a fool out of myself.

Keeping it together for the kids lol

Little did I know that this stint would open many doors for me. For one thing, it helped me gain confidence. I made me think “Hey, I think I can really do this” and “I will less likely suck at something if I work hard and prepare for it.”

My newfound confidence carried over into the next year, when I accepted an invitation from KALFI (Kalingayan Youth Foundation Inc.) LEAD Cebu to talk about mental health.

Funnily, I was able to re-use my previous lecture for this one, since the topic was about depression as well. It was refreshing to engage with the young and bright minds of the leaders and learners.

Mental Health Talk about depression with the KALFI LEAD members and Minglanilla parish youth – July 2019
Certificate of appreciation from KALFI LEAD – July 2019

Thank you KALFI LEAD Cebu for this opportunity. I am grateful to have you listen to my insights on mental health.

Later in 2019, I was invited again by the “KALFI Moms” (mothers of the KALFI leaders) to talk about understanding mental health in the youth. More specifically, I talked to boomers and Gen X to help them understand how millenials and Gen Z cope with stress.

This was quite interesting because I, a millenial, had to understand how boomers, Gen X and Gen Z each coped with stress, and then bridge our 4 generations to meet one understanding. Excerpts from the book iGen by Jean Twenge, PhD definitely helped.

Title slide from my “Talk on Mental Health” to moms of high school kids – November 2019

Here I am below with the moms. It was a very engaging discussion, and I was glad to enlighten them.

With the “KALFI Moms” – November 2019

Later that year, another friend invited me to give a talk on the “quarter life crisis” and its impact on mental health. This was also a first, since I would be speaking to college students in one of the big universities in the city. (wow, 2019’s on a roll, huh)

Here is the official invitation to my segment on their Seminar for Social Good series. Confession: I had to look up “social good”, which means:

Social good is typically defined as an action that provides some sort of benefit to the general public. In this case, fresh water, education and healthcare are all good examples of social goods. … Social good is now about global citizens uniting to unlock the potential of individuals, technology and collaboration to create positive societal impact.
Invitation to the Seminar Class for Social Good talk from USJR

This was quite a challenge, since both were new concepts to me.

Luckily, I was able to use stuff from my previous lecture about millenials’ and Gen Z’s mental health, and stuff that I learned from training about stress management.

What I understood about the “quarter life crisis” was that it was stress felt by young adults after experiencing overwhelming amounts of change in different aspects of their life all at once. To deal with this, they should first acknowledge stress as it is, and recognize that it is equivalent to change. This “crisis” apparently occurs during their transition from a comfortable shelter to the outside world. Or, it could also take the form of an existential crisis, where they ask themselves “what is my purpose in the world?

I could go deeper into this in another blog post. In the meantime, here are some tips on handling stress at ‘thirtysomething’.

Here I am, keeping it together for the nth time around (wearing the same pants as I did during my first lecture lol–and wearing my ‘seminar shoes’ for a confidence boost)

Talking about how to handle a “Quarter Life Crisis” with university students – November 2019

I am proud to say that that lecture went pretty well too. We went a few minutes over time because the students asked a lot of questions. I used to dread being asked anything. But now I welcome it because I see it as a reflection of the audience’s interest in the talk.

Thank you to the kind people who organized this event. And thank you for inviting me over. It was an honor sharing my “expertise” with you. Hoping to do this again in the future.


It’s November 2020 now. Two full years since my first lecture stint. Time flies. I learned a looot along the way. More than I could ever imagine. The one thing that will stick with me for the rest of my life will be this:

Nothing good will ever come from rejecting an offer because you think you can’t do it. So, if it scares you–especially if it scares you–do it.


I’m happy that you’re still with me after a lengthy post talking about myself. This is part 1 of 3 of some personal milestones over the past 3 years. Hope to see you till the end xx


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