Batch 2021

Your girl just graduated! READ MORE

I first started entered post-secondary in 2013, at Xavier University- Ateneo de Cagayan with the program BS in Nursing. Now, this program was not my choice, it was parents’ choice. The only choice that I get to pick was the school that I go to. Since I already went to XU High School, it made sense to me to stay in the same university. Honestly, it was hell for me. I tried to make the most out of it despite on how unhappy I felt all throughout. There were many times that I’ve thought to myself, when I’m 40, will I be happy with this job? But I had no choice, it was either this or no school at all. I did the bare minimum. I barely passed my classes. I know I could do better but I also didn’t want to give my parents the satisfaction of me getting good grades. I think this was the start of my life-long battle with anxiety. I hated Nursing, I didn’t want to take care of other people. It takes a special person to be a good Nurse and I wasn’t going to be a good one. I was just glad that I got the chance to migrate to Canada after my second year and didn’t have to finish the whole program.

I went to Grande Prairie Regional College for my first two years of supposed BS in Biology degree. However, I think I forced myself to early to actually graduate so I can catch up on my high school batchmates who have already graduated. This was a big mistake on my part and something that I paid dearly on my grades. You see, I took out student loans to pay for my education since my parents couldn’t be bothered anymore to pay for it. But I was young and stupid and failed a lot of my classes. It did not help that my anxiety got worse and my therapist suggests that I was showing signs of deep depression (really never went to the Psychiatrist to be officially diagnosed). For those 2 years, I did really badly to the point that I only passed half of my courses for the last semester. I wasn’t able to transfer to the university that I wanted as a normal student so I applied as an open studies student (got in still though).

MacEwan was the university that I kinda wanted to get in. Of course, my first option was University of Alberta but I was turned off by the large class sizes that they have and MacEwan had smaller class sizes. I enjoyed the time I spent there but had to drop midway my second semester due to some family emergency. In hindsight, I think I just forced myself to go there to because I was in a hurry to graduate. I took the next school year off to think about what I really wanted to do. Looked into different schools and different programs and settled with NAIT. My first option was their Biomedical Engineering Technology and the second was the Laboratory Research and Biotechnology program.

I got into the Laboratory Research and Biotechnology program at NAIT and I couldn’t be any happier. I was just happy that I get to do something that I have been hoping to do since I was in high school. The idea of me working in a laboratory has never left my mind and I’m glad that this is something that I can finally do in the near future. Every time we had labs, I felt happy to just be there and learn the different techniques. The one thing that surprised me the most that I actually got invested in was laboratory animal surgery. Now, I don’t condone the unnecessary use of animals in testing. But sometimes, especially for medicine and health research, the use of an animal model is needed unless we can find a way to get a more accurate model. I am now hoping to get a job in a research facility that deals with laboratory animals so I can help take care o them. I think I know that I can be a good researcher and animal handler. Of course I’m not happy when it comes to killing these animals, but if I can make it less painful and traumatic for them, that would be okay-er.

Anyway, your girl just graduated!

On SB19’s MAPA

SB19 had recently released a song titled ‘MAPA’. This is a love letter to parents, to thank them for all their hard work and sacrifices. MAPA is a play on ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa’, and can also mean a map (which was also referenced in the song). This song made me ugly cry as emotions I’ve thought I’ve buried already started to resurface. READ MORE

SB19 had recently released a song titled ‘MAPA’. This is a love letter to parents, to thank them for all their hard work and sacrifices. MAPA is a play on ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa’, and can also mean a map (which was also referenced in the song). This song made me ugly cry as emotions I’ve thought I’ve buried already started to resurface.

For me, MAPA is a sad song. I know that this was an ode to the parents but for me, this was an ode to my Nanay, my grandma. Ever since I was a little over a year old up until I was 17, my Nanay was the one who raised. She was the one that stayed up all night every time I was sick and she was the one person who comforted me when my parents forced me in a program I hated. She was the one person I held on to during the darkest moments in my life.

Ever since I started working, one my greatest dreams was to visit home and take her places she had never been. I wanted her to see experience going to other countries, enjoy fancy hotels and see nice sights. I wanted to take her to nice restaurants and have her try everything she wants. But life got busy on my end but I was still holding on to that dream, even though it was less intense now. I always told her, “Next year I’m coming home” and she would always say, “I’ll be here to wait for you”. I left the country in 2013 and finally in the last week of January 2018, I finally booked a flight to come visit home. I got busy with school that I kept telling myself, “I’ll call her later to tell her I already booked my flight”. On February 2, 2018, days after I booked my flight, she passed away. I never got to tell her that I was coming home and this will always be my biggest regret in life.

The words of this song were the words that I wanted to say to my Nanay. The first time I was able to give her money from my own hard work (it was prize money for a writing competition), I saw how happy she was. I loved that look on her and wanted to see that more. Now, I won’t be able to give her all the good things in life anymore. But I really hope she knows how much I love and miss her. In everything I do, I always think, “Will she be proud of me?”.

Don’t get me wrong though, I love my parents. I’m also working hard to ensure that my future includes our whole family to not have any financial problems and that my parents can retire with no problem. They have sacrificed so much for me. My mom had to work abroad as nurse then care aide since I was 9 years old and my dad had to work late nights as a police officer. I also want to one day say, “You don’t have to work anymore”.

MAPA will have a special place in my heart but it’s the song that I can’t listen to too often. It evokes too much sadness from within me. Maybe in time, I can listen to it and not be sad anymore but that day is still uncertain.

What To Do in Your First Week in Canada

Moving to Canada can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you adjust easier. READ MORE

I landed in British Columbia as a landed immigrant. I was automatically given the permanent resident status so there may be extra steps for people that are TFWs or on student visa.

1. Get you SIN or Social Insurance Number – during the first week, you must have this already. This is very important especially if you want to apply for a job. So before anything else, get your SIN. More info:

2. Enrol children 16 and below to school– this is very important. Each province has their own age limit so check that one out. The school year starts in September and ends in June. Even if you’ve arrived here during the middle part, you are still expected to enrol the child. If you’ve arrived around April, I don’t think the child can still catch up with the lessons. Talk to the school counselor on what you should do. There are times when sitting-in in class is okay. 

3. Get a phone– I got mine during my fourth week but I guess it was fine. However, it was a pain everytime I apply for a job because I’d have to use my mom’s number for the resume. It’s better if you have your own phone so in that way you can easily call the employer and they can easily have a hold on you. 

4. Find a job– Finding a job is not easy if you’re looking for a very high-paying job. If you go to supermarkets, they actually are looking for some workers. What you need is a connection and finding an entry-level job can help you with that. And of course, you want money. 

5. Look for support offices in your place– In Fort St. John, they have S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and they actually helped us start with something here in Canada. They were the ones who referred me to NLC for English as Second Language course and referred my dad to employment connections and other offices which offers lots of opportunities to find a job. Each place has their own offices like these so take time to ask some people about it. 

6. If you’re planning to proceed directly to university/college, call and email colleges and ask for requirements and such to be able to enrol– like for me, I was planning on taking up Practical Nursing so I have to take the SLEP exam and get a grade of 64 to be able to be accepted. Each school and program has their own requirements so it’s better to ask them what you need and if you need to take up ESL. 

7. Walk around the area you’re currently living and be familiar with it– This is for you to be well acquainted with the area you’re currently living. Also, memorize your address because this is very important including the postal code. If you’re city is small,  like mine, walk anywhere and remember the important land marks and bus stops. 

8. Be familiar with the Public Transit/Bus– if you’re from the Philippines like me, then expect that the public transit is very much different. They follow the bus stop rules and they have bells to ring. This is also needed if you don’t have a car and wants to go anywhere. Also, the bus can also help you be more familiar with the place. Here in FSJ, the bus usually changes number so I get to ride just one bus but different routes and I took that as my way to tour the city. 

9. If you’re 19+ above, get your driver’s license– I think the minimum age depends on the province so check it out. If you’ll start from the L (learner’s), you basically have to wait for 2-3 years before getting you Class 5 license which means that you can now drive alone. For those who’ll have to get a Learner’s license, you still have to take the knowledge exam then wait for 12 mos to take the road test for the Novice  License then 24 mos for the Class 5. For 19 y/o and below, there are more things that you have to do because you’re still a minor like having a professional sign a form. I know cause I’m still below 19. Check your province’s laws about this. 

10. Make connections– they can help you in finding a job. Just tell them in a casual way that you need a job and at times, they can refer you to a job opening in their work. But don’t just rely on them for the job, do your research too. 

I landed back in 2013 but these tips are still relevant. These are just some of the basic things that you have to do the soonest after you’ve landed. Of course, read up on your province’s requirements for more information. Welcome to Canada!

Originally posted at underscoreamerl.