Astounding August

SELFITIS. It’s a mental disorder defined as the obsessive compulsive desire to take photos of one’s self and post it on social media as a way to make up for the lack of self-esteem and to fill a gap in intimacy (American Psychiatric Association).

*** Oh geez. This definition is too serious. I’m drowning. You know, I’m just making a selfie blog diary exclusively made for fun. There’s nothing harmful with it, right? Plus, this is my first time doing it; therefore, it’s an occasional selfie “groufie to be exact” – never a habit of overabundance. ***

Let me start by saying it’s only the second week of August 2018 but it has shaped up as my most memorable birthday month in history. There are three reasons why.

August 4, 2018 – Saturday – Davao Doctors College

It’s my first time to attend a BS Psychology General Assembly as a newly-elected Alumni President. Right until this moment, my insides crawl with uneasiness every time I remind myself I’m the DDC Psych Circle Alum President.

It sounds like I’m some sort of ambassador of good will and one wrong move on my part, my reputation is done. ‘Though I’m positive I can handle the role but it’s something new and nice. Never I expected to become one.

Me with the selected psych alums from batch 2004 to 2018

From right to left: Lea. Bill. Jim. Doreen. Mia (one of our sponsors). Ma. Dolores. Ma’am Charisma Salutillo.

As planned, all psych alums were tasked to manage the food (budget, budget adjustments, preparation). I doubted myself many times if I could handle the situation. Only few alums were active during the planning, and it’s difficult to force them to pay an expensive registration fee. I analyzed and realized if the registration stays expensive, nobody wanted to attend.

The situation went smoother as we moved to Plan B. Thankfully, three alumna decided to be our sponsors. They took the risk to trust me with their money — until we met our expected budget for lunch and snack. Due to their sponsorship, registration became free for all. Doreen Marie Sucgang-Nava (my batchmate) became our Official Food Committee Head. She prepared the packed beef broccoli, chicken spaghetti and banana cake for a total of 150 psychs.

Gladly, on the day of our assembly, I handled myself well. The AllPsychS Officers requested me to make a career orientation speech. I was hesitant for a couple of seconds but I made it happen for them. It’s a way of thanking them for preparing the proposal, getting it approved and decorating the school gym hours before the event.

Supposed to be, this was their General Assembly. I just decided to merge with them. My number one intention was for the alumni to officially build a bridge with the present and future generation of graduates.

Me with the 2018-2019 AllPsychS Officers

From back to front right: James. Khyra. June Carl. Trisha. Yrrah. Lyle. Nerizza. Me. Hannah. Kenji. Gayle. Paw. Cee Jay.

Then it came: The Speech. Just for the record: I’m an introvert, and it’s a milestone that I was talking in front of 140 psych majors – 110 of which are students from freshmen to senior years while the remaining 30 were alumni. And there’s also the current program chairperson in front of me – Ma’am Charisma Salutillo.

The career orientation talk was expected to last for 30 minutes. While preparing the talk, I thought 30 minutes was too long. Time ran fast though. While I was talking in my spastic voice, I managed to control my nerves looking at them left, right and sometimes, at the center where no one was sitting.

I knew the exact words to say but it made me more nervous to talk in front of a Julia-Barretto look-alike. She’s a senior and years younger than I am. When she smiles, she nearly looks like the celebrity I have admired since Julia becomes an iconic name in the local showbiz industry.

I screwed up the speech as expected. Even with a paper on my lap, it wasn’t the kind of delivery I expected myself to do. I still had Freudian slips and unintentional skips. I wasn’t sure if those slips were necessary but no regrets though. That’s the way life is. Even the great champions in tennis commit unforced errors.

Below is the speech without the slips. Ask me today and it’s still best to read it than me talking it.

My Career Orientation speech
Here I am. (c) Nerdz Art

Hi, I’m Dean. I’m your newly-elected Alumni president. I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when I was five. What is cerebral palsy you ask? In my case, it’s a physical permanent paralysis. It destroys not only my 4 limbs but my self-esteem as well. Yes, I can walk around the house all by myself using a walker but everything I do takes more time. Just imagine if your thighs get tight and heavy every moment of every day. That’s my life, and this explains why I’m sitting on a wheelchair with a ball in between legs to separate them, and yeah, I also sound like a mad cow from Planet Mars.

I took up psychology for one reason. I wanted to study myself. I was fourth year high school when my dad wanted me to take up computer science, but I disobeyed him. I chose Davao Doctors College for two reasons. One, two interns from Bach 2003 convinced me to enroll here. Two, it’s B-S. BS Psychology is a bit higher than AB Psychology. The term “Doctors” fascinates me too. Doctors are healers. They’re my favorite people. All psychs can be doctors too. To me, psychiatrists are the registered mind healers, it takes miles to be one but how far are you willing to go to finance your further studies?

You know, I’m not a psychometrician or a psychologist yet – but I use a lot of psychology in my work. I’m an SEO Analyst. Sounds complex to explain its technicalities but see it this way: If a clinical psychologist’s job is to diagnose a person to find out his mental disorders, my work is to diagnose business websites then, analyze what can be done to make more money.

To all graduating psychs who want a part-time job immediately after graduation or is looking for one to finance your tuition, we can conduct a seminar for that. Reach-out to your representatives Paw and Hannah and let me know what you want. I can help you where to look, who to look for and how to be qualified to impress your boss.

School Psychology

Thirteen years passed and I can still remember my educational apprenticeship here. I was assigned to administer mental ability tests, and check them after. It’s fun! It felt like I was an unlicensed school psychologist. I wished it could have been longer and looked forward working with the people in other independent private practices.

Industrial Psychology

I was in my third year when I become a part of the Metrobank HRD. I was lacking of confidence but I managed to interview new applicants like a pro. There’s this fun moment when I evaluated their essay tests and I remembered my boss informed me that I was too generous evaluating them. I realized I needed to be objective and for that, I re-did the evaluation one by one.

I wanted to experience the HRD life in Davao Doctors Hospital but it didn’t happen. Right now, Ana Carolina Lucenda is the HR Assistant Director. She’s a 2008 Psych Alum and feel free to contact her, include her in your list of application letters and apply for the vacant positions.

SPED Psychology

I also had an experience working with Agnus Dei Foundation. It’s a center exclusively made for children with mental retardation, autism and Down syndrome. At first, I was too hesitant to manage them. In my mind, I have special needs too. I have a walker. Then, I realized I just need to get things done. Be with them and talk with them.

Clinical Psychology

It’s stressful to be a psych major. The people around you feel you’re an instant clinical psychologist. We have this stereotype that they believe we can read minds like Professor X. But sorry to disappoint them, we don’t function that way, right?

Being a registered psychologist is one of my long-overdue goals in life but it’s with an expensive process. I remember the first board exam for psychologist began in 2014. The topnotcher was Ate Kay Bunagan. She’s my extroverted sister’s close friend from ADMU. It’s easy to say she’s well-supported by her family still, I could imagine all the nerves and sacrifices she’s been through to get where she is right now. Please like the official page of Better Steps Psychology Inc in Facebook.

It seems like I’m talking too much now. Feel free to reach out to me via DDC Psych Circle in Facebook. Let me say it again I’m not a psychologist but you can trust me with your life.

*** My bladder went crazy due to the amount of water I drank before and during the speech. Thanks to June Carl for wheeling me inside the men’s comfort room before Mother Nature explodes on its own. ***

Here’s the important part: Below is the Alumni slideshow presentation the psych officers played before the speech. It’s a collection of group photos from the pioneering batch to the current graduating seniors. Thanks to Clay Jensen for the creativity and hardwork. His real name, by the way, is Alecesse Vim Casinabe.

August 13, 2018 – Monday – Davao Doctors Hospital

It’s my birthday. My day began with a good news. I cheered VAMOS as loud as I could when I found out Rafael Nadal won his 80th career title in Rogers Cup. I knew the day before that he made the finals but I didn’t expect him to win against a rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets and in a hardcourt surface.

Good timing it’s my physical therapy too. I celebrated the special day in the rehab. I asked Doreen to prepare the food (chicken curry, fish fillet, pasta and chocolate cake) for our lunch with the physical therapists. I grew up working with PTs but I never had a birthday celebration with a group of PTs who are patiently stretching my concrete-like adductors and hamstrings twice a week.

Me with the DDH PTs

From back to front right: Sir Justin (he’s a nurse). Me. Sir Neil. Ma’am Jennica (PT Intern). Sir Lou (PT Intern). Sir Pocholo. Ma’am Vera. Ma’am Jai (PT Clinical Instructor). Ma’am Miji. Ma’am Mona. Ma’am Ajie.

Other people could misinterpret the decision I made. Yes, I should have celebrated my birthday with my family. Yes, there’s no me without my family. Yet, don’t get me wrong. I did those things in the past. It’s time for a great twist for once. It’s time for me to give back to a new group of people who have helped me grow.

Believe it or not, physical therapists became a vital part of my lifestyle. Since I began my regular sessions with them three years ago, they taught me how to manage my spasticity. They allowed me to see and understand the bigger picture of the situation like no one else can.

Physical therapists are smart too. They know how to empathize. It feels like I don’t need to elaborately explain myself to them. I just tell them I have cerebral palsy and there you go, they seem to know the details of my condition.