BEAUTY PAGEANTS AND STUFF.

I remember once in an international youth activity in Samarinda wherein one of my Indonesian sister dearests asked me why beauty pageants are so popular in the Philippines. I was seriously stumped by the question, and I really wish I had a better answer to that than, “It’s because we are so beautiful.”. Sometimes I really do wonder why. It’s not like all Filipinos are towering statues sent by the heavens to spread beauty to the world. It’s not all about the celebrity culture either, because these pageant ladies are the real deal. The unity of beauty and brains is taken to a whole new level, and it’s a level worth paying great attention to; with that being said, I believe that the very essence of the popularity of beauty pageants in the Philippines stems from having a good example to look up to.

My school, Centro Escolar Univeristy, has this annual pageant, Mr. & Miss CEU. I hate to brag, but almost every year, at least one contestant from the School of Dentistry bag a title (or two). In 2010, Jeselle Vyne Vinoya bagged the Miss CEU 2010 title. 2012 gave the prestigious title to Chloe Ann Joy Miranda. 2013 was another awesome year, as Barbara Leigh Ignacio bagged the Miss CEU 2013 First Runner-Up title. Truly, it has, and will always be an honor to be friends with ladies of inner and outer beauty. I have always been proud to witness the embodiment of grace and intelligence in these ladies.

This year, I’m proud to say that I have a friend competing in the pageant again. This is none other than Kristel Guelos. I first met her in 2008, as we were classmates in one of our Pre-Dent subjects. I was really stuck by her beauty, from the first time I saw her. Of course, time has been good to her, as she has seemingly getting more and more beautiful as the years went by. Her name may ring a few bells here and there, because she has already competed in one of the country’s major pageants, as she represented Tanauan City in the 2013 Miss Earth Philippines pageant.
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Let me tell you about Kristel. She’s a very warm, loving and grounded person. She relates well with pretty much everyone. It’s really easy to grow fond of someone who can be well-described as a burst of warm sunshine that can brighten up anyone’s day. She epitomizes values expected of a God-loving individual, which include kindness, humanism, and concern for the common good. Of course I’d love to go on and on about Kristel, but sometimes actually getting to know the person is far better than counting on words alone.

I really hope that CANDIDATE #10, Kristel Guelos, School of Dentistry takes home the title of MISS CEU 2014.

There may never be enough words to describe how much I would love her to win, but sometimes, all we have to say is that when your queen stands right there in front of you, there won’t be any room for doubts. You would just know.:)

Oh, by the way, there will be an ONLINE VOTING, as a segment of the pageant. This is not limited to CEU students.
I strongly encourage all those who can read this to vote for Kristel Guelos by first hitting “LIKE“, on the CEU University Student Council Manila Facebook Page, and finding the photo of CANDIDATE #10 Kristel Guelos, and then hitting “LIKE” on that as well.
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Dent MALDITA.

Today, after school, I decided to go grocery shopping. I’d normally do this in my uniform so as to to save on wardrobe changes, but since I spilled gravy on myself over lunch, I changed into a striped top and some slippers, but still wearing my uniform white pants. I walked out of my dorm building, and found myself walking inches away from two girls. They were in their “Fear the Sting” shirts (it’s kind of like a ‘wash day’ shirt), but judging from their ID laces, which happens to be green, they could have belonged to the School of Pharmacy, or College of MedTech.

It was really hard to not overhear them, after all, I was just inches away. From I managed to put together from a fragment of the conversation I heard, I think Girl 1 needed a core science subject book or something. Okay, fine, let me just tell you what happened.

GIRL 2: Manghiram ka kaya sa Dent na first year.
              Just borrow from a first year Dent. (Possibly referring to Pre-Dent).
GIRL 1: Mga maldita yung mga Dent–
              Dent girls are maldita (there’s no direct translation for “Maldita”, but ill-tempered brat comes close)

I don’t know if it was a reflex somewhat remnant of my protective Dentistry Student Council days when I would seriously defend my younger Dentistry brothers and sisters, or if it was because I felt insulted as well, but as soon as she uttered that “maldita” statement, I turned my head, and sent my signature deathstare her way– I didn’t mean to, I swear.

As soon as this happened, she was like,

GIRL 1: –sa dorm.
              at (her) dorm.

The two girls were heading back to school, while I was going the opposite direction, but while they were walking, I heard Girl 1 going on and on like, “Ang susungit ng mga itsura nung mga Dent sa LaCo..(Dentistry girls at LaCo have ill-tempered looking faces). I found it a bit funny for two reasons; firstly, I’m a Dent girl, and secondly, I dormed at LaCo when I was in Pre-Dent.

MALDITA? Ohhh maldita. I began to reflect on my younger years, down to Pre-Dent, back when I was dorming at LaCo. I’ve never really seen myself from the “outside”, and I kind of wonder if Dent girls truly have that maldita aura. I’ve never really seen being perceived as a maldita as an absolute negative, especially if it’s nerely based on first impressions and, erm.. face value(?).

I really don’t know where the stereotypes come from. I’m proud to say that as an older Dentistry student, I have excellent social skills, as I am able to relate with people from varied walks of life (I thank my patients for that). How many malditas can reassure a nervous wreck of an Oral Surgery patient that everything’s going to be fine? ..and please, pedo patients don’t listen to malditas— they just don’t.

I’m not mad or anything. Call me a sadist or anything you like, but I find the “maldita” stereotype highly amusing. I’d be glad to know what other stereotypes of Dentistry students are out here. Let me know of the funny, flattering and downright annoying stereotypes you’ve encountered throughout your Dentistry life. THIS IS GONNA BE DAMN FUN!

Your resident maldita,
La Panna Ciorrinaü

BACK TO SCHOOL.

I can’t believe it. I have to go back to school in four days!
In my head, I’m like, “Nooooooooooo..

It’s not that I don’t like Dentistry, because I really do. I just don’t like that my school environment is so crowded. The city’s crowded, the school’s crowded, the clinics are crowded. It drives me to a point of negativity, frankly.

Whenever I get my cards read, I’m always told that my destiny is not in the Philippines. Had I known that earlier, would I have chosen to stay? Sometimes I wonder what could have been if I had been more driven, if I had been more gutsy, if I had been more confident. Hmm. There would have been more options, and those options may or may not have included USF, UCLA, and NYU. If I had been a different version of me, my life would have turned out really differently.. and oh yeah, I would’ve been 40lbs heavier.

It’s really tough being a Dentistry student in the Philippines. Unlike schools elsewhere, we have to shell out a lot of money from our own pockets– buy the medicaments, feed the patient (seriously), give the patient fare money (even more seriously), and give the patient “bribe” money so that he’ll come back (okay, I can not get any more serious). In all fairness, it’s totally cheap to study Dentistry in the Philippines.

The up side to all this is that:: 1.) We get familiarized with brands, and we get to explore them on our own, 2.) We get glimpses of what the real world is like, along with the good, and the bad, and 3.) Okay, let me get back at you when I actually think of something “philosophical”.

All the crowdedness has made me develop massive social anxiety. That’s definitely not something I want to carry over to 2014. I don’t mean to exaggerate, but somehow the stressful environment has driven me to lose touch with myself. As much as I wanted to be “balanced” for the entirety of my Dentistry life, I just snapped.– now this is the secret life of some random Dentistry student. I can’t just smile all day and pretend that nothing’s bugging me, because, really, there is. I can’t not be real with Dentistry, because I love it too much.. and being fake isn’t love at all, now is it?

Library Lovin’.

I had no idea that the CEU Library Dental Unit had so many damn good books. I know that the library has good books, but damn good is simply a whole new level! I’ve always seen the books there as dusty old things only opened for photocopying purposes, if we open them at all. We have a completely different book culture from those in Westernized school settings. We buy our books, and read them at home—THAT’S IT. We were seated near the shelves, and being a twenty-something with the inquisitive mind of a 5-year-old, I decided to look around.

The first book I found was “Common Medical Conditions: A Guide for the Dental Team”. It was really interesting to me, because I truly believe in the Philippine Dental Association’s Physician-Dentist Advocacy way back from 2010. I like how the book was laid out to accommodate people like me who have really short attention spans when it comes to reading.

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I encountered this condition called Pregnancy Epulis. I’ve never seen it in vivo, because we’re not allowed to handle pregnant patients at school but it was quite interesting nonetheless. I’d read more about it if and when I get to buy my own copy of the book.

I have to admit that I sometimes manifest the mind of a small child. I got extremely excited at the sight of the Dental Anatomy Coloring Book.

I’m done with my Anatomy subjects, bit I still kind of want one, just to play around with when I’m bored, or maybe to help me study for the boards when the time comes. I didn’t want to get charged with vandalism, so I just took a picture of one of the pages, and colored it on my tablet. It’s not the real thing, but it was still pretty fun.:)

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I don’t want to be a fake-geek, spending so much time at the library when I’m obviously not one of the smarter people at school, but it’s where the fun is! ..Oh if only they’d add more coloring books.:)

REFLECTIONS and REVISIONS.

Today, I went through my IDEM essay again. I told myself that if I were to alter it, then it better be my first and last. I read it through and through, and my goodness, it seriously did not sound like me. I think I was just having a bad day when I wrote it. It was so dry and seemingly un-thought of. It didn’t give justice to who I am as a Dentistry student. The only thing about me that it gave justice to was my being a reklamadora, and that, most definitely, is not something I’m proud of.

I did a little reflection while deciding what to write. I had to ask myself the tough questions—What do I care about? Why am I doing this? What are my ambitions in Dentistry? No, really, what are my ambitions in Dentistry (yung totoo)? I gave myself time to breathe, and yes. The answers came out.

I pretty much re-did my IDEM essay, this time, according to what my gut told me. I wanted to add something unique to Dentistry in the Philippines, so I injected a little bit of Dental Jurisprudence, which was no problem at all, because I love Dental Jurisprudence anyway. Major props to soon-to-be Attorney, Dr. Maria Luta Cueto!:)

I had to re-acquaint myself with Community Dentistry, but unlike what I did with the Dental Jurisprudence injection, I didn’t use my school notes. Instead, I relied on DOH downloads for inspiration. I learned a few new things as well, such as the fact that PDA sent out a memo prohibiting extraction during dental missions to avoid cross-contamination and post-op infection. It kind of puzzled me a bit, but I know I can always look for answers.

When people are asked what their ambitions are, it should be easy. In my case, it was really thought-provoking. Truly, I was stumped. A few moments later, I realized that the only reason I was stumped was that I was scared. I started to resent myself because I seemed to have been ready to give up on what my dreams really are because of fear. I wrote away, and realized that no matter how scary the future is, I still have to be my #1 fan.

I gave myself a cold, hard look. I’ve reflected, reflected, and reflect. My essay’s pretty much revised now, and it’s ready to be sent. What’s next to do is to revise my outlook in live, and soon enough, I’ll be ready to win the world over.