Penny Lyn Cunanan started writing as a freelance student journalist during her college days, writing for the local newspaper. Then she went on to become a Northern Mindanao correspondent for Business World, a Philippine-based national newspaper. Although her career as a journalism was short-lived, she still lent her skills in writing for a number of clients abroad.
Today, she helps manage Zen Virtual Assistants, an online outsourcing company and continues to maintain her personal blog.
I remember the first day I stepped into the university. Lots of students swarming around the corridor and hallways, saying a few “hi’s” and “hello’s” to familiar faces and making small talk to strangers who will be their classmates in a few subjects. On that day, I remember having mixed emotions. I was excited, nervous, and my palms were sweaty. I don’t know what college life would bring me and how it will mold me to become someone in the next few years. All I did was to trust my instinct and let everything roll by smoothly.
As most students say, not everything is smooth sailing when you’re in college. I know some people regret taking their majors because of bad decisions or because they don’t want to disappoint their parents’ wishes. There were some students that took up any course just to get by with their four-year stay in college and land any job. And there are people who apparently love their courses, believing that they could change the world.
So how do I fit in into any of these “categories”? Well, I can honestly say that picking journalism as a course was a hard choice to make. I knew that being a journalism major is make-or-deal breaker for me. My parents weren’t thrilled because for one, its a dangerous career to be in; and two, the pay is low. But I didn’t care for that though. I thought that becoming a journalist is still a noble career and it will help change people’s lives with the news that we deliver each day. Over time, my parents understood my decision and was elated to know that my byline is being published in local newspapers.
I am glad that my college experience helped me shaped who I am today. I met tons of people (ordinary or extraordinary) that inspired me to write and do what I love best. There were teachers and professors who praised and even critiqued my writing skills; and they pushed me to do more so I can do better. I had classmates (who are now my closest friends) that forced me to become competitive and write more simply because they were better writers than me.
I also had to deal with a lot of people who never believed in my capabilities as a writer. I even met a few students who would gladly bring you down and take pleasure from your failures. The only thing I can do though is simply ignore and avoid these negative energy. If I don’t, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
This might sound cliche but believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid to do the unthinkable – step out of your comfort zone and pick a major or a course that you want and love – even if other people tell you otherwise. Never set yourself short because there is something greater hidden inside of you. And when you start living your college life, meet the right kind of people: your professors and then your classmates (those who are worthy of your company). For sure, these people will help lead you to your right path.