“I started playing volleyball because of Alyssa Valdez. I was in high school then. I met her in person and it was such a jaw-dropping moment. And she’s super humble which made me adore her more.”
“Being part of the Lady Cardinals volleyball team of UB, I have found family in my team. Everyone of us finds family in someone, in a group of friends, in some random stranger. It’s amazing how it’s possible to find some real connection with someone not related to you by DNA.”
Tell me about what it’s like to be an athlete and a student at the same time.
“It’s hard work, certainly. But I think there’s no hard stuff if you – can I use an overused expression – love what you do. And you just have to have the discipline to sort things out, to make time for your school stuff as you do for the training.”
Tell me some random things about yourself.
“I’m the remorseful type. I overthink things. The feeling of being miserable catches me easily but hey I move on easily, too. So I guess that makes it even.”
“At first encounter, people describe me as snobbish and super serious. But I’m goofy. And weird.”
“When something’s bothering me, I keep it to myself, most of the time, and it’s worse because I can’t shut my brain down about it. And sometimes keeping it bottled up inside tears you down, piece by piece. I guess that’s how it is for some people.”
“I think that I strive to find happiness in everything I do, in every situation I am in. I guess it’s how we survive – knowing how to laugh it off.”
How do you capture who you are in one word?
“Big. I’m big in size, yeah, but I’ve got a heart that’s big, too. I’ve been at that point where people will make you feel like you’re not good enough or not worthy of anything or will label you with stuff. But hey the world breaks everyone and many come out with a bigger heart. I’d like to believe I’m one of those who come out with a bigger heart.”
When was your darkest moment?
“High school. When you’re in high school you need to be in as many circles as possible; it’s how it is. But in my case I didn’t have a lot of friends and social interactions. One of the most traumatic moments for me was when, instead of being happy for you, people would grind you down when you did something right. But you get over it, eventually.”
And your happiest moment?
“When I stepped into college. Because I have known how it feels to have people who have faith in you. And it’s incredible because it gives you confidence.”
You’re studying psychology. What does it teach you?
“That you have to understand where people are coming from before jumping into the judgment arena. In a society where everybody is quick to judge, it’s a constant struggle not to judge. But then again we don’t have any idea what people have been through or are going through.”
“The key is to understand people. Always. But I guess there’s a downside to that – sometimes you understand so much that it makes you feel like you can’t blow up because you’re supposed to be this understanding person who understands everyone.”
What are your words for a good life?
“I think I’d like to focus on facing problems. Okay, only you can figure out how to fix a problem in your life. Take it one step at a time. Solve it at your own pace. You’ll be fine. God knows what He’s doing.”
Photo by RENE PASCUA
Interview & Text by RONA LIN