A Year in the Life of a Little Bookworm

June 28, 2015

I can’t believe it’s already been a year since I shifted my Sablay from right to left. I rejoiced for a few second because I’m done with school (for now) but then it dawned on me. School’s finally over. I spent sixteen years of my life in school and all of a sudden, there’s no school for me anymore. I didn’t know what to do with my life.

Now what

The Finding Nemo squad with their Sablays (c) Nina Martinez

Whenever I catch up with my friends and they ask me how I am, I would automatically reply, “Ayun, ganun pa rin ang life.” (“Life’s still the same.”) But is it? Looking back, I realized it’s actually a pretty eventful year for me.

I landed on my very first full-time job.

My first day at work was a week after my graduation. I’d been a student assistant in our university’s network help desk for three years and I spent a summer vacation as an intern, but a full-time work is completely different. It took a while before I can adjust to the new setup but I can say I’m enjoying my work… for now hahaha.

Before, I was thought graduation equals a lot of free time for me. I thought I’d have more time to read books, binge watch TV series and stuff, you know, those things I usually do while procrastinating, only now I don’t have homework to run away from.

I was correct in a sense, because now I don’t have to bring home work-related stuff. But still, 9 hours of work and 3 hours of commute every day is pretty tiring. On a normal weekday evening when I come home from work, I read a little before I sleep. Weekends are free days too, I can spend a whole day just reading.

Books, yaaaay!

Can you guess, what is the very first thing I bought with my salary? Books, of course! Lang Leav’s Love and Misfortune and Lullabies. I read the former on a plane, but I have yet to read the latter.

When I was still studying, my book fund came from my scholarship money. Well there’s a book allowance portion, so I guess it’s okay. Besides, they didn’t specify if it was meant for academic books only, ooops.

I actually planned allocate part of my monthly salary for books. I did that for the first few months but I realized it I was buying books faster than I can read them. That’s aside from the fact that I would probably lose all my money to books if I don’t control my spending. So now, just whatever’s left of my weekly expenses goes to my book money. And since I’m saving for these books, I had to prioritize which ones to buy first, that’s the tough part – because why choose if you can have them all – but it so far it’s working for me. I may not be having grand monthly book hauls, but I’m on my way to building my dream library.

I travelled to the north of the country, to the south of the country, and outside the country! (Plus my first airplane ride!)

July last year, I went to Davao City with my aunt, my grandmother and my brother to visit my cousin. We stayed there for a couple of days (it was a long weekend because of a holiday), which was enough for us to tour around the city. It was memorable for me because that was my first time to ride a plane. Hehe.

Then, our undergraduate project was accepted in an international conference held in Malaysia. That was my first out of country trip. I’m excited, and afraid and nervous and all. On the first day of the conference, I was surprised when I realized that most, if not all attendees are post-graduate students or PhD holders. How am I going to present our work in front of all these accomplished people?! Luckily, we were scheduled for the last day, so I had four days to compose myself.

twin towers

Me with the Twin Towers!

During lunch, I rarely talk to the people in my table. I was really intimidated by them. You know, when they start talking, I don’t understand most of the things they say. It’s not the language barrier (they were talking in English), but the jargons. Oh my, we were supposed to be in the same field but I don’t know what they’re talking about! I remember saying that to myself countless times. And I think it doesn’t help that I barely pass as an adult with my height and looks and all. Can you believe I was called bata (Filipino word for child) by a random lady on my way to work today?? And I’m 21 years old! But that’s another story. Anyway, I let our adviser do most of the talking, and I do all the smiling. But I remember he told me, “If you talk about your project, these people won’t understand you too. Computer Science is a very vast field, you can’t expect anyone to understand everything.” Actually, I remember talking to the guy beside me on the bus to the KL Tower (we had dinner in the revolving restaurant there!!). He’s a PhD student from a university in Singapore, but that’s all I remember. Still, I could have at least expanded my network if I only talked to more people. But yeah, better luck next time, Cara.

I wanted to tour around the city but I was afraid that I might get lost, or run out of money or anything that results to me not going back to our hotel. Hahaha. Good thing the National Museum of Malaysia is nearby. I enjoyed a whole afternoon there, which includes almost an hour of walking, being lost, possibly jaywalking (but the hotel attendant told me it’s not), and wandering around the museum. It was amazing! The exhibits are very interactive, to the point that I almost jumped when the lights on one installation suddenly turned on when I passed by it. I wish more museums in the Philippines are like that. Also, I got a glimpse of the Malaysia’s history, which I think is a bit similar to our country’s history. On my second evening, I met with a friend of my aunt and we went to see the Petronas Towers!

And this year, we went to my grandfather’s hometown in Cagayan Valley, which is way up north. The only downside of it was the 12-hour bus ride. I was bored as hell, and I almost finished A Short History of Nearly Everything. Nearly. Everything. Hahaha. I was thrilled to discover that we were only one town away from the northernmost shore of mainland Luzon. Also, I got to meet my cousins and relatives in my mother side for the first time.

beach laiya

The Laiya beach on a Sunday morning.

Lastly, just last month I went to Laiya, Batangas with my office mates. I think the last time I’ve been to a beach was when I was five years old! It was tiring and fun at the same time. Tiring because the event also served as our team’s team building activity and I was one of the organizers. That’s me, organizing team building activities since 2013! And it was fun because I enjoyed the beach, no matter how many times the waves tried to drown me.

This, I can’t believe. In a span of one year, I managed to travel to the north of the country, to the south of the country, and outside the country! And with my own money! I’m not even a travel person. 😀

I started this blog ❤

Two faithful months ago, I started this blog. I’m not actually new to blogging, I have had a personal blog since 2011, but I decided this year to start a blog where I can talk about books and interact with people with the same interests. And I’m just glad I did because I met so many awesome who share my love books. Guess what? You’re one of them. 🙂


Wow, so it looks like I did accomplish some things. Now, let me share with you my goals for the next year. 🙂

Goal 1: Career Growth

Big word! For me, this means doing more challenging tasks at work, or taking on new roles in the team. Or probably, changing career paths. Hahaha, kidding (or not).

Goal 2: Get a new bookshelf

The number of books I have is constantly increasing and sometimes I feel guilty that I am not providing them a proper home. And I’m planning to buy one this July!

Goal 3: Keep this blog active!

So yeah, I hope I maintain and keep this blog for the next year. And the year after that. And the year after that. ❤

Goal 4: Buy more decent clothes

90% of my clothes are college shirts, org shirts and those free shirts they give at events, seminars or meet-ups. I didn’t mind this at first because our company doesn’t require us to wear formal/business attire, so I go to work with the same type of clothes I wore back in college – shirts and jeans. But now, I think I should invest on clothes other than these shirts (ie. buy more blouses, slacks, skirts maybe? haha). And shoooes, I want to buy new shoes. 😀

Goal 5: Pursue graduate studies

When I was a freshman in college, my plan was to pursue graduate studies after I get my first degree but things didn’t go as planned because of financial constraints. I haven’t let go of that plan yet. This is one of my long-term goals, but I hope that next year I will be a step closer to achieving this.


Thank you for reading the recap of my past year. 🙂

To those who already graduated from college for quite a time now, did your first year of being free from school went as planned? What are the things you experienced that you didn’t at all expect?

And to those who recently graduated, or will graduate soon, what are your plans after graduation?sig


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    1. Hmmm, what did you do for that year then? I thought of delaying work for a few months to rest but I was asked to start right after graduation. 🙂


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