This Filipina's Scholarship to Columbia University Covers Food, Plane Tickets, and More!
A few days ago, it was reported that two Filipino high school graduates—a farmer's son and a police officer's daughter—made it to two different Ivy League universities and bagged full scholarships at that! So we immediately reached out to Jess Cuadro to talk to her about getting into Columbia University with not just one but two scholarships!
Congratulations on graduating high school! Have you always wanted to study in International School Manila (ISM)?
"Before International School Manila, I was a sophomore in Makati Science High School. My family and I found out about the scholarship in ISM from a newspaper ad, and we thought to give it a shot. Back then I considered if it was even worth it, seeing as I would have graduated high school in two years and could have started working sooner to help my family. After talking with my parents, I decided to apply for the scholarship in ISM because of the opportunities that an international education would bring: the possibility of going abroad, learning more about global perspectives, and most importantly, meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds. The past five years in ISM has exceeded our expectations immensely, and I wouldn't be where I am now without the help of ISM."
Can you tell us a bit about the kind of student you are?
"I'm the kind of student who tries her best and isn't afraid to grab opportunities. ISM has given me so many opportunities to step out of my comfort zone. I've gotten the chance to speak in public and join Model United Nations and Impromptu speaking competitions abroad, sing and dance for our service partners, run our school magazine, and serve as President of our student government."
Have you always wanted to study in an Ivy League school?
"I didn't envision myself in an Ivy League school from the beginning. Before ISM, my goal was to study medicine in the University of the Philippines and get a job as soon as possible. When I first came to ISM, my biggest concern was adjusting to the new environment rather than preparing myself for college. Studying in an Ivy League school seemed too far-fetched, so I concentrated more on what I could do while I was in ISM, and how I could give back to the people who have helped me and my family."
How do you feel about studying in an Ivy League school?
"I'm so thankful for this opportunity, and I can't wait for what's ahead! However, I wasn't obsessed with going to an Ivy League school. I just tried my best, and hoped that I would be accepted to somewhere with quality education at the lowest possible cost, preferably free."
Why did you choose to study in Columbia among many other universities?
"My dream of going to Columbia began before my Junior year, when ISM sponsored me on a college tour in the East Coast. Before the tour, I had never set foot in the US, and I didn't know much about US universities. Of all the universities we visited, Columbia struck me the most, but I set it aside knowing that it was in fact one of the top universities, and I was afraid to get my hopes up only to get rejected. When it was time for us to seriously consider where we would apply for college, I went back to the Columbia website and looked at their core curriculum, specifically the books we would read and the subjects we would learn. I then wrote a cathartic e-mail to my counsellor and explained why I wanted so badly to at least apply to Columbia, knowing full well that I could face rejection. I've loved books and world history for as long as I can remember, and Columbia just seemed like the perfect place to learn about what I love."
What course are you planning to take?
"Columbia follows a core curriculum that allows their students to declare their majors after their sophomore year. That way, we get to truly explore what we want to study before committing to our concentration. I'm very interested in International Relations, Political Science, and Economics."
Any particular reason for choosing those courses?
"I've always been interested in the world around me, and my parents made sure that I grew up with a passion for positive change. I want to advocate for quality education and women's rights, and I think these courses would help me become more knowledgeable about these issues."
Can you tell us what your scholarship covers?
"Columbia's financial aid grant covers all expenses, including my tuition fees, meal plans, dormitory costs, travel fares, and school supplies. On top of this grant, I was also chosen as a John W. Kluge scholar, which gives me additional funding and support for research and student opportunities."
Your parents must be proud.
"My parents were happy that I was courageous enough to even apply, knowing Columbia's low acceptance rate and how competitive US universities are. When I opened the acceptance letter from Columbia, I called my parents and we were all in disbelief. Now that it's finally sinking in, we have to go to ukay-ukay stores and bulk up on winter clothes!"
How do you feel about being apart from them?
"My parents have told me their own stories of traveling to Manila on their own to get quality education and to build a life for themselves. Strength and independence are a part of our family history, and my parents have always encouraged me to take risks and grab opportunities. Obviously I'm going to miss my parents and my younger brother, but I know that learning to live on my own is the best way to grow."
Strength and independence are a part of our family history, and my parents have always encouraged me to take risks and grab opportunities.
Any tips you can share with the Candy Girls about getting into their dream university?
"You can't let fear steer your life decisions. Trust in your abilities and principles and take a leap of faith. When you apply for university, or anything for that matter, there's always the risk of rejection, and that's something I had to come to terms with. Things work themselves out in the end. Don't forget to stay humble and be grateful!"
All the best, Jess! We're all rooting for you!
Do you have a story to share about your journey in college? Leave us a message, tweet us @candymagdotcom, or send your story to us! We'd love to share your inspiring story with other Candy Girls, too!
What're you up to today? Submit your OOTD, fanfic, essay, school project, org event, a pic of your latest hobby, or anything you want to be posted on the Candy Bulletin page!
5 Mystery-Thriller Novels to Read
If you’re stuck at home and out of Netflix shows to binge-watch, then you might want to try and read these mystery-thriller books to match your homemade Dalgona Coffee.
1. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
The debut novel, and Goodreads Choice Awards Best Mystery & Thriller of 2019, follows Alicia Berenson, a well-known painter married to an esteemed fashion photographer. Life seemed perfect for Alicia, until one evening when she shot her husband five times, and… never spoke again.
2. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
From the author of Final Girls comes this page turning novel about an infamous building in Manhattan called the Bartholomew. After stumbling upon an ad to become an apartment sitter, Jules Larsen has set out to look after apartment 12A under strict and somewhat odd conditions. Not long after stepping foot in the building, Jules has been met with unfriendly tenants, eerie noises in the apartment unit, and an abrupt departure of a fellow sitter named Ingrid.
3. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
If you loved Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho or David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, then this book is for you. After the disappearance of her Aunt Vivian while working as a night-shift clerk at the Sun Down Motel in 1982, Carly has set off to Fell NY, to work the same job at the same place as her Aunt had 35 years ago – with hopes of uncovering the truth lurking behind the Motel walls.
4. Verity by Colleen Hoover
While known for Young-Adult Novels such as Slammed and Maybe Someday, Colleen Hoover offers readers a romantic thriller about Lowen Ashleigh, a struggling author who was given the opportunity to finish the three remaining novels of a successful series after its original author, Verity Crawford, suffered an accident and has become immobile. After receiving an invite at the Crawford manor to sort through Verity’s notes, Lowen discovers an unpublished autobiography revealing the truth about Verity. With the eerie atmosphere of having Verity confined in her own home, and who is seemingly aware of her surroundings, Lowen is certain Verity is not what she appears to be.
5. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
A mind-bending science fiction thriller from the best-selling author of Wayward Pines – Dark Matter is packed with the concept of the Multiverse and the philosophy of existentialism. The novel follows an ordinary Physics professor, Jason Dessen, who was looking forward to dinner with his family while walking the streets of Chicago. The next thing he knew, he was being held at gunpoint – by a man wearing a mask – and injected with an unknown drug and blacks out. When he regains consciousness, he learns that the world he woke up to was different from the world he knew.
Here's a poem I wrote a while back reflecting on what it's like over-rationalize a simple thing like crushing on a dude -- hence, the title "Scientific Method"
You were a phenomenon I cannot wrap my head around
When I first met you, my heart forgot to make its signature sound
And it's overwhelming, your presence;
And underwhelming, so science will be the only language I'll hide in-- For now.
At first glance, I notice your top button unbuttoned,
and your shirt fully cotton
Complete with a smile as nervous as me
And a swagger in your step only I can see
Further on, I find your wit to be at a pace
That doesn't leave any space for tension to rise
and it's all too nice
And ridiculous and a bit too suspicious
That this isn't another (well,) circus.
Now, let's take a wild guess,
Oh, but it has to be smart, yes,
That this could lead to something with potential
That this isn't another differential easily solved
With a formula, tried and tested but never evolved
For so long, we've both been independent of any dependent
Keeping our variables fixed and ourselves distracted
With anything, everything,
But not a single thing
Could stop me from pushing this blindly to find its threshold,
Hoping that it's a quantity my hands could still hold
Over hours, days, and weeks
Through minor revisions and tweaks
Then comes the analysis -- that these weren't accidents
So, now I find myself in a conundrum
With the anomaly in a blue shirt right in front of me,
That this had to be processed logically,
But the findings are as follows:
None of which were shallow, so I therefore conclude that it's true,
I therefore conclude that it's you.
Mi Luna: The Light in My Dark Soul Locked in… Alone…
Why do I feel comforted by darkness? Oh cause maybe because… I am a jolly and very enthusiast kid back then. All I know is to have fun, laugh and play. But as I grow older, everything has changed, a lot. I can feel the changes. I know the more I get older, I’m turning to something I’m not. You know what, I just realized I like it even more. And that’s how I turned a monster. A monster to my own self. Always questioning life and even God about the things that are happening with my life. “Do I deserve this?”. Every day was a struggle. “Which mask should I wear now?”. And every night is my judgement time. “Should I still continue with my miserable life?”. This certainly sum up my whole life. I have this mindset since I was young. I can say that my experiences made me like this. I always want to escape, but every time I tried to pick up myself up, there is always shits that pulls me down. And there, I get tired. Hoping that no one would ever see this. As I despise myself as well. What I can do now is to just embraced everything, I just embraced darkness- reflecting my own self.
“Look at the moon, it can shine alone and it can give us light at night.” A line I was keeping in my mind that a friend of mine helps me realize things and been there to fix my path. And there I started seeking for my moon but I do not know which part should I start. As days passed, I started to open up myself. I started to act as what truly inside me. It is very hard at first and there is this time that even the situation got worst. But as I continue exploring with my life, a question pop out on my head “Why did I still get this far?”, I can say that maybe I should do this, maybe I really can do this but it is myself who is holding me back because I’m afraid.
Now as far as I am trying to revive my soul, there I know that many people care. Yes, I learned to open up but not to all, on different situations there are people who can understand me because they have the same situation as I am. I learn to open up as long as they did not force me. I learned to navigate and open up for whom I trusted and at the same time when I am ready. The light that I am seeking is my own understanding and acceptance about myself. My light is myself and I am Mi Luna. So it is not too late to save myself. I have thought that, I should be a survivor and winner. That I should also be the ruler of my own mind and soul. Eliminate the room for darkness and let the light shine through you, that I can say how I earned myself again. Mi Luna’s darkness have turned to spotlight.
I just posted some of my own movie reviews from LSS to The Heiress para naman may pagka-movie critic ako in the midst of the pandemic… from Home! Check them out here: Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 3 (#PPP2019): • #LSSTheMovie: bit.ly/MyLSSReview • #ThePantiSisters: bit.ly/MyTPSReview • #ImEllenyaL: bit.ly/MyImEllenyaLReview Metro Manila Film Festival: • #TheMallTheMerrier: bit.ly/MyTMTMReview • #MissionUnstapabol: bit.ly/MyMissionUnstapabolReview • #3polTrobolHuliKaBalbon: bit.ly/My3polTrobolReview Non-film fest: • #JamesAndPatAndDave: bit.ly/MyJPDReview • #TheHeiress: bit.ly/MyTheHeiressReview Any thoughts? Don't forget to connect by commenting! Enjoy #MovieBingeAtHome! #COVIDMovieCritic