Behind His Red Gala Uniform

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Our leaders today and the average ones we encounter daily have no any skills learned at the very start of their existence. Their only difference is the effort they put in to master one. Average people do their best in any given task. Yes, best! I would like to emphasize on that, but leaders, in the other hand, do whatever it takes. This is one good reason why they are where they are right now.

This article features a junior behavioral science student who was able to develop his leadership skill at a young age when he entered the ROTC (Reserved Officer Training Corps) unit in his school. The present University of Santo Thomas corps commander, Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Kerwin Victor Agcaoili, will share some stories on how he was able to reach the top and lead well his fellow thomasian students.

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Firing days

I was intrigued to know what made him join the ROTC. In the start of our conversation, I asked him about it. “Deciding to join the ROTC program of the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas started with the National Service Training Program (NSTP) primer they gave me when I made my slot reservation in first year college.”, says Kerwin. He read an informative brochure the school had on the three components of the NSTP – that’s ROTC, CWTS, & LTS. As usual, he had different reactions on the three.

“Seeing ROTC is like, ‘wow! Hardcore to ah! Gusto ko to!’, even though it just briefly described the kind of training a student will experience, as opposed to the two other programs, ‘Ay, ok, baka maglilinis kami dito, community service daw eh’, and ‘Ay, magtuturo, walang thrill’ (I hope my opinion will not be derogatory; I do not intend those to be). And that’s where it all started, my desire for thrill and adventure made me sign up the ROTC program.” he added.

As we go on with our conversation, Kerwin admitted that he aspired to be the next corps commander in his batch for it is the highest position there is, and he thought that no one would not aspire such a position, and the privileges it entail.

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His 4th class days

I am aware that it is not easy to be a part of the ROTC unit, for some reasons I have experienced a little about it back in my high school days when I joined the CAT (Citizen Advance Training). However, he mentioned that loyalty has something to do with why he was able to stay until the end. “In every organization, group, club, company, etc., I think this is the very first thing you should strengthen, your loyalty. There is no perfect organization, even though we don’t want to, we will still find flaws in the organization we are in, however, if you have a strong sense of loyalty, you will start to mind less on the imperfections and strive more in improving those. Also, it is one of the Cardinal knowledge of a Military Org.” his response kept me overwhelmed.
“From my point of view, someone, in order to be a good leader or in order to realize a great change, must initiate first the change in him, which makes him equivalent to a role model.” I was really inspired to hear something like this from him. Only a few young men can think like this, especially this kind of matter. There is no doubt why he was chosen to be the corps commander.

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Hosting an ROTC event

“A set up of an organization is comparable to a triangle, the ones on top are the privileged few and the ones at the bottom are their human resources. The ones at the bottom have no side to look but up, from there comes their inspiration, their leaders. The ones at the bottom will act like a reflection of how their leader performs. Therefore, if I want my Corps to be properly organized, I must organize myself first, that should first and foremost be the mindset of a leader in pursuit of change.” He added.
He honestly aspired calling himself a ‘man of inspiration’, He realized that in order to be someone like that, he not only has to be an effective manager, and a promising leader – these are part though –, but he should see to it that he champions the Hearts and Minds of the people he is leading, in that way, he is also building the loyalty of the people to him. “That is like hitting two birds with one stone.” He explained.

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Orientation day

Moving on to the lessons he learned and the values he kept in his journey through the Corps, he admitted again that until now, he continues to learn.
“Even though you are not enlisted in the ROTC, everyone should know this. That we – as a person -, in everyday, in every moment, must desire to seek self-improvement. In everything that we do, we must make sure that we learn something valuable, something that will help us tread the path of life. I admit, we are in a very distracted generation, a generation where people looks more on price rather than value of things, a generation slowly straying away from manners of goodness and morality, a generation that is loosely oriented between the battle of good and evil, this is what we are. However, this is the age where we should never be complacent and self-satisfied; if we can still do better, in everything we do, why not do best?” he was able to summarize it well. The way he spoke to me really revealed a man with words,  man with dignity,  man with virtue, and a man who leads well his subordinates.

At the end our conversation, he said,“Leaders are made, not born, and a leader that is trained in ROTC, is a leader trained through the fire”. This gives us all an equal opportunity to be one. Let this statement also remind us that being a leader do not necessarily mean being free from errors, rather, he or she must be the one who can recognize that he also has flaws and finds a way to improve, every time!” that was a very substantial message he left for his fellow ROTC students and to other organizations that mold leadership.

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A picture with him on the day he was proclaimed the new Corps Commander for sy 13-14
; Mar. 3, 2013

I hope this article inspired the youth to hone their skills in leadership for we can use this to create positive change in our society and in even for our own selves. Let us take it from this young leader!

Don’t Forget to Write

I always don’t.

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Summer is winding down in my neck of the woods, where I am back at work getting ready for a new school year. As I sit at my desk today prepping syllabi and selecting readings, I am thinking about an essay I posted here about a year and half ago about memory processes (Memory: It’s all good). Turns out the essay provoked a bit of blog-o-sphere controversy. In it I stated, among other things, that writing by hand yields greater memorial outcomes than does typing. That is, if your aim in studying is to deeply process the material you should paraphrase and record the information with pen and paper, not with keystrokes. Typing, I said then, is an automatic process that stimulates little thought, whereas writing is an episodic process that engages your semantic memory system more deeply.

That portion of my memory essay caught the attention of…

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