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Monitoring and Evaluation: Build 2017

Every year, I set an overarching theme to guide me through decision-making. It's been Focus 2013, No Excuses 2014, (I don't remember what 2015 was, but in hindsight it could have been Self-Destruct 2015), Simplify 2016, and Build 2017. I chose build because it would be my last year as a twenty-something, and I wanted to lay the foundations for the next decade in terms of my career, relationships, finances, and personal growth.

Here's how I did:

✓ Hire a few merkids full-time

Je, Gab, Inah, Kenny, and Rex are SEA Camp alumni who were all doing various part-time work for SPS. By Q4, we secured enough funding for Clyde and Kenny to be hired full-time for the Shark Shelter Project. I consider it one of the biggest accomplishments of SPS to date.

✓ Study again

I first applied for Duke University's Global Fellow in Marine Conservation in 2014 and got rejected. That same year, I left for my master's in London, so okay lang. I tried again this year, somewhat on a whim, and was accepted. Only one week into the program and I understood exactly why I hadn't been accepted before. I was having a hard time coping with the marine science lectures, but would have drowned without the mental glossary I gained from my MSc.

✓ Launch A-B-Seas

I wanted to create a spin-off of the SEA Camp and diversify SPS's income through a for-profit environmental education program. With the help of merkids and Kester, we launched A-B-Seas in Q1 of 2017. I focused on developing the concept and program, but crammed the marketing plan. This resulted in not maximizing our network and not reaching our target number of participants. The pilot program didn't make profit as I had hoped. Failure is feedback: we'll have a better plan next year.

✗/✓ Stop buying lipsticks

I had a lipstick buying problem. This year, I made a commitment to stop buying lipstick and give away those I no longer use. Once I declared this, I started receiving lipsticks as gifts. Lel. I gave some to the merkids and a few to teachers in Malapascua.

I broke this rule once: for Pink Sugar's Pillow Talk. I discovered this shade from Lynn. I'd been looking for a brown shade that didn't make me look anemic, and this was The One. NO REGRETS.

✗/✓ Blog again: In progress

During my time in Duke, I realized how much I missed writing for myself and plotted out an "editorial calendar" for weekly posts. Ehhh hindi ko nagawa. After slaving over the content for the new SPS website (which I am super kadooper proud of), I felt like it was time for me again, which is why I jumpstarted this domain and blog.

✗/✓ Move out: In progress

When I was 24, I set a goal to move out before I turned 30. In May, I asked one of my best friends who earned his real estate broker license last year to help me look. My wishlist: a 25-meter pool, somewhere in Ortigas/Mandaluyong, and pet-friendly in case I want to bring Egg.

I fell in love with the second spot we looked at: a three-bedroom corner unit with a balcony in Mandaluyong. The complex is pet-friendly and has a 25-meter pool. Isang bonggang "when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it" moment.

Then came a deluge of paperwork to secure the unit and corresponding bank loan (!). My mom said, "By the end of the year, hindi na 'build' ang word mo. 'Broke' na."

May point.

I'm still in the process of moving out and moving in (and depleting my savings), but if all goes well, I will be able to accomplish this before I turn 30 in February.

I haven't finalized my 2018 theme yet, but choosing among Hustle, Impact, and Essentialism. I'm giving myself a few more weeks of introspection.

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