Create meaningful experiences by doing what you love

Clarissa on the Food Network

I can definitely say I’ve come a long way since the start of my studies at the University of Waterloo. First year was about making new friends and getting involved in extracurricular activities. Second year was about getting more acquainted with this new city I had moved to. Third year was about working four part time jobs while trying to keep up with my studies. And finally, my last year was about realizing that I needed to buckle down so I can graduate and start thinking about my career.

The whole experience was stressful but worth it without a doubt. My entire UWaterloo experience has provided me with more than I could have ever asked for, including a quality education, a huge network of friends and professional contacts, valuable skills I can utilize in my future endeavours, and amazing memories I’ll never forget.

While on my journey to discover the right career path for me, I’ve come across a handful of new and wonderful experiences along the way that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I was chosen to sing the national anthem on Canada Day 2013 at Columbia Lake for a crowd of 40,000 people; I had a month-long vacation in Europe; I was in a commercial for the SPCA; I was a finalist on MasterChef Canada Season 2; I am a co-founder of two start-up companies with my best friend (links listed below); and soon I will be flying high in a hot air balloon at sunrise on my birthday this summer. I’ve even come up with a perhaps unreachable but I’m going to try anyway goal for 2015, which is to travel outside of Ontario every month of this year. So far I’ve been to Los Angeles, Chicago, and Calgary, and my next stop is Nashville!

My favourite and most memorable experience I’ve had so far is being a finalist on the TV show, MasterChef Canada Season 2. I was chosen as one of the top 50 best amateur cooks out of thousands who auditioned within Canada! I had the opportunity to prepare my signature dish, “Kare Kare” (a traditional Filipino stew), for the three esteemed judges. Although I didn’t receive the coveted white apron to make it through to the next round, I’ve gained so much more than I could have ever imagined. I’ve met so many great individuals who are similarly passionate about food and cooking. This experience has challenged me and provided me with new opportunities, and I’ve come out of it stronger than ever before, with the amazing support from family, friends, and even strangers.

All of these experiences have shaped me into who I am today. I’ve learned so much, met so many influential people, and best of all, I’m doing the things that I love and am passionate about. I’ve become a better version of myself.

Twitter: @clarissadiokno

Start-up links :

The Thrifty Squirrel – Online thrift and consignment shop

CLiKK Photo Booth – Photo booth rental for events

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