If you’re reading this checklist that means you’ve made it to UP. So congratulations, bagongiskolarngbayan!
But haven’t you heard that it’s harder to get out of this university than to get in? That is why it always pays to do good right from the start. Here are a few tips:
- Prepare a smart and cool self-introduction
Don’t be such a bore. Go beyond the usual name-age-address-and-course introduction. Drop a witty remark about yourself that for sure will help your professors remember you! There are a lot of you who will be competing for attention for the whole semester so better make an impression.
- Know your upperclassmen
Juniors and seniors, and sometimes, even sophomores, have the right to barrage you with their been-there-done-that sentiments. Take it. It can be beneficial for you anyway. It can be about subjects, orgs, profs, tests, or even tips on the cheapest photocopying/ printing center. And if you’re lucky, they may even lend their old notes to you.
- Know where you are going
Arm yourself with a university map and a good sense of direction. As you may have already noticed, this school is quite huge and it takes time to get familiar. Figure out the route of Ikot and Toki and know it by heart (this will ensure 50% of your survival) so you’ll arrive at your classes on time and in the right building and room.
On a more serious note, determine where you are going in life. Your course-choice can be just part of your trial-and-error expedition. Think about it and plan thoroughly to avoid shifting in and out of a number of courses – if all else fails, do what you love.
- Join a clique (Join an org? Create a clique of your own?)
Joining a clique doesn’t mean you are being mean-ilized and have to undergo training under the supervision of a real-life Blair Waldorf or Regina George because that is so, uhm, high school.
You’ve surpassed those years of high school drama and here you are in college, ready to explore and enrich your potential. But how can you do it if you’re being such a “lonely loner”? Join a good pack that you think you can grow with, or even just a good group to have lunch with.
As a Japanese Professor said, “Knowledge is born of human interaction, it is not a self-contained substance waiting to be discovered and collected.” You learn things with and through people.
- Break free
A classic grade conscious student would define a successful college life as: attend classes + study hard = good grades. But don’t you want to break free from the conventional formula of success in college? Maybe this one will work too: a little adventure + a little rebellion = growth.
Sit in on a class that’s outside your curriculum. Earn a perspective of a social science major. Educate yourself on liberal arts, history, and philosophy. Bad at Math? Enroll in a Stat class! It will be good to have a little bit of everything.
And if you are brave enough, cut a class for something meaningful, fight for something transcendent, an ideology perhaps?
- Have the lust to wander
You are a Tourism major! You are bound to see the world. Widen your horizon, understand differences, develop your palate, get lost and find your way home again. Traveling can earn you priceless life experiences. You have to be exposed to be able to contextualize situations.
- Caution: fraternities and sororities
I’m sure your parents told you horrific stories about joining frats and soros but no need to be scared! Just remember the word and sense of respect with regards to other people and their beliefs and nobody gets hurt.
- You’re young and fresh—you can only do better
One of my professors once said, “In this school, you only compete with yourself.” You have to keep doing better than the last time. Set the standards and continuously break your records. So if you got your first cinco, don’t worry about it! There’s nowhere else to go but up. As Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project put it, “Best is good and better is best!” – Lendl Meniado