You’ve passed the entrance test to your dream university. You’re excited to enter the halls of Miriam College, Ateneo de Manila University, or the University of the Philippines. You’re eyeing a nice, affordable condo for sale in Katipunan, Quezon City. You’ve bought all the books that you think you might need. You’ve joined your block’s Facebook group. You’ve liked the freedom walls and official pages of your new school. You’re wide-eyed, bushy-tailed, and excited for your first day as a college student.
Excitement is great and can motivate you to work hard at the start of the year. But college life has its downsides besides its perks. It is much better to know what to expect and for you to be prepared.
Expect to Get Lost
Of course, you have resources right now. You might have the Waze app, downloaded the university map on your phone, or been on a campus tour beforehand. Doing any of these might help you a lot come your first day, but not all apps are updated, and not all buildings and rooms can be found in the maps. There’s a chance you’ll lose your way once or twice, more if you aren’t prepared. Think of it as an adventure, a way to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings. Most professors are generally forgiving on the first week and understand if you’re still trying to figure the place.
It sounds easy at first, a schedule of three classes a day, four days a week. On paper, it looks lighter than your seven-to-five school days, plus extracurricular hours, in high school. You think that just because you’ve gotten used to high school stress, college life will be easy for you. What you have to realize as early as now is that you might be looking at the tip of an enormous, stress-filled, headache-inducing, sleep-taking iceberg.
The first few weeks might be purely lecture sessions with short assignments here and there, but as you draw closer to finals, the workload piles up exponentially. Soon, in your last week of the semester, you might be cramming five months’ worth of notes in a single night or furiously typing multiple short essays in one day. That is if you’re unprepared. Your free hours can be numbered, so it’s best to use them, even when you’re early into the sem, for working, writing, and studying. This way, you can binge-watch Netflix or play games guilt-free.
Enjoy the Experience
You’re not just here to get a degree but to spend four years growing up. These are the earliest days of adulthood. Enjoy equal parts of routine and independence. Get involved in college organizations, and find new friends. Organize study dates. Share your notes, books, and journal copies. Attend school plays, dances, and other events. Thrive together, and always look for adventure. Trust me; you will find it in the strangest places, sometimes when you least expect them.
Your college years have the potential to be the best four years of your life. If you’ve had a terrible time in high school, think of this as a fresh start. It might even be better. Your youth will enable you to soak up lessons with ease and experiment on new things, but your experience will give you the wisdom to be open to new ideas and learnings.