8 Pieces of Advice for a UP Diliman Freshie

Hi there, fellow Isko/Iska!

First of all, I want to say… congratulations for passing the UPCAT! After the long wait, the long grind through high school, finally you’re getting a taste of the “real” world: college! But everyone has firsts, and sometimes, not all of them are good ones. And since today’s the first day of school, here are a few tips that I wish I had known when I was still a freshie.

1. Memorize the Campus Map beforehand.

Memorize so that you don’t have to look it up everytime! (Photo from Pexels)

It’s no secret that UP Diliman is a huge, huge place, and it’s very easy to get lost.

Trust me on this. I may be a Tourism student, but as of now, I’m still extremely bad with places. I can remember going to a certain place, but I can’t remember how I got there.

In other words, during my first semester at the university, I was like a lost kitten, never knowing exactly how to get to where I wanted to go.

Granted, I never really ran into major problems, but that bout of carelessness sometimes caused me to be late in class, which you, my dear freshie, might want to avoid.

So for all intents and purposes, it’s good to either memorize the campus map, or better yet, keep a copy with you or on your phone at all times. By your second sem, you probably wouldn’t need it anyway.

Freshie fail story: This isn’t exactly about the campus map itself, but it is kind of related. My point is pretty much the same anyway: memorize the locations of… well, everything, if you could, but most especially the ones that you’ll be frequenting during your first year.

There’s this silly story of how I had to go to PHAn (Palma Hall Annex) for an org thing, and a friend told me that I had to go through CASAA to get there. The thing is, although I knew CASAA, I had no idea where the heck PHAn is, and I ended up walking around and around CASAA for maybe 20 minutes straight, looking for another exit. (It’s in the back part, for anyone wondering.) Knowledge is power, but you’ll only reap the benefits of that if you actually have the knowledge in the first place.

And speaking of memorizing the campus map…

2. Know the routes to all the campus jeepneys.

This is super important. And I mean super, super, super important. Even if you’re the kind of person who’d rather walk (like me), I think it’s still pretty valuable knowledge to actually keep in mind the routes for the four main jeepneys in UP Diliman: Katipunan, Philcoa/SM North, Ikot, and Toki. Doing so will save you a lot of hassle, and not to mention, tears time.

Freshie fail story: Back in my first semester in UP Diliman, I had a PE subject (don’t ask what it is) every Tuesday and Thursday, 12:00-1:00PM, in CHK (College of Human Kinetics). Right after that, I had a Geography 1 subject in AS (Art and Sciences, real name is Palma Hall), which is a good 15-30 minute-ride from CHK.

15-30 minutes? 15-30 MINUTES?! Are you mad?!

Nope, absolutely not. I was late every Tuesday and Thursday to my Geography class, because CHK is so far from AS. But here’s where my advice will come in handy: I found out that I was taking the wrong jeep.

I always, always rode the Ikot jeep, but see, the Ikot jeep still goes out of the campus and passes through CP Garcia Avenue (where the traffic is always heavy at that time of the day), so it’s only natural that I would be late.

Turns out, I was supposed to take the Toki jeep, which could cut my trip by more than half of the time. I only found out halfway through the sem. *sobs*

And it’s not just the routes and the map that you need to know…

3. Know your professors.

This isn’t just a UP Diliman specific tip, to be honest. It’s applicable to all universities, but I suppose I’m making an exception for UP this time because, unless you have a block (which you usually do if you’re a freshie), you have the freedom to choose your professors.

There’s even a website where you can check out students’ reviews of the professors and a whole forum thread where you can ask about your future profs.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of “rating” professors, but I do agree that these sites can be quite helpful when you already know who your profs are, not when you’re still just choosing profs.

Why? Because I don’t think it’s good to choose profs based on how “easy” and “unoable” they are, at least, for me. (I actually choose subjects based on the schedule, not the professor. I like “perfect” scheds, like, everyday 8:30-2:30, something like that, and not 7:00-8:30, 1:00-5:30TTh, 8:30-11:30, 2:30-4:00 WF. So confusing.)

But for example, after the pre-enlistment, I find out that I got these profs, I actually research the heck out of them, hahaha. You know, just the important stuff:

Do they get mad at late students? (No? Uh-oh, better move a little faster, then!)

Do they allow eating in class? (I’m a glutton; this is important for me!)

Do they like it when students recite? (I’m pretty shy, huhu, better force myself to be confident in that class!)

You get the idea.

Researching about them gives me a pretty good idea on how to, er… “tackle” that class with them, haha, so, I think it’s really important to know your profs beforehand. And I think UP (especially Dili) students are lucky to have so many resources for this!

And of course, while in class, you should also take note of the things your professors say that could give hints to their exam style! Who knows, it could be helpful, come exam time. But it’s not just that! As a freshie, you should also…

4. Know your syllabus. (And try keep it with you at all times.)

For every class, you will be given a syllabus that will explain the professor’s requirements, grading system, and basically, a general outline of the subject. I had one subject that didn’t give out a syllabus, but you really should ask for one, since it’s very helpful.

It’s also something that you could refer to all throughout the semester. Most of the time, it really contains everything you need to know, even the format for the written papers in the class!

I find that highlighting the topics in the syllabus that are already finished is actually quite helpful, too. Mainly to show you which part of the semester you’re in now, and partly to remind you, “Just a few more, and you’re done!” Hahaha, you know, the feeling of, “Konting konti nalang, please, huhu.” Highlighting really does wonders for me.

If ever you feel “lost” in class, just refer to your syllabus. However, even if you feel lost…

5. Don’t cram. (Like, ever.)

There’s nothing more than needs to be said about this. One should never, ever cram.

Or, okay, maybe a little cramming wouldn’t hurt, but still, you should know the material beforehand. What I mean is, it’s okay to cram reviewing, but don’t ever cram studying! You’ll only lose sleep and brain cells in the process. Hahaha. Seriously, though.

It’s okay to cram reviewing the slides for your class, but you should have at least read the whole book once before “reviewing” the slides. You’re reviewing, and not just viewing, after all. 🙂

A little goes a long way when it comes to studying (or writing, or drawing plates, or designing), especially when it’s done every day.

Study a few your notes every single day, and there’s probably no more need to cram for 10 hours before your final exam.

Freshie Fail Story: I took a Pan Pil 19 class under Ma’am Atienza (who’s quite awesome, btw) and for our final project, we had to write a 20-page-paper about our chosen writer. 20 pages may not seem like much, but when the deadline’s looming ahead, believe me, you’ll realize that it’s a LOT.

I ended up writing from 8PM-6AM, when the deadline was at 10AM. Plus, I had a Math final exam at 1PM, which I also crammed for between those remaining hours.

For your own sanity’s sake, please, my dear UP Diliman freshie, do not try this.

6. Don’t be scared of all the new people.

You will meet lots and lots and lots of people. And lots more. Hahaha.

No, seriously, UP Diliman is a huge, huge place, and you can bet that such a huge place has an enormous number of human (and non-human, hehe) beings, as well. Be open-minded, and don’t be scared to meet new friends, from all walks of life!

This is actually where I got the most “culture shock” upon getting into UP. You’ll meet people who “OOTD” every single day, and people who seem to have just gotten out of bed (and some probably have, haha).

You’ll see some who’d much rather choose acads over parties, and some who’d choose parties instead of sleep (but no, it’s pretty rare to see someone who doesn’t have acads on top or near the top of their priority list).

You’ll meet people with all sorts of lavish cars, and people who walk everywhere because they have to survive on less than 100 pesos a day.

You’ll see people hugging, people kissing, people close to making out, and it’s not supposed to be scandalous, malicious, or whatever, aside from normal.

When I was still in high school, I felt awkward and weird whenever I saw people kissing (blame me for coming from an [not anymore] exclusive school), but now, I’m just like, “Awww.” HAHAHA.

The world in UP is very, very diverse, but it’s exactly the kind of world that I’m glad to be a part of.

And speaking of the UP “world”…

7.  Don’t be scared to explore the university.

There are A LOT of places to discover in UP Diliman. As in, a lot. And I’m pretty embarrassed to say that, until now, I still haven’t explored the whole university.

Don’t worry, I plan to explore every nook and cranny of this wonderful, magical place. (HAHAHA) I still have a few years to go before I graduate, after all.

But I think there’s a different kind of magic when you’re still just a freshie, when you still haven’t gotten used to the every day life in the university.

Up to now, I still find myself amazed at how nice the Science Complex is, and how breezy it is there! No, seriously, the wind feels so much better in that part of the university. It’s actually one of my favorite places in UP, hahaha, because I always feel so calm and peaceful there.

It may seem scary to explore such a huge place, but believe me, it’s not! Don’t be scared to go on a walking trip with a good friend or two around the university.

Who knows, you might find your special spot during one of your walks. I still haven’t found mine, but meh, I’m sure I will, one of these days. 🙂

8. And lastly, don’t forget to have fun.

This is the most important one for me. And I’m quite proud to say that this one is something that I’ve known since day 1. College may seem like a really huge thing (and it is), but don’t forget to enjoy the little things every now and then.

If there’s one thing that you should remember after reading this whole, awfully long blog post of mine, it’s this: have fun.

Don’t ever take things for granted! That good friend you met in one class, but you don’t have the time to talk with her or him outside the class? Try to make time for them sometimes! Acads taken for granted sucks, but more so is a good friend taken for granted.

Sometimes, I still feel overwhelmed with how temporary things are in UP. Time passes by more quickly than you think, and it’s better to have more fun memories than regrets, right? Join an org. Attend events. Go to the UP Fair with a special someone.

Don’t spend all your time in college worrying about your acads. Remember, you have a life outside of school, too.

Also, like another awesome prof (Ma’am Yanilla-Aquino) said to our class last sem, “When you’re already old and on your deathbed, it’s not your grades that you’re going to remember.” and “When your grandchild asks you, “Lola, what did you do in college?”, you don’t want to have this conversation with them, “I studied, apo.” “What else, lola?” “I studied, apo.” “Nothing else, lola?” “I studied, apo.””

It makes a lot of sense, right? 🙂 Sure, studying is nice, but making (and keeping) friends and creating amazing memories with them that will last for a lifetime is a lot better, if you ask me.


Anyway, that’s it, my eight pieces of advice for any UP Diliman freshie. I’m sorry for being so long-winded, mehehehe. Nevertheless, I wish you all the best on your UP journey! Don’t forget to have faith and have fun, alright? Good luck, my dear freshie!

P.S. Here are also other pieces of advice from some of my friends (who are also non-freshies now, like me, huhu):

“Ang TBA ay hindi room. :)”
– Frank, BS Psychology

“Make friends. This is the time where you still have the time to meet different people from different colleges considering that your first year is still full of GEs.”
– Gino, BS Civil Engineering

“Wag mabibigla, be open-minded. Hahahaha. Kasi I heard nung FOP nila, may namimigay ng condoms. Baka maraming freshies ang nabigla. Di pa sila nagsschool, sinalubong na agad sila ng ganon.”
– Tine, BS Tourism

“Enjoy your first sem, because 2nd sem is HELL. At wag matakot sa Math.”
– Sha, BS Applied Physics

“Get out while you still can. (me: “Renz!” *evil glare*) I’m only half kidding. (me: “…”) Stay out of alcohol unless necessary.”
– Renz, BS Community Development

“Kung scholar ka at may sakit yung pito mong kapatid, tas yung dalawa malapit nang madeds, at sobrang hirap nyo at scholarship nalang ang inaasahan ng mga magulang mo, okay lang maging GC. Kung hindi, de hindi.”
– Isaac, BS Geography

“Kung di mo mahanap puso mo sa course mo, shift agad. #YayForDelay”
– Isaac, Pt. 2, BS Geography

“Mag-enlist ng maraming required GEs habang first year pa!”
– Ems, BS Metallurgical Engineering

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