Let’s face it, university life isn’t all about the glitz and glamor of wearing new outfits every day, strolling through malls during long breaks, attending loud college parties, gracefully balancing org duties with academics, and pleasing our professors with signature smiles. As much as we want it to turn out that way, reality check: life’s a real bitch.
You’ve got your unglamorous 7:30AM classes, your inescapable all-nighters, your unpaid dormitory bills, your reliance on fast food chains, all your academic and org requirements, and a lot more. College is sure going to be fun, but definitely not all of it.
Though it’s a lot to think about, we got you. Here are some points to check before you start working for that university degree.
1. Be a friend to everybody.
University isn’t just about getting a degree or acing an exam, but it’s also about building a network and making friends who will get you through some of the toughest academic challenges of your life. In college, you get a diverse set of people to meet, coming from different provinces and schools all over the country. No matter how annoying the person sitting beside you in class gets, always keep in mind that it never hurts to smile and befriend them. Who knows? Your contrasting personalities might just click.
As freshies, do not be too intimidated by upperclassmen. We’re friendly too! Just please don’t form human barricades to block the hallways with. We’d appreciate that especially when we’re running late for our next class. Remember, college life is also about maintaining a hurried pace along the school grounds and jumping from one building to the next for your following class. Pro tip: This pace also works for when you’re running from your dorm to the faculty room to beat that 5pm paper deadline.
Be a friend to your professors too! They’re actually going to be some of the most inspiring people you’ll meet. Or they can be your worst enemies–but that really depends on how you manipulate the situation. Use your consultation hours to ask for help if you’re having a hard time. It’ll earn you some brownie points if they see that you genuinely care about your studies.
2. Procrastinate a little. Then do your work.
Okay, fine. You can take that online test and scroll through 9gag for a couple of hours, but make sure you don’t entirely lose track of time.
Obligations are hard to ignore because they’re always creeping somewhere. When your deadline’s a month from now, feel free to put it off for a couple of days at most. Trust me, it’s better to do things early rather than to cram everything at the last minute. A long to-do list is NOT fun to look at. And you’ll thank yourself later.
3. Join different organizations. Be versatile.
You can be an actress in a theater org, a musician in an orchestra, a dancer in a dance troupe, a contributor in the university’s publication org–you name it, it’s there. There’s an endless variety to choose from.
Make the most out of them by volunteering for events and applying for projects. We know that you’ve got a lot on your plate, considering the amount of workload in academics. But take this opportunity to train yourself in multi-tasking and getting exposure to different fields. Plus, it’s going to look good on your resume.
4. Keep a schedule.
No, we don’t just mean buying pricey planners and pretending to be organized.
We mean keeping a schedule in the most sensible and practical way. Divide the work over weekends and weekdays. Keep the list simple and workable to avoid overwhelming yourself.
ALWAYS take note of incoming deadlines and major submissions. This includes deadlines for electric or water bill payments. You wouldn’t want to study in your room with the power out, would you?
5. Treat yourself once in a while, but be responsible about it.
Drinking sessions with your college friends are inevitable, we know. Even if you’ve promised yourself not to drink for the night, there’s also always going to be one person who’ll talk you into going out. How do you say no to that? It’s Friday night. Let loose, right?
As long as you don’t have any pending responsibilities, alright, go for it! But if you’ve got an exam the next day or a paper due soon, you’ll know which one you need to prioritize.
6. Wondering where to eat? Get creative.
Your dorm or apartment probably has a few convenience stores within reach. Don’t limit your diet to french fries, chicken nuggets and cup noodles. These convenience stores have set meals that are pretty budget friendly.
Or you can always go grocery shopping for cheap ingredients to whip up the meanest home-cooked meal you can think of. And no, we’re not referring to boiled eggs in hot water. There are tons of Youtube videos to teach you how to cook different dishes. Youtube = your new BFF.
7. Study for exams at your own pace.
We acknowledge the fact that there are some brilliant minds who possess photographic memory. Those of you who are able to skim through eight chapters of discussion notes in one sitting and are able to remember them, good for you!
But for us regular, ordinary souls, it’s best to pace ourselves when studying. And be honest. From the get-go, if you know that you don’t work too well under pressure, start studying for the exam earlier. And also, take quick breaks when needed.
8. Prioritize what’s important.
As said in number 5, you need to sort out your priorities–this means making time for studies first when orgs get a little too much. Balancing everything is tricky, but as long as you know which matters are more important, you’ll be fine. Seriously, the FOMO isn’t going to kill you.
9. You’re gonna embarrass yourself sometimes and that’s totally cool.
You are walking towards your crush in a hallway full of people and everything seems perfect. You’ve got that little romantic rain drizzle as weather, you’ve (thankfully) chosen the right outfit to wear, and you’ve just come out of class after receiving a high mark on your exam. And as you’re about to say hi, somebody steps on your untied shoelace and you fall – face first – on the floor. Damn it.
Take these little mishaps with a grain of salt. Get back up, brush off the dirt from your knees and laugh it off. Silly stuff happens to everybody and it’s normal. No biggie.
10. Make the most out of university life.
via hilaryxduff on Tumblr
Before you know it, you’ll be prepping up for your yearbook shoot and then marching down the aisle in your toga. Attend college parties sponsored by student orgs (they’re really fun!), or house parties with your blockmates, or even just have group study sessions with your friends at the nearest coffee shop. Don’t isolate yourself from the world. Cherish every moment spent crying over studying for exams, relating to memes you find on Facebook, spewing out word (and actual) vomit when drinking, eating the same meal in that fast-food resto you love so much, silently cursing at your slow wifi connection, and even those unforgettable coffee-induced all-nighters.
Because in the end, we can all sit back, relax, and finally say that it was all was worth it.
By Samantha Clerigo
Featured image from Seawolf Living