Now that I’ve graduated and am in the next phase of my life, I’ve been looking for universities or training sites where I can get my career started. As I’ve been doing so, several doubts cross my mind. I know nothing about post-graduate studies, and absolutely nothing about studying abroad. Luckily, I have a few people helping me out, giving me advice and contacts to make sure I’m ready. A look back at when I was about to enter Ateneo for my bachelor’s degree made me realize that I was a bit unprepared. So here are some things I wish someone had told me before I entered college.
note: don’t base it on the bold titles below, they can be deceiving.
1. It’s a whole new world out there
No, it’s not Aladdin and Jasmine, but it is a new culture, a mix of different breeds from different walks of life. Culture shock is quite common among freshmen. I remember my first culture shock was when (don’t judge me, I came from a conservative high school) I found fellow freshmen smoking like there’s no tomorrow. I had no idea there were more extreme things I had yet to find out… *ehem*… So yeah, be open-minded, but be yourself! You’re part of that whole new world too!
2. The freshman orientation is just as important as any of your lessons
True, you don’t really have to know what year which building was built, or why it was named after this person, but it’s good to pay attention to certain histories, certain trivia, that will help you through the next few years. Also, it’ll be really helpful to know the shortcuts around campus to avoid being late! Orientations are there for a reason, so don’t take them too lightly.
3. Stereotypes are about as true as myths and legends
Well, myths and legends do have bases, so they are partly true. But don’t let that fool you. I came into Ateneo thinking that everyone spoke straight English all the time. I always introduced myself with a handshake. And I thought everyone was supposed to wear fancy clothes and skirts. Well, it turns out that only around 25% of the population spoke straight English. 10% spoke straight Tagalog. And the rest are just conyo :P. Handshakes and formalities are not really required when introducing oneself, especially not to blockmates and orgmates because you’re gonna be reeeeaaally close one day and it’s going to be funny to remember that silly introduction. And not everyone wears fancy clothes and skirts; only the school of management students do (just kidding! okay, half kidding).
4. Keep your old notes
Okay, on to the academics! This one I really regret not doing, especially now that I’m considering furthering my education. Notes are important. Nope, not just the ones from your favorite subject, or your majors. Even notes from core or minor subjects are important! I’d have liked to have had my old English notes when I was doing thesis. Well, now that electronics are much more common, it’d be a lot easier because you could just store everything in dropbox or google drive.
5. Join organizations
Last but not the least, you need to find yourself a home away from home. It’s advisable to join a handful of orgs in freshman year, so that you’d already know by sophomore year which ones you actually belong in. Of course, you can always keep all of them, but beware, org events clash and sometimes things don’t end well. Find your passion, and stick with it; find your people, and stick with them. Orgs are going to be helpful in all aspects of your college life because it’s where you’ll meet great people from different years and courses, and it’s where you get to do stuff they don’t teach you in the classrooms.
So there, the things I wish I knew before entering college. Now to find a similar list pertaining to post-graduate studies abroad 😛
Thanks for reading!