Another unpublished article I wrote for a campus paper. Unedited. Something for the new freshies to think of.
Freshmen class of 2012, welcome to the most sought after and probably most controversial university in the country – University of the Philippines – and congratulations for passing the nerve wrecking UPCAT!
Now that you’re officially a UP student, the crème de la crème as they say, let’s get a few things straight. You think you’re special? That everything will be a bed of roses from now on? Think again. Here’s a short list (in no particular order) of some misconceptions and stereotypes about being part of UP and the real deal behind each one.
Myth #1: “I passed UP. That means I’m smarter than the rest!”
Fact: There are a lot of people who are way smarter, more brilliant and wiser than you, in and out of UP. Not to mention, people who are more capable, creative and talented than you ever will be. Keep this in mind: just because you passed the UPCAT, that doesn’t mean you are the wisest among the wise. Not everyone from UP is smart and not everyone who is smart is solely from UP. Sometimes it’s just a matter of luck or perfect timing. I know a lot of people who freely chose to study in another university due to better opportunities, facilities, offers etc. even if they passed the UPCAT. There are a lot of other students from other universities and colleges who are much smarter than UP students (but don’t ever admit that to them, okay? Satin-sating mga taga-UP lang). This is a simple reminder for UP students so you won’t fill your heads with unnecessary arrogance and end up with a bloated head as huge as pegaraw.
Myth #2: “Puro aktibista ang mga taga-UP.”
Fact: I’ve heard a lot of parents saying they don’t want their children to study in UP because their kids will turn into ‘screaming, violent fanatics who rally against the government and the system.’ Though most UP students nowadays are silent and even (sadly) apathetic when it comes to joining rallies, as an iskolar ng at para sa bayan, you are still expected to stand and fight for the principles of UP, which includes being the voices and champions of the poor and of Filipinos. This may come in the forms of literature, advocacies, community-based activities and the like and not necessarily through violence. Whatever way, UP students should always be for their country and for their countrymen.
Myth #3: “Madali lang sa UP.”
Fact: Most probably, you will have more singkos than unos and you will meet tons of terror teachers who will make your stay in UP a living hell. No one will help you because UP has a “no spoon feeding” culture, which is one of the university’s strengths. It’s every man for himself. Sometimes, your best is not enough because even if you study all week long, even if you memorized everything, even if you have little study notes posted on your forehead and even if you prayed to all the saints, you will still get a failing grade. Since you’re in UP, you will have to deal with some of the best professors in the country who will sometimes give outlandish and extremely challenging class requirements. Most probably, there will come a time when you will wish you never set foot in UP. But before you lose hope, read Myth #4.
Myth #4: “Mahirap sa UP!”
Fact: In spite of the afore mentioned facts, there are also some subjects (of particular instructors) which you can pass even with excessive absences, even if you sleep in class or even if you forget to pass an assignment. Good news right? Right! These are the subjects most undergrads aim to get. You’ll hear classmates asking other classmates, “Alin yung pinakamadaling GE course? Nagbibigay ba ng uno si Sir Kyeme?” Though this is so, remember that even a class like this contributes something to you as a student and molds you. It may be to make you more resourceful, more curious or even to make you take the first initiative. Besides, you passed UP. Nothing is too hard for UP students.
Myth #5: “I will graduate on time, summa cum laude!”
Fact: Keep dreaming, buddy. You will not graduate on time and you will not graduate cum laude (even if you were the class valedictorian in your school in the province). I kid. Although this is not a super far fetched dream – a number of exceptional UP students have actually proven that this is in fact possible – do not lose heart when and if you find out that you will be delayed a sem or two. Not graduating on time is actually a “norm” in the university. Of course I still encourage you to try and aim to graduate in four or five years (for engineering students) because again, it is possible, but sometimes, uncontrollable outside factors affect your plan such as shifting to another course, not getting a pre-requisite subject because of limited slots and the like. Just like being delayed, ‘take two’ courses are also a ‘norm,’ usually for subjects like math, chemistry and physics. Now it’s another story when UP students get delayed for reasons such as misdemeanor, laziness or too much failing grades. Some students intentionally plan on being delayed two to three more years, maybe because they enjoy college life too much or maybe because they’re afraid to step out into the ‘real world.’ Don’t be one of those people.
Myth #6: “I will not change. I will stay the same.”
Fact: Sounds like a cheesy line from a song, huh? But truth be told, you will change. For the better, for the worse, depends on how you will react and perceive the events that will come into your life. But as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, you will change. It may be as shallow as you will learn to smoke, to drink (which is very common among UP students and frankly, some of the best works and ideas were birthed during inuman sessions) or you’ll meet your first dyowa. It may be as life changing as you’ll change the principles you stand for, you’ll lower your standards in life, you’ll be braver in facing problems, you’ll finally believe in God or you’ll be more liberated. Whatever it is, your stay in UP will make you realize a lot about yourself – your character, your capabilities, your dreams, your wants. Your four years (or more) of being a UP student will serve as a venue for you to hone and discover your potential, build up your character and unearth a new part of your personality.
Myth #7: “Puro war freaks ang mga fraternity boys at maaarte ang mga sorority girls.”
Fact: If you’ve seen the classic film Batch ’81 which features the culture of fraternities in a university in relation to the current events in society, then you would definitely have an impression that fraternity members are blood-sucking beings. Though there will still be a few frat wars or rumbles here and there, unknown to some, fraternities also serve other purposes depending on their organizations’ strength and goal. Some fraternities focus on academic excellence, others on sports while others get into university politics. In the same light, sorority members also have other roles such as spearheading charities, holding various fund raising events and different outreaches to communities (partida na ‘to bilang hindi ako myembro ng soro. Or ng frat for that matter).
Myth #8: “Delikado and unsafe sa UP.”
Fact: Unlike other private colleges and universities whose vicinities are enclosed, whose gates open via ID and whose area is packed with tons of guards, UP is an open community. There are a lot of different entry and exit points not only for students and faculty but also for robbers and other masasamang hangaring people. But over the years, the UP administration has been able to improve security in the campus such as providing lamp posts making streets well-lit, hiring ‘batuta boys’ aka Community Support Brigade (CSB) who roam around campus to secure the area as well as implementing a 10pm curfew inside, all of which have actually decreased crime rates according to the UP Police Force. There’s no need to worry just as long as you be careful and be alert in your surroundings.
Myth #9: “Pagka graduate ko, instant job agad ako. UP eh.”
Fact: Hell to the no! Trust me, it’s not that simple. Yes, there are a lot of jobs out there and sure, being in UP does give you an edge over other universities but quote me when I say, graduating from UP does not secure you a job. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and UP tries its best to prepare you for that. I learned from an HR personnel that most companies in the country usually choose the top three schools, UP being the first choice, though this still depends on the nature of work of the employer. On the other side of the coin, because of our reputation, a lot is expected from us therefore, we should deliver. We should show them that UP truly is the hub of exceptional students.
Myth #10: “Laging asa advantage ang pagiging UP.”
Fact: Sometimes. But sometimes, being from UP is also to your disadvantage. Some people, employers included, discriminate against UP students. If graduates of unknown colleges are being discriminated against, so are we. Some employers don’t like hiring UP students simply because they’re “mayabang, tamad, maarte at demanding,” which employers base on their past experiences with other UP grads (I know, bummer for future UP grads). Some stereotypes for UP students include “gusto mataas agad sweldo, gusto management position agad” as well as “matalino, magaling, madiskarte” and the list goes on. Don’t be egotistical and overconfident of being a UP student who acts like a know-it-all and has a too-good-for-you attitude. Never pretend you know everything and never assume you have all the answers.
In spite of all the mentioned misconceptions, one thing remains true: UP students should always remember the image of the oblation, the naked man with arms outstretched and face pointed upwards, which represents the selfless offering of oneself to his country. UP students should be like oble, whatever myth or fact there is.
Any other myth/ fact you’d like to add? =)