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Is UP for You? Assesing Your Chances in UP

is up for you

A UP diploma may indeed be a great weapon to wield come your entry in the job market.  Nevertheless, one important thing you should consider is –  can you handle UP life and a UP education?  Do you have what it takes to undergo the 4 or 5 years of UP courses, UP programs and intensive instruction that a UP diploma requires?

Many a UP student have found out the hard way that underestimating the discipline and perseverance required to finish a UP program could have far-reaching effects in their lives and that, in such cases, it would’ve been better if they have pursued a course in some other less demanding university.  After all, graduating on time and with honors can pull just about the same weight as having a UP diploma, without honors, after more than 7 years of study.

So before you set your sights on that formidable job-hunting weapon – the UP diploma or a UP-acquired degree – be sure to consider the following:

FFx20 UP Education

Are you built for super fast-forward and intensive education?  UP education is delivered incredibly fast and without any patience towards those who lag behind.  So what took 2 weeks to be taught in your high school is only taught for about 2 days in UP.  Where before, a book is used for the whole year in your high school, in UP, it will be discussed and included in the exam in the span of 1-1/2 months.  Furthermore, the reading lists for individual UP courses are typically as long as an arm.

The teacher comes in, dispenses the information needed, uses about 8 blackboards for notes, asks if there are any questions, and then exits the room to go back to his cubicle after the bell rings (by the way, no actual bells will ring; you’ll know the class period is about to end because your classmates will be fidgeting a few minutes before time).  Typically, lessons that were not discussed but were on the syllabus and the readings assigned are included in exams.  By the way, there are typically three long exams in an individual UP subject, with many a short quizzes spread throughout the duration of the term.

To make a long story short, if you’re setting your sights on the University of the Philippines, better be prepared for a lot of self-studying and fast-forward learning and reading.

Freedom Galore

Freedom, a glorious word and principle – especially for those who grew up in girls-only schools, super strict Catholic schools or small-town schools where everybody knows everybody and every move you make gets recorded in the town’s ‘logbook’.

In UP, university professors generally don’t care about what your wear in class, what your hairstyle is and what you do after class.  Hell some profs dont even care if you come to class at all.  Just be there for the exams, pass those exams, pass your projects on time, and be there for the occasional recitation, and there should be no problems.

You can smoke [in some places] inside the campus [but not inside buildings], cut classes, join rallies and demonstrations, be a part of orgs and fraternities, come to school dressed in a Spiderman costume, sleep in class – and nobody will care.  There are no curfews, no monitors, you can stay up late, drink with your friends every night or play Ragnarok till the wee hours of the morning, and nobody will know [unless the landlady is a family friend].  Of course, it’s a different story if you live in an in-campus, university-administered dorm where curfews are enforced; nevertheless, UP dormers typically find a way around dormitory rules – say, they stay out overnight.

You can be failing in class and your professor won’t nag you.  You can be sleeping on park benches and your landlady won’t care [as long as you pay the rent].  You can be spending more time in your student organization’s tambayan than in class and your orgmates won’t give a flying fark.

Fact is, UP freedom is a double edged sword.  You can use it to hone your maturity and sense of responsibility, or you can use it to dig your own dream’s grave [there goes your dream of graduating with honors and on time – or even graduating from college at all].

The bottomline:  UP will give you lots of choices.  UP students are free to make their decisions.  However, freedom also means freedom to make grave mistakes.  If you are not confident that you can handle your freedom in UP, better bring along your mom to UP or choose a university closer to home.

Lost in a Sea of Minds

If before you were regarded as the class genius or the school prodigy, be prepared to be one of the thousands of faceless students when you come to UP.  A lot more than half of the people in UP will be just like you – the achievers and the honor students in their high school graduating class.

Here, you won’t be as smug as before when half the class is still catching up and you’re already through.  Chances are high that you will find ten or more people who are smarter than you in every one of your UP classes.  You won’t be singled out or placed on a pedestal to be emulated and admired.  And you sure as hell won’t be given any doggie treats or special privileges.  Most of the time, you’ll be there crawling with the rest, hoping against hope that you will get at least a “three” – the passing mark.

In other words, if you prefer stardom and special status, kiss UP goodbye and settle for a smaller university.  Of course, if you’re one of the few real geniuses out there, there’s a chance that you’ll still stand out from the crowd.

The University of Pila

The registration/enrollment process of UP itself every semester is a recurring nightmare where only the fittest [have the most kapal ng mukha], the most determined, the ones with the highest levels of endurance and stamina survive to enroll their required units.  Those who make it through the university are no stranger to very long lines and probably know every dirty tactic that has ever been invented for outwitting other people who want the same academic units.  UP is after all not called the University of Pila for nothing.

Of course, the situation has improved somewhat with the introduction of the CRS Online (Computer Registration System) when students have to be on virtual lines or pila for their desired slots.  Nevertheless, those who don’t get their desired slots online still have to suffer through the long lines to get their desired UP courses.

In short, if you think you don’t have what it takes to physically fight for your right to have a slot in any of your required UP subjects, or if you have a fear of crowds or a fear of growing old in long lines, maybe it would be better to reconsider your decision to study in UP.

Conclusion:

What do you face in UP?

The specter of 4-5 years of mental torture, the risk of destroying yourself with too much freedom, the loss of your former special or star status, and the need to fight tooth and nail for your slot every semester.

Is it worth it?

Oh yes.  If you are smart (street-smart, that is) and mature enough to judge what’s good for you and what’s not, a UP education is still worth all the hardships it comes with.  A UP education is still undoubtedly the best brand of college education there is in the country, not only because of the exceptional quality of the university’s academics, but also because of the education that you will get outside UP classrooms.  In UP, you will have a lot of opportunity to learn self-reliance, common sense, teamwork, responsibility, ingenuity, and self discipline.

Think hard and think long.  Look before you leap and take honest stock of your weaknesses and strengths.  A UP diploma is great to have – if you’re strong enough to earn it.

ps.  you might also want to read about UP culture shock.:)

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