So you’ve passed the ACET and you’ve made it to the Ateneo—congratulations! A lot of people consider that much-coveted slot in the University on a Hill as a great achievement, and rightfully so.
That’s just the beginning, though, so don’t get cocky. If you thought the ACET was challenging, be aware of the fact that it’s really only a taste of things to come.
The Power of One
The Ateneo workload has this nasty tendency to creep up on you when you least expect it to. Grow complacent and the next thing you know, you’ll be drowning in a mire of paperwork and requirements.
To counter this, develop the habit of doing a little bit of work on a daily basis. Even if there’s nothing pressing at the moment, study or do some important school-related stuff. That way, when crunch time comes, you won’t be scrambling to get things done at the last minute.
Probably the only exception to this is Sunday, or whatever your day of rest is. The thing is, there may be certain crunch times when you may need to do some work even on your supposed day of rest. During normal workload times, however, it will serve you in good stead.
Credit for the above advice goes to my mom and a former professor of mine. My professor claimed that he used to go out and watch movies during exam week because he did a little work a day, everyday.
Have you ever seen people studying together? There’s actually a good reason for that. Shakespeare quipped, “a sorrow shared is a sorrow halved.” Now this is not to suggest that studying is actually a cause for sorrow; rather, it does suggest that anything that feel too burdensome for a single individual can actually feel lighter if accomplished with friends.
The Ateneo workload can be challenging, especially during the so-called hell weeks or months. One of the things that will keep you going is the support of other like-minded people. Just make sure you hang out with positive, encouraging and edifying people or else you’ll end up burdening yourself all the more.
Admittedly, this is one principle I learned relatively late. I was too busy playing the strong, silent type to truly appreciate the need for companionship and social support. Thankfully, some good, faithful friends taught me invaluable lessons about the finer points of social support.
Theology in Action
ADMU is a Catholic institution, so expect the Jesuits to feed you a plethora of theology for breakfast. While you’re at it, you might as well make the most of it by putting it into actual practice.
Mind you, don’t just pray when the pressure is on and you desperately need divine intervention. The trick is to pray at the start of the semester, and even when things are going well. Remember that daily discipline I mentioned above? The same holds true for prayer.
Finally, realize that no one ever passes the Ateneo on their own strength—they’ll need the help of their Maker and other people to do so. Keep that firmly in mind, give it your best shot, and you’ll do just fine.