Very nicely written blog. Keep it up!

UP Academic Calendar for AY 2010-2011

Aspiring UP students looking for UPCAT application deadline filing information and current UP students looking for UP’s academic calendar, here is a copy.

Click on the following link to download the PDF file. You must have a PDF reader (e.g. Adobe Acrobat Reader) installed to be able to view the file.

UP academic calendar 2010-2011

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.:)

UP Survival Guide: UP Culture Shock

up survival guide

Yey!  You got through the monstrous UPCAT and came through to become one of the chosen few who have the right to be called UPians.  Of course, you still have to learn a bit more about the university before you can become a true-blooded vampire… err… UPian.  Prepare for the University of the Philippines’ culture shock.

Important Note: This article is not for those who prefer going in blind to going in armed and prepared.  It is also most assuredly not for those parents who’d rather turn a blind eye now than face reality and learn (then teach their kids how) to deal with the unique culture that is UP’s.

Size Does Matter

The University of the Philippines campuses are unbelievably huge.  If you think this is an exaggeration, we suggest you try even crossing from one point to the other on foot.  Once you’ve arrived, gasping and sweating and ready to trade a kidney for a good long drink of water, you’ll be glad you’re in the only university in the country with its own jeepney lines (which is an interestingly helpful idea on its own, considering most students do not have their own vehicles).

Owing largely to the multitude of places to be, the University of the Philippines’ culture is known for its love of place-name contractions and variations.  Almost every college and building has its standard name, e.g. College of Engineering; its hall name, eg Melchor Hall, and its abbreviated name, e.g. Eng’g.

The first few times you come here, you’ll be spending a few hours doing either of two things:  staring at the beautiful, varied terrain, or getting hopelessly lost.  Most places will appear similar the first time you see them, owing largely to the abundance of plant life (any two given fields near the main university will seem identical) and building construction (the lobby of the College of Law looks like a serious, stiff doppelganger of the lobby of the College of Education, right down to the pillars).

But fear not, it gets less confusing with time.  Along with learning and appreciating the history and character of the University of the Philippines, you’ll soon be able to identify places correctly at a glance.  You’ll be able to differentiate the two identical-at-first-glance brick buildings near the College of Mass Communications (one is the UP Theatre and the other is the UP Film Center).

Take some time to go around and get used to the terrain.  There are a million untold stories out there – feel free to discover some and create some of your own tales to tell.

University of Freedom

UP, being THE place for many forms of academic freedom, you’ll run into several expressions of religious, personal and sexual-orientation emancipation here.

No Dress Code. One of the most readily apparent ones is the freedom in the choice of clothing:  while UST and some other notable universities enforce uniforms, UP’s only guiding principle for clothing is comfort.  You can (and at some point, might) roll in wearing clothes you slept and woke up in (some people do that on a regular basis), but as long as your clothes (or lack of clothes, for that matter) do not impede you from doing your work well, no one’s going to bat an eyelid or stop you from wearing what you want to wear.  After all, as Hum I Prof Mabitad – Azada quoted Umberto Eco:  Thought abhors Tights.

One of the most notable things you’ll learn in UP will be to appreciate beauty, the freedom of self expression via clothing ensures that, more often than not, you’ll run into the occasional “hot, hot, hot” femme wearing a daring dress or tank or shred of cloth (and yes, there are plenty of females who fit that description all over the University), that’ll make you want to attend your classes, if nothing else.  Get used to it, and remember, you need to think with the right head if you want to keep going.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the freedom of sexual orientation will also ensure that you’ll see the occasional male wearing similarly – er, expressive – outfits.  You never know… but play along, its all part of the system.

Sunken Garden and Lagoon Adventures. You’ll also hear some rather interesting stories about one night stands.  It’ll either shock or stimulate you for now, but remember that down the line you might be bragging about your own exploits and you’ll be laughing at how you’re exaggerating exactly the same way as your friend who once told you about that one wild night at the Sunken Garden.

Sometimes sex goes further than one night stands, as you’ll find out when you run into classmates your age who have their own children.  Get over the initial surprise, accept that life deals different people different cards, and recognize that happiness is always relative whether you understand it or not.

The Tough Side. Beyond sex-related topics, of course, the University’s openness to many things have also left the door wide open for a solid dose of violence.  The University’s open doors and lack of a front gate (an honest, unique-to-UP expression of acceptance and freedom) make it susceptible to the entry of unsavory elements of society.  And the University has consequently had its (comparatively small) share of unfortunate incidents.  Such is the price paid for freedom.  After all, the real world is no different.  If nothing else, in UP, you’ll learn how to take care of yourself well.

Free to Volt In – er, Assemble

The university has long fought against stifling conventions and several counterproductive traditions; its students have fiercely maintained several freedoms over the decades.

Rallies. You’ll eventually be invited to leave your classrooms, walk out of subjects, and even march to goodness-knows-where to protest and decry any of a thousand things, from political decisions to economical turnovers.  Don’t be scared, and don’t be surprised:  this happens all the time.  Just listen to what everyone has to say, filter the chaff from the grain, and figure out which side of the fence you want to stand on and how you want to stand.

Incidentally, when going to a rally, bring some toothpaste.  It works wonders against tear gas (should enforcement forces get desperate) AND guarantees you’ll be able to ask out that cure tibak (ak-tib + ista) girl without fear of bad breath and gingivitis.

Be warned though, you’ll find that not all causes are worth your time.

Remember that whatever the University of the Philippines’ policy may be on freedom to assemble and protest, the academic rules still stand.  You won’t get any 1’s by spending more than your allowable absences screaming at the picket lines.  On the other hand, history’s most memorable heroes have had to bend the rules past the breaking point.

Weird Science

You’ll also run into the occasional novelty (well, it’ll be new to you at least) at the University of the Philippines.  Some days you’ll see some students in detailed costume (either they’re applying for a UP student organization or promoting an event or both], singing, dancing or walking from place to place.  There will be people walking around in boxes (they’re doing a fair imitation of a gift-wrapped box) or people dressed in Superman’s cape or Batman’s armor.

These weirdly garbed people, as well as people in normal everyday attire may suddenly approach you with a flyer or an ad.  Don’t laugh too hard; you might be wearing a costume yourself one day – or, at the very least, approaching people with flyers and ads and whatnots.

There will be times when people aren’t in costume, but seem to be.  After all, as hard as it is to believe, the freedom of clothing means more than hotties in practically painted on outfits (or hotties poured into their tight, tight, tight clothing).  Some people have more unique (eclectic, anti-cliché, different, kewl, goth, grunge, ghetto, artistic, free-spirit, strange, f’d up – take your pick) clothing styles.  Dreadlocks, skirts, saris, tattoos, bald heads, skull pendants, everywhere-in-the-body piercing, unusual pattern combinations, the works – practically nothing is taboo here anymore and we’re just on the subject of clothing.  This will either weird you out or inspire you to make a statement of your own.

Bottom line is, its best to be yourself and to be your own fashion statement.

Class Clowning

Classroom policies are also largely different here, at least from what you’re probably used to.

Identification. In the past, ID’s weren’t worn but merely flashed when needed, like an FBI badge.  Now, however, you’ll find it more convenient to wear your ID card on a neck strap rather than fish it out of your cavernous bag every time you need to show it to a guard.  Right, dear parents, there are now guards to guard the portals of wisdom (i.e. the college buildings).  Once inside the building, the IDs may be taken off once more and hidden, but what’s the point?

No standing up when reciting. One thing hasn’t changed, however.  The students of the University of the Philippines don’t need to stand in class when reciting (unless you’re asked to, in which case you stand the hell up!).

Specific policies will vary from professor to professor and from subject to subject.  For instance, at MassCOMM (that’s College of Mass Communications to you, newbie), they’re specific about what type of footwear is appropriate for being inside the recording studios.  Greco-Roman wrestling PE requires clipped toenails and a pair of good socks among other things.  Judo, Aikido and Taekwondo classes likewise require that you be in socks and your Judo/Aikido/Taekwondo Gi (that’s the white, belted martial arts uniform) when you come in for class.

The 1/3 class time rule. The 1/3 class time rule says that if a professor or instructor hasn’t arrived after a third of the class period has passed – that’s 30 minutes for the standard one-and-a-half-hour classes in the university – students are free to leave.  Even if the professor arrives afterwards, those who have left cannot be marked absent.  As you can imagine, this is one rule that UP students are more than willing to follow.

Unfortunately, this is not that firm a rule – in other words, this is not a university law.  Some profs will come in late regularly and stipulate that you can’t walk out as per the 1/3 class time rule.  If you have such a professor or if a professor advises you through text or whatever means in his power that he is going to be late but that you students should wait, there’s nothing you can do about it.  Insist on the 1/3 class time rule and leave the class after 30 minutes if you want; no one’s going to stop you.  However, your professor will be well within his rights to mark you absent if you do.

This isn’t as bad as it sounds.  A perpetually late professor means you may be able to walk in late yourself and still be earlier than your prof.

Whatever the case, listen well and keep these things in mind.  Let others make the mistakes and learn from them.

They’re teachers, not babysitters. Be warned that UP professors won’t give a flying fark about you and your progress.  This is, after all, the Next Level.  You have completed high school and you’re in the University of the Philippines.

Think of it this way:  your bosses in the real world won’t chase after you for forgotten projects and other deficiencies; they can and will just fire your ass.  The same goes with University of the Philippines’ professors.

Technically, their job is to walk in, dispense the information as per your syllabus (your course outline) to the best of their abilities, assign you projects and give you exams to measure how well you’ve learned, and grade your performances.  That’s it.  Nowhere in there does it say they have to mother you, appreciate your efforts with praise and a pat on the back, or compensate for your chickenslag slacking or laziness.

UP professors can be as stimulating as the hum of the air conditioner – but it’s your responsibility to listen and suffer through their monotonous delivery.  Heck, UP professors aren’t hired because they’re funny or witty or even entertaining – they’re just plain good with their subject matter.  Of course, most UP professors and instructors can be funny, witty and even entertaining, as well, and you’ll be one lucky son or daughter of a gun if you get those in some of your classes – but that’s just a boon.

You’ll have to pull your own weight in the University of the Philippines.  You have so much freedom here and you’re free to be good or bad as you will.  If you don’t get good grades, don’t blame your boring professor.  It’s you who did not listen and did not make the effort to learn.  Even boring professors have a syllabus with a reading list as long as your arm.  Why didn’t you read the materials listed there in your spare time?

In the University of the Philippines, you have to earn your grades.  Style might get you in, but it’ll take skill to keep you in.

Note: If you DO find a prof that appreciates your work, gives you good grades and cares about what you end up becoming, treasure that prof like crazy.  Such diamonds in the rough are rare.  And for the love of Pete, make sure you deserve such humane treatment.

Shock Therapy

Still in shock?  Deal with it.  You wouldn’t want to have to suffer through a nervous breakdown and leave UP just because you were too overwhelmed by things you weren’t used to.  There’s too much at stake, and too much to miss.

This is UP, more free time and more freedom, than you’ve ever had before.  As with any free people, it’s your call as to how to put all this freedom to good use.  The University of the Philippines will give you the equipment; it will give you the ammunition; but it’s up to you to keep yourself from shooting yourself in the head with it and, instead, fire straight and true to hit your target dead on.