8 Things I Wish I Knew as an Incoming PUP Freshman

Take notes, PUP freshies!
by Lea Briones   |  Aug 27, 2023
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I was absolutely clueless when I entered the diverse main campus of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP). It felt like I was a goldfish in an ocean of unknown creatures. While it was overwhelming for someone who grew up in private Catholic schools her whole life, PUP eventually became one of my treasured places where I met some of the most incredible friends and made unforgettable memories. Although, I must admit I was a bit idealistic and *delusional* during my freshie era. So, as your graduating PUPian Ate, let me tell you eight things I wish I knew as an incoming freshman.

Here are eight things that you need to remember:

1. Running out of slots doesn’t mean you won’t get your desired course.

For those who don’t know, enrollment dates are based on your entrance test score. If you get a high score, you’ll be able to settle your enrollment early and earn a slot on your chosen course. If not, you will have to enroll at a later date and unfortunately run out of slots. This was my issue before, so I had to wake up at two in the morning just to be early during my schedule of enrollment. 


Apparently, some courses reopen slots at the last minute. Despite being repeatedly told that Journalism is out of slots, I persisted in visiting the Department of Journalism. By the time I met the Chairperson’s secretary, I was immediately enlisted into the course that I truly wanted. So, save your tears, because there is always hope. 

2. Never forget your ID or Registration Card when you’re going to the main campus!

Remember that famous funny clip of Doris Bigornia where she caught a student entering PUP while wearing the wrong ID? Guards at the main campus are still strict about that. If you’re caught using the wrong ID or registration card, there will be consequences. I know someone who had to do community service because of that incident. To be fair, you don’t get to wear uniforms so might as well wear your ID at all times. 

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3. College professors are not as strict as they told you in high school.

High school teachers tend to warn us that college professors are scarier and stricter. Don’t get me wrong, terror professors still exist, but most professors are quite chill actually. Some even suspend their classes without a reasonable excuse. Others don’t even submit their grades on time. But there will always be considerate and hardworking professors that you won’t ever forget. 

4. The secret to extra points is to become a class officer. 

Juicy, but it’s true. It helps a lot when your professors know you. If you’re their contact person for your section, they will assign you tasks that you have to do such as organizing the class’ requirements and managing the attendance. This gives them an idea that you’re competent and reliable. 

Although, don’t take advantage of your position. Alongside academic requirements, class officers must also juggle their responsibilities in updating the class, talking to professors, and submitting important documents. It’s not an easy thing to do. 


5. Join orgs but don’t push yourself too much in joining a lot. 

Being a BS Org shouldn’t be your aspiration in college. While it’s exciting to join and experience college around other people with the same interests, it can also add to your stress and workload. College is already stressful in itself, so committing to more than one or two orgs can be a lot to handle. Remember that by the end of the day, you’re in PUP to finish your studies. It’s also important to note that your mental and physical health should always go first.

6. Know your professors.

Every professor has a different personality, forte, and interests. Some may like a long essay and others want something brief and straight to the point. While one professor can reply during the weekends, others might reprimand you for messaging them on their day off. It saves you a lot of time and energy if you’re already aware of how to get on their good side.  


7. If you want to get a good thesis group, show your classmates you can perform well in group activities.

Professors will always allow you to group by yourselves when it comes to making your thesis. While some would go with their friends, there are those who seek a much more competent and reliable groupmate. If you don’t want to be left behind, prove yourself by performing well in group activities beforehand. The last thing a thesis group needs is an unresponsive slacker who doesn’t deliver on time. Remember that the thesis is the most stressful college requirement you will ever have, so do your part as a member!

8. Don’t be too hard on yourself. 

Your first two years of college can be overwhelming. You may go through a lot of first times on the road and changes can be scary. When I first entered college, I was naive that I could do absolutely anything. Over time, I realized that I should also prioritize setting boundaries for myself and other people. 


Groupmates may take advantage of you, professors may criticize you, and you might be loaded with backlogs. The last thing you should do is to keep blaming yourself and pushing yourself to the limit. Allow yourself to have a good college experience that’s worth telling your kids about.

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Lea Briones