8 Things I Wish I Knew as an Incoming Ateneo Freshman

Ateneo freshies, this is for you!
by Chanel Ang   |  Aug 2, 2023
Art: Shannen Gardon
Share This!

My freshman self is very different from who I am now. When I entered Ateneo de Manila University, I arrived as a freshly-minted 18-year-old who thought they could change the world. There's probably going to be a lot of idealism and excitement on your first day as well. But when I look back, I actually lacked a lot of perspective! The Atenean education and experience have taught me many things that I wish I could tell my freshman self.

I’ve listed eight of the most important ones below!

  1. Your enlistment plan probably won’t work, but it's okay!

While it's good to prepare, the unfortunate truth is things won't always go according to plan. Enlistment, especially, (or the sign-ups for classes) is often one of the most dreaded of these things. 

It’s almost always impossible to  follow our enlistment plans to a tee, but they were still fun to make. Stressing out over trying to get a good PE class together will always be a core memory.

  1. Enjoy your general subjects while you can!

You'll still have the occasional Philosophy and Theology classes in junior year, but they’re not the same as experiencing your first general subjects. Having Natural Science and History classes were troublesome at the time, but you'll end up missing them when they’re gone. In retrospect, taking the general subjects was actually a breather from the overload of majors you'll experience years later.

  1. Don't join too many orgs, you'll get burnt out.

It was way too easy for you to get budol-ed into orgs. They did give you some helpful opportunities, positions, and experiences, but everyone feels burnout at some point.

To prevent exhaustion, remember to do all things in moderation! Org life is most fun when you are selective with what you want to prioritize. You do not have to dedicate time to everything and everyone, just the things and people that matter the most! 

watch now
  1. Please do your readings.

It's tempting to just skip the readings, but those readings are actually useful in your majors later down the line. 

Take your materials seriously as they will really help you in the future! This is not just in terms of assessments, but understanding the fundamentals of your studies and why you do so in the first place.

  1. Don't be shy to reach out!

I know it's daunting to ask questions to upperclassmen and professors, but I promise that it's not all that bad! They are more than willing to help you, so don't be ashamed to not know things. The whole point of attending university is to learn, so let yourself do so.

  1. Don't be afraid to make mistakes!

At the same time, it's normal to make mistakes. Don't be too hard on yourself if you don't get the grade you wanted or the position you were aspiring for! Nothing ever goes perfectly, so let yourself make mistakes. 


You are still a freshman, so there is a lot of time ahead. You will have a lot of time to learn from your mistakes and improve yourself! Making errors and struggling with tasks are solid proof that you are trying.

  1. You don't need to care about what other people think.

Stop being so conscious about what other people may be saying about you. It's your college journey, so do what you want to do! You need to enjoy your own company and value your time in Ateneo. The people who really matter will find you! 

  1. You'll figure things out eventually.

You might have spent the entire year worrying about everything under the sun. Getting good grades, being remarkable in organization work, securing internships, making friends, and trying to gain relationships will all come in time. You don't need everything to happen all at once. 

Even when you’re already in your third or fourth year, you will still have a lot more to figure out, and that's okay. You have quite a while left to forge your path!


How do you feel about this article?
About the author
Chanel Ang