Friday, April 27, 2012
What's So Great About College Anyway?
People on Twitter who have just graduated from high school are so excited to enter into college. They want to get to know their professors already. They want to get the best grades and tell everyone. They want to get to know new people. They want to have a blast. But in reality, as soon as they get into college, they realize that they are a wreck! They do not know what to do. They do not know how to act or behave. And because of that, they end up getting used. They let the students in the higher years bully them into doing things they do not want to do. They end up failing because they did not listen when the professor explained how grades were computed. And then everyone who is older than them is telling them what to do and what not to do in college. But let me tell you what will make you survive college.
Attendance is not everything! Most frosh think that by not missing any class, they will automatically pass the subject. While that is true and attendance does make up for a percentage of the grade, it does not mean that you will fail just because you used up all your cuts. You know what matters? How well you use your freaking brain! You can use up all your cuts and still get the highest possible grade.
Do not keep saying YES. You know when they ask for someone who could volunteer to do something and you do not want to do it, but you say yes anyway? You know those times when you are still frosh and someone from a higher year asks you to do this or that? You know when it is not graded, but they make you feel that you just have to do it? You know when all you want to do is not join a certain club or organization, but they force you to? Say no. You are stressing yourself out!
Unless of course you really want to do that thing, say yes. The point is, if you do not like what you are doing, you will hate it and regret that you said yes. So if you do not want to say yes, just say no. People will respect you for it. Why say yes and then blame other people? When you say yes and hate what you are doing, blame yourself.
Professors are humans not robots. Use this to your advantage! People are flawed. My teacher in grade school who taught Biology, Ecology and Geology said this, 'Teachers are humans. Not robots. If the dumbest kid in my class gave me food every day, I would give that person a higher grade than the smartest person in my class. There is no teacher or professor who gives a grade based on the student's performance only. Grades can change based on student teacher interaction or relationship. ' No, do not bribe your professors. But if you see them in the hallways, say hi to them. You see them carrying so many bags, offer to carry their things. If you see them sitting alone in the canteen, ask if you could sit with them and make small talk. Doing these things may make or break your grade.
Writing is nothing. Listening is everything. I am not saying that you should not take notes. But there is a reason why your professors give handouts, pdf files and put their lectures on a site. There is a reason why they e-mail the lesson to you and sometimes tell you to please stop writing down everything they are saying. There is a reason the professor told you to buy that textbook. The problem with writing down what the professor says is that you are so focused on getting your notes right. If you listen first, you kinda remember most of the lesson and then when you check the handout later on, you totally understand everything. Listen to the lecture to remember things not to get it right so you can have clean notes.
Get the contact information of people and professors. This has saved me so many times! Uhm, this does not mean that you have to be their friend on Facebook or their follower on Twitter. But you need to know how to get in touch with them. You may be thinking, 'I will not need to contact my professor or that weird person in my class.' You never know. Trust me. For English class, we had to do a play and one of the members of my group was not doing anything. He said that he would just pay for the props. Well, when the time came for him to pay for the props, he did not show up. What did we do? We text messaged the professor and she was the one who got things fixed.
Know the grading system of your school or professor. When I was in La Salle College, we had prelims, midterms and finals. It was something like 30%-30%-40%. I found out that as long as I got high grades for prelims and midterms, I did not have to worry too much about finals. I cannot remember the exact grading system, but I recall that quizzes there were more important than exams. So I figured that if I got high on all my quizzes, but did not get that high on my exams, I would still pass the subject. For example for History, I totally failed (or did not get high grades) my prelim, midterms and final exam. But since my quizzes were of a certain grade, I passed that subject good marks.
In the college that I am in now, we do not have prelims. It's just midterms and finals. That would be 40%-60%. When I found that out, I totally freaked! The thing is, if you did not do so well for midterms, you can still pass if you straighten out for finals. For midterms, I got an 80 for Theology. But come finals, my grade for the whole semester was 93. So, you can mess around for midterms but do not mess around for finals. Quizzes, assignments, projects, reporting and other blahs are more important than exams. Remember that.
Now, there are some annoying professors who have their own way of computing grades. When they tell you that they have their own system, listen well! For some professors, assignments are more important than quizzes. Other professors think that class participation is more important than anything else. If the professor has his own way of grading, use your brain to get a high grade. The professor likes assignments? Do all the assignments. The professor loves reporting? Report as many times as you can! The professor gives high grades to students who watch Community? Watch Community!
Delegate responsibility. So let us say that you are the leader of some group for reporting. Do not do everything. Let someone do the research. Let another person find the pictures. Let someone reserve the necessary equipment. Just assign people to do certain tasks. And then bug them to do it! Do not say that people do not cooperate well in groups. You bug each other do the assigned task well. If the person fails, tell the professor that so and so did not do his or her job.
. . . but have a plan B. Learn how to function when things fail. Do not let one person determine the success or the downfall of the whole group.
Use common sense. The instructions are on the board. Why do keep asking questions? Seriously. You do not know the meaning of the word? Look it up in the dictionary instead of wasting the time of the professor. You have a brain. Use it!
Have a life outside your school. You wanna survive college? Do not limit your world to your school. Have people you can talk to who you can vent to about your annoying classmate who copies your notes. You will die if the only people you know are from your school.
Value relationships. I learned this from my brother. Manong Simon said, 'When it comes to relationships, there is no tomorrow. There is just today. There is only now.' If it is a choice between doing my assignments and taking my nieces and nephew to the park, I will take the kids to the park. If it is a choice between studying for a final exam and comforting my depressed friend, I will comfort my depressed friend. (Who knows? She might commit suicide if I do not see her.) If it is a choice between going to a family reunion and finalizing a report, I will spend time with family. It is easier to fix a messed up grade than to fix a failing relationship. This does not mean that I do not find grades or school important. It is important. But know when to say, 'I can do this later. This person is more important.' Grades will fade. But you will need your family, your friends and random people along the way. Value them.