From a Private School to a Public University

This year is practically a year of firsts for me. And although I’ve been alive for 18 years now, I didn’t know that there was still so much to experience! Of course I knew I would be exposed to more things while in University, but I honestly didn’t think it would be that many.

Maybe a little background would help.

I came from an all-girls private school. I’ve stayed there for around 13 years (from Preschool to High School) and I’ve never thought of myself as completely clueless and helpless before. I had never enrolled myself in those 13 years. I had always been driven to and from school and practically everywhere else for that matter. I had never stayed up past 11 pm studying or doing assignments despite being part of the school’s varsity volleyball team. I never had to worry about my allowance, books and requirements. 

Here’s what I have experienced in (or in relation to) the University of the Philippines so far.

  1. I’ve actually enrolled myself twice (once for each semester) and it only took me 2-3 days each. The first time only took 2 days (one for the physical and dental exams and the other for the enrollment process itself). The second time took 2 and a half days (one and a half to look for and ask some of my professors to sign my class cards, half a day for registration and another half to get reassessed and pay my tuition).
  2. I take public transpo to get home from school. I still get dropped of in school but due to the traffic in Manila, it’s very inconvenient to be fetched, especially when my house is actually quite far from school. That and my last class ends around rush hour, so it would take forever to get home using my car. The only solution is to take the LRT (Light Rail Transit) home. After a semester of squeezing in packed cars, I think I’m getting used to it.
  3. In addition to #2, I’ve ridden a jeepney! Twice! Although it was when I was with my friends. Going a few blocks away from my school. It was a return trip. Still, I think that counts.
  4. I got a grade of INC (Incomplete) in PE1. Of all the subjects to get an incomplete grade, it just had to be PE1: Fundamentals of Physical Fitness. I still can’t believe it. Of all the times I had to get sick with the flu, it had to be the day before the Final exam, which was a (more or less) 5k run/jog/walk. Of course I couldn’t finish it. I could barely walk straight that day.
  5. I had to ask my professors for my grades. Obviously, I had never done that one before. My grades were all given to me on the same day on one report card. This time, because of a problem with the CRS, I had to go look for half of my professors and ask them to sign my class card. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to enroll.
  6. I’ve been sightseeing in Manila! Despite living here for 18 years, this year gave me the opportunity to visit places in Manila I’ve never been before. A few weeks ago, it was actually my first time to visit Rizal Park. How embarrassing.
  7. This is the first time I’ve had a 3-hour break. But I’m actually happy I have that break. At least until my professor for the first class doesn’t show up. That’s actually happened thrice so far. And the semester only started almost mid-November. Anyway, I’ve been using the time to cram for the next classes and to ask my blockmates to teach me the things I don’t understand from all the classes. Lately, it’s actually become productive.
  8. I’ve seen a rally. Actually, I’ve seen more than one. There seems to be a lot of activity along Padre Faura and Taft. With the Department of Justice, the Philippine General Hospital, the Supreme Court and the National Bureau of Investigation as your neighbors, interesting things are bound to happen. As of the time of writing, Padre Faura was closed off to vehicular traffic once (or was it twice?) and a protest has happened in PGH and the DOJ (although I’ve completely lost count).

Well, I think that’s about it for the firsts I’ve experienced so far during my first year in UP. There might have been some lapses in my memory so I’m not sure if that’s all I’ve actually experienced. But nevertheless, here’s to the many first I have yet to experience! And here’s to hoping that I won’t experience anything harmful along the way!


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