Out of all the individuals studying at the University, freshmen are often the ones singled out and scrutinized. In previous articles, The Menagerie has constructed a list of tips for the newest batch of Lasallians, and has even examined the anatomy of a frosh; these Taft newbies are definitely not lacking in attention. Still, all this good-intentioned advice has come from a third person point of view. In this update on frosh life, four freshmen chronicle their expectations, as well as their good and not-so-good moments of the first trimester of their college life.
Like a fish out of water
Culture shock is one thing that unifies Aaron (I, CIV), Ally (I, PSM-LGL), Lance* from COS, and Chris* from COE. The onslaught of meeting new people from all walks of life, coupled with the challenges of the college lifestyle make the first year experience overwhelming.
“I thought college would be chill and stress free, but the opposite happened to me,” Aaron quips. “Coming from a Chinese school, people [there] are more conservative and spoon-fed. Here, people are more liberated, and nobody cares about what you do. Commuting is a major change for me also, since I was used to hatid-sundo before. Now that I commute to school everyday, it is super hassle and stressful, especially during rush hour.”
Ally also came from a Chinese school, but her cousins had already prepared her for the shock of her life that would be college. While the transition was not as hard as she expected, “I really miss the people around me in high school. That’s probably the hardest thing I had to face,” shares Ally.
Meanwhile, Lance’s* pre-college adjustment was more focused on getting used to the learning environment at the University, while deciding if his chosen course was right for him. He shares, “Manila has less restrictions, and that took some getting used to. Even though I feel undecided right now, I want to see what my course could offer me, how I could help other people through my course.”
Chris* quotes the Confucian proverb of a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, noting that college is starting from scratch, thereby giving him more opportunities to make decisions for himself that he couldn’t make before. For him, “Apart from the diverse classmates, I had to make do with the more expensive lifestyle, some minor subjects suddenly becoming more stressful than course-related subjects, and especially the traffic and air pollution along Taft Avenue.”
Learning to stand
From tackling college-level subjects, to surviving Taft’s infamous nightlife on their very first ‘Happy Thursday’, this batch of frosh has still only gotten but a glimpse of what University life is really like. Looking back at the people they were a mere four months ago, our four interviewed freshmen note just how much these experiences have changed them, and their outlook on being college students in general.
Out of the four freshmen, Lance* was the only one who’s had a typical Lasallian Happy Thursday. He says that, while he understood what all the hype was about, “[Trying it] once was enough, and that there’s a lot more to college.” In addition to this, he finds being active in college organizations a much more rewarding experience, stating, “College orgs have more impact than those in high school. Orgs are so active, and in the span of a term, they initiate so many projects. They’re innovative and independent.”
Aaron, on the other hand, laments that, “Failing a quiz, I think, is my worst experience in college so far.” Upon looking back at his first few weeks of the term, he admits, “I didn’t expect college to be like this. You need to really study hard and work hard to get your grades.” He, like Lance*, did find some comfort in orgs, however. “[I] joined 3 orgs, and so far so great, because I can get advice from the upper batches about studies and everything else.”
On the more social side of the spectrum, Ally retells how starting from scratch in the college scene was difficult for her. “Adjusting to new people is not something I do easily,” she shares. She does, however, end with some positivity. “On the bright side, college has helped me become friendlier, and has taught me to make small talk—something I wasn’t so used to before.”
Chris* finds he has yet to pass the adjustment period of college life, stating he still finds it difficult to “Not live near school, and commute to the condo [or] dorm weekly.” He also complains about other aspects of university life, that range from the difficulty of subjects to his Family Mart ice cream never quite being tall enough.
Just getting started
Collectively, despite the different experiences mentioned, our four freshmen have a more positive outlook for the coming terms. Both Aaron and Lance* admit they have to work harder on their grades in the future, but are still more or less excited to start on the next term. Chris* thinks next term will, “Probably be a repeat of the first term,” but is more confident now, having survived so far. Ally states realistically that, “I think my subjects will be a bit more challenging and the profs may start to become stricter since we already have a feel of college life.” Despite this, she ends with the notion that the coming terms are still something to look forward to.
Despite the initial culture shock, freshmen who enter the gates of De La Salle University often find varying things in store for them, regardless of how their first trimester goes. For ID 111, it was having to learn the centennial dance steps, and living it up by partaking in the 100th year celebration of the university. ID 112, on the other hand, was the first freshman batch to experience the facilities of Henry Sy Sr. Hall. ID 113 experienced the euphoria of DLSU winning both the UAAP men’s basketball championship and the UAAP General Championship. Then, ID 114 dealt with the University academic shift in line with the ASEAN integration. With two more terms to go to complete their first year, ID 115 definitely has more things coming their way.
*Names with asterisks (*) are pseudonyms.