Back-to-School Tips for Online Freshies

by Andrea Ebdane and Rachel Ogsimer

Art by Andrea Ebdane

Special thanks to Matt Adapon, Aly Castillo, Teng Jamili, Yuan Rance, and other incoming sophomores from UP JMA

It’s the start of another school year, which means another batch of freshmen to welcome into UP. Adjusting to an online university setting may be an unfamiliar experience for someone entering college, but we’re here to help our new students get connected!

From one batch of online freshies to another, here are some tips we collected to make our first-year students feel more, well, at home. (Pun intended).


Responses have been edited for punctuation and clarity.

1. Find study habits that work for you.


“Looking at all your tasks and deadlines for the whole semester can be overwhelming, especially if you look at all of it in one interface. This is why having a weekly to-do list is important (I use Notion and it works well for me). Might be your workstyle too, but obviously, apply what works for you!”

- BS Industrial Engineering student


Try and make work fun so you actually do it!”

- BFA Visual Communication student

2. Form a study group.


College isn't meant to be conquered alone. At first, I was really shy to reach out to my batchmates because I was scared that they might think that I'm struggling with acads... only to find out that everyone in college is actually struggling. So if I were you, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask for help from other people! #WereAllInThisTogether

- BS Business Economics student


Find study buddies! Sometimes you can feel a bit lost (and that’s normal), which is why finding study buddies helps with a lot of things like group works, studying for tests, consolidating deadlines, and just making sure that you’re on the same page as everyone else.”

- BS Business Administration and Accountancy student

3. Manage your time and energy.


“Set an alarm 30 minutes before class so you can refrain from missing synchronous Zoom classes (I started putting on alarms for my synchronous classes because I tend to oversleep whenever it’s a morning class or not look at my phone to check the time I’m supposed to enter a Zoom meeting). Set deadlines for yourself — it keeps you on schedule so you can manage your time better. Also, your weekends are for rest — they allow you to recharge and have more motivation to do your work.”

- BS Architecture student


Energy management > time management. I used to beat myself up for not having good time management because I ended up being too tired to follow my schedule. Then, I came across energy management. College is tiring so it’s really important to focus on managing your energy instead so you have enough of it to actually power through your requirements. Listen to your body! If you know you’re too tired for a task, leave it for the next day. On the other hand, if you know you still have some energy left, go and finish extra!”

- BS Business Administration and Accountancy student

4. Set boundaries.


“This may all depend on how much space and time you have on your hands for both life and work, but one thing that helps is to set boundaries between them in order to, in any way possible, take care of yourself physically and mentally. Set a proper schedule for when you have to work (depending on your class schedule) and when you have to rest. It helps that where you work is different from where you rest because where you do a set of activities affects how you think and feel. If you only have one room to yourself, it still helps to change positions with that room to separate life and work.


Coming into my freshie year, I really wanted to make the most out of my college experience despite the online and remote set-up, so after my last class on Fridays, I would displace myself from the work that I would have to do and the limits of being at home still, by socializing with co-freshies and just really doing the things that I enjoy like watching YouTube and Netflix, playing games, and taking part in online events.

- BS Business Administration student


Find time for yourself or else you’ll go crazy! Giving yourself time to rest and relax is so important because it enables a balance between work and play. College is hard and requirements can get exhausting and demanding, but please don’t devote all your time just to get that uno. Please take care of your mental health!

- BS Business Administration and Accountancy student

5. Find a solid support group.


“AKA your college kada! They will seriously help you get through all the struggles and challenges of being a freshie UP student in the online setup. It's really comforting to know that you aren't alone in this very new world! I met a lot of my friends by applying for an org as a freshie. Everything just came so naturally and we gravitated towards each other! I'm so glad I got to meet them and I wouldn't have been able to get through my first year without them.”

- BS Business Administration and Accountancy student


Make friends! It's a really big help if you have friends in every class that you have. You can help each other with lessons or topics that any of you might be having trouble with. Also, if one of you missed a class, the other can update or teach you.”

- BS Business Economics student


Try and be friends with your classmates and/or groupmates so that you have people to rely on and also to joke around with!”

- BFA Visual Communication student

6. Join an org.


Join an org so you can meet as many people as you can, especially your home org so you can get tips and tricks from your elders. I am painfully shy when I’m doing something for the first time, especially if I’m alone in doing something new (which happens a lot because of quarantine), but when I started applying for JMA I really just forced myself to do the thing! No matter what it was, be it TikToks or posters, I just reminded myself that 100+ people are doing the exact same thing as me so I’m not as weird as I think I am! The bad thoughts were all in my head.”

- BFA Visual Communication student


“One of my most memorable experiences last year was joining orgs! I found my best and closest friends and I really wouldn’t have survived without them.

- BS Business Administration and Accountancy student


Best experience is joining an org! You'll meet a lot of new friends.”

- BS Business Economics student

Want to learn more? There are still four days left to sign up for Discover Diliman! Find out more essential college tips, play fun games, and meet your fellow online freshies on September 12, 1:00-3:30 PM. Sign up here: tinyurl.com/DiscoverDiliman2021

Editor's Note: Discover Diliman slots are now full! Thank you to everyone who signed up!