Note: These were written from UPOU students’ perspectives.

[1] Other than having a long list of study habits, for me the three very important things to survive the UPOU jungle is having (1) Faith, (2) Purpose and (3) a Close Companion.

Faith. Taking 12 units every term is NEVER a piece of cake especially for a 12-week term which is overwhelming at times so having a strong foundation of faith will take you a long way especially when encountering challenges along the way.

Purpose. When I started my first term at UPOU, I felt insecure and sad because I was used to going to a regular class setting so I chose to go out to study or visit a library. There are times when I think that maybe I do not really belong here. But then, I was reminded why I am here and that is because I want to take BA Multimedia Studies which is my long-time dream and passion. It is very important to know your purpose because it is very easy to compromise and be eaten by your own insecurities. For me, it takes guts to enter UPOU because there are things that I need to sacrifice and let go as I need to adjust to a new learning environment, I was able to continue because I have a purpose.

Close Companion. Since we don’t have classmates that we can meet physically, I am hoping for a classmate that I can rely on. Thankfully, I met a good friend online in one of my subjects during my first term. Since then, we helped each other and established a strong bond by encouraging and helping one another in our subjects. Having companion(s) will help you realize that you are not alone in this journey.   

[2] The simplest way I could put it is to figure out what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and how you are going to do it. It’s good to know that you could have all the time in the world but this works best for working students like me. 

Know your deadlines. In this way, you would already determine how busy your week is going to be, allowing you to plan ahead by establishing to yourself how you are going to finish those tasks. This comes into play, especially when you know your limits or about to know your limits so you can allow yourself to take a break. Anime, Movie, or Comic Protagonists are all about breaking limits for breakfast and it’s a pain in the ass, but thankfully, we’re human and all we need to do is to play around them. Now these could be taken to both extremes, and to that, I want to say that play around your limits not get caged by them.

Know the reason as to why you’re doing it, and let it push you forward. It doesn't even matter if your reason is as grand as to be the best of what you want or as miniscule as to pass the term or a cup of milk tea.

This is also the part where the power of friendship matters; I’ll say again, so make some friends that you could cheer for and would cheer you on when things get tough. Being in a distance education setting doesn't mean that you have to do this alone.