Timeless Tips for Students: New Normal Edition

FJ Deguilmo

October 28, 2020

I can still remember my first day in college. Unlike most freshies who were in a rush on their first day, I was totally relaxed because my first class was in the afternoon. So I calmly entered the campus after grabbing some lunch. 

As I scanned my schedule to see where my first class was, I saw that three of my subjects were located in a room called “TBA.” But when I asked around for the location of the room, no one gave me a clear answer. Some even said that there was no such place as TBA in the building. 

Long story short, I ended up being the last one to get to class on our first day. That could have been prevented if I had asked for tips from the seniors in our boarding house the night before.

Today, campus life has changed drastically as the educational system shifted to a new approach.

Gone are the days of getting lost finding your classroom or trying to sneak in because you’re late for class. Students today are faced with challenges that previous generations of students never experienced before.

How, then, can you navigate this new landscape of education? Below are five timeless tips that can help you succeed in your acads as you face this new normal.

Principle #1: Discipline pays off.

School doesn’t just teach us how to read, write, or solve math problems. It’s where we are trained to be disciplined and responsible.

Come to think of it, we spend the first 20 or so years of our existence in school, which are the formative years of our lives. When we get on with our lives, we don’t just bring with us the lessons taught in class, but the life principles we learned and the discipline we developed.

Developing self-discipline has no shortcuts. Some tasks can be accomplished well with “diskarte,” but most tasks require discipline. Not all hard work will get global recognition, but it definitely has its rewards—for you and the people around you.

Create a routine that suits your personal values. Set a time when you should wake up, eat, do schoolwork, take breaks, clean the house, socialize, and rest. One best practice that can help you create a routine is to talk it over with a personal mentor or with someone you trust.

Principle #2: Character stands out.

 “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.”

— John Wooden

In my previous work, I had a conversation with our human resource officer who happened to be my interviewer when I was applying for the job. He shared to me that after my interview, they had a debate about hiring me because somebody thought I couldn’t be trusted.

What I realized is that companies don’t just hire people with great academic credentials, but individuals with proven character.

It’s interesting that we use the term “character development” instead of “character learning.” This is because while character can be “learned” by watching videos or reading books, character is only developed through actual experience.

The starting point of developing character is by taking a posture of humility. Being humble, counting others better than yourself (even if you think that you actually are), and remaining open to different views create a space where you can learn and unlearn things that will set you up for success in life.

Principle #3: Teamwork works.

It’s true that there are times when it seems like it’s better to do things alone in order to get things done faster. But working with others can also be beneficial even when it’s difficult to do.

For one, you can only discover and develop your leadership style when you’re working with a team. You’ll also learn how to communicate with people, manage roles and responsibilities, correct and confront people, and keep the unity until the work is done.

Teams may not be perfect because they’re composed of imperfect people, but teams can achieve more because they’re composed of people. Eventually, you might even discover that you’ve learned more from working with others than from the project itself. 

Believe it or not, your most memorable experience in school will always involve people. It’s not just about the outputs in class, but about the relationships that will be built along the way.

It’s a season where you’ll know the people who will stick with you through different seasons. In the same way, it’s when you will learn to become the kind of person who’s willing to go out your way just to help others.

Principle #4: Learning never stops.

All of us are enrolled in a school called “life.” Being a student is just one chapter of it.

Even if you graduate from college, learning will never stop. Eventually, you will have to study to be a young professional, or learn to be a parent.

In the grand scheme of things, we will always be like freshmen who are entering into a new campus. So, more than just studying the lessons in class, become a student of life.

Learn from your experiences and from the unique experiences of others. Learn valuable lessons and time-tested principles that will help you succeed.

Build life-long friendships with people who can help, inspire, and motivate you. Be the kind of friend who will help others succeed in life. 

Lastly, apply wisdom in everything that you do. Remember that this season is a preparation for the next seasons of your life. Make the most of it, enjoy the process of learning, and build fond memories while you’re still a student.




The Author

FJ Deguilmo

FJ is a campus missionary from Imus. He got his first name (Ferum James) from the scientific name for Iron. He once thought of being a comedy writer, but he decided to take life more seriously.