The struggle (of students) is real: part one

Art by Analyn Camantigue

Being a student is hard. When you have an exam to study for, an essay to write, or a plate to finish (thrown in with all those other general education subject requirements), it’s important to remember that everyone has their own struggles to get through, regardless of what course you’re taking up.  

But the idea that one course is harder than another has been a cause for contention among students ever since. These days, they’re usually brought up as anonymous rants on “Secret Files” University groups that end up going viral, leading to heated discussions between science and humanities students.

To quote Nadine Lustre, “C’mon guys, it’s 2017!” We shouldn’t make it a habit to think that others are having an easier time just because they’re studying art or communications.

For this two-part series, Young STAR called on student government representatives from a few universities and colleges to tell us more about their experiences. From mental health issues to packed curriculums, here are some of the struggles that students these days face.


Ferdy Acosta, School of Humanities (SOH) Representative, Ateneo de Manila University Sanggunian

The struggle: The courses under SOH are Philosophy, Literature, Interdisciplinary Studies, Humanities, Creative Writing, Information Design, Art Management, Theatre Arts. These courses are known to be super heavy on readings and output based. I think these [struggles] aren’t really specific to these courses because the humanities, I believe, is the core of other programs of studies especially in the social sciences. Moreover, since SOH is really output based, a lot of my schoolmates usually struggle in constantly creating art, designing, branding.

It’s a struggle because the creativity, skill of the students is always being stretched given the time constraints, the demands of other subjects, extra curricular activities, etc.

How they cope: For me as a student government representative, we provide services and subsidies that helps our students with their financial needs. We also encourage the students to consult their professors. In Ateneo, it’s a student right to be able to consult with their professors about their subjects, grades, etc.

Advice: Strive to find that balance between acads, orgs, and rest because all these are essential in the development and growth of each student. Don’t be scared to take a step back when you feel tired. In these situations, your health always comes first. Avail of services in the guidance office if you need more tips in coping with stress or workload; they can help you find the right methods or ways of responding.


Strive to find that balance between acads, orgs, and rest because all these are essential in the development and growth of each student.


Lance Go, 114 Batch President, De-La Salle University Gokongwei College of Engineering (GCOE)
The struggle: Being an engineering student in general, math and physics obviously make up a huge part of what we study in college. This can be really physically and mentally draining, especially because there are new lessons everyday and a lot of practice solving outside of school hours is needed to fully understand them. Sometimes, we have a lot of exams, homeworks, lab reports, papers and outputs from floating classes scheduled over a short period of time and it can be difficult to divide our focus to produce quality output.

How they cope: Well, for us we work together! (not cheating). We usually study in groups so if we miss out on something in our notes or don’t understand a specific lessons, we can help each other out. We also share with each other sample problems that we can practice solving and other books or resources related to the topic.

We have professional orgs for each of the seven engineering courses (Civil Eng, Industrial Eng, Mechanical Eng, Electrical Eng, Computer Eng, Manufacturing Eng, and Chemical Eng) as well as another org dedicated to helping out the lower batches in the general math subjects (integral calculus, engineering trigonometry, etc). The prof orgs usually have reviewers for the majors classes. As for the batch government, we have student representatives from each course to help us understand their course-specific needs!

Advice: Never give up. Failing a quiz doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world. Just make sure that you study harder for the next one so you’ll get to bawi your grade. Remember that there’s a life outside acads, and it’s okay to take a short break from everything when you’re really stressed.


Never give up. Failing a quiz doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world.


Marielle Abela, Psychology Department Representative, University of the Philippines Diliman College of Social Sciences and Philosophy Student Council (CSSP)
The struggle: I guess for Psych, one salient struggle we’re faced with is related to our research. Since our experiments and our research will always involve people, it’s sometimes difficult to get participants and respondents.

CSSP houses the courses Anthropology, History, Geography, Linguistics, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. Social sciences aren’t really eye-catching to sponsors and funding. While we don’t really use expensive technology, research involving people can still be expensive. Some people aren’t attracted to funding psych research because it’s not a “tangible” science per se, while anthropological, geographical, and linguistic studies are also not very popular. It can be harder for those fields ‘cause the scope of their disciplines really requires them to travel and it gets incredibly expensive.

I guess this can go for everyone, na a lot of resources like textbooks and articles can be hard to access because they have to be paid for. It’s sometimes hard to form RRLs because library resources can be outdated and the new studies are too expensive for students to event rent. Libraries are starting to subscribe to databases that can provide free articles, but a lot of times it’s not enough pa rin.

How they cope: Orgs are the ones who usually spearhead sharing of reviewers, slides, even Ebooks and articles so people don’t buy na. Our college council has been helping the courses that need funds for their fieldwork and research buy having income generating projects. We’re also still appealing to the administration also be proactive in assisting the students with funding since it’s unfair that they have required subjects that would need tens to hundreds of thousands as a prerequisite. In the psych department, we have buddies for freshies so that they can have someone to help them adjust to the new environment. We also have an advising system, though it isn’t facilitated by the students, but is still a big help! Students are assigned faculty advisers that will guide them throughout their stay in Psych so they have someone to turn to for school and even personal problems.

Advice: Sometimes it’s okay to feel lost and know that the struggles you feel are valid. It’s also important to know that college isn’t a competition. Any form of progress is still progress. What strategies that work on others may not always work on you so don’t feel like you’re behind just because of your different learning preference.

#school #self

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