Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines

5 questions with guest interviews

Hi nice to meet you! My name is Alex, and I run a blog called (@fresh_2_grad) on Instagram. The idea behind the name was the transition from 'fresh'er' to 'grad'uate, where I initially dedicated the page to first year students, but have developed it since to address all university years. However, still with a big emphasis on first year students as I was inspired to begin as this year would be extra challenging for them, with the ongoing pandemic. I graduated last year from my masters, and currently work over lockdown at a student accommodation. I hope through my experiences I can provide helpful advice to students, from everything from study skills to mental health.

1. Thoughts on Practicality vs. Passion? 

I think for this question I would definitely say go for something you are passionate about. Reason being because you need to be passionate about the work you do and the company you work for, to excel in the position in my opinion. Of course, you could be naturally motivated more by money, but that only goes so far, and sooner or later you will not enjoy the work - leading to the quality of your work decreasing over time. It really depends on your motivations, but I would personally go for a passionate job!

2. How do you gain motivation to focus on your studies despite everything that's going on? 

I myself do not study anymore as I have graduated, but I am currently in the process of completing job applications, so it is still keeping proactive in the study sense. It is a difficult year I will admit, and I say this on behalf of students. Not having physical lectures/seminars really takes the experience out of university. But I would say things that would keep me motivated are: remembering why you started uni/your course - where did you want to take your course or do with it in the future; know this is only temporary, and the more you complete/understand in first year, the easier it becomes in following years; and start a routine so you can track your progress and make sure you are completing your work on time. We can get through this together!

3. What do you miss about face-to-face classes? Why? 

Speaking in retrospect, I think I miss the community feel the most as well as being in the moment, and seeing you have reached another milestone in your life. By community feel I mean being in a lecture hall with all your course, and watching the lecturer speak as some people fall asleep, and others on their phone the whole way through the lecture. It's just the little things I think I miss. Secondly, in terms of the milestone it's just that moment of realisation in the lecture hall that you see and feel that you are at university, one of the highest educational achievements you can attain - and it was just a wow feeling as sixth form does not compare at all.

4. What is your message to our senior teachers out there who struggle teaching to their students behind the screen? 

My message to the lecturers out there would be: to keep going and know you are making a difference to student's' learning, even if you do not feel that way. The whole online process might make you feel like you are losing the attention of your students, but without you on the other side of the screen, their learning would not be as impactful and the experience would not be the same at all.

5. Is the pandemic a valid reason for students to give up on their dreams? 

I think definitely not! The pandemic is only temporary, and it will pass with the development and distribution of the vaccine. I think to say give up on your dreams is a little extreme. Sure, employment opportunities are less frequent than pre-pandemic - but there is still opportunities out there. It is about using the extra time you have to make yourself more employable, so that your chances of getting one of those dream jobs in the future are greater. Stay motivated, this is the moment where everyone gets to prove how resilient they are, and believe you all are!

Stay safe guys!

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