Socially Distanced; Socially Connected: Starting The Academic Year Under The New Normal

By Tram Panaligan & Darren Bautista

A new beginning, a fresh start, and a new chapter await our newest students as another academic year starts at SISFU.

Known as the premier transnational education provider of global accreditations, it aims for students to be properly equipped with skills and competencies fit for the global market. With the new normal and the radical shift of today’s markets, it gives graduates the upper hand as they enter the corporate world as competent professionals, global leaders, and movers of society.

The university takes pride in its readiness to undertake the online delivery of programmes through the utilisation of interactive virtual classrooms and, once the government permits, blended learning.

To get acclimated with the school’s diverse and vibrant culture, the university alongside its student council organised a three-day preparatory programme for its incoming college students. It was done digitally through Zoom for three days, from the 22nd to the 24th of July 2020.

Day 1 was considered the best time to initiate ice-breakers as the students were able to get to know a little more about their peers and a glimpse of the SISFU community.

For the first part of the session, new students were introduced to the passionate SISFU community headed by the respective college deans along with the administration staff. A brief orientation regarding discipline and adherence to school requirements was given. Breakout sessions followed right after.

Freshmen got to meet their respective deans; Dr. Marjorie G. Tangog for SOBM, and Mrs. Carol Pido for SOHM students.

Day 1 ended on a high note when select alumni, Transform President of RAC SISFU, Mary Purugganan and Student Council President, Josef Hojas, shared their student life experiences as well as some tips on surviving college at SISFU. Key takeaway: Going out of one’s comfort zone!

For Day 2, students were given a more in-depth idea about SISFU through the talk given by Dr. Jerry A. Aguilar, Vice-President for Academic Support and Marketing. His talk centered on school pride that focuses on personal character development anchored in the culture of 5Cs: Character, Collaboration, Creativity, Competence and Commitment to Achieve.

On the final day of the programme, a short talk on academic rigour was given by Dr. Marjorie Tangong. This is key in the development of a student during their studies in the academe as SISFU takes pride in the ability of its learners to critically think and produce top quality work.

Giving focus on tertiary education, academic rigour in the university focuses on being critical, the presence of complex reasoning skills and writing skills, being output driven, and results-oriented.

A student with academic rigour is expected to possess these qualities as this mindset enables them to constantly strive for excellence and the commitment to achieve.

After the short talk, students were sent to their breakout rooms for their orientation for the online classes and their expectations for this academic year with Ms Kimberley Pedge and Dr Marjorie Tangog for SOBM and Mrs Carol Pido for SOHM.

For the last part of the session, an engaging seminar on mental health under the New Normal was given by Dr. Michael Jimenez, a registered psychologist. Students had the opportunity to understand better one's emotions, their experiences, and the effects of the New Normal. Dr. Jimenez also stressed that one should have self-awareness, the ability to manage emotions, to connect and empathize with someone, and understand their unique personal challenges and ordeals in these trying times.

Indeed, the 3-day SPP was a huge success. New students appreciated how engaging and informative each session was. They found the right school in SISFU.

Here are some of their feedback:

“The SPP was very organized. This preparation for new incoming students was very helpful by means of important information and future advice for the students. I really enjoyed everyone’s hospitality despite not being able to see each other in person. I learned a lot. Thank you SISFU students and staff for this great opportunity. I know now I made the best choice of choosing SISFU.” - Patrisha Buck, 1st Year Hospitality Management

“My experience in the SPP has been exhilarating. I love how the SISFU family really gave me a warm welcome as a freshman. And though the SPP was only virtual, I was able to make new friends and chat with them after the SPP sessions. My favorite part is that we got to be in break-out rooms, and the ice breakers were fun and hilarious! Can't wait to meet the SISFU fam personally soon!” - Lynelle Suan, 1st year Entrepreneurship and Innovation

“I had fun on all three days of SPP. It was a great way (of) getting to know SISFU and the atmosphere of the school as well. SPP helped me break the ice and I made (a) couple of new friends because of it. I had (a) great time at the orientation!” - Waleed Ahsan, 1st Year Business Administration and Management

This year’s SPP may have been different as it was done virtually. But the unity, camaraderie, and friendship that were built prove the adaptability of SISFU’s students new and old amongst each other. We would like to thank the student volunteers headed by the members of the Student Council for making things possible. The freshmen became socially connected, despite being socially distanced.

Sharing Stories. Connecting People.
We are The Bridge.

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