How To Survive Your First Year Of Varsity In Joburg


Headed to your first year at university? Then we suggest you read our first-year survival guide. Here is a comprehensive list of things you need to know no matter where you search for higher education. 

first year university
Source: WITS

Don’t Miss Orientation Week

Everyone says it’s a load, but it gives you a crash course on studenting 101. I didn’t stay for the entire period but the time I spent being guided around made me feel far less terrified.  You also get to meet new, equally terrified people who are just as lost as you are. Think of it as a slow submersion into a new way of life after 12 years of school routine.

Pack Lunch

Bring a retro lunchbox with sarmies and lunchables. To be honest, this was one of my biggest worries after having had my daily school lunch packed for me. As a student, I wasn’t sure if it was “cool” to bring lunch to varsity. It totally is. Plus, you save on buying less healthy and more expensive grub which, as a huge bonus, keeps at bay that not-so-pretty “first year spread”.

Say Yes And No In Equal Measure

Balance your university years. Spend time BOTH studying AND partying. Never forget that obtaining a tertiary education is a privilege and should not be taken lightly, but do take the free time you have to party, road trip, travel, make friends and experience life with the least possible amount of responsibility. Remember, you’ll soon graduate and in all probability become formally unemployed.

Don’t Take The Library For Granted

I know it’s the 21st century and everything is digital but nothing will ever beat the smell of the dusty old tomes or the feel of the crisp pages between your fingers. Perhaps it’s a personal preference but the studious silence calls… If you’re staying in res it  can provide the perfect respite and an escape from the rowdy bunch. Some even offer all night rooms. Not for staying over when you have had a tipple too many, mind. However, if you still prefer the laptop then be sure to use the university accredited sites. #notwikipedia.

Join The Club

Join any extramural, club activities or volunteer groups that are within your field of study. My journo course had a newspaper and I made the great mistake of not contributing to it at all. Once your studies are over and you start looking for a job, you’ll find that most junior positions require a measure experience. “I JUST GRADUATED!’ isn’t good enough. So, anything you can put on your CV will give you a leg up. Groups like these also offer a sense of camaraderie. Remember, once you’re in the real world, networking is all about those connections!

Seize The Day – Make Good Use of Of Vacations

Don’t take your holidays for granted! I now look back on those long breaks and wish I had taken better advantage of them. Find part-time work, save the cash and then plan a journey to a place you’ve always wanted to visit. In only a few short years it will all be over and your student days long gone, but you’ll be all the richer in life experiences. And, as far as I know, there are no orientation days for Adulting 101.

By Samantha Snedorf

Are you about to embark on your first year at varsity? Let us know in the comments section below if this list came in handy. Know anybody about to go to uni? Then share this article with them. 

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