We all have heard the famous preaching of how the best years of our lives happen at university. That’s probably true for some… The truth is that your biggest responsibility at varsity is passing those modules whilst experiencing the new taste of freedom. Gone are the days where you have a curfew and hello to meeting new people, embarking on new ventures and pulling all-nighters.
But as life would have it, some things come as a surprise, making it hard for others to cope and do well. Here are some tips on how to survive your first year.
- Get to know your campus
Going to orientation doesn’t seem all that fun and glamorous but the faster you learn your way around campus the better at ease you will feel. We recommend that you start with the main buildings where you’ll have classes, the library, computer labs, and your favourite café.
- Use apps to stay on track
If there’s one thing that people have one them all the time is their phone or tablet. So take the time to download apps that will help you study and stay organised (ExamTime and Timetable are good examples), as well as handy ones that can scan your notes. Check out lifestyle apps too – there’s everything from fitness trackers to budget planners.
- Budget and track your money
Adulting 101 kicks in the moment you have some bills to pay. From paying for your textbooks to paying rent and everything else in between. Now is the time to get into the habit of keeping a budget and finding creative ways of stretching your money like using your student card for discount prices.
- Stay healthy/ Eat right
Ensure that you get plenty of sleep, take your vitamins and eat right. Especially since you not being served balanced meals by mommy anymore. You have the freedom to have those extra fries or biscuits at midnight. So stay healthy and avoid the dreaded extra “first-year 15 kgs” by sticking to a balanced diet.
- Go to class
Seems obvious, right? Maybe, but sleeping in and skipping that 8:00 am class will be tempting at times. Avoid the temptation!
- Make time for you
This may sound cliché but it’s important to take some time from your busy schedule to do activities that help you relax and take the stress of life away. Be it yoga, watching your favourite TV series, jogging or writing in a journal, just be good to yourself and give your brain a break.
- Make friends
There are thousands of students at uni and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed.Making new friends can be extremely hard when you first start university. Especially If you don’t live in res. If you attend tutorials it will be easier to make friends because the classes are small. Open yourself up and try new things, get involved. Join special societies and groups at university and use the opportunity to meet people.
- Meet with your lecturers
Go visit your lectures. At university, your lecturer’s door is always open. This could make a difference between you doing well in school or just barely making it. Lecturers will give you one-on-one attention. And you will be able to ask about any topic you don’t understand and that is giving you problems. The lecturer will also be more inclined to be relaxed and open because they’re not in class, and don’t have work to rush through.
- Seek a balance
Varsity life is a mixture of social and academic happenings. Don’t tip the balance too far in either direction. Try live by this motto “study hard so you could play hard.”
- Take responsibility of yourself and your actions
Don’t look to place the blame on others for your mistakes; own up to them and move on. Being an adult means taking responsibility for everything that happens to you.
As a bonus tip, don’t be too hard on yourself. Tertiary study can be a learning curve and it might take you a while to get settled. Don’t expect to get perfect grades straight away and try to enjoy your time at uni while it lasts.