Being a first year at university can be more than just daunting, it’s plain and simple scary.  This feeling of fear surrounded by excitement and anticipation is very much expected.  This doesn’t however mean that new skills will have to be learned to cope with your new environment. Our 10 Freshers Tips for adapting to your student life will sure be of some help.


1. Freshers, find your bearings

First thing first, make sure you know where everything is.  How do you get to your classes, the library, the admin office,  the grocery shop, the coffee cart, the bookshop, the bar….

Make sure you know where to be when, stay organised.

2. Student life also became easier with the ages.

Now a days students are surrounded by technology and all it’s helping hands.  Make use of all the resources you possibly can, don’t ever not Google anything and try new methods if your old and current once don’t yield any results.

  • There are study guides for just about any field and course, find them, they are essential.
  • There are budgeting and organizing student apps, they make life so much easier.
  • Don’t just stick to your study material, make use of Wiki and Google.  There will be far more information that you ever could have anticipated.
  • Before starting a project do some inspiration research first via Google, Pinterest, academic forums.
  • Remember to backup ALL your work.  Consider a Google Drive, it’s all saved to the cloud.
  • Don’t leave your referencing for an hour before handing in.  Writing a complete and correct reference always takes longer than anticipated, a lot longer.  There are tool on the web to help with this annoying and tedious task.
  • Buy your study material second hand, or at least some if it

3. Make a realistic and focus driven Bucket List

Being at the start of another student year is in an extremely privileged position to be in, simply because you have time.  Use this time to make a focused and realistic bucket list for your academic year… and stick to it by timelines. Consider your shortages, personally and professionally.  What would you want to improve about yourself, your studies, your life in general.  Use this focus driven bucket list to alter your life in the direction you (and you alone) chooses.

4. Keep to your student budget

Running, literally out of money as a student is far easier than you may think.  Ensure this doesn’t happen to you by creating and sticking to your student budget.

5. Student offers, they always exist;)

Many university offers Microsoft Office for free with your varsity email.  Go find out before you make any expensive software purchases.  Also before purchasing any software, consider finding the student version.  Many, if not most, software companies have a student version for free or for a minimal fee, they might often be more limited, but they will be more than enough for your varsity career.

6. Learn how to cook

It is essential that you learn how to cook, even if it’s something as simple as spaghetti or scramble eggs.  Regular takeout will make it difficult to have funds for a regular social life.  Cooking at home will save you money and keep you healthier.  

7. Learn to time manage

One of the biggest lesson university will teach you is to be able to time manage.  You will not be able to graduate if you haven’t learn to manage your time to some extent at the least.  This is one of those adult skills that you will have to develop and master before graduation day.  Start by being organise and never leave anything for the last minute, especially your studies and essays.  They tend to take far longer than what a quick scan through the chapter dictates.

8. Break out of the high school boxes

A common regret older students have is that many feel they never broke out of their High school box.  That they went into their first year and found exactly the same friends, and kept to exactly the same methods they had 3 years earlier in high school.  Make sure you break out of all your boxes really fast.  Make different kinds of friends, find different kinds of groups and new places to hang out. The person we are in high school, doesn’t have to be the adult you become.  University is an ideal place to find the person you want to be, make time for the future you.

9. Remember the WHY

It is so easy to get fully absorbed by varsity life with all its tempting social trimmings…you need to remember the  WHY, “to why am I here.”  This of course is to study, the complete your degree and give your adult life a higher education kick-start.  Don’t get overwhelmed by everything else, other than your studies. Separating your study times from your social, entertainment and extra-cash time will be essential. Managing your procrastination will often be the biggest battle to face your study success.  Find methods to encourage your study times, such as study groups and study locations.  You can start separating them by locations and study/social friends

10. Consider getting a Job

A smart idea would be to find a part time student job.  This way you ensure you keep flush in the cash, while working on your CV from year one.  Employers look at previous job opportunities, they consider the value and lesson you would have already learn, lesson your new lazy employer don’t have to teach you. This lazy employer attitude has sadly become the norm… adding to our rat race social problems… Being a student you are also in the unique position to find a job – specifically related to your student-ness.  Ever considered tutoring?

Remember to be honest with yourself

Many students make the life altering mistake to not be perfectly honest with themselves in regards to their course.  

Do you love it? Is it ok? Do you hate it?  

You should be honest with yourself, to what exactly you like, hate and love.  If there is nothing you love, then I honestly suggest you consider a drastic course change.  Your varsity life will most probably be your kick off to your entire life, make sure you love your career, before starting it at least. Our Freshers Week Guide could be of some help as well:)

Written by Lizl Brink, Lizl is copywriter and designer based in Johannesburg, she is also a frequent contributor to the Mafadi blog, and as an Urban investor and rejuvenation shares a passion for urban regeneration, go check out her personal portfolio here
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