So the holiday has come to an end and now its time again to get your ducks in a row.  Or so our mommies keep on telling us.  The honest truth is that the first week or so of varisty is nothing but one massive social, one gathering after the other, a party every night and don’t forget the most intense discussions you will ever have.

It’s an amazing time, one of anticipation of excitement and some fearfulness.  But the truth of the matter is that everyone (including myself) are jealous of you lucky freshers ou there.

But getting back to the “ducks in a row”, your mom isn’t all that wrong.  Freshers week allow you the time to find your way around campus, to meet your classmates and to try and find the groups you will fit with.

I thought today, just before moving in week I will help all you freshers with our freshers’ survival guide.  Some of you loose heads out there might need it.

Moving in

Freshers week is a busy week, so get mom and dad to maybe drop you off a few days earlier if possible.  Pack out and settle in because sleeping is not going to be much of an option in freshers week.

  1. Make your bed, this way you ensure you have a place to drop dead after your first night of partying.  Also this creates extra seating for those “hey whats up dude” moments from new and wonderful strangers.
  2. Put on the music, talking about your favorite bands and artist are they way to go when it comes to finding your kind of people.
  3. Make your room your home.  Put up some of your posters and books.  This is similar to the music, you might be surprised how many geeks out there also live in your dorm and talking about the new Star Wars movies is a must.
  4. Keep your door open and cupboards lock.  Keeping doors open are welcoming to any new cummer like yourself, but remember some of your dorm mates might have sticky fingers, so keep the valuables locked up in your closet.  If you don’t have a lock yet, go buy one right now.  Make it 2 or 3 even, you are going to need them.

Meeting people and socializing

  1. So the main aim of freshers week is to meet as many people as you can.  To be honest you will most probably not even remember half of the people’s names, but thats ok.  Everyone else forgot your name too.  So the gist of the matter is find the closest person in your dorm and go knock on every other door and say hi.  Being the two of you should be less overwhelming in meeting new people.
  2. Try and get to as many social events as you can.  Freshers week is there when all the social clubs try and promote their uniqueness.  Many of them are the same, you just have to find the right group, but there are a few that are truly unique.  I would suggest that you find a few different types of social groups.  One group for every balancing part of your life.  That will be a Party group, a sport group, an intellectual group and if you need a spiritual group.  Remember however that you will only have a certain amount of time and overwhelming yourself with socials aren’t going to be beneficial to your studies.  This is after all why you are there.
  3. Always have a few Rands in your wallet.  It is the best way to split the bill and be assured that you paid your part. You don’t want to be dependent on a card machine or an ATM.
  4. Make sure you have your ICE (in case of emergencies) number programmed into your phone.  If you were to be in a car accident the medic will look out for this number.
  5. Add a few taxi services to your contact list, you will have to use one of them at some point, I promise.
  6. Don’t pay for any social groups upfront.  Some social groups require you to pay them a semester/yearly fee.  This is understandable, but don’t do this in your freshers’ week.  Wait and think about it.  During this week you might think at day 3 you find your social group, but by day 4 you might have found a more suited group for yourself.

Spend your freshers week wisely

  1. Sleeping will be on the minimal, however it is still highly suggested that you get a few hours every night.  This is simply so that you don’t get freshers’ flu.  Trust me on this one, freshers’ flu will come at the worst time, your new prof. will just have drop you a massive project to actually scare you a bit and you don’t want to deal with the project and the flu.
  2. Those few days that you have before everyone moves in will be invaluable to you to discover the campus.  There is nothing as stressful as having to find your classroom but not having any idea where it is.  Explore your campus, this way you are also the hero when everyone is stressing about finding their classroom.
  3. Work out your budget.  It is to be expected that the freshers week will cost more than the average student week, but don’t over spend too much.  Remember that you still have an entire semester, don’t be an idiot by spending all your funds.
  4. If you have roommates, make a cleaning, cooking and washing up schedule.  Decide on the house rules so that everyone can be happy from the start.  We don’t want any mini explosions from a roommate that can’t find a clean cup.

“Get the campus map, it will be your best friend for a few days”

Be safe!

Don’t be an idiot and think that bad things won’t happen with you.  By being safe you ensure that you minimize those chances.

  1. Have your ICE number
  2. Have a friend on speed dial, make it 1
  3. Girls make sure you have a friend that will call you 20mins into that date and also before bedtime.  There are strange people out there and we girls need to keep each other safe.
  4. Never ever leave your drink unattended.  You don’t have to worry about the barman, you however have to worry about every stranger on the dance floor.
  5. Have the condom ready, and never give it up without one.
  6. Find a GP and dentist close to you.
  7. If you drink, drink in moderation.  If you smoke, smoke in moderation and if you do neither then never ever feel pressured to do what you don’t want to.  Those ’friends’ that say you are uncool, lose them!

Last points

  1. Remember that freshers week will imply to queuing for long periods of time (Get to the registration terminal as soon as you can).  Ensure you have the music on the phone, with the earphones and also make sure you have a pen and paper with you at all times.  Also girls, wear comfortable shoes.  It isn’t a fashion parade, they will be there at some point or another.  You want to be able to write down to which social groups you signed up or are interested in.  Also you want to write down the locations of the hottest parties too.
  2. If you need to find a job then the best way will be to find a few second and third years in your dorm.  They will know of where you can go and what jobs are the best.

Varsity is going to shape who you are going to be as an adult.  You should, to a great extend start thinking like a responsible adult.  You don’t have to be one yet, but if you can at least think like one from time to time, that will be great.  I sure hope this freshers’ week survival guide will help.  Remember this is truly the best time of your life, if you arne’t having fun then change your situation, but have fun and meet new people.  Many of them might be friends for life.


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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