HOW TO SURVIVE UNIVERSITY
By: Talent Buthelezi
Walking, singing, studying and playing games- are some of the activities that take place in university. However, the first few months can be stressful particularly to new entrants making their way in from high school.
Adapting to a new school environment can be very traumatic especially after competing 12 years of studying. Essentially, a university is a higher education institute yet nowadays we are seeing the total opposite. Strikes, drugs and violence are a few hindrances to one’s education and as education take the back seat the negative social activities dominant and in most cases destroy students schooling career.
Here are a few tips on how to cope in university.
According to WikiHow, “Socializing is the first step to survival in university as taking an interest in people will ensure that people take an interest in you”. Other tips on the site include: not leaving your work for the last minute, developing a sensible coping strategy, getting along with your roommates, locking your food and utensils away and lastly not being afraid to bring up an issue or asking for help.
Balungile Mzimela, a first year Tourism Management student said, “When I first got to university I was worried. I was always popular in both primary and high school and for the first time in my schooling career nobody knew me and those that did- only knew my face. Here everybody does their own thing and whether you sink or swim is all up to you- nobody cares.”
According to State University, “No Individual Attention or Guidance”- is another cause of high drop-out rates. “Growing up, we live for guidance; we thrive on structure and someone’s instruction or care. At college, especially the first year, guidance and individual attention from a counsellor or mentor may not exist in the student’s life. Not knowing where to go, how to deal with problems can lead to most of the factors I mentioned above and ultimately down the road to a failed college experience”.
While others struggle to adjust to varsity, some bend in making the best memories of their lives in the learning institute. Nokwazi Mazibuko, a final year Public Relations student said, “I made life time friendships in varsity. I am truly grateful for my friends- I guess it’s true when people say it’s better to walk through life with a few good people to support and help you along the way.”
According World University News, many students attribute lack of finance as a major stumbling block to their schooling careers. A tip to new entrants of higher education institutes is to apply well in advance for financial aid schemes. The site added, “South Africa has a highly successful National Student Financial Aid Scheme, which supports about 120,000 of 735,000 students”. If you don’t have funds it is better to know and practice the “first come first serve” phrase- that way you’ll surely be short listed to getting the finance you need should you be alert and disciplined.
According to an article published on IOL. “The graduation rate among undergraduate students in South Africa’s 23 public universities is 15 percent. The rate for Master’s students is 20 percent and for doctoral students 12 percent”.
University certainly gives testimony to the “survival of the fittest” theory- where the “fit” (the workers) outweigh the “unfit” students (the slackers). One’s willpower along with hard work is sure to get you through varsity and as the nature of the institute selects the strong, students need to put their game faces on and strive for success.