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Expert advice for first-year higher education students

There are myriad resources around you designed to help you succeed

There are myriad resources around you designed to help you succeed

Published Mar 18, 2022


This milestone marks their entry into adulthood and will be exhilarating, exciting and often rather scary because they are now wholly independent and responsible for the direction of their lives.

“For the most part, you can’t manage what life throws your way. What you can influence, however, is the skills and resilience you build, which, ultimately, will enable you to steadfastly work towards success, while also being better equipped to handle the curveballs life throws your way,” says Peter Kriel, general manager at The Independent Institute of Education.

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Kriel says as students enter their orientation weeks, it will be useful for them to consider their paths ahead and get the logistics in place, so that they can master their new environments and the mindset required to succeed.

Keep these tips in mind before you start classes, but more importantly, don’t forget to have fun along the way!

Environmental logistics

Take full advantage of the orientation programmes set up by your institution of higher learning. (Many public universities are still online only.)

Support logistics

The leap between school and higher education is significant – academically and emotionally. Find out as soon as possible what support structures your institution has available and how to access them.

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Mindset logistics

Perhaps the most important learning to master – apart from the actual academic demands of your qualification – is the understanding that your study years don’t stand apart from your subsequent career but are, in fact, part of your entry into your career.

Balancing work-play logistics

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A great social life is a large and important part of the higher education experience, but it’s good to always stay in control of what’s going on – whether it be in the moment or over the long-term. Have fun, but also understand that discipline is freedom.

“As you start out on this new and exciting path, start developing your professional reputation right from the start, and build a professional social media presence – the first investigation any workplace will launch into prospective candidates,” advises Kriel.

Your first year is an experience like no other, and it sets the tone for the rest of your time at the institution.

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