First-year checklist to hit the ground running at university

First-year checklist to hit the ground running at university. Picture: File

First-year checklist to hit the ground running at university. Picture: File

Published Jan 21, 2024


The announcement of matric results coincides with the excitement of beginning a new journey at university, but as predicted, many students will have questions about what to expect and how to adjust to the new academic environment.

Dr Linda Meyer, managing director at The Independent Institute of Education’s Rosebank College, shares a few guidelines that can assist new students to ease the transition.

Meyer believes that while it’s common to feel stressed during this time, the rules can help new students make the move and manage with problems.

The most crucial of these is knowing that help is accessible and that requesting it on time for academic or personal reasons is a show of strength rather than weakness.

Make the most of the orientation opportunities

“Orientation is a great opportunity to get familiar with the campus, meet new people and learn about the resources and services available to you. It is also a chance to have fun and make friends before classes start,” Meyer says.

Taking time to understand your uni systems logistics

She also says to avoid confusion and stress, ensure one needs to understand how these systems and logistics work, and keep track of important dates and deadlines.

“You can also consult your academic adviser, student services or other staff members about any issues or concerns.”

Getting to grips with the tech environment

University expectations are different from what you experienced at high school. You will have to deal with more academic rigour, more independence, more responsibility and more diversity.

Developing time management strategies

She points out that management is one of the most important skills for university success.

“You will need to manage your time effectively and efficiently and prioritise your tasks and activities. You will also have to deal with multiple and competing demands such as assignments, exams, extracurriculars, work and social life,” says Dr Meyer.

Joining cultural clubs & sports teams

“Joining clubs or sports teams can also improve your physical, mental and emotional well-being and provide much-needed balance to your academic work.”

It is important to know that help is available, and to seek support timeously, whether it be for academic or personal reasons.

“University can be challenging and stressful, and you may face various difficulties or problems along the way. Most good higher education institutions will have the necessary support services in place to assist you with challenges you face,” says Dr Meyer.

The Star

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