The shift from high school to university and from home living to independent living can be a difficult time for first year students. They may battle to cope with the new expectations placed on them to be self sufficient, to manage their own time and money and to balance their social lives with their academic lives. Balancing academics and enjoying student life will be different for each student, as every senior has experienced. PDBY asked senior students what advice they would offer first years to cope with the changes ahead of them this year:

 Floyd Landile Mndebele: BSc Physics

My first-year experience was hectic. The biggest thing for me was adapting to the different disciplines in varsity […] because we are not taught the same way as we were in school. What helped me was realising that I needed to start asking questions. Asking questions is the best thing an individual can do […] and asking for assistance in the little things can help a lot like going for consultations […]. I realised that I was struggling so much not because everything was a lot but because we are all exposed to this freedom that gives us so many choices to choose from. I advise students to sit and look at what they want to do then make the right choices and take good risks […].

S’phesihle Mlungwana: BSc Geology

Varsity is not how you picture it to be and as many warnings [as] you receive from family and friends, […] I feel like it is something you will never fully understand until you are in it. Do not kill yourself over the school work you are going to get, because you are going to get a lot of it. You will open ClickUP or your emails and have a lot of work that needs to be done, but do not put too much pressure on yourself and do not stress too hard[…]. If you were able to win the race against so many people to secure the spot that you are in right now in varsity, you are going to survive. Be kind to yourself, move at your pace and surround yourself with good people who want the best for themselves because that will motivate you to want the best for yourself […]. Do remember to be a person. Discover the campus, discover Pretoria and discover yourself, but do not for get what it was that you initially came to varsity to do which is to obtain a degree […].

Corrine Gama: BSc Human Genetics

The best advice is to follow the university’s motto, “Ad Destinatum Perseqour” which translates to: “With zeal and perseverance, strive towards the goal”. You need to be very enthusiastic and interested about your degree, because there wi ll be times when you feel like giving up and the only thing keeping you going is your love for what you are studying. Study smart, not hard. Get back up after every fall. Good luck!

Dhanyal Ismail: BA Financial Science

The best advice I can give is enjoy your time as a student, because you will never in your life have a time where you have so little worries […]. As a student all you have to worry about is surviving and getting your 50% […]. Don’t just focus on academics, focus on making friends and networking yourself because part of the experience of being a student is that once you get out of university, you want to look back at it and smile. So enjoy the university experience since it is probably the best time of your life because you’re still young and don’t have a lot of responsibilities.


 The views expressed by students in PDBWhy do not reflect the views or position of PDBY or its staff members