There’s nothing quite as frazzling in a young adult’s life as the first year of university. It can be equally exciting as it is nerve-wracking, and there is no first- year guidebook. Or is there? Here are fifteen tips for freshmen on student life at Tuks.
Wait before you splurge on textbooks.
Many students sell their textbooks from previous years of study, and second-hand bookstores in and around Hatfield offer textbooks at reduced prices. Refer to Wize Books or ask around campus to find resellers and save money.
Build a capsule wardrobe.
Pretoria weather can be sporadic, and temperature trends will likely result in wearing variations of the same five outfits in each season. The concept of a “capsule wardrobe” was coined by Susie Faux, who owned a boutique that focussed on smaller wardrobes with high-quality, interchangeable items. Figure out a capsule wardrobe of essential clothing items such as the following: a windbreaker, three pairs of shorts, four shirts that are worn often, and only one or two pairs of sneakers, slides, boots, etc. This varies with each person, and it will take time to gauge what deserves to go into the “capsule”, but taking the time needed to build a smaller wardrobe will save space and time in the long run.
Follow UP pages to keep up with events.
The official UP social media pages are active and informative. Whether students are seeking information on Varsity Cup games (follow @tukssport), changes in library hours (follow @uplibrary), or engaging campus news updates (follow @pdbymedia), following along with social media updates is a great way to stay in the loop.
Join module-specific group chats to stay updated on assignments and communicate with fellow students. Diarise assignments and note-worthy dates. Refresh your ClickUP and check your Tuks email daily to avoid a clogged inbox. Faculty Student Advisors (FSAs) suggest checking both in the morning after arriving on campus and again in the afternoon before leaving.
Try not to Uber everywhere.
Spanning a distance of only 1,97 square kilometres, Hatfield is a walkable area. A trip from Hillcrest Campus to Main Campus takes only 25 minutes. Uber fares can and will add up to an amount that will dent your wallet if you are not mindful of how much you are spending.
Be sure to attend lectures.
Almost every senior student has felt the pain of skipping one too many lectures, thinking it would be possible to catch up on their own, only to feel like they have missed weeks worth of work when they try. Skipping classes is only a good idea in theory because the time that could have been spent in a lecture hall will later be spent in a library cubicle or a worn desk, without the guidance or dictation of a lecturer and with an overwhelming amount of regret. PS, Attend AIM lectures.
Tutors are free; reach out to them!
It can be intimidating to reach out to tutors due to several concerns about asking for help. Will they understand my specific issue? Will they think I am stupid? Is it just a complete waste of time? Many students can attest to the clarity tutors provide regarding topics that students could not grasp in a class of 300+ people. Will tutors
understand specific issues? Their job is to help students as best as they can. Will they think you’re stupid? Is it a complete waste of time? No, reach out to your tutors.
Set a budget based on specific needs and wants.
Budgeting is an essential part of student financial literacy. Student budgets are tight enough without factoring in reckless spending. Budgeting based on your needs and wants looks like keeping a list of groceries and sticking to it when shopping, planning your outings with friends and setting aside predetermined amounts of money for them, will definitely result in a happy bank account. Additionally, use store loyalty cards such as Smart Shopper cards and find the cheapest cup of coffee on campus to save money (hint: It is the coffee shop inside Merensky library.)
There are many options for student involvement at UP. Over 125 societies and more than 30 sporting codes for professional and recreational participation. There is something for everyone. Many students join societies or sporting codes to enrich their lives and divide their time at UP into various spaces of interest such as academics primarily, as well as sports, culture, politics, and religious groups.
Most bars’ “happy hour” is from 20:00 – 22:00.
During happy hours, drinks can be bought at reduced prices. “Happy hour” is originally an American naval slang term from the early 1900s. It referred to a period of time when navy sailors at sea could relish in relaxing pastimes (including but not limited to drinking alcoholic drinks) and relieve themselves from the hardships of war. Between 20:00 and 22:00, students can relieve themselves from the hardships of war (i.e. university life) and save money. First year is overwhelming and isolating. It is a new environment with so many unknowns and so much pressure, do not feel ashamed for needing a break, deservedly so. Save up for that bus ticket or catch that taxi home.
Study outside of your room.
Many studies affirm that studying in the bedroom induces feelings of sleepiness and laziness and makes learning that much harder. UP has eleven libraries, most fitted with spacious seating areas. There are also countless designated study areas on campus that will help to maximise productivity and allow the space for your bedroom to
become a sanctuary.
Remember your WHY always.
It is easy to get enthralled with all that student life has to offer and hence, neglect school work and witness your academic performance plummet. Remember why you are enrolled at university, pursuing the qualification that you are pursuing when you start to lose focus.
Do not be afraid to ask for help.
If unsure about the calorific value of the donuts at the piazza, ask for a detailed nutritional breakdown. If the campus map is entirely inscrutable, petition for an updated one that incorporates the masses of people. Consult UP Clinic if there is a major health concern. Contact the Finance Department for information on financial aid. Ask friends to walk with you should you feel unsafe walking alone. Set up an appointment with FSAs for career guidance and
curriculum planning. Call the Student Counselling Unit helpline at 0800 747 747 if you are experiencing a mental health crisis. There are resources available for every imaginable bump in the road, and the success of each first- year student is stewarded with intention and care.
Do not forget to have fun.
University is the perfect place to let loose and have fun. Find some friends and make memories with them. Join discussions about the haunting of Humanities, and choose the conspiracy theory that makes the least amount of sense. Be pleasantly surprised by the educational material in your classes. Above all, have fun!
Originally posted on the PDBY site: The freshman fifteen 101: First years’ guide on student life at Tuks