8 tips that will help you ace your first year

Starting varsity or college is exciting, sure, but it can also be scary and challenging.

8 tips that will help you ace your first year

Here are 8 must-know life hacks that’ll steer you clear of some common hurdles. 

Make the most of orientation week

O-week is potentially the most exciting week of your first year. As much as it sounds like a drag, don’t miss it. Orientation can be overwhelming and there’s a ton of information to absorb about every aspect of campus life, from campus tours to finding out more about the classes you’ll be taking. Make the most of it by attending as many talks as possible.


Arrive alive

Your first couple of weeks are going to be challenging, zero doubt. Make sure you keep up your energy levels – don’t skip meals and stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle and a healthy snack in your backpack while you familiarise yourself with your new environment.

Top tip: Take a pic of your timetable (with your lecture venue and class time) and save it as the homescreen on your phone.


Manage your money

Download the Capitec banking app so that you can keep track of your spending with the money track feature. Draw up a money plan of what you can realistically afford to spend and on what. Do this before you get your allowance so that when pay day rolls around you know exactly how to manage your cash flow.


Read the fine print

Bank charges are one of those sneaky expenses that no one tells you about. When compounded, they make a big difference to your bottom line (and your budget). Scrutinise your bank’s fees and make smart decisions. A good rule of thumb is that transactions involving cash or people are more expensive. Rather opt for digital banking, which is convenient and more affordable.


Time your tasks

Diarise your deadlines to help you map them out. Tackle the entire semester on a year planner, and allocate pockets of time if you can. Download a user-friendly app such as My Study Life or set reminders on your phone to help you stay on top of projects and commitments.


Network like a pro

Varsity is not just for making new friends, it’s also for making connections. Make a point to go to the occasional networking event or try to stay in touch with your lecturers. Better yet, ask for their social media handles and follow them so that you’re able to keep in touch.


Don’t go crazy

Prioritise your mental health. The challenges ahead can be overwhelming, especially as a first-year student. Get enough sleep and exercise, and try to find a balance between studying and socialising. Find out where your nearest campus psychologist is based. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, speak up and reach out.


Find strength in numbers

Make friends with people who do the same modules you do, that way your crew will have the same workload. Create WhatsApp groups for your different subjects, so you can share tips, learn from each other and form study groups.

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