Dear: First years
Assuming you’re all packed and set with your black Marks & Spencer nylon hold-all with sleek grey trim, your new “student” wardrobe (jeans, all-stars sneakers, sunglasses etc.), cutlery, four mugs and plates wrapped in newspaper. Good. Now let me take you through a few other valid things you need to know.
The moment you step into that beautiful world of “freedom of choice” (University) you’re pretty much expected to make every single mistake in the book with the famous excuse “We all make mistakes” to back you up.
So in the interests of the Nation’s “Freshers” beginning their new lives in the weeks ahead — and drawing on experiences from the likes of Cosmopolitan Editor Sbu Mpongose among others, including some with rather more recent recollections — herewith the Things We Wish We’d Known Before We Went to University:
1. Everyone else is terrified too. Indulging your shyness will get you nowhere.
2. The “instant” friends who hook up in Freshers’ Week will hate each other by the end of term or year. Term Two is when you make your real friends.
3. Drinking makes you fat and you will have a phuza face Finish and Klaar.
4. Morvite porridge and two minute noodles are set to be your best peers!
5. You’ll spend the rest of your life paying off the student loan you squander so freely in term time. Stay focused on the goal, partying never ends.
6. Don’t waste the endless holidays: travel, travel, travel. (That’s not squandering your student loan — it’s called living.)
7. Get into the habit of going to lectures (a 9am class isn’t an infringement of your human rights).
8. Are you a wannabe Pastor Chris or a mini Julius Malema? Here’s the thing, while there’s nothing wrong with having some zeal, don’t lose the plot: religion and politics won’t help during exams.
9. Dump the girlfriend/boyfriend from home/at another university before you start. Better than moping all through the first term and dumping them at Christmas anyway.
10. Everyone suffers from homesickness at some point. It is not a sign of weakness to ring/visit your parents occasionally.
11. Don’t wait until your mid-life crisis to read “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”. Get yourself a copy and read – it will make you brave.
12. Never lend your notes before exams because you’ll never get them back.
13. Never “get a house” with friends. Share with only those you half-like because it always ends in tears.
14. Crash every party, go to every ball and read every book. Never again will you have the chance to do things, not by halves, but with gusto.
15. Wear your heart on your sleeve — the dizzy social lifestyle is not at all what it’s cut out to be.
Ps: Being in tertiary is a privilege granted to a lucky few. Make the most of your experience, and remember: you are the drive to your future.
An ex-first year student