KRISTIEN POTGIETER

Admit it – you’ve thought about it. You’ve entertained the possibility, daydreamed about it during those times when you contemplated life beyond high school and all the thrilling possibilities it holds: what if you could become a new person, a better person, a different person?

High school can trap you in a box. From very early on you are sorted into a certain group; a metaphorical file with your name on it is stamped with one of a few labels: nerd, jock, loser, airhead, drama queen … the list goes on. There was no hope of reclassification. 

Until now. You are on the threshold of a new beginning. And you’ve been handed back your file, to do with what you want.

Perdeby thought of some handy suggestions for the budding first year to make some changes and become the new you.

If in high school you were of the brawny variety, but want to prove that you possess at least some brain, there a few things you can keep in mind when coming to varsity. First, lose that perpetually puzzled expression. Then look up “perpetually” in the dictionary (if you aren’t sure how dictionaries work, ask someone to help you). Then, try swapping the rugby ball you carry around under your arm for a few textbooks. And the final touch to your new image – nod sagely when asked a question and respond using the biggest words you know.

For the girls who are tired of hiding behind their spectacles and want the world to see a fresh new you, get rid of all the long corduroy skirts – miniskirts are the way to go. Replace all or most of your clothes with anything pink, and remember to buy a diamanté necklace with your initials on it. Straightened hair is a must, and don’t be shy with the eye shadow. Practise your most vacant expression and your “whoop, whoop” (for downing shooters, of course) in front of the mirror. Easy as that.

For the more radically inclined, now that you at last have the freedom to wear whatever you want, you can very easily become a goth. Get rid of all your colourful clothing, remove all Pussycat Dolls and Miley Cyrus songs from your iPod, remember never to smile, and apply your makeup without the help of a mirror. Find a group on campus with similar attitudes and voilà, you’re all set.

Seriously though, it has become something of a cliché that, once you’re a student, you can “become whoever you want to be”. Varsity is your first real step towards adulthood and all the responsibilities that go with it. It would be beneficial – no, essential – to use this time, while you still have it, to make mistakes, go wild and find yourself, instead of just becoming another stereotype. Why would you want to be anyone else when you can simply be yourself?

You have a chance to get a taste of what it means to be you. At university you will develop into the person you will be for the rest of your life. And don’t think of it as changing, but as asserting your true self.

And then it’ll be both easy and fulfilling to admit that you are a Harry Potter-loving, rugby-watching, Britney-listening person that still sleeps with a teddy at night.