Mental health problems, which can affect students in many aspects of their lives, is one of the main reasons why students drop out of university. Students do not receive the right amount of support, and as they try to navigate university life and find a balance, things may become overwhelming. Many first-year students underestimate the
transition between high school and university and then find themselves in a position where they are unable to cope. At university, students must become independent, and with that comes great responsibility, ranging from managing finances to self-studying and making the right friends. However, UP provides numerous forms of support to students. The chairperson of the Student Wellness Centre (SWC), Mashudu Ramashidzha, explained that the role of the SWC is to promote the well-being of all students. The SWC acts as a bridge between the university and its students by focusing on students’ mental, emotional, and physical well-being. The SWC works with all the faculties and structures on campus to help address overlooked issues which concern students. Ramashidzha stated that the SWC welcomes all students with any problems, as it can direct students to the correct service and offer the
Ramashidzha further highlighted that when it comes to making friends at university, it is important to establish your values and to voice them to the people around you. Peer pressure is real. The moment students find themselves in a friendship where they need to sacrifice or compromise their values, it is a red flag. Ramashidzha explained that on various occasions people may pressure an individual unknowingly because of the lack of clarity and boundary setting between the individuals. With university comes academic pressure. UP Law graduate and mentor, Mitchelle Baloyi, emphasised the importance of consulting with lecturers and tutors. Furthermore, Baloyi highlighted that students, particularly first-years, may struggle to cope with the workload or misunderstand a certain concept. That is why it is crucial to get help from lecturers and tutors or classmates before the more in-depth topics begin.
On the other hand, Ramashidzha pointed out that when it comes to academic pressure, time management is the prime factor. He noted that students must be prepared and read over lecture notes because the moment lecturers begin an unfamiliar topic, students become disengaged and find a distraction, usually in the form of phones or friends. Additionally, he advised that students should not waste the time between lectures but rather use this time wisely by working in the library. At university, many students are thrown in at the deep end with little or no support. Ramashidzha claimed that each student at UP has something in them that qualifies them to be here, and he indicated that they should identify that something and use it as motivation to put in the necessary work. Throughout the year, it is important to consistently work hard and not give up. Do not be afraid to talk to anyone or ask questions.