Going to university can be an intimidating and daunting experience and for a lot of people, University is just another step we have to get through in our lives but many things are available to students that should be taken advantage of.
This is something that may seem obvious to most, but many students tend to overlook the fact that they have a unique opportunity to be educated. A university education is not an opportunity that is readily available to every South African and is something that should be appreciated. Any student should take advantage of the opportunity to be educated at UP where they will receive a world-class education. Besides the degree and courses students have registered for, there are a ton of other opportunities to educate yourself, such as popping into a friend’s lecture or checking out events on campus. It is tempting to skip lectures, especially in first year, but by simply attending all the lectures you have paid for, you will be taking advantage of the rare opportunity that you have been given.
New People and New Ideas
It is a guarantee that you will meet a diverse range of people with different ideas when you go to university and for most new students it will be a more diverse group of people than those they met in high school or even in their hometown. This is something that should be taken advantage of as it is unlikely you will ever interact with such a diverse range of people again in your life. Not only is it a wonderful opportunity to make new friends but it is also a good opportunity to start networking. The people in university could become useful contacts in your career when you leave university. Even if you do not view yourself as a ‘people-person’, you might find it easier than you think to start conversations with people in the university environment. New people also mean new ideas, everyone has different ideas, and this is something that should be taken advantage of. New ideas mean an opportunity to broaden your own thoughts and to see new perspectives. Every student should come out of university a better and more well-rounded person, a good first step to do this is to listen to and acknowledge the new ideas around you even if you do not agree with them.
An active social life is something many students struggle to fit into their busy academic schedule, but it is an important part of the school-life balance. A ‘social life’ does not only include going out but also just spending time with friends. University offers you the chance to experience the beginnings of adulthood without too much responsibility. A flexible schedule allows time for socializing. Academic commitments should always take priority, but it is also important to make time for yourself. Remember to enjoy this phase of your life. Once you have entered the working world, there is much less time to socialize.
The newfound independence that comes with entering university may seem a bit intimidating, especially if you are coming straight from high school, but it is actually one of the biggest advantages you will find. Your new independence will mean that you can finally start figuring out things for yourself and taking that little bit of weight off your parents or guardians. The new independence also means that you will be proficient at ‘adulting’ by the time you finish your degree.
Figuring out who you are
University is the perfect environment in which to figure yourself out. It is where you can figure out what type of people you gel with and what type of people just are not the right fit for your life. It is the perfect place to figure out your passion and realize your dreams because people will be achieving greatness around you all the time. You will soon be acquainted with all the ‘FLY @ UP’ memes, but as funny as they are, UP does foster a supportive environment for you as a student to thrive. It is a given that you will go through rough times at university, but they will shape who you are as you enter the ‘real world’.
UP has a few dedicated meme Instagram pages to keep you laughing through the studying blues. The memes are definitely something to be taken advantage of as you only have a few years to enjoy and understand them. Be warned though as some of them might be a little too relatable and hit a little close to home. LifeAtTuks is the current most-followed UP meme page but tuksmemes is worth a follow as well.
Resources on Campus
UP has a ton of resources available on campus for students to take advantage of, here are a few of them:
Computer Labs: UP has computer labs available on all their campuses and in the residences. The computers are available for all students to use for their academic work. There are also printing facilities available all around the UP campuses.
Campus Psychologist: There is psychological support available on every campus and is free for all students. The Student Counselling Unit offers support for academic, therapeutic and emotional concerns or issues. You can find the Student Counselling Unit next to Student Centre opposite the Tukkiewerf Entrance on Hatfield Campus, in the Letlotlo Building Room 1-28 on Groenkloof, in the Tshwelopele Building Room 3-12 on Prinshof and at the Itsoseng Clinic in the Administrative/Academic Building, Ground Floor on Mamelodi Campus. You can pop into these centres to make an appointment but if you are in a psychological emergency phone the UP Careline at 0800 747 747.
The Javett Art Centre: This amazing art gallery is located on the south campus of UP but is accessible from Hatfield campus as well. The centre features incredible artworks from all over South Africa and includes many recognizable pieces. The Javett-UP is free for all university students provided they present a valid student card, the usual price is R150 per person so be sure to take advantage of this perk. A walk through Javett’s beautiful exhibitions is sure to spark creativity and inspiration.
Societies: From religious, to political, to social, there are many societies to choose from at UP. Societies are places to find like-minded individuals and potential friends. Societies will often have booths up where you can ask questions and join.
Tuks FM and PDBY: Tuks FM is UP’s student radio station and was recently named Campus Station of the Year for a record 5th time. PDBY is the campus newspaper where you can get all your latest campus news and read articles from dedicated student journalists. Both these entities are always looking for more volunteers, so why not give it a try?
Lunch-Hour Concerts: Every Thursday afternoon from 12:40 to 13:20 there is a free lunch-hour concert in the Musaion Theatre on Hatfield Campus. There are a wide range of performers, and students from the Department of Performing Arts also have an opportunity to perform as prep for their exam recitals. These concerts are a great experience and introduce the audience to different music genres and cultures.
The Food: Grabbing some lunch from the cafeteria (or any of the wide range of food places on UP campuses), sitting down on the grass and eating in the shade is a must-have ‘campus life’ experience. There are loads of food shops to choose from on UP campuses ranging from healthy to a little unhealthy and from super cheap to a little pricey on a student budget, there are options for everyone.