Matrics of 2020, the time has finally arrived. You endured online learning, you got through the exam paper leaks – heck, you survived a whole global pandemic. The only thing left to do was face your exam results. Now that they're out, you can (hopefully) put your schooling career behind you.
A whole new world awaits you at university! Starting varsity is an exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming. There is a lot that needs to be sorted out from the time you receive your matric results up until your first day of classes. Luckily, we’ve put together a guide of everything you’ll need to organize, so you can enjoy the student experience without any of the stress.
Accept your university’s offer to study
You’ve received your results, but still haven’t heard from any universities? Don’t panic! The academic year for most varsities will commence from March to mid-April. This means you should know pretty soon after receiving your marks if your application was successful or not. Just breathe, and give it a few days.
Your final acceptance will probably come in the form of an email or letter. Once your university has made you an unconditional offer to study, you need to accept that offer. It’s also a good idea to familiarise yourself with important dates like registration, orientation, and the first day of classes. Just like that – your fate it sealed! You’re officially ready to start this new, exciting chapter.
Secure your accommodation
Now that you’ve got that sweet, sweet acceptance, you can finally confirm your accommodation. No matter if you’re staying on-campus in a university res, or off-campus in private accommodation, or even in a digs with a few mates – you need to finalise where you’ll be living before you get there. You will also need to check what your accommodation provides and what facilities they have in order to plan exactly what you need.
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Decide what to take with you
Once you know exactly what your accommodation provides, you will be able to make a list of all that you need to bring to university. Some essentials that you may need are: bedding, towels, basic toiletries, a laptop, medication, a first aid kit, clothes, appliances, stationery and books.
It’s a good idea to decide what you already have and what you will need to purchase. A pro tip is that the people who stayed in your accommodation previously may be selling some of their things – this means you can buy items at a cheaper price that you know will fit in your accommodation.
Plan your finances
The word ‘budget’ might trigger you and take you back to the boring days of Business lessons, but honestly, it’s still the best way to plan and manage your finances. Your list of what you’ll need to bring to varsity, should give you a good starting point of what you need to buy and how much it will cost.
Another cost you’ll have to calculate is transport, especially if you’re moving to a university in another part of the country. There may also be other admin costs you need to consider, like some registration fees. Finally, always remember to put aside a little extra money in case there’s any unforeseen expenses you need to cover once you get to university.
Open a student bank account
Students have a reputation for always being broke, but with the right bank account you don’t need to be. Most major banks like FNB, Absa, Standard Bank, Nedbank and Investec offer student bank account options. Student accounts are generally offered to young adults aged 18-25, who are studying towards a degree or diploma.
These accounts offer low monthly fees (ranging from R0-R10) and are designed to introduce students to the basics of banking. Student accounts also come with great perks like promotional offers, product discounts, free data, food vouchers, and free or discounted subscriptions.
Sort out your transport
If you’re moving to a university in another part of the country, you will need to consider how you’re going to get yourself and all your belongings to your accommodation. Whether you’re flying, driving, or taking the bus, there’s a few factors you need to think about when planning your transport.
One factor is the number of belongings you have to move. Sometimes buying items you need once you are already at your new university is easier than lugging them all the way from your hometown. You will also need to determine whether or not you’ll need help from other people (like your parents) to transport your things.
Learn a few essential skills
Living by yourself can bring some unique challenges… like doing your own laundry. The best way to combat these obstacles is to learn some basic household skills like how to do the laundry, clean, sew on a button, and even change a tyre.
Perhaps the most important of these skills is cooking. Don’t let the first time you attempt to cook anything other than toast be at university. Overcome the peril that is cooking for yourself, by simply learning how to cook a few basic meals before you arrive at your new accommodation.
Get used to your own company
Student life can be filled with lectures, social events, clubs and societies… But it can also be lonely. Even if you’re living with other people, you’re likely to spend most nights alone in your room. University will probably also be the first time you’re living away from home, so the feeling of isolation can really compound.
But the truth is, time alone is sacred – you can do anything you like and no one can tell you otherwise. Use this time for selfcare, workouts, videocalls, reading, online shopping, learning new skills, finding new music, doing TikTok challenges, and of course, watching Netflix.
Connect with your university on social media
Before actually heading off to varsity, why not start following your university on social media. You’ll be able to keep up to date with all the latest events and relevant information you might need. You can also follow your university’s SRC or RAG accounts to keep informed about student affairs.
You’ll meet a lot of new people at university. Find the ones you have something in common with by following clubs and societies you’re interested in, and connecting with people there.
The thought of starting university can bring about feelings of uncertainty and doubt. You’re about to move away from all that’s familiar. You will meet new people, experience new things, and discover new things about yourself.
It’s up to you to make the most of your university experience, and not get bogged down by all the little details. Plus, you have these tips to help guide you, and make your transition from home to university as smooth as possible. So, what are you waiting for? A whole new chapter of your life awaits!