Important Read for first year students

Congratulations for working hard - burning the midnight oil - You've finally made it.  You are now a student at a higher institution of learning - One of your greatest achievements in your lifetime.

You have probably wondered or still wondering what university or college is going to be like? Every student has their own different experiences depending on how they conduct themselves academically or socially.

However, there are basic things that students should always keep in mind in order to enjoy their stay at a college or university.

Surviving the classroom
Your first time in your lecture hall could be somewhat different from your normal classroom during your secondary school. Lecture halls are normally packed by hundreds of students as compared to your 50-pupil classroom that you have been during your time at high school and this could be a new experience to you.

As the classrooms are usually packed with many students - you may not get the attention you would normally get during your high schools. Good news is that many institutions of higher learning offer tutorials that are facilitated by postgraduate students with vast experience not only academically but campus life in general.

During tutorials - the number of students is usually very small and is the perfect opportunity to learn more from your peers. Academics are important but it is advisable to make new social connections, and would realise the class becomes more exciting.

It is also advisable to make contact with at least two or three students from each of your classes. This way, you can exchange notes to maximize information intake, and have a back-up plan if you become ill or for some other reason can't make it to a lecture. And of course, when exam time comes you will find yourself with a network of support - whether this means getting help with concepts you're having difficulty grasping, or being able to meet up when the need arises.

Campus Life

Campus is an exciting place to be with lots of activities taking place - be it academically or extra-mural. Many people would be the same age as you some with similar interests and you could make new friends too.

Joining a social club or study group presents an opportunity of meeting new friends of which some could be your life-long friends or at least your future career peers. Societies and formations are perfect i helping you settle on campus but you may want to do a little bit of research so that you make an informed decision based on what you want as a person.
You may also start experiencing some pressure of being sexual active. If that happens

And also, remember that you will probably end up living with so many other students - so you should adjust to communal living. Some networks during your stay could be useful in helping you study hard or dealing with relationship problems.

Social Survival

As mentioned earlier, there are many ways to meet new friends. This is an opportunity to meet new friends and you will have to choose wisely as people often have different tastes.

You will never again have the same opportunity to meet such a great number of friends than you will have at university or college.

Early days might not be easy for you to but there are many student formations that range from sports, religion, and social clubs. Most universities also host welcome event commonly known as 'fresher ball'

In your social life, there are choices to be made - be it in an intimate relationship and so on. You will find that most people end up being in relationships because of pressure from the peers. Some turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with challenges that come with being distant from your home. In all these, you still have to act responsibly for you to enjoy your time as a student.

When you decide to being in a relationship you MUST know that you are likely going to be sexual active. There are preventative methods that you have to know about.

  • Only engage on sexual activities if you feel ready to do so
  • Insist on using a condom with your partner.
  • For male students, you may also consider getting circumcised as you will have ample of time and opportunity  to heal and focus on your studies
  • Institutions of higher learning have a student counselling programme on campus and may find out more on how to deal with relationships, alcohol and drugs.

Managing Finances

Many students often find difficulties in managing their finances. This is also one aspect of your stay at university or college that gets too tricky at times. You will have to live within your means or what your parents/guardians can provide. Some students also find some part-time job that helps fund their studies of living expenses near campus. If you're lucky to get a part-time job you should always remember that your school work remains a priority. Juggling school and work can be a bit stressful at times, so if you feel it is too much to handle, you may want to do yourself a favour and stick to your studies.

During your stay on campus, you may have financial difficulties. Some students end up being in relationships with older men - Sugar Daddies for them to benefit financially. This is something you don't want to do - it can jeopardise and your future. Your career is more important and it should remain your major focus during your stay on campus.
Your university years will probably be the most memorable years of your life so try to enjoy every aspect campus life can offer.

About Scrutinize

Scrutinize is a public health campaign which encourages the Youth to "scrutinize" or understand their risk of HIV infection in relation to multiple concurrent partners, correct and consistent condom use, transactional sex (sex for money), intergenerational sex (sugar daddies) and alcohol use.

Scrutinize is a national campaign being undertaken by the JHU Program in South Africa and funded by USAID/PEPFAR.