#FreshersAdvice: Your complete guide to South African Universities, Part I

Everything about starting university is daunting: the size of the campuses, the people, the work and the fees. Luckily, seniors have your back and have been posting advice for first-years to make the university experience a tad easier. We did you a solid and collected and collated all the advice from the various universities. (You’re welcome.)

University of the Free State (UFS)

Attending the majority of your classes is mandatory, no matter how attractive the prospect of actually sleeping and having an active social life.

Just buy your groceries at Pick n Pay. You’ll save more money than if you shop at Food Zone.

At university, students come from different financial backgrounds. Help out if you’re more privileged than others.

Just a quick warning: the dating game is rough in Bloemfontein.

University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN)

It’s not only about attending classes. Attend your tutorials too.

Even if you don’t enjoy rugby, attending the matches is a good way to make new friends.

Attending a South African university means that you will probably experience student protests during your studies. Be prepared!

University of Cape Town (UCT)

One of the first things you need to know about the university is that your lecturers are trying to drown you with readings. You can try to keep up with them but you’ll probably fail.

Thanks to climate change, the weather is unpredictable in general. When it comes to UCT, the weather on one part of the mountain is probably not the same as on the other part of the mountain.

Here’s the thing, it’s probably not a good idea to date a comrade. It’s more drama than you need in your life.

If you’re looking for a student political party to join, avoid the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation – and avoid staying in the cafeteria for too long.

Don’t think you can plagiarise in university (ever), Turnitin knows everything.

The University Currently Known As Rhodes (UCKAR)

According to our resident Rhodent Mishka Wazirdon’t go here. Just pick another university. But if you’re stuck with UCKAR, don’t get fooled into thinking it is an inclusive space.

Don’t leave home without the assurance that you either have a confirmed place to stay or R3 500 for a deposit for digs. You will be stranded.

Also, if you’re a fan of fast food, you have limited options. There isn’t even a McDonalds in Grahamstown.

Explore your sexuality – but prioritise your sexual health.

And remember, it’s all about consent. Don’t rape. (This advice obviously applies everywhere)

University of Fort Hare (UFH)

Trying to study in a computer centre is a waste of time, we all know free WiFi and procrastination are the enemies of productivity. But at least you can catch up on all your favourite soapies on YouTube.

The poolside is a lit spot to hang out on the weekends – just make sure you’re managing your time correctly.

Almost every university has one compulsory (often boring) module. Just pass it, don’t play yourself.

University of Stellenbosch (Stellies)

If you want to flourish academically, just befriend the students who sit at the front of the lecture theatres (they have all the past papers).

Searching for the best pizza in town? Look no further than the local watering hole, Bohemia.

Fitting in – or just getting by – in a majority white Afrikaans residence is tough, but perhaps flossing your superior English will help you.

Good luck first years! May you all flourish, blossom and prosper!