Dear Fresher - The truth about university from your older experienced "brother"

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You have just finished high school with awesome marks, your future is looking bright. You got accepted by your first choice university and may have even received an entrance scholarship, some of you may even be lucky enough to get bursaries or NSFAS funding. You don’t know it yet but you are entering into a battlefield which has claimed the lives of many a warrior, a battlefield that’s crushed the dreams of many top students. It’s not obvious at the beginning but it will become obvious at the end of the year when dpr’s come out that university is a war zone, a beautiful undercover war zone with many distractions.

Are you ready for the academic battlefield freshers

At the beginning of your second year if you are lucky and hardworking enough to make it you will notice missing faces in your classes or res, in res you will think that people just moved off-campus not knowing that they have become yet another victim in the shootout between students and varsity education. University is not for the faint hearted, its tests you on all frontiers. Many students are not mentally prepared for the shift between high school and university. Every year as a student you hear about students committing suicide at the end of the year around exams or around the time results come out. You realize that it’s tough in university, it’s a stressful environment.

Most people who you start university with will not finish in the minimum time it takes to get the degree, some will drop out for financial reasons, some will get academically excluded, others will change to other courses, others will take an extra year or two to graduate because they have failed too many courses or courses that are prerequisites for others. We all know people who went to university a long time ago and still have not graduated because university is real hey, it’s tough out there.

Some faculties with the highest exclusion rates are EBE and Science faculties, these faculties take the most victims, and it’s the areas where they say we have shortages in the country. These are faculties where you have to be good at mathematics and physics, but being good in high school is no guarantee for success, you have to work hard and smart as well when you get to university. I will attach a link to a study that was done at UCT about the low graduations rates and exclusion in three faculties, namely, EBE, Commerce and science faculties, check it out here. Please do read it if you are interested in such. If you need further proof of how real this war is you just need to go to the NSFAS site and see of the thousands and thousands of people that have been funded since the beginning of NSFAS funding, how many people have actually graduated or completed their studies, the numbers are kind of depressing hey, you can go see those stats in the NSFAS faq here.

University is the most exciting time of a young person’s life, and it should be enjoyed but know that it’s a war out there and you have to be prepared to fight for your future and get what you want. Have fun but prioritize, don’t forget what you went to university for. The goal is to chow tertiary education and get that degree. Do not be another victim, you are capable warriors, you have made it in, now stay in and conquer.

Read Part II

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