Life as a student

New people, new atmosphere, new freedom – university is the best time of your life! But it comes with a new set of challenges too. We’ve put together the most important tips that will help you make the most of your student life.

Your living arrangement

If you’re moving out of the family home then you have three options: joining a residence, student accommodation, or renting a flat.

  • Tips to consider when comparing your options

    • Res is normally gender-specific, whereas student accommodation is mostly gender-mixed.

    • The university runs residences. If you join res, you belong to a house with its own identity, uniform, values, rules and heritage.

    • Student accommodation is also run by the university but is less traditional. It offers affordable, pragmatic accommodation for students on one property. You can stay in a dormitory or a small flat.

    • You can apply to transfer residence and accommodation if you’re not happy where you are, but it’s not always so easy and space is limited. This is why you must do proper research before making a housing decision.

    • You need to maintain good grades to stay in a student residence or student accommodation.

    • Renting a flat offers a lot more freedom and privacy, but you miss out on the university community experience. You can also consider moving into a commune with other students. 

     

Your transport

One of the most exciting parts of student life is having your first car. But whether or not you really need one is questionable. 

  • Things to consider if you don't have a car

    • Residences and student accommodations are normally walking distance from campus. It’s highly likely that you’ll have a bus or shuttle service running between your housing and campus too.

    • Public transport like the Gautrain or MyCiti Bus works out cheaper if you buy monthly packages.

    • Uber and Taxify are reliable services. You can argue that it gets expensive, but so are the overall costs of owning and driving a car.

    • If you don’t own a car but you think you need one, there are different car loan and vehicle finance plans you can look at.

Your money

Now is the perfect time for you to learn the skills of financial planning and management. The sooner you become disciplined with spendings and savings, the easier you are making life for yourself after university. 

  • Three quick tips

    • As a student, your biggest expense will be your tuition fees. If you can’t afford to pay the university directly, you can take out a student loan or apply for a bursary or scholarship.

    • Get a student job, whether you need the extra cash or not. Getting to know the working life is an essential step in growing up, so the sooner you start the better.

    • There are lots of student discount opportunities you can take advantage of. Medical aids, gyms, banks and many forms of entertainment offer student prices.

     

Your academic performance

This is after all the most important part. Getting good grades in university isn't as easy as it is at school. You have to be determined, dedicated and responsible if you want to excel in university. You already know how much money you're spending on being there, now make it count! 

  • Relax and remember these tips

    • Attend your tutor classes, even if they are not compulsory.

    • Keep a good relationship with your lecturers by introducing yourself to them properly and touching base with them occasionally. They are there to help you and will always give you guidance.

    • Make use of campus resources like the library and student counseling.

    • Enjoy your social life but put your studies first. Procrastination is the number one enemy.

    • Remember that running into some tough times is all part of the journey. Believe in yourself. 

     

Your digital life

There is a space for your career in the digital world too. Start building your social capital by getting active on LinkedIn. The sooner you start, the better your profile will grow.

LinkedIn offers a lot of space for learning. Take the time to read articles people in your field are writing, get curious about events (seminars, conferences and society events) happening around you, and be interested in national and international news updates in your industry.

Your social life

The best part of being a student is expanding your social circle. The people that you meet while you're studying all share your interests, and maybe even your dreams too. Be sure to use this time to connect to those around you!

  • A few tips on balancing your social and academic life

    • Sport and recreational groups are healthy ways to spend your time and to meet new people.

    • Study groups and peer tutoring will help you communicate with people that have the same interests as you.

    • Limit your nightlife to two nights out per week so that you don’t cut into study time or burn out.

University goes by a lot quicker than what you think. Work hard, have fun and enjoy preparing yourself for your future career!

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Email us at: 

virtualadviser@absa.co.za