If you are thinking about applying to university, or are currently busy with tertiary education, then this blog series is for you. For many, including myself at times, high school seemed like a real bore, and sometimes it turned out to be fun. University on the other hand seemed like heaven from the outside looking in but it has challenges of its own.

Going into university looks like it’s so much fun, like you have the freedom to do so much more and the truth is you do, to some extent. However, don’t be fooled by the things you see on TV, because most of the times university life isn’t as lavish and exciting as they make it out to be.

I think the biggest error in our education system is to expect 16 year olds in high school to know what they really want to be when they grow up. I had no idea who I was in high school and the subjects I chose were based on an illusion of who I thought I was. University life is the time to really get to know yourself. Half the people in varsity realise the subjects they did in high school have nothing with what they actually want to do now that they know themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, there are people who know from a young age that they want to be doctors, singers or even dancers. But there is a big a majority that is just going to school because that’s what we are supposed to do. If you told me back then I would be a journalist that loved writing personal stories, I would have laughed in your face. The Busiswa back then wanted to be a political analyst, she also wanted to be a TV presenter/news reader but you see I am painfully shy so there is no way I could ever stand in front of camera every day of my life as a choice.

Amber was also quite shy in high school and doing journalism felt like something she’d never do in this lifetime. She wanted to become a teacher and major in English for high school students, but was rejected when applying. However, in order to do something constructive and meaningful with her life she did journalism and grew to love it.

I didn’t immediately find my footing in varsity, no, no, I struggled for two years straight. You see all the things I took for granted in high school came to haunt me; firstly, no one is there to spoon-feed you. The lecturer is only there to give you the work and how you do that work or whether you submit or not is totally up to you. The work is also way more draining, I don’t know why that is because it’s usually two hours for each subject, and sometimes you attend only a morning class, with no afternoon classes.

So many romanticise the varsity experience so this blog aims to help people who are planning to go into university or college with a bit of guidance, tips and tricks to survive because trust me, you’ll need it.

In coming blogs, we will be delving into the application process of tertiary education, the period before university – when you’re still deciding what you want to do. We will also be sharing what you can choose to do if you decide to take a gap year, like Amber did. We’ll also talk about the expectations, the financial strain, friendships and even mental health that comes with being a student.

University is a place that you can truly thrive and grow. Yes, it can be scary, but that shouldn’t deter you from excelling as I know you can. As long as you do your best, always, you’ll reap the rewards at the end of the day.


Read more here for tips on life after university

Tell us: What are your expectations of university life?