College Crisis pg1

Freaking out instead of having fun? Here’s how to deal with first-year angst.

You’ve been looking forward to this forever – no more horrid school uniform, annoying curfew and parents on your case about everything. Now, finally, you are free to be the adult you know you are… except that this building’s numbering system makes no sense at all, your work load for the term is insane, and – though you wouldn’t admit to anyone – you really miss your mom. Starting varsity or tech is an exciting, challenging and pretty terrifying time. Here, Birgit Schreiber, psychologist and director of the Centre for Student Support Services at the University of the Western Cape gives some tips on how to cope.

Am I Doing The Right Course? Maybe, maybe not. It’s next to impossible knowing, definitively, at age 19 whether you are on the right career path. Some people don’t know at 45 and, as the Baz Luhrman, song, Sunscreen, goes, some of the most interesting people never know. The good news is that nothing is carved in stone, and most tertiary institutions are really accommodating when it comes to changing courses. And just because you got the grades to get in to a particular course (and your dad really wants you to be a surgeon/actuary/advocate) does not necessarily mean you should be there.

Says Birgit, ‘Insecurity is a common concern. Most students take four or five years to complete a degree because they change subjects and majors. This is normal, and we encourage students to find a good "fit" with their courses and programmes. This good fit sometimes changes as the student develops personally and gets shaped by his/her experiences and learning at the institution.’ If you think you’re on the wrong track, speak to a university counsellor who will be able to advise you and help you make the right decision. Your dad will get over it.

Was Res The Right Option?
This Workload Is Insane – How Am I Going To Cope?
Am I Going To Be Able To Stick To My Budget?
I Don’t Know Anybody Here – How Am I Going To Make Friends?