First year university: How to flourish when you’re away from home

January 19, 2021

Starting university is an exciting time. It can also be a bit terrifying. Especially if you’re moving to a new city and don’t know exactly what to expect.

Our team at The Fields in Hatfield works hard to create a great living space in which students can thrive. We’ve chatted to countless students over the years, enquiring about their hopes and fears. After all, knowing what our residents need helps us maintain a consistently high level of hospitality.

We thought it would be useful to share these insights to help first year students find their feet.

Enjoy the unexpected

If you’re moving to a new city to study, you’ve probably done quite a bit of homework. You’ve looked up transport routes. You know which gym you want to join. You’ve probably asked around about the best restaurants.

But you can’t know everything ahead of time. And that’s fine! Being a student is all about new experiences and discovering new things.

Online classes are amazing (sometimes)

Want to deepen your understanding of your field? Or get some background knowledge before classes start? There are plenty of great, free online lectures that can expand your understanding of your field of study – and introduce you to new interests.

That said, be sure to bear in mind two things. First, not all online classes are created equal. YouTube is a minefield of misinformation. Stick to reputable online lectures, such as those in the Yale Open Courses series.

Second, online resources can supplement your real-life classes. They shouldn’t replace them. Follow your lecturer’s lead and apply yourself to the coursework you’re given in class. If you do that, then additional online resources can help enrich your understanding.

Take some personal time

Don’t burn yourself out. That’s not an excuse to slack. But if you don’t give yourself a chance to recuperate, you won’t get the most out of your studies.

Finding the right work-life balance isn’t easy, but it’s important.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you find yourself struggling at any time during your studies, be assured you’re not the only one. Like you, everyone else is doing a good job of hiding it.

Enhance your organisational skills

You’ll become a much more effective student if you work on developing good organisational habits. Find a system that helps you manage overlapping deadlines and processing large amounts of information. It’s a skill that will serve you well for the rest of your life.

Work on the craft of writing

Learning to write clearly and effectively is one of the most important skills a budding academic can acquire.

Writing is a craft. Anyone can write well, but it takes practice and attention. Ask your lecturers to point you towards a good guide.

A home away from home

The Fields is Pretoria’s student development designed especially with the needs of students in mind. We understand that you can’t reduce the student experience to any one simple thing – and that each of us is different. That’s why we’re so focused on providing a safe, secure, fun environment for students to flourish on their own terms.

We have a range of apartments to suit every student’s taste, from bachelor apartments to three bedroom flats, furnished or unfurnished.

We want you to keep learning and growing. That’s why there’s uncapped free WiFi and dedicated facilities especially designed to help students work effectively.

Find out more about what makes The Fields your home away from home in Pretoria.

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