Eusebius McKaiser’s 13 tips for first-year students
1. Join a debate club. Participate actively in extramural activities. Build an all rounder profile and CV. 2. READ for your degree. Don't rely on lecture notes as your primary study or research material for exams or term essays. 3. Do NOT be shy to put up your hand in lectures to ask for clarification or to engage lecturers critically even if others roll their eyes. 4. University and other tertiary institutions can be scary, alien, lonely environments. Do not panic if you struggle in first year. Reach out for help early. 5. How you finish a degree matters more than how you start it. Don't despair poor first year marks. Aim to improve every year. 6. Controversial but a deep belief I hold: choose subjects that turn you on. Don't try guess what's employability maximising. 7. Being nerdish is cool. Don't laugh with peers who say: "50% is a pass. 51% means you neglected friends". No no no. 8. I got my degrees with distinction. Brag about excellence. Don't only celebrate winning drinking competitions (though do brag about that too if you're at Rhodes) 9. Take risks, have fun and experiment. Kiss a boy, rugby lad. Walk barefoot, head girl. 10. Tertiary institutional experiences are about more than academia: they are spaces where you can question your identity, beliefs, values. But "free at last" doesn't mean implode. Still, enjoy critical self-examination. 11. Even distinctions don't guarantee employment. Build relationships widely. They are crucial after graduation. Boring academics call it "social capital". Develop plenty of it. 12. Don't be afraid of failure. It's how you respond that matters; not having a student life devoid of anxiety, self-doubt, set-backs. The world remembers the output, not the back story. 13. It's one of the most beautiful and privileged times of your life – enjoy it.