Free stock photo of apple, iphone, books, desk Are you excited? Well, you should be. It’s the start of a new journey. The gap between school and university is vast. The thought of going to varsity for the first time can be daunting. You don’t know what to expect. It’s a whole new environment. There’s nothing to stress and worry about. Having fears is normal and you’re not alone. But take your mind off that because your experience will be much better than you expect. Varsity’s a place where you can be whoever you want to be. This is a unique season in every student’s life. For many this is one of the best experiences. It might even be more nerve-wracking if you’re going to study in a different city or province. You have to think about books, a new environment, accommodation, finances and the worse of all, meeting new people. It’s always wise to prepare yourself before heading down to varsity. Some of you’ll be living on your own and even commuting alone. This is quite a big step to take. Therefore you have to be ready for what’s coming. Use these last few days before classes start to get everything in order. Also take some time to relax and spend time with your loved times. Here are a few tips on how to get yourself ready for your new journey. Learn to cook If you can’t already do this, now’s a good time to learn. This is a powerful tool that everyone someday should master. Getting takeaways for every meal won’t work with your student budget. Also, it’s not healthy. Ask your parents or any other family members to show and teach you how to cook. Start with small easy-to-make meals first. Who knows, it might be easier than what you’ve imagined. At varsity you don’t want to depend on others, therefore learning as early as possible is essential. Set a budget Firstly, work out exactly what you’ll be needing on a monthly basis and then create a budget from that. This is every student’s weak point and downfall as they don’t know how to budget and for what. You need to budget for food, transport, toiletries, extra study essentials, entertainment and the list goes on. Do your best and try to stick within that budget. If you get an allowance from your parents or bursary at the start of each term, it can look like a lot of money at first. But making it across the month can be quite a story if you don’t budget. This can also be a great way to keep tabs on your cash. That way you’ll know how much is going out and coming in. Learn to drive If you want to be independent and not on your parents’ necks all the time, then you should learn to drive. Especially if you’re not going to stay in the university residence. You don’t have to buy an expensive car now. Look how you can buy a pre-owned car and whether you can afford it. Ask your parents to help you out and maybe come to an agreement that you’ll pay them back. Also, when applying for a job, most companies require a driver's licence. Having one will enable you to apply for a variety of jobs. You can also wave goodbye to public transport. No more waiting long hours for a delayed train or full bus. Get ahead with studying You’ll normally have to collect your textbooks and study guides before class starts. This will be a great way to get ahead and start reading through your notes. If you’re a first-year student then this will help you understand the course better and you’ll know what to expect. You can take 15 minutes to half an hour every day to read through notes. This is also a great way to start making your own notes from textbooks. Then you don’t have to spend time doing that during classes. Reading notes or studying in advance will also help you with your heavy workload. You’ll make friends Stop worrying about making friends or getting to know people. Most people in their first year don’t know anyone. Start by greeting or talking to your fellow classmates. You must also put yourself where potential friends are, like the cafeteria or library. You can also join study groups and any other social clubs on campus. Make plans and keep hanging out with the people you click with. Socialising is an important part of varsity life and sets you up for networking. Remember, things won’t work out and you won’t get along with everyone. Just give it time. Make sure you have everything together. From notebooks, backpack and stationery to textbooks. You should get excited as you’ll be having the time of your life.