You are no longer a secondary student and have started a new chapter of your life. You are a university student. However, you are wondering what university life really looks like; on one side you are excited, but on the other, you are a little anxious. You have heard so many things about university life you do not even know how to build your own opinion. Between stereotypes, advice from parents and friends, you are lost.
Here are 10 things that will help you to know what university life really looks like and how you could best embrace it:
1. You are now an adult
Welcome to a new life where you have to know how to manage and save money. To feed yourself is the first priority if you want to survive. Two students with a coordinating point of view shared with us their experiences. Belinda Uwase said “I have been told that hunger is a very big problem at university but what I found is that you have to know how to manage yourself and your money.”
Patrick Sibomana advised fresh university students that if there is any activity that you have done in the “année blanche” (gap year), better save the money you have got – it will help you in the wilderness season.
A glance in a new world, where no one is walking behind you to control each of your moves. “no more uniform, you can wear whatever you want, have any type of braids or hairstyle; said a second year student. However, decency will always come in handy.
Freedom comes with responsibility, acknowledged a first year student. “I do not think that a student fails because they are not intelligent, I think they fail because they are not well organised; you have to know how to use your time and know what your priority is.” Joining university is a sign that you’ve come of age and this comes with a sense of responsibility to your community and country. So you should be mindful of the impact of your actions to yourself and those around you.
4. Do not isolate yourself from others, make new friends
If you are a new varsity student chances are that you have never studied in a boarding school and have never cohabited with people other than your family. Reine Irakoze advises anyone in that kind of situation to embrace their new experience and stay open minded. Such a student should live on campus, if possible, because that’s where you will meet hundreds of personalities whom you’ll learn from and live with,” she says. “This new experience will teach you how to handle your new life.”
5. Know to relax
It is Friday, it was an exhausting week and you are asking yourself what you should do to relax. Yet the pandemic has changed many things in society. For instance, it has forced the government to prohibit social entertainment activities. Still, there is always an opportunity to wind down. UR-Huye Campus offers a diversity of sports and other extracurricular activities in which you could flourish.
6. Do not miss the first week of the academic year
The induction week is a week where new students get to know every aspect of the university, rules and laws, and get familiar with the new environment. Patrick Sibomana, a student in second year, says missing two days of the induction week cost him Rwf4000 as he didn’t know that delaying to return a book to the library came with a fine.
7. The first restaurant in which you enter in is not supposed to be your last destination
More than 10 restaurants offer their services within or around UR-Huye campus with diverse menus. We recommend that you try several restaurants before you settle with any. “I am still searching for a restaurant that meets my taste, “said a first year student that has lived on the campus for a month now.
8. Spiritual life
According to your spiritual conviction, Huye town offers a diversity of faith-based organizations. At Mamba, you will find the university Catholic Church, in town you will find the Zion Temple and Anglican churches, close to the campus, you will find a mosque and the 7th day Adventist church, to mention a few.
9. Discover and grow your talent
Every year, the University of Rwanda welcomes thousands of students with different personalities. Are you an aspiring singer, dancer, actor, poet, an athlete, or writer? Worry not. There are many students like you who have discovered their talent while at UR and have gone on to put it to good use. Connect with students with common interests and you will learn a lot from them. Bottom line is, don’t shy away from discovering and harnessing your talent; yes, even on campus. Also, make use of the Office of Career Guidance and employability Services. They can offer you good advice.
10. Job opportunity/income-generating activity
Too often students tend to get too busy with their studies and barely think about work. Some only start to pay attention to trends in the labor market when they are close to graduation. But gone are the days when graduation came with instant employment opportunities. To stand a chance in the world of labor after graduation you need to start engaging and contributing in the labor market in one way or another much earlier. Some students are part-time employees too, others even juggle between studies and work on a full-time basis.
This helps them to cater for their needs and to save for the future. Even if it means volunteering for a few hours in a week or a month in the industry, just do it. It will equip you with vital experience which will come in handy upon graduation.
You could also use their skills to serve other students and other members of the university community. For instance, you can do manicure and pedicure, you can write articles for newspapers, or engage in any other small business.
Anything legal that can earn you an income without disrupting your studies is worth trying out. It is never too early to make money, is it?