[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Fresh first-year students are easily recognisable by their enthusiasm and eager anticipation of the student experience, which promises an energetic phase of new friends, campus coffee dates, and plenty of society events. Here we break down how you can encourage your child to get involved on campus and during their university experience.
Starting university is indeed all that, but let’s not forget about the influx of essays, assignments, and projects that await. Getting into the actual study mode of things can be quite daunting. Your child is now one of hundreds of students sitting in a lecture hall… and much of his or her success will come down to having the incentive to work hard, and ask for help where needed.
Make sure your child understands that his or her comfort zone might jitter a little at times, and that it’s okay to take some time to adjust to this new chapter. Support your child however you need, but also encourage him or her to test the waters without holding onto your hand (often this is more of a challenge for you, than for your child!).
Each institution has its own way of conducting student orientation. ‘O-Week,’ as it’s often called, is super useful for any first-year student. It’s an organised programme with which new students get a feel for how to navigate around campus, with specific focus on the faculty to which they will belong.
Orientation week includes learning about a university’s principles and values, getting familiar with campus buildings and facilities, as well as learning about certain standard procedures – for example how to take out a book from the library, or where and how to print essays. In addition, O-week leaders are there to answer any course and programme-related questions, as well as general queries (and curiosities) about student life.
Clubs & Societies
Apart from learning all these basics, it’s also the time where students can sign up for university clubs and societies.
For many students, being a part of one or more societies greatly enhances their overall experiences. There is, for example, an abundance of varsity sports clubs and tournaments that contribute to the spirit of a university student body.
Encourage your child to browse through the societies on offer – there is something for everyone! Whether your child is into comic books, spirituality, LGBT rights, green sustainability…. There is something for everyone.
While your child signs up for societies, however, it’s important to remember that each membership gets billed on his or her student account (i.e. signing up for too many could lead to a perpetual dent in your bank account). The best thing to do is consider all the societies that interest him or her most, and see how much time there is left to actually attend events on a regular basis and play an active role within the society’s community.
Caution You might want to remind your kids that some society offerings are big bad wolves. A lot of them are disguised as societies but are just drinking offerings.
Advice & Tips
The busier your child is from the get-go, the easier the separation is for both of you, and the easier the change in mindset from learner-child to student-adult. This will give your child confidence in his or her own abilities to break new ground and claim ‘ownership’ of his or her tertiary environment.
A most valuable piece of advice you can give your child is to try and get into a leadership role, as this can be an essential asset for a future career. These days, being qualified in a certain profession is not always enough to land someone a job. Competition gets fierce, and leadership skills is what may be key in what sets your child apart from the other candidates.
Great ways to get involved in a leadership role are:
- Joining a society where your child thrives and takes on a leadership role
- Volunteering to be a class representative
- Running for SRC (Student Representative Council)
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