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Varsity Orientation Part I

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Varsity Orientation – plenty of info, plenty of fun, and seriously worth it. In three parts, Jean breaks down everything you need to know about Varsity Orientation.

Varsity Orientation at Wits

Hi, I’m Jean… and I like to party.

No but seriously, I like to party. I love adrenaline and have come to the realization that, contrary to what any parent would hope for in their child, the more I party, the better my marks and results in almost every facet of my life. It is this addiction which has lead me to experience the student life of many of South Africa’s top varsities, more notably in their respective orientation weeks.

Before I proceed, I’d like to just give a general context of why I suffer ridiculous amounts of FOMO (fear of missing out – for the newbies). I’m a Wits student and have been for the last three years. I’m currently studying BCom PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) and going into my final year. I’m one of four people in the whole varsity doing this degree, as opposed to more or less 150 students that do this degree at UCT… lovely. As I am so isolated, I have found that the best way of keeping preoccupied as a student is making friends in almost every sphere of varsity. This ranges from every faculty to sports, perhaps the drama and music departments, hell even rock climbing club. Without going into too much of a motivational speech about how to be a student – because everyone discovers it in their own way – there are times when this is just not enough and one must broaden one’s social horizons.

For me at Wits this has been a particularly prominent stumbling block as the varsity is so isolated from its residential life, coupled with the fact that many students still live at home. ‘Student life’ as it were is seriously muted, resulting in an almost business or work orientated stigma. Big words I know, but the bottom line is that for me it has felt like a job, not like a varsity.

As my social fate would have it, it consequently just so happens that each year of varsity I have acclimatized myself with the three different O-weeks (orientation weeks) of WitsTuks and UCT, respectively to get that bit of freedom and truly experience all the different cultures that the varsities of SA have to offer.

I mentioned previously that Wits feels like going to work every day. Joburg is big, very big, so naturally there are no central party places where you can crawl from place to place if you are unfamiliar with the city. In a way this reflects on the varsities (for example, WitsUJ, and other colleges in Jozi). However, this is not always a bad thing as I have discovered in all my years at Wits as it teaches you independence and certainly serves as a motivation to find the party yourself, none more so apparent than in O Week. Let’s give credit where credit is due though, because when Wits does throw a party, it does so with a certain characteristic which others just cannot truly match.

R1 vodka shots at Vodka Party on the main campus of Wits kicks O-Week off with a bang! Most of the O-week is organized by “Silly Buggers”, the student body of Wits dedicated to partying. They organize parties, VIP entrances and pub crawls as well as party bus rides throughout the year so my advice would be to jump on that train as soon as possible. The parties at Wits are set and standard, massive crowds, booze sponsored by SAB and with the backdrop of the Jozi skyline behind, you get the real feeling of SA. As far as I can tell it’s the closest to home in terms of the SA political and ethnic landscape so it provides a very mixed vibe, one that is found only in Jozi.

Orientation Agenda

When the varsity isn’t the main attraction, Wits students during O-week will make parties of their own. This is the basic itinerary:

Monday – Party at Wits (Headed by sports council)

Tuesday – Usually another Wits party by SRC

Wednesday – People spread off into MelvilleTeasersNewtown and Jolly Cools/Rodgers – All typically Joburg orientated vibes offering bar scenes as well as heavy trance and dub step in Newtown and club scenes in Manhattans.

Thursday – This year was all about Tiger Tiger and Avastar night clubs although the later was closed down. There is also a night market at Art on Mainin town once a month which I would seriously recommend to all the hipsters out there

Friday – Greenside (For those who are unfamiliar, a massive assortment of clubs, bars and restaurants such as Ginthe OfficeMama’sAndicio’s Pizzeria -open 24 hours – Tokyo sky)

Saturday – Food market for breakfast, Newtown in Greenside and my personal favourite Colony Arms…as well as BallbreakersBrazen HeadThe BarronGrate Dane’sThe Doors Rock Club and many more

Sunday – Jolly RogersCool
These are all the places I have been to and would recommend if there doesn’t seem to be a Wits party as such happening on that day. It also gives you the chance to meet people from other varsities and make friends with people of all different backgrounds. Joburg is all about who you know, it’s a big place but seriously fulfilling in terms of being underground and full of life.

As I’ve stated before, it’s near on impossible to all be in the same place at once in Joburg and during Wits O-Week as the city is so spread out. Someone might be partying it up at wild waters and H2O while others might be in a shabeen in Soweto, it just depends on your flavour. Words of caution though; designate drivers as the taxi services are not fantastic.

Head on over to Part 2![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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