1st Years streaming into the bib Photo: Provided

Surviving O-Week

BY DOMINIQUE VERSTER

Let’s face it ‒ as first years, we all get caught up in anticipation of O-week. Whether this be through excitement or angst, our minds are preoccupied with what is to come and how to approach it.  As you arrive in Stellenbosch, it’s difficult to process the amount of new people, places and babes wandering around every corner of town. However, let this guide put your frazzled mind at ease and help you orientate yourself in the seemingly expansive realm of Stellies students.

First and foremost, all faculty buildings and most of the university’s facilities can be found using google maps. This is a lifesaver when you are running late for a program during O-week as well as when you start to settle into the academic term. Also keep a lookout for welcoming ambassadors around Admin B and along Victoria road. They are found wearing yellow T-shirts and red caps, and are well informed on different courses, their corresponding venues as well as university facilities. 

This being said, your orientation program will be keeping you on your feet 24/7. It’s hot in Stellenbosch during the summer and you’ll be walking measurable distances around campus. Keep water with you at all times, wear sunblock and utilise your comfiest shoes. If, at any point, you feel unsafe on campus, you can call campus security to escort you back to safety at 021 808 2848. You can also contact them in order to report any security incidents.

Even with all the information booklets and emails, admin during O-week can be intimidating. To clarify any confusion that you may have, use your mentor. They are paid to help you make sense of all the systems, programs and admin that you need to complete for the semester. It seriously makes life easier, so please don’t feel shy. Don’t skip out on orientation programs either, as they are paramount to becoming accustomed to varsity life. Without them you’ll be wandering around dazed and confused during the first week of the semester, rather than easing yourself into your introductory lessons. Trust me on this one.

During the program, get as involved as possible. This cannot be stressed enough. First year is the time to try new and different things, while your workload is most manageable. You’ll make friends and have something to put on your CV, while also having loads of fun. There are many societies and committees to sign up for, and I can assure you that at least one of them will tickle your fancy. Try something different and you may just discover an unexpected passion. By second and third year, life gets hectic and you might not have time to get around to everything. Use your first year wisely.

Now is the time to let your freak-flag fly. Diversity adds richness and character to the Maties community. We love to celebrate our differences so don’t feel like you need to conform to those around you. Find yourself, try new things and embrace the strange. Not only can you blossom and shine as an individual, your weird little light will tell your fellow weirdos where to find you. 

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