Advice Column, Education, Tween & Teen

Conversations to have with your young adult before University life

By Tracey Terespolsky (English Teacher and Parent at Crawford College Sandton)

As I sit before you on the eve of your departure, I am swamped by a plethora of emotions. You are embarking on such a life changing adventure – one that will shape your life and have a far greater impact on you than anything else that you have experienced to date. To this end, there are some thoughts that I want to share with you that I believe will ease the transition.

There is such a huge gap between the school system and University life. You have been blessed to attend a school where the emphasis has been on forging the students into independent, feisty, free thinking individuals. However, as you enter the portals of the University, the element of personal interaction is diminished to a point where it barely exists. The challenges of “adulting” that you have been chomping at the bit to embrace, are about to become a harsh reality. So, from day one my advice to you is go to your lectures. It may be cool to chill on Campus with friends who are studying different degrees, but once you fall behind, the volume and level of difficulty is such that you can just never catch up. It may be tempting that your lectures are online. Let’s be honest, though, the likelihood of you actually watching those lectures that you have missed, are close to zero!!

Campus life is vibrant. Embrace it fully – join societies that interest you and make an effort to meet other people. It is fantastic that so many of your school mates are going to be there, but part of the University experience is learning to expand your horizons. Sport is such an awesome way to integrate into a new environment so use your sporting prowess to full advantage.

Possibly the best advice that I can give you is to strike a balance in your life. At school, that was pretty easy to achieve. Now, however, with the sheer volume of work, adjusting to living away from home – both from an emotional and a practical point of view – the challenge is both real and daunting. In order to achieve a balance, your organisational skills are going to be tested and need to be on point!! Remember though, that these skills are a work in progress. I am still trying many years later to hone them.

The bottom line is this – you are about to enter a phenomenal phase of your life. You get to test your mettle with regards to living as an adult but the consequences are not nearly as onerous as they become once you enter the world of the working person. Make the most of the incredible opportunities that are about to come your way and, in and amongst all the heightened responsibilities that I have painstakingly pointed out to you, have FUN. This is still a very carefree time of your life. 

Work hard, play hard……. 

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