Five things our parents wish they knew before they started university


For many of us, getting the odd lecture or pep talk on life experience is to be expected when you have parents who care. Now that you’ve finished grade 12, you might find that they’ve taken to sharing even more of what they’ve learned over the years. Whilst you might wonder how this applies to you getting a degree or diploma, we recommend that you hear them out.

This is because they’ve most likely walked the path as a university student long before. As a result, their insights and experiences could save you from a few pitfalls that they may have had to learn the hard way. Whether you’ve got your heart set on a Bachelors degree or a higher certificate via part-time study, a few pearls of wisdom will go a long way. Here’s what our parents wish they had known before they started university.

It’s okay to change your mind

Beyond the classroom you’ll come to learn about the world around you, your chosen industry and of course yourself. You will form bonds with people and discover a few of the challenges that come with university student life. There might even be disappointments and heart break along the way but these will be some of the best years of your life. Enjoy them and be open to what comes next.

All-nighters aren’t as fun as they are on TV

If there’s one thing we want you to know from the outset, it’s that pulling an all-nighter is seldom as great as it seems in the movies. That’s okay, they’re still important and at times, they’re unavoidable. For the most part, you can limit the need for them by managing your time effectively and getting enough sleep. Drawing up a study schedule will let you complete your assignments and exam prep before you have to burn that midnight oil.

Don’t miss lectures if you don’t have to

Even though you might want to, don’t be tempted to stay home and binge watch your favourite series. Good attendance yields good results. It also helps you get to know your class and your lecturer well enough so that you can ask important questions. These will help you get higher marks, ace your exams and graduate.

Your friends are a sign of your future

University is a time where many can get caught up in wanting to be “cool.” This often means falling into the wrong crowd and letting partying overtake why you’re really there; to get an education. We suggest eliminating toxic friends who are bad influences. These kinds of people only bring you down and could cost you everything you’re working so hard for. Choose friends who want to see you be your best self. The ones who encourage healthy, positive behaviours and celebrate your successes. These are true friends who will stick with you for life.

Join us at The IIE’s Varsity College

At The IIE’s Varsity College, our state-of-the-art campuses and expert lecturers give you the opportunity to live your best student life. Our New World thinking prepares you for the challenges of any industry whilst making you more employable. For more the range of IIE programmes you can study with us, please click here.

Varsity College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE). South Africa’s leading private higher education provider that’s registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training, and accredited by the British Accreditation Council (BAC).

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