A Different Freshman

By on August 10, 2015

A few days back, Ugandans on Twitter (UOT) embarked on a Trending Topic that intrigued me. It had something to do with advising the University freshmen on how to survive their time on campus. The advice ranged from constructive and academic tit bits to hilarious and comical pieces of advice all meant to show the freshers that University is a whole new ball game. There were folks talking about how one can pass exams and there were folks sharing tips on how to get with seniors.

On a number of occasions, UOT have been quiet helpful and this was one of the numerous instances where one could actually sit back, read through the Tweets and emerge with some worthwhile advice for a budding freshman.

As someone who was once a freshman at the University, I figured I owed it to myself to say a thing or two. While I had been indisposed during the hashtag madness, I thought it would be wise to share my simple advice in this blog post, seeing as the freshmen will be reporting at the end of this week – or there about.

Allow me therefore to indulge the freshmen (and all those interested) in some advice I think might be useful during your stay at the University.

It’s really no big deal you know

It may be so that you are the first person from your sub county to make it to the University. It may even be so that you are the first person in your lineage to be called a campuser. You are the first person in your entire clan to walk through the gates of a University not on a tour but as a student. However, this should not get to your head one single bit. Getting into campus should never be looked at as an ‘arrival’ of sorts. As a matter of fact, joining Campus should be seen as the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end. Your days as a high school student are now in the past and as much as many of your friends have not made it thus far, remember that you still have a long way to go. So before you begin giving your parents a deaf ear and being all bossy and arrogant, remember that many before you have been to the same Campus and many after you will go through the same campus. Calm down and don’t grow a big head.

Makerere-UniversityMany before you, many after you

Don’t Lose Focus!

Most people will admit that their time at the University marks a time when they thoroughly enjoyed their lives. It is at the University that they met their current partners (main and side), it is at Campus that they were able to party like there would never be a tomorrow. It was at Campus that they were able to fleece unsuspecting relatives for colossal sums of money week after week in the name of trips, handouts and other bizarre University expenses. However, be not deceived that the target has changed from the time you were in High School.

Back at High School, your parents demanded that you pass and they might have lashed you every now and again – as a kind reminder of what you are supposed to be doing at school. They may not be able to lash you at Campus because you have developed scary muscles, have a huge voice and lose your temper a little too often but their expectations have never wavered. They still expect you to pass your exams. The freedom you get while at the University has to be repaid in responsibility and meeting higher expectations. The focus when you enter the University is to pass and get out in once successful piece; let that focus not get drowned by the several indecent proposals that come your way in Campus. And trust me – there will be many of those.


Don’t be the kind that will regret your stay at the University

Tuition money is cursed!

On a number of occasions, campusers have been faced with a huge glaring temptation of using their tuition fees for otherwise lucrative projects, only to end up staring financial woes in the face. Most University courses will cost an arm and a leg in terms of tuition and this means that every once in a while a campuser will have a substantial amount of money in their possession, but meant for tuition. Before you think of using your tuition fees for a ‘business’, hanging out or for sports betting, remember that money intended for education is usually cursed. The moment you decided to use your tuition money for anything other than its intention, prepare to fight a battle that will see you sweat until the very last minute before the deadline. On some occasions if the gods are very mad with you, there will be a missed exam because of failure to pay in time. To avoid all these issues, pay your tuition diligently and in time. Never think twice about it.

Don’t give your parents a premature heart attack by spending the money and then calling them up hours to the deadline seeking redemption. Never use tuition money for anything other than its intended purpose.

BiggeThere was a guy called Biggie Smalls, he spoke the truth!

Live your life – not anyone else’s

It is likely that many of your fellow freshmen will join the university with styled up lives, modern day outfits and basically the most up-to-date fashion sense. If you have grown up in a humble home where the only chance you had to get new clothing was Christmas time and/or your birthday, do not suddenly become this fashion guru purchasing all the latest outfits with reckless abandon. As people say quite a lot on social media, ‘stick to your lane’. Some of the people you want to compete with come from well-to-do families and have grown up wearing an article of clothing no more than twice in a six month period.

You on the other hand have grown up knowing that your Sunday best outift only comes out on special sundays while the other 4 dresses are juggled across a two week period.

Do you and let them do them.

If you really must get in sync with some of the latest trends, make sure they do not eat massively into your budget for pocket money because unless you have a source of income while at the University, you can be sure that you will end up living the saddest and most pathetic life simply because of the decisions you makes.

FreshThe transformation will be there

Just keep it together

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the same manner in which you were excited about joining A level is nearly the same manner in which your excitement for joining campus will come. However, just like in ‘A’ level, there will be those who pass, those who fail and those who regret the decisions they make while at the University. As a freshman, you have to enjoy your time at the University because as I already mentioned this will be the most memorable time of your life. However, do so with extreme calculation, resolve and maturity.

There is nothing very special about joining the University; thousands of jobless and hopeless University graduates will be walking the streets after you are long gone, just as thousands were already on the streets before you came. However, there is also nothing ordinary about joining the University. You have worked hard to be here. Don’t throw it all away now – make everyone proud.

Go on and be a different freshman.

“University’s like this little world, a bubble of time separate from everything before and everything after.”
― Mhairi McFarlane, You Had Me At Hello

a.k.a Beewol
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