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Your first day of primary school is probably a distant memory, but as you approach your first day of university, you may be feeling that same anxiety as your six-year-old self.

It’s okay! It’s normal to feel a certain amount of nervousness, after all, many first-year students are leaving home for the first time and may not be surrounded by the friends, family and routines that they’re used to. But, going to university is the perfect opportunity to meet people, make friends, learn exciting things and throw yourself into new challenges.

There will be some things that are out of your control, but there are many ways that you can take charge to control your experiences and your future.

  • Stay on top of your work: Yes, university is also about having fun, but don’t forget that the real reason you’re here is to further your education. Set goals and find balance.
  • Build strong friendships: The friends you make now can be with you throughout your adult life. While it’s easier to befriend those who you have something in common with, don’t be scared to go outside of your comfort zone – you never know who you’ll meet.
  • Make self-care a priority: It’s important that you set aside some time to relax and catch your breath. Read a book, listen to music, do exercise, laugh with friends, eat well and get some much-needed sleep.
  • Get help if you need it: It’s easy to feel overwhelmed but don’t suffer in silence. There are plenty of confidential resources that will help you manage any stress and anxiety that you’re feeling.

All the staff at Nelson Mandela University want you to thrive in your new environment. As you adapt to different ways of teaching and learning, we want you to know that we’re here to support you and help you make this transition smoother.

We have a variety of counselling, coaching and academic support services that are available online, telephonically or in-person. They’re all geared to help you learn successfully and to adapt to changing circumstances.

Emthonjeni – Fountain of Student Wellness

Get support, guidance and professional counselling to contribute to your success and to help you achieve the desired Mandela University graduate attributes. Visit the Emthonjeni website for more.

Student Success Coaching

A Student Success Coach will provide support to students who want help in becoming more successful at university. To contact a Student Success Coach, email:

Academic Writing Literacies

A draft writing review facility that helps students improve academic writing. Request feedback on writing using the draft review request form.

Academic and Life Skills Management (ALM)

Cope better with the demands of tertiary education, successfully interact with others and make effective choices about future career options. Visit the ALM website for more.

Supplemental Instruction (SI)

SI helps increase performance and retention. Facilitators are senior students who have successfully completed the course concerned and who offer regular sessions after lectures. Visit the SI website.

GetDigiReady: Become digitally literate

Get all the help you need to be digitally ready for your first lecture. Get connected to our WiFi, access your email and e-learning material and know how to use the PCs in the computer labs. Visit the GetDigiReady website.

As you prepare yourself in these final few weeks before you join the Nelson Mandela University family, know that you aren’t alone in how you feel, no matter how self-assured other first-year students look. We aim to leave no student behind and will help you along each step of your academic journey with us. We look forward to welcoming you soon!

Posted on 15 February 2021 11:31:09

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