Surviving Orientation Week – Our Advice

For those of you about to register at Rhodes University for the first time, your lives are about to change. The relief and elation which came when you left school, as well as the well-deserved holiday lethargy which undoubtedly followed, will soon be replaced by the nerves and excitement of beginning a brand new and radically different period of life.

You are about to start university – what could be your best years so far. Independence, the opportunity to enjoy a rich social life, and the chance to obtain a quality tertiary education are within your grasp. However, it’s not easy. Hard work will soon be the requisite again.

Indeed, for those of you coming back from the wonders and escapology of the gap year experience, the academic rigour and deadlines you once endured are just around the corner.

Some of you may well feel daunted by this all. That’s why The Oppidan Press hopes to guide you through this exciting period and offer our advice, we will be uploading a whole host of articles to introduce you to your new home, Grahamstown. So keep an eye on us!

For help with finding your way around campus, have a look here at our map.

Meeting new people

O-week is your opportunity to set the tone for the rest of your university experience. Like anything else, what you put in will determine what you get out.

One of the most important parts of O-week is the opportunity to build a strong support network of friends. You may well be about to meet people who will be close companions for life. Try hard to put nerves and apprehension aside and introduce yourself to people.

Engage in conversations. Sit at a different table everyday in dining halls. Most importantly, chat to people from all different types of backgrounds and walks of life. University provides students with the opportunity to build character through a variety of means, but close friendships and the exchanging of views and opinions is most definitely an important one.

However, if you’re more introverted, that’s okay too. The beauty of Rhodes University and O-week in particular is that there’s no pressure on you to do anything you don’t want to. If you feel uncomfortable with serenades or engaging with strangers, you don’t have to take part. Maybe you find it easier to open up over time, and people will generally respect that.

The difference with O-week, though, is that everyone is in the same boat. Everyone is nervous. Don’t hold back from sparking a conversation.


O-week activities

Rhodes University provides a variety of informative shows and talks which will help to introduce you to life at the University. In addition, lecturers and professors from the various academic departments of Rhodes will give preview lectures on their subjects and the curriculum at the University.

Our advice: attend as many of these shows and lectures as possible. Yes, there are many enticing social events during the day, but immersing yourself in these shows and lectures, such as the renowned Amazing Other Show which has now been replaced with Abantu, Stand! is a play that will really give you a head start on life at the university.

In addition, people who attend as many subject lectures as possible often find interesting subjects that they may not have known about or never intended to take.

University is a big step and Rhodes’ O-week offerings are a sure-fire way of getting a head start on the Rhodes University experience.

Above all, enjoy O-week and seize every opportunity to set yourself up for a fantastic university experience.


The Oppidan Press wishes all new students at Rhodes University the best of luck in all their endeavors at the University. Here is your Orientation Week guide, online!

 Keep an eye out for our O-Week edition coming out next week!

Words by Liam Stout and Leila Kidson


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