Moving into a student residence is more than simply securing a place to eat, sleep and study. It is also a place to create lasting memories, make lifelong friendships, establish networks and to embrace the first step towards becoming an adult.

While most universities and tertiary institutions offer some form of on or off-campus residence facilities, many students kick off their res experience with little or no idea of what to expect.

“Tertiary education really is a university of life as much as it is a place of learning. Residence programmes that focus on this help students to make a seamless transition to the many new experiences they are faced with,” says Craig McMurray, CEO of Respublica, a leading developer of student accommodation in South Africa.

“Choosing to stay in a formally structured, purpose-built student accommodation facility is about much more than ensuring you have a roof over your head, regular meals and convenient access to campus. It should offer you a lifestyle with the opportunity for self-discovery, learning and a balance between studies and an active student life.”

In preparation for the 2017 academic year, Respublica offers a few handy tips which will assist with settling into res life:

  • First and foremost, remember that you are there to pass your studies – and this should always be your main priority. During your first year, you will learn how to balance your studying with everything that university and res-life offers.
  • Be enthusiastic about, and participate in, res events – it is an easy way to make friends and create memories that will last well into your adulthood.
  • Use the stairs for exercise – especially if you don’t have time to hit the gym. A healthy body = a healthy mind and it’s the perfect way to beat the dreaded first-year fifteen. Many student accommodation options like Respublica offer on-site gyms so there is no excuse for not keeping fit and healthy.
  • Put your name on your clothes when using the communal laundry, and remember to always separate your colours from your whites!
  • Set a budget each week for food, social activities and transport, this will help you keep track of your spending.
  • Use a lanyard or large key ring for your room key so you don’t lose it.
  • Learn to cook at least three decent “easy” meals before you leave home – this will serve you well for the duration of your studies and beyond.
  • Study in the library or study centre if you are distracted by the monotony or close proximity of your comfy bed and/or social activities when studying at the desk in you room. Respublica residences also offer free Wi-Fi in all study centres so there is no need to be on campus late at night.

Student accommodation should include a variety of spaces, amenities and activities that will provide students with a well-rounded university experience. Provision should also be made for public spaces so that students can study on their own, in small groups, or in larger collaborative gatherings – be it for academic, social or residence life programme purposes,” says McMurray.