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“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking” - Gen. George S Patton.
Welcome to arguably the best years of your life. I am completely aware of the information and emotion overload you currently face. The uncertainty and excitement of what lies ahead can be daunting and there will be people who will try to take advantage of your current state of confusion. Stand strong, keep a level head and accomplish what you set out to do the day you decided to enrol at this institution: graduate.
What you are holding in your hand (or perhaps reading online) is a newspaper called Perdeby. (The direct translation of Perdeby is wasp but we all know that a Perdeby is actually a student newspaper. We started publishing in English only in 2012 to ensure accessibility to all our readers). Currently in it’s 79th year of print, it has informed and entertained generations of students before you. We are one of the largest and oldest student publications in Africa and we offer a variety of content to cater for the very diverse student body at UP.
Student media and student publications in particular form the life blood of journalism in South Africa. Most of the student newspapers around the country have been around since before democracy and even before South Africa became a republic.
Perdeby has seen the wide spectrum of development of this country and provided students with a platform to discuss an array of subjects, some more controversial than others. It does however remain our responsibility to bring you the truth, an unbiased and balanced account of what is happening on your campus. But we need your help. You are our eyes and ears on campus, so send in your news tips, letters or comments and if you would like to be part of this vibrant team, keep an eye out for the application form at the end of February.
During the next couple of years you will fall in love and get your heart broken, make mistakes and learn from them, operate on caffeine and plan your social calendar around semester tests and exams and at the end of it all you will be ready to enter the real world, the one you were warned about by your parents. What they do not tell you is that the real knowledge isn’t only acquired in the lecture halls of UP. It is in your everyday dealings with the people at UP. My advice is to get involved, be it Perdeby, TuksFM, Rag or Stuku, societies, student politics or day houses. If you aren’t involved you will never really experience student life.
The quote at the top of this editorial carries a lot of significance to me when I reflect on the current climate at universities and the world in general. I challenge you to think for yourself, to not follow the mainstream narrative, to question facts presented to you (especially by populist movements). Welcome those who differ from your opinion, you might learn something, or better yet, you might teach them something.
So here is my do’s and don’ts list for your time at UP:
• Don’t label people. Your preconceived notions and stereotypical judgements form a mountain in your path prohibiting you from getting to know others.
• Engage with your fellow students.
• You will get what you give during your university career. It is fun, but don’t let it last too long.
• Be realistic of your expectations when you get your degree.
• Give back.
• Consider that you once were a first year.
• Listen to advice.
• Grab opportunities.
• Create opportunities.
• Look out for your fellow students.
• Make mistakes.
• Be aware what is happening in the world.
• Be aware of what happened in the world. We easily repeat mistakes. Be the one who sees the mistake coming and change the path.
• Don’t let social media shape your view of the world; it is only an echo chamber. Go out and experience the world.
You are a select group of the country`s population who is afforded a tertiary education. Use this opportunity to become the leaders of tomorrow—the leaders that the world so desperately need.