Excelling at high school does not always mean one will automatically excel at university as well.

Vuvuzela caught up with three of the students recently hosted by  Vice Chancellor Loyiso Nongxa, as part of the ‘Top of first year Wits students’, to see how they are coping, three months into their first year at Wits.

Each student has received the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship Award, worth R30 000 towards their first year studies.

Shaista Kalidas, MBBCh, says “The pace is faster here, so a student must make sure they keep up on their subjects, keep up on their tuts, and also do constant work if they want to succeed.”

Maseeha Rahawat, BSc in Actuarial Science, says “Coming to university from school has been a big jump, my marks are not anything as they were in school. Some subjects are easier, but some are more difficult…You have to be more disciplined at university, at school teachers would monitor you, but here no one really monitors you that closely.”

For Waseem Ahmed, BSc Actuarial Science, the decrease in the number of subjects he does in his course has made things easier. “The decrease in the number of subjects you do here allows you to have more time to concentrate on the fewer subjects you have.”

All say they have to deal with distractions that are inherent in a less rigid environment such as a university campus.

At university you have a lot more free time so there is a danger of getting lazy and losing the focus; at school you have classes one after the other, but here you sometimes have long free periods,” says Maseeha.

Waseem says “it is important to choose the right kinds of friends that will not encourage you to lose focus – it is no use sitting on the lawns and just hanging out.”

“I do have a social life. I do take breaks and hang out with my friends – but you must do everything in moderation,” says Shaista.