college must-haves

2021 college must-haves – what you might forget to take

By Studentdigz Cares, Uncategorized No Comments

college must-havesAre you hoping to head off to university in 2021? There’s so much to be excited about! Living away from home for the first time is a big adventure, and you need to pack accordingly. Apart from obvious things like your clothes, laptop and stationery, there are a few college must-haves that you may not realise you need.

Here’s our list of college must-haves to help you pack!

1. A lanyard

At university, you will be given loads of things like keys, access cards, student cards etc. A lanyard is the perfect way to organise your stuff so that you don’t use anything. While you’re at it, include a card holder to attach to your lanyard.

2. A kettle, cups and instant coffee

If you’re the kind of person who needs a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, this is essential. Enjoy your first cup in bed (instead of going to the dining hall or buying takeout coffee), and take your second cup to campus with you in a reusable coffee mug!

3. A clothes organiser

Cupboard space in college rooms is generally limited, especially if you’re sharing a room. Make the most of the space you have with a well designed clothes organiser that creates extra shelves and hanging space.

4. Gumboots

You’ll be doing lots of walking at college, come rain or shine. Be prepared for rainy days with rain boots and protect your feet!

5. Laundry bags

You’re going to learn to do laundry when you go to university! Get some laundry bags in different sizes to protect your clothes when you use the communal washing and drying machines.

6. A reading lamp

Not all college rooms will come furnished with a desk lamp. So make sure you take one with you, to protect your eyes while studying at your desk.

7. A mesh shower caddy

Communal bathrooms means that you have to take all your toiletries with you to the showers – you can’t just leave your shampoo lying around. Get yourself a waterproof mesh bag for toiletries that you can easily take with you to the bathroom.

8. A robe

If you thought that robes were only for old people, you’ll change your mind at university! A robe is great to throw on for the short trip from your bedroom to the showers.

Getting ready for college is fun, exciting and a little bit nerve wracking – but don’t worry, as long as you’re prepared and have the necessary college must-haves, all will be ok!

Beat the Boredom this Summer

By Studentdigz Cares No Comments

beat the boredomAfter a whirlwind year full of change, stress, and adjustment, the festive season is almost on us and as hard as it is to believe, you’ll soon be looking for tips to beat the boredom!

Many of us need some time to rest and reflect on our various victories throughout the past few months. However, after a long period spent in lockdown, you can be sure that the boredom is likely to hit sooner than usual this summer ahead of your return to varsity.

Here is a round-up of some of our best ideas to keep yourself busy and stimulated.

Organise a sampling party to beat the boredom

Friends, family, fun, sun, and yummy food – that is what summer is all about! Enhance the latter by organising a small sampling ‘party’ with your varisty mates or relatives. Everyone who is invited should be tasked with bringing something delicious from a specific category for everybody else to try. For example, everyone needs to bring homemade sliders or a six-pack of their favourite craft beer.

From there, everyone samples the food/drink and rates it all anonymously (remember to avoid sharing!) and the person who was responsible for bringing the winning food/drink wins a little prize!

Visit a charity shop with a friend

Charity shops need your support right now, plus they allow you the chance to search for treasures and save big! Head to a local charity shop with a friend and see what you can find to give as gifts to loved ones (or yourself) over the festive period.

Beat the boredom by learning a Tik Tok dance

If you are not already immersed in the magic that this social media platform has to offer, you are definitely missing out. There are countless challenges with which to busy yourself, along with a host of fun dances to try your hand (and feet) at. Film your efforts and share with your friends and student digs mates!

Make a charcuterie board

This is basically a fancy word for a platter boasting an assortment of eats, such as cold meat, fruit, and cheese. It is a wonderful opportunity to get creative when making a snack for friends and family. If you are looking to spice up the experience of putting one together, why not consider a themed board, such as a Christmas charcuterie creation? You could even make a board based on a specific colour or type of food (for example, a board of sweet treats).

Do you have any other boredom-busting suggestions to share with your fellow students? Share them with us on our Facebook page using the hashtag #boredombusters.

Johannesburg

5 Things to Look Forward to as a Student in Johannesburg

By Studentdigz Cares, Your Neighbourhood No Comments

Johannesburg#StudentsofJozi:

So, you have decided that you want to pursue tertiary education in Jozi from next year? Good for you! There are so many reasons to look forward to being a varsity student in Johannesburg. Here are just a few things to get excited about…

The pace as a student in Johannesburg

Jozi is truly a bustling city full of excitement – and it never stops buzzing. Think bright lights, late nights, and a ‘get-it-done’ attitude. There are countless hot spots to explore and a number of thrilling adventures to be had. Grab a quick cup of coffee with a friend at a hipster coffee shop, or spend a lazy Sunday afternoon chilling with bae and listening to live music at a trendy restaurant. Regardless of how you choose to spend your time, you’re always in for a treat.

The affordability

According to the global QS Best Student Cities 2019 rankings, Johannesburg features in the top 10 most affordable student cities in the world. Great news for students on a tight budget (aren’t we all??). Most of the universities ask for reasonable tuition fees and the general cost of living is quite a lot lower than in many other South African cities.

The quality of education

Joburg is home to a variety of some of the country’s best quality universities, including the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg. Did you know that Wits is ranked second in South Africa as per the QS BRICS University Rankings 2019? It is also considered the highest-ranked tertiary institution in Johannesburg.

The potential

Entrepreneurship is the beating heart of the city of Jozi, and there are lots of opportunities for students with strong business acumen and a solid business idea to kick-start a new business. There is also a significant demand for graduates with talent, skills, and knowledge to push existing companies in the right direction, particularly in terms of embracing technology.

The culture

Joburg is considered the financial and cultural hub of South Africa – and for good reason. It is simply overflowing with artistic talent and personality. From arts and crafts markets to theatres and museums, there are countless cultural marvels to explore and enjoy.

What are you most looking forward to as a student in Jozi? Tell us on our Facebook page using the hashtag #StudentsofJozi

communicate better

6 Tips to help you communicate better

By Articles, Studentdigz Cares No Comments

communicate betterGood communication is one of the best life skills you can learn to help you successfully navigate adulthood. Being able to clearly get your thoughts across, is vital to all relationships with other human beings – whether it’s at home, or at work.

It’s no surprise that great leaders are also highly effective communicators!

You can use communication to share information, express appropriate emotion, or motivate others to ensure a specific outcome that you want or need.

Here are our best tips for effective communication:

1. Keep your tone positive or neutral

People don’t respond well to negative communication. Even in difficult situations, such as needing to tell someone that you are unhappy with something they have done, it is important to keep your tone neutral and understanding. This is true whether you are having an argument with a family member, or need to speak with a colleague or employee about their behaviour.

2. Be a good listener

When you have a lot to say, it’s easy to become so distracted by your own thoughts that you stop listening to the other person. By listening properly, you are able to respond appropriately. This shows that you are open to conversation, and not one-sided communication. Good listening includes non-verbal communication such as maintaining eye contact and nodding.

3. Be as direct as possible

If you need to communicate a complex idea, make sure that you are able to express yourself as clearly as possible. This may take some practice, and you may need to prepare in advance for important conversations. Being direct ensures that there are no misunderstandings.

4. Tell the other person what you want

Most communication has a specific goal in mind. If you are ambiguous about your goal, you will not achieve it. For example, if you need to ask for help, just ask. Don’t beat around the bush and be vague because you think it makes you ‘nicer’.

5. Be open to ideas and criticism

Effective communicators are not dictators. They listen, respond, are open to new ideas and want to find solutions. Feedback, even criticism, is important because it opens your mind to different solutions, and usually delivers much better results.

6. Be authentic but control your emotions

Great communication walks a fine line when it comes to emotions. It’s important to be as genuine as possible, show empathy and allow your personality to shine through in a professional environment. But it’s also important that your communication is not controlled by your emotions. The same goes for personal communication – if you let your emotions rule the conversation, things can quickly get out of hand and you can lose sight of the goal of the conversation.

eco-conscious

How Students Can Be More Eco-Conscious

By Studentdigz Cares No Comments

eco-consciousCOVID is a concern on everybody’s minds these days. However, we shouldn’t allow our anxieties around the virus to take any of our attention away from being more eco-conscious and maximising sustainability. Issues such as pollution and global warming are still as important as ever! With that in mind, here is a quick and straight-to-the-point guide on how to effectively start reducing your carbon footprint.

Meatless Monday

Did you know that the carbon footprint of a vegetarian is about half that of a meat lover? This is why it makes such a difference to reduce the amount of meat in your diet, even if it is just by one day a week. The great news is that by cutting down on animal-based protein, you will save plenty of cash on your grocery bill in the process, too!

Be school supply savvy

From pens and space cases to plastic folders and more, a lot of our essential school supplies are made out of plastic. Unfortunately, plastic waste and the production of plastic goods is contributing to the degradation of our planet. Plastic waste winds up in our oceans, while plastic production consumes high amounts of fossil fuels.

Avoid playing a part in this problem by opting for eco-friendly school supplies, such as biodegradable pens and cotton-based pencil bags.

Repurpose your old clothing

When your clothes become faded and worn out, your first instinct will be to chuck them in the bin – but don’t! With a bit of time and creativity, you can repurpose your old clothing to make new fashion favourites or other useful items for the home. For instance, a tattered old pair of jeans could become a fancy new pair of shorts, or a tired button-down shirt could become a stylish off-the-shoulder blouse.

Browse Pinterest for ideas on other ways in which to repurpose your clothing, such as to make plant hangers or crochet bathroom mats!

Go natural

This is especially important when it comes to everyday products, such as toiletries. Most local suppliers of natural products also place an emphasis on reducing packaging. You and the earth benefit from the elimination of harmful chemicals and you help to reduce waste.

Being more eco-conscious is all about making small changes to your lifestyle. Every small change contributes to making a much bigger difference, after all!

online exams

Preparing for and Taking Online Exams

By Studentdigz Cares, Time Management Skills No Comments

online examsUp until 2020, exams revolved around arriving at the examination venue at least an hour before sitting and getting started on completing the paper. Huddling outside with your friends and nervously quizzing one another on the coursework. Shuffling into the venue with a crowd of other anxious students and finally putting pen to paper.

Nowadays, as a result of COVID, exam time looks a whole lot different, with many institutions encouraging online exams. This change from the norm has resulted in a higher dose of exam stress for students who worry about what to expect. Here’s everything that you need to know.

Preparing for online exams

Most students will be wondering how universities will be mitigating the risk of students cheating when writing their online exams. You are, after all, in the comfort of your home with no adjudicator pacing around making sure that everybody plays by the rules. What is stopping you from reaching for your notes for a quick refresher when you’re faced with a challenging question?

Universities are implementing different tactics to prevent this, such as anti-cheating software and ensuring that students have their webcams switched on at all times. The nature of the exams written are also likely to be somewhat different, asking students to provide their opinions and summaries of the work in question, rather than asking for very specific, textbook-based answers. This opinion based answer is something that you can practice in the lead up to your exams.

Taking the exam

Do not let the fear of the unknown shake your confidence. For the most part, taking an online exam is endlessly less stressful than taking an exam in a cold and gloomy examination hall! Do your best to make yourself comfortable – brew a cup of chamomile tea for your nerves, slip into something soft and cosy, and open a window for some fresh air.

Do not rush when answering the questions but do remain aware of how much time is left over. Your approach should be similar to what you are used to in that you should strive to answer the questions that you understand really well before attempting to answer the questions that seem slightly puzzling. Be wary of over thinking your answers simply because you have more time and access to ‘books’ – this can throw you off balance causing you to run out of time before you realise it.

Most students will find the experience of studying for and taking an online exam pleasant and straightforward. If, however, you are still suffering from a touch of anxiety around the prospect, do not hesitate to speak to a lecturer or a counsellor regarding your concerns.

back to basics

Back to Basics: Wardrobe Essentials for Varsity

By Money Matters, Studentdigz Cares No Comments

back to basicsEven if you work a part-time job, money is likely to be quite tight for the duration of your time at varsity. So, how do you balance your budget with a wardrobe that is certain to turn heads on campus? You stick to the basics and invest in the right essentials, that’s how! Here is a definitive list of the few back to basics items that every varsity girl should have in her closet.

T-shirts

Grab yourself a handful of classic t-shirts in neutral colours to start off with. Add some variety by choosing different styles, such as v-necks and off-the-shoulder and throwing in one brighter colour that complements your skin tone. It is also a good idea to choose your t-shirts in varying lengths. We love them because they are versatile despite the season – wear them on their own over a fashion-forward pair of shorts in spring and summer, or as a base layer during autumn and winter.

Jerseys

You will need at least two or three cosy cardigans or jerseys to wrap up in when temperatures plummet. Steer clear of any heavier options that need to be dry-cleaned as these could end up costing you more money further down the line.

Shorts

Shorts look amazing on all body types, especially if you know which cut flatters your shape the best! We recommend investing in three pairs – one in denim, one in black, and the other in a pastel colour of your choice.

Jeans

Two pairs of good quality jeans will do the trick. Just be careful about trying to skimp here – with jeans, you always get what you pay for. Spend a little bit more and you are practically guaranteed a better fit, as well as improved longevity

Leggings

Leggings are every girl’s best friend! They can be used for working out, as a go-to for chilling at home, or as an extra layer underneath a skirt or below a longer-length cardigan for winter. Buy them in plain black for effortless mixing and matching or go bold with loud-and-proud patterns.

Walking shoes

Those stiletto heels look incredible – but are they really practical for varsity? Definitely not. Rest assured that you are going to be doing A LOT of walking around campus. Comfort is key here.

Statement jewellery

When the majority of your outfit is understated, you can bring it all together with a pop of creativity based on the jewellery that you opt to accessorise with.

Underwear

Breathable, cotton underwear is best – and don’t forget a few supportive bras, too.

Now that you know what you need and you are confident that it won’t break the bank, it’s time to shop. Enjoy!

blooming good greenery

DIY your digs this spring with some blooming good greenery

By Housekeeping Tips, Studentdigz Cares No Comments

blooming good greeneryIf the chilly weather and lockdown are making you feel decidedly gloomy, we have the perfect solution to help you brighten up your digs! Our homemade decor ideas are fun and colourful and budget-friendly too. So without further ado, let’s DIY your digs!

1. Silk flower wall

You’ll need: a selection of fake flowers with long stems, a hot glue gun, wire cutters, nails or hooks, clear fishing line.

Cut your flower stems so that they are all the same length. Use the wire cutters if your flowers have wire stems (if they have plastic stems, you can just use ordinary scissors). Put a blob of glue on the bottom tip of one flower stem, then glue it into the centre of the top of another flower.

Continue glueing flowers together until you reach your desired length – about a metre and a half should be good – and then wait for the glue to dry thoroughly. Make enough strings of flowers to cover the area where you want to place your flower wall.

Tie a length of fishing line to the top flower of each string. Place small nails or hooks where the ceiling meets the walls, then hang your strings of flowers from the hooks. Because the fishing line is clear, it will look like your flowers are floating on the wall!

Bonus tip: Wind some battery operated fairy lights through your flower strings for an extra pretty effect!

2. Upcycled succulent holders

You’ll need: a selection of small containers, spray paint, fake (or real) succulents, sand, a hot glue gun.

Search your local junk shop for a selection of small pots and plant containers. It doesn’t matter what condition they are in – you’re going to spray paint everything to make them look new and trendy again!

First, wipe your containers with a damp cloth to remove any dust or fluff. Spray paint in your colour of choice (do this outdoors to avoid the spray paint fumes!).

If you’re using real succulents, all you need to do now is repot them into your new containers. If you’re using fake succulents, fill the containers with sand and use your hot glue gun to glue the succulents into the sand.

Bonus tip: You can turn just about anything into a succulent holder! Search your local junk shop for interesting things like retro phones, typewriters or any vintage tech that you can spray paint and fill with sand and succulents.

3. 3D Flower art

You’ll need: a small white canvas, a selection of fake flowers, a hot glue gun, a black permanent marker.

Take your canvas, and on the bottom half draw a vase or flower pot. Draw in pencil first, then go over using the black marker. Next, arrange your flowers so that they look like they are cascading out of the pot. Cut the stems as required. Use your hot glue gun to glue each flower in place.

There’s so much that you can do with fake flowers and a glue gun – DIY decor is easy and such an effective way to make your digs pretty for spring. Add a few potted plants, bulbs in tins or even a herb wall on the back of the kitchen door. Whatever you do, have fun, and make these ideas your own!

The Importance of Mentorship 

By Career, Studentdigz Cares No Comments

As COVID wreaks havoc on our learning, our emotions, and our bank accounts, many students will need to go in search of additional support to get through these challenging times. While it is always helpful to speak to a professional counsellor or psychologist, another wonderful way to seek guidance is through a mentor. Here are a few reasons why mentorship is so important, especially now.

Wisdom

It helps to find a mentor who is involved within the industry that you hope to break into following graduation. However, any older adult with plenty of life experience and stories to share can make the world of difference.

It is easy to feel lost and uncertain at the moment. In fact, almost everyone is feeling a similar way. The difference lies in learning the coping skills necessary to overcome the current circumstances and, if possible, to use these circumstances to your advantage.

Perhaps now with all of the extra free time on your hands, you can finally try out that hobby that you’ve been meaning to adopt. Maybe apply to take a short computer literacy course to boost your performance at varsity and beyond. A mentor can teach you how to bring out the best in yourself and motivate you to continue to do so every single day.

Encourage resilience

In trying times such as these, we could all do with a cheerleader and a regular pep talk. Mentorship is there to remind you of your strength and your resilience and help you to push through the difficult challenges with which you are faced.

Prepare you for life

By now, you will know all too well just how unpredictable life can be. One minute you’re sailing along with a smile on your face, and the next you’re struggling to keep your head above water. There are various life skills necessary to survive and thrive, such as time management skills, communication skills, conflict management skills, and more. Great mentors will be able to explain their importance and teach you how to hone them at every opportunity.

Ultimately, the best way to find a mentor is through people you know. Alternatively, you can connect with industry professionals online and request guidance. Building a relationship takes time, but it will definitely prove to be well worth it in the long run.

case for the classroom

The Case for the Classroom

By Articles, Studentdigz Cares, Technology No Comments

case for the classroomThere has been a lot of talk around how students’ and teachers’ approaches to learning are going to be forever changed as a result of COVID-19. The general consensus is that online learning is going to continue to expand and evolve until the world reaches a point where the physical classroom becomes entirely null and void. Is this really true despite the many benefits of classroom learning? Below are a few reasons why we believe there is still a case for the classroom.

Teaching is about more than just delivering material

What makes a great teacher? Is it the teacher’s ability to deliver the required teaching material and facts to students within a stipulated time frame? Or is it his or her ability to ‘read the room’ and pick up when students may be struggling to grasp a concept. Should they instinctively know when to provide another example for clarity? Is it his or her ability to identify which students are engaging and which ones are zoning out? Online teaching doesn’t allow for all of this, which will result in more and more learners being left behind. The result being excessive foundational learning gaps forming over the years in a higher percentage of students.

Limiting distractions

A classroom is a space designed specifically to facilitate learning, concentration, and productivity. In contrast, very few students’ homes will promise the same idyllic setting. From noisy pets and siblings to a host of other temptations, such as smartphones, gaming consoles, and music, it is evident that online learning comes with a unique set of challenges in terms of dedicating one’s full attention and cognitive engagement to a lesson.

Classrooms promise inclusion

Not all students learn in the same way. For instance, some are visual learners, while others are kinaesthetic (or physical) learners. Unfortunately, online learning cannot always account for these varying learning styles. Classrooms, on the other hand, allow teachers to get more creative in terms of how they communicate concepts and information to their students. This helps to ensure a higher degree of inclusion.

Throw in the fact that a huge portion of South African students do not have access to the technology or equipment required to make the most of online learning, and it seems obvious that we are not yet ready to do away with classroom learning just yet (or ever).

How do you feel about classroom learning vs. learning online? Tell us on our Facebook page or in the comments section below.