04 March 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba
Next Chapter calls upon you to stay true to yourself by taking care of your mental well-being.

As the academic year kicks off, the University of the Free State gives a warm welcome to first-year and returning students. In the spirit of healthy new beginnings, Next Chapter has penned a letter to fellow students that speaks to mental health. Hear what they have to say:

Be loyal to your calling and the universe will locate you; once located, dominate! Fellow Kovsies, it is really happening. Not so long ago, this was just a dream – and somewhat far-fetched.

This is your moment; be at ease and feel at home, because you’re about to become a long-term tenant in a prestigious community of diversity, love, care, family, greatness, and prosperity. With that said, I welcome the class of 2019 to a community of brilliant minds. Bear in mind that all of us want to be part of such a community, but only a few get to make it – so, be very proud of yourselves.

Tap into endless possibilities

Now that you are here, know that everything is at your fingertips; you have the upper hand, and everything is now made possible. This is a moment for growth, to reinvent yourself, and expect the greatest confusion of your life as your mind and feelings will be tested and conflicted. Here is where you learn and unlearn certain things about your community and the world around you. So, please take this opportunity to explore, engage, participate, and where you can, mark your territory and dominate.

University can be tough as you face adversities and struggle to cope with juggling your grades and a social life. Find comfort in the knowledge that these are temporary circumstance you need to contend with. You are destined to emerge at the top.

Never succumb to the urge of givingup

There will be days when your subconscious fails you, there will be days when discontinuing your academics and heading back home is tempting. Do not to give in. Do not give up. You are here for a reason. Think about the twelve years of your life spent preparing for this moment. Some of you are going to struggle with academics, social life, finances, and conflicted minds which will hinder you in focusing on your academics. Seek help when you struggle.

Surround yourself with positive people who always bring out the best in you. There are avenues available to you, such as the psychologist sessions offered by Kovsie Health, and social workers who are there to help with various issues.

Support is at your disposal

Mentorship programmes such as Gateway are also at your disposal as a first-year student adjusting to a new environment. Student Life is always there for you in times of need. Next Chapter is a student organisation that advocates for mental health and can assist as well should you need support.

From us as Next Chapter to you as fellow students, we would like to officially welcome and encourage you to make the best of this experience. Be loyal to your calling, which has led you to the University of the Free State – and never forget that you matter. This is the beginning of something great and the continuing of your story.