Back-to-School: How Students Can Prepare for the New Year

by Staff Reporter

As the summer break winds down, it’s time for students to gear up for the upcoming academic year. Whether you’re a returning student or an undergraduate embarking on an exciting new journey, proper preparation is key to a successful and enjoyable year ahead. 

To help you get started, we’ve set up a back-to-school guide on how to prepare for the new year. Whether you’re looking for new study tools, or are in need of some financial guidance, we’ve got you covered! Ready to dive in? Let’s go!

Table of Contents

new year

Prepare Yourself Mentally

Being a student can be quite a rollercoaster, and that’s why mastering the art of maintaining mental well-being is crucial while navigating your studies. The best way to care for your mental health is to be prepared, as it will allow you to deal with any problems that may arise as you navigate your first semester. 

Here’s the cool part: Looking after your mental health isn’t just a feel-good measure—it’s a secret weapon for boosting academic performance. Imagine higher marks and lower stress levels. Sounds awesome, right?

Now, let’s talk about mental preparation. What’s the best way to prepare yourself mentally for the new year? Let’s take a look:

Find Out What You’ll Be Studying

Getting familiar with the topics you’ll be learning about will help you feel more prepared for your lectures, and a lot less stressed when your first day of varsity arrives. Not only will you find it easier to understand what your professor is talking about, but you’ll probably feel more confident answering questions in class. 

Added to that, you’ll be able to plan ahead, make notes and know what to expect out of your lectures, which will make you feel much more relaxed.

Tip: Get a list of topics you’ll be covering and make a couple of notes (any thoughts, opinions or questions you have).

student preparing for the new year by setting goals

Set Goals

It’s important to set goals for the new year so that you stay motivated and have something to aspire to. Make sure that your goals are realistic and achievable in order to ensure you are setting yourself up for success instead of failure. For example, if you regularly get 65% for English, and you are taking English Language and Literature at university, make it your goal to get 70% instead of 95%. 

Tip: Develop a good and thorough study routine, either individually or with friends, and dedicate time each day for each of your subjects.

Get a Good Night’s Rest

Getting a good night’s rest is more than just a good idea—it’s a secret weapon. Studies show that a solid sleep routine not only boosts your mood but can also increase your grades. Plan for 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep regularly so that you are feeling fresh during lectures and tutorials.

Tip: Consistency is key, so aim for a consistent sleep routine.

Eat Smart for Your Brain

Your brain needs fuel, and not just any fuel—the good stuff. Skip the sugary treats and embrace brain-boosting foods to keep you sharp and focused during study sessions.

  • Combat anxiety with vitamin C-rich fruits (guavas, strawberries, tomatoes and oranges).
  • Battle stress and depression with vitamin B (eggs) and omega-3s (bananas, oranges, fish and avocado).
  • Ease irritability with foods rich in omega-3s, folic acid, and vitamins B12 and D (walnuts, whole grains and fish to beef and dairy products).
  • Beat exhaustion with regular sips of water throughout the day.

Tip: Keep a list of brain-boosting snacks in your fridge for quick reference.

Add Regular Breaks to Your Study Routine

Don’t forget to add some fun to your study routine. Breaks are your best friend—use them wisely for a mood boost and to keep feeling overwhelmed at bay.

Be sure to schedule short breaks for snacks, walks, naps or quick chats with friends. Plan longer, exciting activities for the weekends to reward yourself.

Tip: Download apps like Varsity Vibe for discounted activities during your downtime.

student preparing for the new year by excercising

Move That Body

Don’t be a desk potato! Move your body to kick stress, anxiety and depression to the curb. You don’t need a marathon; even a small change in posture or a quick stretch can work wonders.

Tip: Check out YouTube or TikTok for study-friendly stretching routines

Talk it Out

Feeling the academic stress piling up? It’s time to open up. Share your concerns with someone you trust—a friend, family member or teacher. And if things go beyond something like exam stress, don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals.

Tip: Check the contact details for counselling services at various tertiary institutions.

student feeling prepared for the new year after having bought a new laptop

Have the Right Resources

Having the right resources is akin to possessing a magic wand that opens doors to academic success. Whether you’re a seasoned student or embarking on your first year of college or university, ensuring that you are equipped with the essential gadgets and funds is paramount.


When it comes to gadgets, having the right tools can make a significant difference in your academic journey. Be sure to explore FundiShop’s selection of laptops, tablets and mobile phones designed to support your educational needs. Check out the offerings at FundiShop to find the perfect gadget to enhance your learning experience.


Securing the necessary funds is a crucial aspect of academic preparation. Fundi provides student loans that cover everything from textbooks and study devices to tuition fees and more. Explore the financial support options available at Fundi to ensure you have the funds you need for a successful academic year.

student preparing for the new year by setting up a student budget

Set Up a Student Budget

Let’s talk cash—the student budget edition. There are quite a few things you’ll need to buy before heading off to college or university, which is why having a budget is the best way to ensure you don’t overspend. 

To budget your spending for the new year, break down your costs, from tuition to your daily coffee fix. Feeling lost? Don’t worry, we’re here to help you get your student budget sorted. Check out this breakdown of all your essential expenses:


In South Africa, the monthly food cost typically falls between +-R2,000 and +-R4,000 per person. This depends on your grocery choices and how often you dine out. When planning your monthly meals, it’s helpful to estimate a weekly budget for both groceries and eating out. 

For instance, a reasonable homemade meal might be around R120, while a mid-range restaurant could set you back R400 for a meal for two. Don’t forget to factor in your morning coffee at the local coffee shop, which usually costs between R25 and R35.

General Monthly Costs

Living on a student budget means accounting for all aspects of daily life, and building valuable knowledge and skills for the future. General monthly living costs encompass essentials like groceries, clothing, Internet, laundry, electricity and water. Additionally, remember to work out and allocate funds for entertainment, dining out and other recreational activities.

students preparing for the new year by organising course costs

Course Costs

Course expenses vary based on your programme and may be charged directly to your student account. Don’t forget about other potential costs like Internet and Wi-Fi, stationery, books, textbooks and printing, which is billed to your student account based on usage, including data costs if you use the university’s system.

Remember, being thorough in considering all these costs ensures that your budget covers everything, preventing any surprises down the road. 

Eager to learn more? Then be sure to check out our complete guide on How to Budget as a Student in South Africa.

student preparing for the new year by accessing new technologies

Make Use of Technology and Study Tools

Let’s embrace the tech wave! Platforms like FundiConnect are your sidekicks in this academic adventure. Dive into note-taking apps, team up on collaborative platforms and explore campus tools to make your life as a student that much easier. Technology isn’t just a tool; it’s your secret sauce for acing those tricky subjects.


FundiConnect is an online student platform that offers career guidance, study advice and funding information to college and university students in South Africa. We’ve gone ahead and listed our top articles to help you prepare for the new year:

student preparing for the new year by making use of note-taking apps

Note-Taking Apps

Elevate your study game with note-taking apps! They’re your secret weapon for staying organised and effortlessly accessing your notes later on. Wondering which note-taking apps to try in the new year? Let’s take a look:


Students worldwide use Evernote to keep all their lecture notes and documents in one convenient place. With Evernote, you can gather and organise all your notes in a single location, ensuring easy access across different devices. Additionally, you can include photos in your notes and create checklists for upcoming tasks or assignments that are due.


Microsoft’s OneNote is a great tool for taking notes, especially if you already use Microsoft products. It’s like having a big digital notepad where you can write, add pictures and organise into pages and sections. If you use other Microsoft tools like Spreadsheets or Word docs, you can easily include them in your notes too.


Obsidian is a top-notch note-taking app loved by those who take lots of notes. It uses Markdown and a simple file/folder system, making it easy for everyone. The app is super flexible, so if you’re tech-savvy, you can customise it by adding or removing features. Obsidian also helps you stay organised with cool features like links between pages and a graph showing how your notes connect. Plus, it works on different devices, even without the Internet or an account.

Campus Resources

Your campus is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. Libraries, study nooks, sports facilities—it’s like your academic playground. Don’t forget career services workshops and tutoring centres; they’re there to help you shine. Take advantage of these resources and watch your academic and personal growth skyrocket!

Students Prepare for the New Year

Fund Your Studies in the New Year

Now that you’ve learned how to gear up for the upcoming school year, you might be wondering how to prepare your finances for your studies. If you’re a student in need of funding for the new year, Fundi is here for you!

Fundi study loans provide students with the funds they need to cover all their education expenses, like tuition, textbooks and study devices.

Curious if you’re eligible for a study loan from Fundi? Give the Fundi Loan Calculator a try and kick off your next school year with a financial boost!

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