An official welcome was underway at all UJ campuses as the first-year seminars commenced on Tuesday which gave seniors a feeling of nostalgia and first-years looking forward to the start of what looks like a promising year.
Some of the senior and first-year students spoke to The Open Journal about what they think and feel regarding such an inviting and retrospective period.
Gontse Libakeng, a Postgraduate student in Philosophy
“I registered late so I could not attend my first year seminar in 2015, personally I didn’t feel left out or feel as if I missed out on something important as with experience I managed to familiarize myself with the services offered by the institution and the layout of the campus.
“Although, it might be useful for the university to create a small seminar for late applicants that is to those students who feel they need it.”
Tania Mdlalose, a Senior student in Humanities
“As an extended student, my first-year seminar was memorable. Being an extended degree student, I felt as if people treated us differently like we were slow but there was a motivational speaker who managed to touch my heart; his words still resonate with me today.
“He introduced us to the fast track program that allows extended degree students to complete their degree in three if not four years and that we’d have to take on more modules in our second year, he motivated me and most importantly told us to have fun and his advice has made my varsity years memorable.”
Lowraine Tshiamo, a first-year student in Civil Engineering
“I enjoyed first-year seminar. Although, the amazing race did take up a lot of my energy, but this experience was worth it as I got to meet my lecturers and I got an introduction about the degree I’ll be studying for, I have made new friends from my amazing race team and so, I cannot wait to start with my academic year.”
Lumkisa Jordan, an Honours student in Ecometrics and First Year Seminar Assistant
“I feel the period for the first-year seminar is fair as we have to take into consideration that most students do travel. So, the four days are not that strenuous financially on students because I remember during my first-year seminar I travelled, and the two days was enough to cover all important aspects.
“The first-year seminar is not about familiarizing students with the campus but rather getting integrated into what an individual will study, so the four days is enough to cover their grading and testing systems as this environment is different from high school.”
“However, there’s a tour for in-campus residence, students that helps students know their way around campus, so what they can do to improve is to offer something similar to off-campus residence students; the program has advanced over the years as more marshals are now put in to place because they were few in 2014 when I was attending my seminar.”
Phelokazi Sinyanya, a first-year BCOM Accounting student
“I feel happy about the seminar as I got to learn how to use ULink and services that can help me better my writing and have it set to university standards which is the writing centre; most importantly, the library practice where they showed us how to get in the library and to search for information on the internet and how to access the Wi-Fi that we can use to gather research. The library is so big and it has many books which I think is cool.”
Michaela Lee, a second-year BA in Psychology student and First year seminar Assistant
“As a student assistant, I feel as if we are of great help to the students as we do more than offer directions: students ask us where they can register, print, where to get quotation for textbooks, and we’ve also been asked questions that we have no knowledge of.”
“For instance, students have asked me about them being on the waiting list and seeking advice on steps to take with finances, off-campus residence. They ask questions that senior students should know; they ask us almost everything including names of professors. They view us as university guardians who have solutions to all student problems – it is tiring but I enjoy helping them.”
Keamogetswe Bolwe, a first-year student in Education
“I had fun and I got to learn most about the health service the university provides. The fact that it is free to students is amazing and really helpful to us. They gave us packets that include the first-year tool book that explains the services thoroughly and the different campuses that UJ has. Most importantly, I love my lanyard as it has the UJ logo and I can put my student card in it.”
Image courtesy to Ntozanele Libimbi.