First year students were welcomed to UKZN through a comprehensive, action-packed orientation week at the four Colleges.
A busy programme saw students being briefed on relevant topics such as campus safety, student support services, student governance, how to use the library and the LANs, student housing and residence life, sports facilities, student funding and, most importantly, essential university work habits for success.
First years at the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science enjoyed fun and interactive science shows. Ms Sibonokuhle Gumede of Pinetown Girls’ High said she was looking forward to starting her BSc degree in Computer Science and Information Technology, while Ms Fundiswa Msomi of Nsikayethu Comprehensive Secondary School was happy with her choice of studying for a BSc Agriculture degree.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities, Professor Cheryl Potgieter, advised first year students to be open-minded, to participate in community development and to experience the diversity of UKZN. ‘Have a vision and goals. Work towards the goal of graduating. See it, believe it and do it,’ said Potgieter.
SRC President on the Howard College campus, Ms Kuhle Ntuli, encouraged students to avoid procrastination, to join clubs and societies and to always strive for excellence. ‘We have an open-door policy and we are here to equip you for the outside world and to ensure you graduate.’
First-year Psychology student Ms Bronwyn Olivier was excited about studying at the College of Humanities. ‘I’ve always wanted to be a psychologist and UKZN is the best institution for me to pursue my dreams.’
Ms Saiyuri Govender, who aims to be a criminologist, was also thrilled to be studying at UKZN. ‘There’s no other place I’d rather be than at UKZN.’
The College of Health Sciences held a series of orientation programmes for its first year students and those moving to the next phase in the College. The programmes were held in different venues, including on the Westville campus, at the Medical School and on the Pietermaritzburg campus.
College students, including those at the School of Health Sciences and the School of Nursing, were given a warm welcome on the Westville campus where they were introduced to some of the College staff members.
First year MBChB students took the Hippocratic Oath as a landmark event on their journey to qualify as medical doctors. ‘Being a medical doctor is not about driving Lamborghini cars, rather it’s about adhering to a calling to save lives,’ said Dean of School of Laboratory Medicine & Medical Sciences (SLMMS), Professor Musa Mabandla, during his address.
Orientation for the School of Clinical Medicine’s fourth-year and fifth-year students took place on the Medical School and Pietermaritzburg campuses. The students were then transported to Empangeni as part of the College’s Decentralised Clinical Training Platform (DCCTP) facilitated by DCTP Manager, Mrs Siphiwe Mathonsi.
Mathonsi assured the students that the University and the Department of Health had taken all the necessary measures to ensure that their stay at Empangeni would be comfortable. ‘The University has provided safe accommodation, transport, internet access, video conferencing and a student counsellor,’ said Mathonsi.
On the academic development front, students were advised by Academic Development Officer, Ms Amanda Xulu, to take ownership of their academic progression and seek help if they were not coping.
Clinical Medicine Paediatrics and Child Health Head of Department, Professor Refiloe Masekela , assured fourth-year students that that they were about to begin the best years of their studies where they would meet real patients and use stethoscopes. She encouraged them to conduct themselves in a professional manner by ensuring that they dressed appropriately and treated their patients with respect. ‘The days of casual wear are over, lets respect our patients,’ said Masekela.
All students were encouraged to manage their time effectively and that if ever they needed assistance the administrative staff was always available.
First year College of Law and Management Studies students were given practical tips on ‘how to survive’ and achieve success during their academic career at their orientation events held on the Howard College, Westville and Pietermaritzburg campuses.
Students were addressed by summa cum laude graduate, 2016 Ellie Newman Moot Court winner and Emma Smith Scholarship recipient, Ms Kriyanka Naidoo, who gave them advice on how to be a top achiever.
‘I am passionate about law and I love this degree. The Law School is an amazing place and you have great lecturers so use your potential and do great things,’ she said.
Another speaker was Law graduate, Mr Amin Matola, a former Moot Court finalist, a qualified attorney of the High Court of Zimbabwe, and recipient of several prestigious Scholarships. Matola shared some of his experiences of being a Law student and getting a master’s degree and his passion for teaching and learning which has seen him join the Law School as a Lecturer.
Students were also encouraged to look into value- adding, extra-curricular activities such as joining student societies like the Students for Law and Social Justice, Black Lawyers Association, the Debating Union and the Student Law Review, which broaden understanding of law and also equips them with vital leadership skills.
On the Management Studies front, students heard from Alumni, Ms Carley Jane Cumming, who completed her articles, qualified as a Chartered Accountant at Deloitte and went on to work for the company’s Canadian branch. She is now a Lecturer at UKZN.
After the formal proceedings, the students participated in an upbeat programme during which they played interactive games and went on a tour of the campus to familiarise themselves with its layout.