08 March 2024

As the new academic year commences at UMP, the orientation week stands as a foundational experience, setting the tone for the students' educational journey and emphasizing the importance of both academic and personal development.

UMP Vice-Chancellor, Professor Thoko Mayekiso, underscored the significance of welcoming new students as a symbol of growth and the formation of new partnerships between students and the University.

“Thank you for entrusting your future with us. Passing Grade 12 is an important milestone towards achieving your educational and career goals. University life heralds the beginning of a new exciting phase in your lives. The journey is filled with possibility and potential, but also obstacles and challenges,” she said.

Professor Mayekiso assured the students that UMP provides a favourable environment and emphasized the importance of taking responsibility for their personal development.

“At UMP, we will provide you with a conducive study environment, and your time at the institution will determine your future role in this country, this continent, and on the beautiful planet. We welcome you to our Pioneering Journey, 'Luhambo Lwemhlahlandlela,' as we are starting something new and exciting.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Professor Mashudu Maselesele, addressed the crucial aspect of teaching and learning, and the six graduate attributes the university seeks to instil in its students. These attributes encompass being resourceful, responsive, and reflective, as well as possessing the ability to make wise decisions and uphold UMP’s values and mission.

She further urged students to develop not only a sound disciplinary mind but also the physical elements necessary for their chosen profession or academic vocation. The aim is to equip students with the skills and competencies required for success in their respective fields.

UMPStudent Mentors were ready to welcome first-years during the Orientation Programme.

Student Representative Council (SRC) President, Mr Wandile Mabila, described the orientation week as the beginning of a transformative experience where academic growth goes hand in hand with personal development.

Mabila assured students that the SRC is there to guide and encourage them through the challenges they may face during their academic journey. He also encouraged them to participate in various campus activities, embrace cultural diversity, and immerse themselves in engagement projects. Mabila stressed the importance of maintaining a healthy study-life balance and assured students that the SRC is there to support them at every step of their academic journey.

Zian Vorster, a first-year student from Amanzimtoti, KwaZulu-Natal, registered for a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. He says he chose UMP because the institution is very advanced in agriculture, technology, farms, laboratories, and other facilities.

“I’m excited to be part of the UMP family. I hope to complete my studies in record time and continue up to a PhD level. I would like to practice farming in America and then come back with the information to uplift communities with gained knowledge.”

Beyond academic guidance, the orientation week included a unique aspect where first-year students were assigned student mentors, selected from senior students with exemplary behaviour and academic performance, to provide guidance and social support to the first-year students. Each mentor is responsible for a group of first-year students, aiming to help them navigate the challenges of university life successfully.

Some of the activities included an introduction to Library and Information Services at UMP and concluded with a tour of the library, where the new students were trained on how to use the online study method – using Moodle and Basic Computer Skills.

The safety and well-being of students are a priority at UMP. Thus, students received a talk about Crime Prevention and GBV. Ms Xoli Sibuyi presented counselling services available on campus.

The programme concluded with a campus tour, offering students an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the university's facilities. Music, games, and various fun activities added a festive touch to the orientation week, fostering a sense of camaraderie among the students.

Story by Cleopatra Makhaga. Pictures supplied.