First Year Experience with UJ’s student coordinator, Ms Paulina Makibelo

Date: Feb 7, 2022 | News


It’s a brand new year and with it comes change. For the 2022 first year students, the change comes in the form of a whole new environment and adjusting to their new tertiary level reality.

While it’s normal to be nervous, the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Ms Paulina Makibelo says the First Year orientation will help ease some of those nerves.

Ms Makibelo, who provides professional support and coordinates first year students for the Academic Development Centre, indicated that all registered students will be able to attend the 8-day orientation online.

When classes start on 14 February 2022, Makibelo says there will be physical support on all 4 campuses.

“The support team is trained to be able to assist the students with the queries they may have. Support is also available online. A student that attends orientation and participates in the campus tour will be better off when classes start. With later registrations, it takes them longer to adjust. Adjustment is a process, the orientation eases their fears and anxieties. Campus tours take them to strategic places including the lecture halls they will be attending their classes in.”

5 Top Tips for First Years from Ms Makibelo

Participate in orientation – a lot of your questions will be clarified.

Attend classes– students need to attend classes because not everything has been indicated in their orientation, some information regarding their modules they will receive during their first classes.

Ask for help when you need it – as they encounter issues they must ask for help and not wait until it is too late.

Make friends – befriend classmates so that when you miss out on a lesson there is a fall back and someone you can ask questions.

Explore – get involved in different programmes and clubs, that’s where you won’t feel alone. The social element is covered, it can’t be all work and no play. You can study and have a social life, you just need to find the balance.

Studying at tertiary level is a learning curve and it takes a little bit more effort before one can settle. When you find yourself in a new environment, you need to discover more about that environment.

Don’t be too hard on yourself – students may fail a module and think it is the end of the world but they can still pull up their socks and do better. They need to find the balance to adjust between the new environment, the new way of doing things and finding themselves. They are still trying to understand themselves in a new environment, and some away from home for the first time.

“Get organised and plan but at the same time it’s not all work and no play, involve yourself in activities outside of academics, that will refresh your mind and help you focus.”

uj-first-year

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