UP Welcome Day 2019 rolls out red carpet for first-year students

Posted on January 28, 2019

Professor Tawana Kupe, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria (UP), welcomed first-year students and their parents to the UP community during the university’s annual Welcome Day, held on Saturday.

Addressing more than 8 000 students and their parents at the Hillcrest Campus, Prof. Kupe urged students to focus on passing and getting their degrees on time. He said UP had attracted a number of top matriculants from the class of 2018, including David Dodkins (who scored the second-highest marks in Gauteng), Jarrod Staples (who scored 97% in the National Senior Certificate exams) and Yashoda Maharaj (who scored 96.33 % in the Independent Examination Board exams).

He cautioned students to embrace “the opportunities of varsity life, but also understand the challenges of this new chapter”. He cautioned first-years that the workload is significantly higher than what it was at high school, the content is more complex, and time management will be critical. “Talent and ability are not enough to succeed at university – a strong work ethic is essential.

Prof. Kupe encouraged students to make use of the various forms of professional support available, including academic and study support, time management programmes and emotional support, including stress management and mentorship.

He said that although students’ priority should be to focus on their studies, they should not neglect the social and fun side of university life. “With over 100 student clubs and societies, you may sign up for a new sport or hobby and discover your talents. This enriches your student life and experience.”

Furthermore, UP works to ensure student success when they enter the world of work or become entrepreneurs. It will provide students with an education that prepares them for the future world of work. “The Ready for Work programme started in 2016. Overall, the University of Pretoria supports students to be fully prepared for their choices in the world of work and innovation – in line with the fourth industrial revolution, which is powered by digital technologies that are rapidly changing the world of work.”

Prof. Kupe highlighted that UP is a highly ranked, research-intensive university, well known for excellent teaching and high quality programmes which lead to good, well-paying jobs. “We pursue research that matters by making a positive impact on people’s lives and solving complex and societal problems and challenges in South Africa and Africa.”

UP students are also engaged in over 4 000 community projects that make a difference to people’s lives, that add value and demonstrate the university’s relevance and responsiveness. “It also demonstrates our ability to give back for the privileges we get from society.”

Panoramic view of the Rembrandt  Hall, where students and parents were welcomed

New UP Student Representative Council President David Kabwa said that as students embark on their academic journey at UP, they are not alone. “From the SRC, we would like to say welcome. Welcome, to those of us that are excited and ready. Welcome to those of us that are terrified and unsure. Welcome to those of us that are standing on this mountaintop preparing for the next climb. And as we welcome you to the first day of the rest of your life, remember that we are in this together.”

SRC President, David Kabwa addressed students

During the Welcome Day sessions, students and parents explored the Hillcrest Campus. Mathutuo Motsoko is studying to become a teacher. “In my matric year I taught my classmates English. I'm so glad to be at UP. It’s the best university in the country.” She wants to graduate and show her mother that she is “all grown up and a big girl who is responsible. Parents worry when their children leave them.”

Mathutuo Motsoko 

Bubbly law student Chanie Zwartz intends branching into human rights and women’s rights. “UP’s law faculty is ranked number one in South Africa and features in the Times Higher Education rankings. I would be stupid to go anywhere else!” she said.

Chanie Zwartz 


- Author Primarashni Gower

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