UNIVERSITY of Pretoria vice-chancellor and principal Professor Tawanda Kupe addresses the 2020 Welcome Day event attended by first-year students and their families. Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - The University of Pretoria welcomed its 10 000 first-year students during its 2020 Welcome Day event at its Hillcrest Campus on Saturday.

Among them was Greta Kurpershoek, from Mpumalanga, and the top matriculant in the country in last year’s exams. Others were Thabiso Xaba, who obtained 8 As and a 91% average from Sibusisiwe Comprehensive Technical High School at Umbumnulu in KwaZulu-Natal, and Crystal Olckers, the top matriculant in Gauteng.

Vice-chancellor and principal Professor Tawana Kupe told parents the decision to pick the university was one they would not regret.

“UP is one of the top five universities in South Africa, according to the 2019-2020 rankings by the Centre for World University Rankings.

“It is a big decision to choose a university. I want you to know you’ve made the right choice with a high quality institution,” he said.

SRC president David Kabwa gave the first-year students a warm welcome and gave an eloquent speech. He urged students to do their best and not be held back by fear.

“We have a variety of platforms available through our Student Culture, Student Sport and Reach Out and Give committees. Student life at the University of Pretoria is rich. Let us prioritise our academics but also remember to live a balanced life,” he said.

Parent Devi Govendor said she came from KwaZulu-Natal to see her son settle in. She was very proud of him and realised why he had chosen the university. “He always was an independent boy and we trust he will take care of himself. He did very well with his matric results; it can only get better from here if he continues to do well,” she said.

Other parents were emotional about leaving their children, who now begin a new chapter in the world of adulthood.

Tamika Baker, 18, said she had already made some friends and even gotten used to the campus. “I feel at home. It doesn’t even feel like I’m away from home. I’m not scared or nervous just glad to be here.”

Baker wants a degree in education, but also looks forward to studying psychology, history and English literature.

Baker told the Pretoria News of a study regimen that she believes will help her finish her degree in the required four years.

“(When) a lecture is finished, if I don’t have a lecture straight after, (I’ll) run through the notes and see what I don’t understand,” said Baker. “I’ll put aside things I can research more and just try to apply myself more during work so I can stay the full four years.”

Njabulo Soko, 18, wants to pursue an education degree. “I think it’s simple; it’s putting all of your studies first,” said Soko.

“I will be studying each and every term 24/7, 365 days. I will balance (my studies): school comes first, the rest will follow.

“I will put more effort into my studies than into other things like partying.”

Thereso Boshielo, 18, said his main goal for his first year at university was to make good friends.

“I want to have friends who will make me want to work and pass,” said Boshielo.

“I want friends who will push me in the right direction.”

Boshielo’s enjoyed his first days at university, but he sometimes misses home.

“I’m happy being away, but during night times I miss (my family) a lot - the fun times we had, the dinners we had,” said Boshielo. “At home, I’m eating nice dinners But I think I’m going to adapt to this situation.”

Pretoria News