By Sizwe Mabizela
If you have been counting days and nights and eagerly looking forward to the start of your university life at Rhodes University, we have also been equally looking forward with great excitement and anticipation to your arrival. That day has finally arrived!
It is with great delight that I welcome you, our new students, to Rhodes University. Given the high admission requirements of our University, you have worked incredibly hard to earn a place at Rhodes University. Sincere congratulation on your tremendous achievement.
Let me also extend a very warm welcome to your parents, family members and guardians who have supported and encouraged you over the years to reach this stage of your personal growth and development.
You are joining an exceptional university with a proud and enviable reputation for academic excellence. Our quality formative education prepares our students to lead change wherever they may find themselves.
As a Rhodes student, you will be taught by inspiring and dedicated academics who are not only passionate about their disciplines but also take a keen interest in the intellectual growth and development of our students. They are also actively engaged in pushing the frontiers of knowledge through research and other creative endeavours. As a research-intensive university, ideas are the lifeblood of our institution.
You will learn to work independently; you will develop the essential skills to engage ideas, to think creatively and imaginatively, to analyse, to formulate questions and alternatives, to argue with evidence and to communicate with cogency. We will expect you to take full charge of your learning experience.
University education is not only about attending lectures and getting excellent grades. Though this is important, it is also about your holistic development as a whole person. In this regard, our university provides a rich and vibrant campus life, which gives our students an opportunity to socialise, join sports clubs and societies, volunteer for one cause or another and hone their leadership skills. Please take advantage of these opportunities and get involved, as they will enrich your educational experience.
Another exciting aspect of our University is that we are a highly cosmopolitan community. Our student body comprises students from diverse social class, cultural, linguistic and geographic backgrounds, which is essential in creating a rich educational experience for our students.
You will have an opportunity to form lasting friendships with other young people from different parts of the world and with different lived experiences. Be open to new and exciting experiences. Also importantly, strike the right balance between your studies and an active social life.
This is a time of transition for you; a time of change; an exciting and daunting stage in your life. I know that many of you are first generation in your families to attend a university. This must be an overwhelming experience for you. We are here to support you so that you can make the most of your time at Rhodes. Our university provides a wide range of support services for students. These include the healthcare centre, the counselling centre, the career advice centre, tutoring services and more. Take full advantage of these services.
This is a time of transition and change for your parents and guardians too. They will no doubt experience mixed emotions. They will be excited with your superb achievements and your acceptance at Rhodes University; they will also experience the ‘empty nest syndrome’ – a sense of loss – now that you have ‘moved out’. They will soon learn and master the art of letting go and allow you to embark on this new and important adventure of your life.
Our slogan is “Where leaders learn.” As future leaders, we want you to be agents of social change and societal transformation. We want you to help us build a more just, a more humane, a more equitable, a fairer, a more compassionate and a more inclusive society.
Our university is unswerving in its commitment to transformation and change and will do all in its power to provide you with quality and transformative educational experience.
Above all else, we want you to succeed. We want you to realise your hopes, dreams and aspirations. In the next few years, you will experience phenomenal growth and development. Whatever concerns or challenges you might experience, always remember that we are there to help and support you. We want you to graduate as a well-rounded, highly educated, responsible and independent citizen of the world with a world-class degree qualification.
We hope you will have a happy, rewarding, fulfilling and fruitful time at Rhodes.
Welcome. Wamkelekile. Welkom. Karibu.
- Dr Mabizela is Vice Chancellor of Rhodes University