First year students joining Universities across the country have been advised to recognize that they are joining university under unprecedented circumstances, and that the onus is on them to stay focused on their academic goals, write their own stories, and transition into productive members of the society.
Virtually addressing over 9,000 first year students admitted to Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) during the 2020/2021 academic year, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, reminded the students that it was at University level that chapters of some of the great personalities in the world started taking shape and that they’re in a unique position to write even greater chapters.
“The windmills of destiny, blowing with them COVID-19, have swung you into unique positions of being pioneers in the new academic dispensation. You find yourselves on a historical precipice, and the only way to go is up. If it feels like unchartered waters for you, that’s because it is. And that is where your strength lies. Whereas the preceding chapters were largely written by others, mainly your parents, guardians, families, teachers, established systems, you now have a blank page in every sense, and you are the principal author,” opined Prof. Ngumi.
Acknowledging that the way of the pioneer is always a rough one, the Vice Chancellor assured the students of the University’s support and commitment to walk with them every step of the way as they commenced their university academic voyage.
“As a premier University premised on technology and innovation, we made a deliberate decision to become pioneers of the future rather than prisoners of the past, and that’s why we’re admitting you under these circumstances.”
From conducting registration and lectures online via Learning Management Systems such as Moodle and Google Classroom, as well as KENET Big Blue Button, Zoom, Google Meet video conferencing, the University also pledged a dedicated customer support through a call center and social media platforms to make learning seamless for the students. Prof. Ngumi urged the students to embrace the new way of learning and nurture themselves into entrepreneurial minds.
In the wake of COVID-19, and considering that the students will be learning virtually, the Vice Chancellor further appealed to the new students to live responsibly and take charge of their lives. “Often, transition into University is associated with the perception of new-found freedom, which in most cases is misused. I urge you to live responsible lives. Take the necessary COVID-19 precautions, and remember that the stark consequences of HIV/AIDS and drug and substance abuse still remain just as lethal. Stay focused then, because we are looking forward to conferring the over 9,000 of you with degrees when your academic journey ends,” she advised.
The Vice Chancellor’s address to the new students was a culmination of a week-long virtual registration and orientation of first year students set to join the University’s Main Campus in Juja and its other campuses. The University has been the most preferred institution by new students joining University for the third year running, as per the KUCCPS records. The new students are set to begin their classes tomorrow (Tuesday September 8, 2020).
“The discovery of your full potential starts now. Of course under the new normal, this can seem as daunting as it is exciting, and as challenging as it is empowering. I urge you to walk boldly in the direction of your dreams. Write your chapter. Make history,” concluded Prof. Ngumi.