The saying goes, ’a journey of a thousand steps begins with one step’. The mood on Friday 26th August 2016 fit in well with the saying, when the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) held an orientation meeting with the freshmen and women of academic year (AY) 2016/2017. The young men and women are starting their journey of three or four years with dreams of leaving with a bachelors’ degree at the end of their stay at Makerere University.
In his remarks to the students, the Principal of CoNAS, Prof. J.Y.T Mugisha implored students to take keen interest in science through research. The principal advised the young men and women that, ‘it is only when you excel in whatever you do that you will penetrate the job market. This does not only apply in Uganda but globally’. He also advised the students to note the hierarchy and roles played by the staff and student leaders. Knowledge of the hierarchy and roles will help the students to know who to approach whenever need arises thereby making their stay at Makerere easier and more enjoyable.
The Deputy Principal, Assoc. Prof. John Mango as the in-charge of academics at CoNAS talked to the students at the orientation meeting. His message was to work hard to ensure success in their studies. He noted that poor performance is a ground for dismissal from the university. Dr. Mango cautioned the students against examination irregularities which are also punishable by dismissal. In a message from the school deans delivered by the Dean, School of Biosciences – Assoc. Prof. Fredrick Muyodi; he the students to Makerere University and congratulated them on particularly being students at CoNAS. Dr. Muyodi, told the students to behave responsibly and avoid living ruthlessly despite the freedom they enjoy at University. Contracting diseases like HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies were all highlighted as instances that can disorganise studies at university. He noted that students have dropped out of university in the past due to addictions like drugs, alcohol, betting, e.t.c.
All the departments of CoNAS (Mathematics; Physics; Chemistry; Geology and Petroleum Studies; Biochemistry and Sports Science; Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences; Plant Sciences, Microbiology and Biotechnology) were represented at the meeting. The main message from the departments was; a warm welcome and for the students to concentrate, work hard for success during their stay at Makerere University. Students were also advised to ignore the talk of non-professional courses that is common in the community when they are admitted to non-traditional programmes like BSc. The issue is excellence in whatever programme is offered which is the determinant of future success.
The College Registrar, Ms. Josephine Ataro and a representative from the counselling and guidance (C&G) unit of Makerere University were present at the meeting. They both reiterated the messages of the College and Department leadership i.e. hard work for success and using the freedom at University responsibly. Counselling services are available for free at the C&G unit. Students were encouraged to seek for help early and not to suffer individually. The student leaders of CoNAS also welcomed the freshmen and women.