While some students find it incredibly panicky and worrying, joining university is such a great and exciting adventure. Panic jets in from the moment results are declared by the Ministry of Education.
A number of students are keen to know whether they have made it to university on government or private sponsorship.
When they finally make it, panic again evolves with the clearing and registration process that is somehow teasing. Once all is done, the long awaited day for reporting at the university turns into another nightmare.
Despite the anxiety that some students may have, getting used to new surroundings, daily university work and most important making new acquaintances become part of the new life for many first year students. The pressure of academic demands, socializing and money worries make the lifestyle challenging.
However, all this is an exciting adventure for quite a number of new university students. It is time to discover, get acquainted with new customs and belong to diverse social groups.
Lilliane Mukaneza, a first year education student at Kigali Institute of Education (KIE) said that she used to think studying at university was less demanding.
“At university I thought it was less demanding, but I discovered that you can be as flexible with your time as you wish; it is upon the student to meet assignment deadlines and set aside days for revision before exams,” she said.
After a day’s hard work, going out and having fun with new friends is what university life requires. At university one gets a chance to live with all your mates and go out with friends without strings attached, it was my long awaited time in life,” she stressed.
At university, students are expected to gather knowledge by themselves through research work and assignments since they are considered to have gained full potential as far as mending their future is concerned.
Sarah Muteteri, a first year student at School of Finance and Banking (SFB), said that during high school, students had dreams of future careers but they were disappointed.
“I had a dream of studying under government sponsorship to become a medical doctor, but due to low grades I scored than the required 4.9 points, I could not make it,” she said.
Muteteri said that after a lot of disappointment, her parents decided to enrol her in a private university where she is happily pursuing her Bachelor of Business Administration. However, registering bothered her because every office was asking for supporting documents.
She further said, “Most of us join university hoping for a good career in future, but the immediate priorities though, are usually making friends and having fun outside University.”
Muteteri also said that university lifestyles have changed the nature of students’ relationships with parents, family and old school friends.
Stephen Tusabe is a first year student of business administration at School of Finance and Banking (SFB), Mburabuturo-Gikondo, and a government sponsored student.
He said that being a fresher at university was probably the most cheerful situation he has ever found himself into starting from the orientation week.
“We got to know each other during the orientation, getting involved in a variety of activities that were planned by the university administration to enable us get accustomed to the environment; this was a new exciting experience all together,” he said.
Old timers help to guide new students who in turn assist others for the next academic intake. This spirit is handed down from one academic year to another.
He however said that probably getting money to cater for the scholastic materials and missing of his old friends with whom they used to share life experiences were some of the challenges.
“Though I am a government funded student, getting money to buy other requirements as well as catering for my transport is still a challenge to me,” Tusabe said.
Daforoza Gahakwa’s experience at SFB is quite different from the rest; she is a first year student and her point of departure is on sharing the accommodation rooms that were designed to cater for only four students, but to her disappointment, each room accommodates eight students.
“I never expected such an arrangement of sharing a bed at the university with fellow students,” she says.
Gahakwa further says that though students are some how clouded, mannerism of teasing does not exist due to religious advocacy that prevails at the university.
University students on government scholarship scheme all over the country are given 50% tuition fees. The other 50% comes from the Students Financing Agency for Rwanda (SFAR).
Upon completion, the student is expected to pay back to SFAR a certain calculated percentage.