MANY might describe their first time as “scary” and even “downright terrifying”. Or at least these are some of the student sentiments described in blogs and forums on their first experience at university.
However, a tradition that can be enjoyed by first timers and seniors too is a university's Freshies Night.
According to UOW Malaysia KDU student council president Melissa Anne Chai, the student council successfully completed its recent Freshies Night in early August after a long hiatus.
“It's like a welcoming party. We get together. There are all sorts of performances. The juniors get to make friends with the seniors,” she said, describing the event as a joy to organise.
The festivities are said to get even better during Campus Breakout. These are held three times a year – around the start of the semester – when clubs and societies set up booths and encourage freshmen to join.
There are tens of clubs and societies in UOW Malaysia KDU revolving around sports, hobbies and other interests for freshmen to choose according to their passions or to find new ones.
“We recruit seniors who really want to be involved in helping out during orientation and play an active role in helping freshmen adapt to university life.
“Those in the ‘smolkids’ group – a moniker for newer students – are on standby to help freshmen learn to register for subjects, use the library or any other thing on the campus that they don't know about.
“I have seen many student council members who were quiet and shy in the beginning and are now outspoken, assertive and quite involved in our student community,” said Chai who is a second-year law student at UOW Malaysia KDU in Selangor.
UOW Malaysia KDU Student and Alumni Centre assistant manager Sharifah Azura said helping first-time students adapt effectively into university life is a serious undertaking.
“For their orientation, we hold plenty of briefing sessions and campus tours. They learn everything about the university's welfare services, shuttle buses, accommodation, medical services and even how to borrow books.
“It is vital for them to become totally familiar with our campus before they start their academic life," she said.
The campus Student and Alumni Centre senior manager Mitchell Liong stressed that academic achievements are not the sole denominator of a high-quality university life.
"The value of a university as an alma mater lies with how the campus shapes character – our emotional, mental and even spiritual facets. We pay a great deal of attention to these facets through our Youth Empowerment Plan,” he said adding that the five-pronged plan has been called fitspiration – a portmanteau of fit and inspiration.
He shared that nutrition talks and even weight-loss challenges are regularly held, with the latest being a talk on sports psychology in June, given by the Selangor Football Association
The newest campus in Batu Kawan, Penang, is equipped with two gymnasiums, an Olympic-sized pool plus tennis, badminton, and squash courts with a sports field to boot. Similar facilities are found in every UOW Malaysia KDU campus nationwide.
The other four areas of focus in the university's Youth Empowerment Plan – Career Exploration, Culturation (embracing myriad cultural ideologies to promote diversity and inclusion), Hatch Up (promoting creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit) and Sustainability.
For more information, call 03-5565 0538 (Selangor campus) or 04-238 6368 (Penang campus).