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Ringway Campus

Navigating the world of a freshman at GIJ

The University of Media, Arts and Communication-Institute of Journalism (UniMAC–IJ), formerly known as the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), is an institution steeped in history and dedicated to nurturing the next generation of media professionals.

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Established in 1959 by the Kwame Nkrumah government, UniMAC–IJ has been a cornerstone of journalism education in Ghana.

As freshmen embark on their journey at UniMAC–IJ, they step into a world of dreams, challenges, and boundless opportunities.

In this article, I delve into the life of a first-year UniMAC–IJ student, exploring the challenges, triumphs, and invaluable lessons learned on campus.

For freshmen, the adventure begins with Orientation Week, an adrenaline-charged introduction to campus life. This week is filled with informative sessions, campus tours, and the chance to make new friends.

It's also the time when halls are allocated, and hall executives passionately persuade freshers to join their respective halls.

During Orientation Week, students are guided through the dos and don'ts of university life, helping them assimilate into the UniMAC–IJ community seamlessly.

UniMAC–IJ doesn't have on-campus hostels, but numerous private hostels surround the campus, providing accommodation to students from afar and those who choose to live independently.

These hostels often become the birthplace of lasting relationships, where students form bonds and find their coursemates.

Even for those not staying in hostels, the journey from home or to campus with newfound friends creates networks and connections that enrich their university experience.

Course registration can be a daunting task for freshmen. Navigating the online portal and comprehending the complexities of course selection can be overwhelming.

Many freshmen struggle with this process due to their limited familiarity with the system.

Course clashes are an unfortunate consequence of this unfamiliarity, causing additional stress.

The unfamiliarity of lecture halls can pose a significant challenge for new students, often resulting in feelings of being lost and stranded during class hours.

As freshers navigate their way through a new campus, they may find it difficult to locate the correct lecture halls for their classes.

The size and layout of the campus, coupled with the rush and overcrowding during peak hours, can make it particularly challenging for students to find their designated classrooms on time.

This sense of disorientation can lead to anxiety and frustration as students struggle to navigate through different buildings and floors, potentially missing out on valuable class time.

Somewhere in 2020, though the lecture halls had their door signs, my friends and I passed our designated lecture hall close to five times just looking for our course halls which we found 30 minutes to the end of a class resulting in its own embarrassment and frustration.

This highlights the importance of providing clear signage, campus maps, and orientation sessions to ensure that new students can easily find their way and feel more confident in their daily navigation of lecture halls.

UniMAC–IJ boasts a vibrant campus culture that encourages students to join clubs, participate in extracurricular activities, and attend workshops.

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The campus buzzes with excitement, from Student Representative Council (SRC) weeks to Hall weeks.

Balancing academics with extracurricular activities becomes crucial for freshmen.

Late-night study sessions and group projects forge lasting friendships among students who face challenges together.

The journey toward becoming a skilled professional is not without hurdles.

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First-year students wrestle with tight deadlines, intensive research, and the ever-changing landscape of media trends.

Yet, they persevere with unwavering determination, driven by a desire to make a positive impact through responsible journalism.

Beyond academics and campus activities, the first year at UniMAC–IJ is a time of personal growth.

Students develop a profound sense of social responsibility, recognizing the transformative power of media in shaping society.

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They refine their critical thinking skills, becoming adept at discerning fact from fiction in an era of information overload.

The life of a first-year UniMAC–IJ student is a whirlwind of learning, growth, and self-discovery.

It's a journey that prepares them to become ethical and skilled communicators, ready to face the dynamic world of media with confidence and enthusiasm.

As they embark on their second year and beyond, these students are poised to leave an indelible mark in the field of journalism and beyond.

UniMAC–IJ, with its rich heritage and commitment to excellence, truly shapes the future leaders of the media industry.

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