A new academic year has started. Here are the speeches by Minister of Education and Integration Guri Melby, Rector Sunniva Whittaker and STA leader Kristian Fredrik Meyer Ødegård.
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This day marks a new chapter in your lives.
For many of you, university study means travelling to a new place where you don’t know anyone, and where you start from scratch both academically and socially.
It can be both liberating and a little scary, and I’m sure many of you have been apprehensive as well as excited about this day.
We at the University of Agder will do our utmost to help you thrive and feel part of a community from day one. A community where the development of new knowledge is at the centre. For each of you, this means that you gain deeper knowledge than you had before in the subject areas you have chosen to study, but also that the notions you have of the world are challenged. As you gain new insights, the way you think changes.
Acquiring knowledge can therefore consist of building on what you have, but also tearing down and building something new. This is how you gain wisdom and grow as a person. However, the knowledge you acquire is not only important for yourself - you also contribute to the overall knowledge in Norway. We need new knowledge more than ever. We live in a world of rapid change with constant new challenges that require knowledge-based solutions - the conclusions of the UN climate change report published last week are ominous, and all indications are that climate change will have major consequences for our livelihoods in the future.
However, technological development is moving so fast that it is difficult to predict how it will affect our everyday lives in the future. What we can say for sure is that the life you have ahead of you will be very different from the life that waited for me when I started studying.
You already have completely different experiences to what I had as a new student. You have experienced a pandemic that has placed, and continues to place, great limitations on your life. You have experienced that events originating in a completely different part of the world can have major consequences for you and your surroundings.
You have experienced that humanity is vulnerable. It is easy to get discouraged and lose faith in the future. In precisely such a situation, it is particularly important that we roll up our sleeves and develop new knowledge - no matter what you have chosen to study, the knowledge you acquire will help create the future. As a new student, it is probably hard to imagine how the time spent in reading rooms, auditoriums and group study rooms can be important to others and not just to yourself, but it is.
The University of Agder’s vision is ‘Co-creation of tomorrow’s knowledge’. This means that both researchers, students and external partners work together to find out what kind of knowledge we need in the future and how we can develop it.
This vision is important to us, and we hope you will help us realise this vision. In concrete terms, this means that not only we, but also you - see yourself as a valuable member of our knowledge community, and that you actively contribute to the learning environment, both academically and socially.
At UiA, you can get involved in opportunities both inside and outside your studies. Seize the opportunities you get - it will make your studying both more enjoyable and more instructive and give you experience you can benefit from and enjoy for the rest of your life.
I wish each and every one of you good luck with your studies and hope you will have a great time at the University of Agder.
(STA = Student Organization of Agder)
My name is Kristian Fredrik, and I am the student leader here at UiA. This means that I am your representative, elected by the students to work with your student life.
As a student it is wise to actively seek new people and the next weeks will be some of the most important ones for you. The freshers` week (Fadderuken) is a place to get to know people. Join all the activities and put yourselves out there. It can be challenging to put yourselves out there but if you want good things for yourselves in the long run you sometimes must do challenging things in the moment. If you do that, I believe that you will gain many good friends.
A possible challenge for you as a student is the transition from a safety net at hight school to a university life where it is you who must take responsibility. This transition can sometimes be large but my tip for you is to take responsibility for your own everyday life and to structure your days. If you want to have a good student life it is important to make routines and follow them. It can be overwhelming to get into things especially at the start of semester, such as the curriculum, but my solution has always been to get a good overview and to plan.
It is smart to establish relations through participation with the different student activities. Here at UiA we have a wide range of activities. If you are interested in politics, choir, sports or to brew beer you can contact us in the Student Organization of Agder (STA) or visit our home page stastudent.no.
It is ok to find your way as you go and if you do find it set some goals and keep them. Here at the university, there is no one who takes responsibility for that you pass your exams, the responsibility is yours and yours alone. Take this responsibility seriously.
I am interested in how you are so if you see me at campus, please approach me and say hello.
On behalf of the Student Organization of Agder, I wish all new and old students welcome to the start of semester, and as our rector Sunniva always says; life starts where your comfort zone ends.
I would like to end with a quote from Roald Amundsen that is about the importance of being prepared. This is essential concerning your exams grades but also when it comes to dealing with your everyday student life.
“Defeat is an absolute consequence for those who has neglected to take the necessary precautions. Victory awaits those who has everything in order”
Thank you and good luck!