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Welcome to JMS 1 2017: Your guide to success

Date Released: Wed, 1 March 2017 12:45 +0200

By Ettioné Ferreira

So you have made the cut and you’re in the JMS class of 2017, but now what? The uncertainties you face in your first few weeks at Rhodes could be overwhelming however, the good news is you don’t have to face these alone as the rest of your classmates are going through the same.

We know this can be an exciting but sometimes scary time for students so here are 10 tips to guide you through your first year at JMS:

Tip 1: The secretary is your new best friend

The School secretary, Marissa van As, will help you get access to the building (if you qualify for after-hours access), keep your lost items when they’re found in the AMM and gives all round information that you might need. She is the heart of the AMM and will be able to help you with most of your queries.

Tip 2: Learn proper email etiquette

If you want to make a good impression on your lecturer or the TA, do not use SMS-language or any informal language in your emails. Write respectful emails starting with “Dear” and ending with “Kind Regards”. It will make the world of difference if your email doesn’t evoke a stroke of rage in the reader whilst reading your query.

Tip 3: Classroom life

Lecturers really dislike students waltzing into a lecture venue late. Especially those who come 10 minutes before the end – if you’re going to be that late, you should maybe reinvest in an alarm clock. To get the best value for your money: sit near the front of the class, pay close attention and be responsive when lecturers ask questions. Not only will the lecturer feel time has not been wasted (and they might even remember your face and name helping you get in their good books) but you’ll also be making the best of your time and money spent at Rhodes.

Tip 4: Get to know the department

Know where your lectures and teaching assistant’s offices are. Once you are told about your tutor venues be sure you find the right room. Be clear about the difference between where you have to hand in your assignments and where you have to pick them up. Assignments are handed in, in the JMS 1 box found in the corner of the foyer (across from the front desk). Assignments are picked up from the Tutor Boxes on the second floor (as you come up the stairs turn right, go past the store room and the ECCF/tech offices to the boxes next to the stairwell).  Explore the department so that you know where the bathrooms and water fountains are and which areas you do and don’t have access to as a JMS 1 student.

Tip 5: Smoking

We know the stress of assignments and student life might drive some of you to smoke, but we ask that you respect the university rules about it. The university does not allow smoking inside any buildings and require (by law) all students, and staff to smoke at least 10m away from a building.  We have a designated smoking area: lovely chairs under a shaded area at our braai area which also contains bins for cigarettes. If you’re unsure where to go, you are welcome to enquire at reception.

Tip 6: Carry pens. Lots and lots of pens.

As a journalist (or media researcher) you always find some thought that you want to scribble down but alas, if you don’t have a pen and notebook – your thoughts are lost. Journalists also love pens so do not leave another journalist with your pen. You will never see that pen again. We are pen hoarders but always lose them somehow. It’s the Bermuda-Triangle of journalism.

Tip 7: Your tutor is your Yoda

(Cue the Yoda voice): Your tutor has knowledge, they have so use it, you will.
Let your tutor guide you through the year. They have been through the same troubles as you and have been handpicked to teach you the JMS ways. Don’t be too shy to ask questions about the work. Media Studies can be a daunting subject when making the transition from High School to university. The theory is heavy and can be difficult to understand but luckily you have a tutor to guide you through it. Asking for help might just get you from barely passing to getting a first. Tutorials is a space for learning through engagement with other students and developing an opinion.

Tip 8: Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines

We cannot stress enough that deadlines are really important to meet! The deadlines are there to support our marking system and therefore if you miss a deadline, the lecturer or tutor gets in trouble. Always make sure you hand in your assignments before the deadline time. If you have a problem making the deadline, make sure you discuss this with the teaching assistants or your lecturer as soon as possible.

Tip 9: When things get scary, talk to us

Down to the serious stuff. We cannot hide from the undeniable truth that the protests are a big possibility for the year. It is a scary time for even the senior students so we understand that first years might feel a lot of pressure. If you feel traumatised, scared or just want to discuss your views, the JMS team will be here to talk you through it.  If you can’t cope with your workload or the work content, please talk to your lecturer, teaching assistant or your tutor.

Tip 10: Make the best of it

Journalism is a tough job but it can also come with some perks. You can get media passes for events and sometimes there’s even free food there. You will run around and there will be a lot of waiting involved (waiting for interviews, waiting for sources to send information, waiting for your computer to switch on… you get the picture) but if you use this year to work hard but also have fun, you might just have the best year yet. Stay positive and keep yourself motivated. Don’t just survive the year, make the best of it!


Important contacts:

General enquiries:
AMM Front desk:  Marissa van As – ammadmin@ru.ac.za

Tech queries:

Inform your lecturer or ammtech@ru.ac.za 

More serious queries:

Admin Manager -  Belinda de Lange – ammadmin@ru.ac.za  (Room 002)

Course/tutor queries:

Teaching Assistants - Elri Steenkamp – Bella Boqo – b.boqo@ru.ac.za (Room 009), e.steenkamp@ru.ac.za (Room 009)

First year coordinator & lecturer - Rod Amner – r.amner@ru.ac.za (Room 229)


Important resources (you HAVE to read these):

Student Handbook

Style Guide

Reference Guide

Essay Writing Guide




Source:Rhodes JMS