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07 June 2018 Photo Supplied
Emotional safety during examinations

Mid-year exams have begun and with crunch time comes emotional upheaval. However, it is manageable and should not deter you from the end-goal of succeeding in your studies while maintaining high mental health standards.

“The exam period is a time when stress and anxiety levels are higher than usual. Stress can be positive and help you stay motivated and focused. However, too much stress can be unhelpful and can make you feel overwhelmed, confused, exhausted and edgy,” says Dr Melissa Barnaschone, Director of Student Counselling and Development at the University of the Free State (UFS).

According to Helpguide.Org: Trusted guide to mental & emotional health, “Mental and emotional health is about being happy, self-confident, self-aware, and resilient. People who are mentally healthy are able to cope with life’s challenges and recover from setbacks. But mental and emotional health requires knowledge, understanding, and effort to maintain. If your mental health isn’t as solid as you’d like it to be, here’s the good news: there are many things you can do to boost your mood, build resilience, and get more enjoyment out of life.”

For further details on topics including: Building Better Mental Health, Emotional Intelligence Toolkit, Benefits of Mindfulness, Improving Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Cultivating Happiness, visit the Help Guide. 

Dr Barnaschone has a few tips on how Kovsies can better approach academic anxiety during the examination period. Here is what she has to say:

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Kovsies Star of Stars gives back to communities that need it most
2017-01-15

Description: ' 000 A StarOfStars Finalists Tags: StarOfStars Finalists

The 11 Kovsie Star of Stars finalists.
Photo: Charl Devenish

Description: ' 000 A StarOfStars Winner Tags: A StarOfStars Winner

"Doctor" Tshepo Thajane, the 2017 Kovsie Star of Stars.
Photo: Charl Devenish

Starting in 2016, the UFS Marketing department embarked on a project designed to help learners from less fortunate backgrounds to discover their potential. This competition, dubbed Kovsies Star of Stars, recognises excellence in some of the most disadvantaged schools in the Free State. C-Squared Group, a black-owned and -managed agency, is partnering with the UFS in this endeavour. Amongst many other prizes on offer, the winner is awarded a full bursary to study at the UFS.

For the first year, two of the five Free State districts were identified, namely Xhariep and Motheo. Grade 11 and Grade 12 learners were invited to participate in 2016, the winner being announced at a gala event on the Bloemfontein Campus early in 2017, with Success Lekabe as host for the evening.

Nomonde Mbadi, Director of UFS Marketing, says of the contestants, “All 11 Star of Stars finalists had one thing to say that gave the judges goose bumps, and that was: ‘We want to give back to our community.’ This is truly commendable.”

"Doctor" Tshepo Thajane, from Lefikeng Secondary School in Botshabelo, was selected as the winner of the inaugural Kovsies Star of Stars competition. He is pursuing a degree in Actuarial Sciences, and will be a Karee resident. He says, “I loved UFS before I even came here, because of the respect I was shown. And I really didn’t think I would win; it just came as a surprise to me.”

Lebohang Lesenyeho, from Kgauho Secondary School (Botshabelo), had a special word for the organisers. “I would be very honoured if you could include a message to them. We really thank them for this opportunity.”

It is hoped the competition will garner the support of financial sponsors and be expanded to include learners from Grade 9, 10, 11, and 12 across all five districts in the Free State province.

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