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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:

News Archive

UFS Council votes on top appointments
2003-11-24

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) today voted on the filling of four senior vacancies, including three posts at Vice-Rector level and one at the level of Dean.

The Council voted as follows:
- Prof Magda Fourie will be offered the post of Vice-Rector: Academic Planning
- Dr Ezekiel Moraka will be offered the post of Vice-Rector: Student Affairs
- Prof Teuns Verschoor will be offered the post of Vice-Rector: Academic Operations
- Prof Letticia Moja will be offered the post of Dean: Faculty of Health Sciences

Two of the candidates, Prof Teuns Verschoor and Prof Magda Fourie, are currently acting Vice-Rectors at the UFS. Prof Verschoor is acting Vice-Rector for Student Affairs and Prof Fourie is acting Vice-Rector for Academic Planning. Dr Moraka is currently Dean of Student Affairs at the University of Pretoria (UP). Prof Moja is currently the acting Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the UFS.

According to the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Prof Frederick Fourie, the filling of these senior vacancies comes after one of the most thorough search and selection processes ever at the UFS.

“It is wonderful that we are able to celebrate the outcome of this process that has brought forward such excellent candidates who reflect our country’s diversity. It shows that we can achieve the goals of quality and diversity at the same time,” Prof Fourie said.

Prof Magda Fourie (49) received her Ph D on Institutional governance of higher education in transition: a South African perspective from the UFS in 1996. She joined the UFS in 1998, later becoming Director of the Centre for Higher Education Studies and Development and Professor in Higher Education Studies. She said in her declaration of intent her aspiration is to contribute to making the UFS the excellent university it foresees in its vision and mission. Academic planning should position the UFS with regard to its core activities strategically as an institution of excellence that will meet the future from a strong basis of academic integrity and credibility.

Dr Moraka (45) received his Ph D in Education Management on Management of change and conflict resolution by student affairs officers at historically white universities in South Africa from the UP in 2002. He is Dean of Students at the UP since 2001. Before that he was Head of Student Support and Student Social Services at the UP for six years. He was also, among others, a lecturer at a college of education and a pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa. He said in his declaration of intent that diversity can become so greatly emphasised that people can be driven further apart. Focus should be on moulding a student community where everyone can feel at home, a community which lives together and works together without destroying what is unique to each individual.

Prof Verschoor (53) received his LL D in 1980 at the University of Pretoria on The criminal responsibility of psychopaths and similar figures. He was professor in and Head of the Department of Criminal Law and Medical Law at the UFS for 17 years before becoming Dean of Students in 1994. He said in his declaration of intent that he dreams of the realisation of projects that are awaiting the enthusiastic support, bringing together and empowering of persons involved by a Vice-Rector that wants to see the UFS prosper in an era of continuing dynamic development. In this he would like to make a substantial contribution.

Prof Moja (46) received her MB ChB in 1982 from the University of Natal and her M.Med in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1990 from the Medical University of South Africa (Medunsa). She became a full professor in 2003 at the UFS and has been acting as Dean of the UFS’s Faculty of Health Sciences since February 2003. She said in her declaration of intent that the challenge for her is to manage change with the ultimate aim of both achieving the vision of the UFS and satisfying the needs of the community. Some of the academic challenges include the training of more people from designated groups and rural areas. Careful planning and integration of the curriculum should be done to ensure that all students perform to their best.

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