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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

Two academics receive prestigious fellowship for leadership programme
2013-01-16

The University of the Free State (UFS) boasts two academics who received the HELM LEAD (Higher Education and Leadership Programme) Fellowship for 2013. Prof. Liezel Lues from the Department of Public Administration and Management and Prof. Liezel Herselman from the Department of Plant Sciences both received this prestigious fellowship.  

After the nationwide nomination procedure – with a choice from 120 applications - Higher Education South Africa (HESA) awarded 25 placements in the programme. Candidates who were selected, had to be in middle-management positions within the university sector, had to have exceptional qualities, and had to exhibit management and leadership potential within their university.  

This group will now undergo a number of modules in Higher Education, which will start during January in Cape Town. The aim of the programme, running between February 2013 and April 2013, is to provide learning opportunities for middle and senior managers to gain knowledge and skills, with a view to the successful navigation of the constant challenges of change and to interpret effectively the operational impact of internal and external drivers.  

Modules include topics such as Academic Policy and Planning; Governance and Strategy; Systems Management; and Managing People and Change.  

Prof. Lues stated that she applied for the programme because she strongly believes that an effective and vibrant public sector, and especially the role of female academics therein, will play a fundamental role in the transformation of the South African community towards a prosperous and tolerant society. “I believe the LEAD component of HESA will offer me the opportunity to enhance my knowledge and insight with regard to the socio-political environment and its impact on higher education institutions. The envisaged outcomes of the programme will also directly lead to the improvement of my leadership and management practices within the UFS’ Department of Public Administration and Management,” said Prof. Lues.  

Prof. Herselman was appointed as Head of the Department of Plant Sciences, effective from 1 January 2013.  She is very excited about this new position and said: “Although I am looking forward to the new challenge, I am aware of my lack of experience as a manager. The LEAD programme will provide me with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed as Head of Department and will give me the opportunity to strengthen the Department of Plant Sciences and to make it a Department of international stature.”

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