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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

Eusebius McKaiser talks about the magic of books
2013-03-19

 

Eusebius McKaiser
Photo: Johan Roux
19 March 2013

If you want to turn around this country in terms of the rot in education, you have to start reading. You have to read for your degree."

This was the message from writer and political analyst, Eusebius McKaiser, at a public lecture hosted by the UFS Library and Information Services to celebrate South African Library Week.

Addressing the audience that consisted mostly of students, McKaiser, author of “A Bantu in my bathroom,” said it is not too late to start reading.

"We claim we are too busy as adults, but what is the opportunity cost of not reading? I think we lose our humanity, our sense of awe in the world around us when we stop reading as adults. Instead of saying we are too busy, we will do well to ask ourselves what is the cost of no longer reading as much as we did when we were children."

Reading from some of his favourite books, McKaiser spoke about writing techniques and the magic of books. He read excerpts from JM Coetzee's book “Disgrace,” which he considers to be the most important South African novel. He also read paragraphs from books by Rian Malan, James Baldwin and K Sello Duiker – calling the latter a genius.

Reflecting on the role of fiction, McKaiser said the genre is misunderstood and not utilised sufficiently by academics. "We see fiction as something restricted to the English Department or literary departments. I think fiction can be used as a tool in many departments in the humanities. It gives more real material for exploring complicated questions in the humanities and thought experiments that resemble life."

McKaiser also discussed the role of librarians and writers, saying writers should write what they like, but should not ignore the context. "As academics, librarians, teachers, we have to write for the context in which we teach. We have to order books for the context in which we are librarians and as academics we must not write textbooks for students who live in New York. We have to write textbooks for students who come from townships.”

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