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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:

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Increase in external research funding is proof of confidence in UFS
2014-12-09

The university’s sourcing of research funding from external organisations has received a significant boost this year. The growth in financing received from the National Research Foundation (NRF) alone increased from R24 million in 2013 to over R50 million in 2014.

“Because tertiary institutions can no longer survive on state subsidies alone, they are increasingly looking at alternative ways of supplementing their income. Income from these sources is utilised for various programmes and projects, with strong emphasis on research,” says Dr Glen Taylor, Senior Director: Research Development at the University of the Free State (UFS).

A source which provided considerable income for the UFS was the presentation of short learning programmes. The growth in income for the learning programmes this year was more than 30% compared to the income in 2012. “Income from short learning programmes is used to support the core business of the UFS,” says Dr Taylor.

A number of major research contracts were entered into during the course of the year. The UFS, for example, serves as an agency for a research contract of USD$10.5 million awarded by the World Bank to the Southern African Development Corporation (SADC). The contract is managed by the Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS) and involves research on the management and formation of policies on underground water sources across boundaries.

Another substantial grant is the financing received from the Water Research Commission. The money is used to conduct research on the sustainable utilisation of water, as well as ways for the better utilisation thereof for the development of communities. The grant to the UFS for successful projects amounts to R5.5 million on average per year.

The UFS also has contracts with national and international partners. We conduct research of more than R30 million on the behalf of several mining companies, such as Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Exxaro and Goldfields Ltd. “Furthermore, we also have research funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH) in the USA, the European Union and several bilateral research agreements with countries such as Brazil, China and India, as well as contracts with Sasol and the Agricultural Research Council (ARC),” says Dr Taylor.

“We have tremendous interest from several companies wishing to finance the programmes, projects and intellectual property of the UFS, which is proof that our research is recognised and makes a difference,” he says.

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