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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

New Genetics building on Bloemfontein Campus spirals into new frontiers
2015-09-11

On Thursday 3 September 2015, the Department of Genetics hosted the official opening of its new offices on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS).

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, Prof Neil Heideman, Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, and Prof Paul Grobler, Head of the Department of Genetics cut the ribbon, symbolising the opening of this building with its state-of-the-art facilities.

The new genetics building boasts a new administration block with a reception area, seven offices, a small committee room, and a seminar room for 50 people. Furthermore, the undergraduate laboratory block provides a laboratory for 150 students. The research block has facilities for 30 researchers.

This building also hosts a chemical waste sorting and storage facility. This is a first for the university.

Several sites were investigated for the new building, but due to its size and envisaged second phase, a “green fields” site was found on the western side of the campus. The main entrance caters for visitors from the north, students on foot, and those using the parking area in front of the library. The secondary south entrance is for those who use the dedicated parking area south of the building. The link between these two entrances is the spine of the building, a helix with services/buildings spaced on either side. The helix will be extended in the second phase to keep the circulation and linkage of buildings as simple as possible.

In his opening speech, Prof Grobler gave a breakdown of the history of the Department of Genetics. Today, this department, which opened its doors at the UFS in 1960, is proud of its 131 students and 46 honours students.

According to Major-General Edward Ngokha, Head of the Forensic Science Laboratory, students who graduate from the UFS in the field of genetics make excellent employees. The Forensic Science Laboratory has employed 25 honours students since the BSc Honours degree in Genetics was implemented in 2010.

“The UFS delivers education of high quality and high standards. Thank you for your contribution toward fighting crime by delivering well-prepared, committed employees,” said Major-General Ngokha.

The department presents programmes on population conservation genetics, plant molecular genetics, cytogenetics, forensic genetics, forensic science, human genetics, and behavioural genetics.

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