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07 June 2018 Photo Supplied
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

Lecturer’s debut novel wins ATKV Prize for Fiction
2015-10-14

Dr Francois Smith
Photo: Johan Roux

Kamphoer made its debut on the literary scene just over a year ago, and on 11 September 2015, it was declared the best novel by the Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV). This is not the first time Kamphoer has been recognised as literary gem. Earlier this year, the novel was shortlisted for the W A Hofmeyr Prize as well as the Huisgenoot Tempo Award.

Dr Francois Smith, the author, joined the University of the Free State (UFS) as a lecturer in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French at the beginning of this year. Prior to entering the academic sphere, he dedicated about 11 years of his life to editing for a publishing house. Certainly, helping other people write and produce books thoroughly prepared him for authorship.

For three months, Smith spent eight hours a day creating his award-winning masterpiece. The secret of success lies in the ABC formula. “The ABC for writing is Apply Back to Chair. You have to go and sit down and start typing,” he says.

That is when passion meets imagination, albeit at times, one might also need inspiration. Smith applied this winning formula meticulously, and it has resulted in over 30 000 copies of Kamphoer being sold since July 2014.

He was taken aback by the novel’s warm reception. “I wrote a book, finished it, and knew that it wasn’t bad but I never for one moment imagined that it would be such a big commercial success,” he said.

About Kamphoer

The book which Smith describes as a good but not an easy read about a disturbing subject is the true story of a woman who was brutally raped during the South African War and left for dead.  After the traumatic experience, she dedicates her life to helping others deal with similar ordeals, re-encountering her rapists in the process.

About the award

Kamphoer emerged as an exceptional contribution amongst two other finalists. Kerneels Breytenbach’s Ester as well as Harry Kalmer’s ’n Duisend stories oor Johannesburg were also competing for the prestigious award.


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