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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

Johann swims his way to Olympics
2016-05-18


Johann van Heerden from the University of the Free State has qualified for the Paralympic Games in the swimming pool, and is now waiting to hear if he will be included in the South African team. Photo: Nadya van Heerden.

In the past couple of months, Johann van Heerden has been swimming his way to the Paralympic Games, and is still preparing as if he will be going to Rio de Janeiro.

The Kovsie swimmer, who will know whether he has been included in the Paralympic team in July 2016, feels his training is progressing well. The Olympics will be held in Brazil from 7 to 18 September 2016. If all goes well, this could be the first of several Olympics for the 20-year-old second-year Education student from the University of the Free State (UFS).

Dream year for Education student

Van Heerden (cerebral palsy), whose hero is the former Paralympic superstar Natalie du Toit, has had huge successes in the run-up to the 2016 Olympics. Among others, he was named the best senior swimmer at the Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled in Bloemfontein in March 2016. At the South African Senior Championships in Durban in April 2016, he qualified for the Olympics in the 100 m breast-stroke with an A-qualifying time, and in the 50 m and 100 m freestyle with B-qualifying times.

Only three male swimmers to Olympics

However, he has to wait until the announcement of the South African Paralympic team, since only three male and three female swimmers will be selected. He will not be competing in another major event before the Olympics. “My short-term goal is to compete in this year’s Games, and, in the long term, I would like to reach even greater heights at the 2020 Games,” he said. Du Toit is an inspiration to him because “she was hard-working, and she had a lot of drive”.

Other students from CUADS also excel

At the above-mentioned National Championships, Van Heerden won a total of five gold medals (200 m medley, 100 m breaststroke, 50 m freestyle, 50 m breaststroke, and 200 m breaststroke) and one silver medal (100 m freestyle). Other students from the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support at the UFS also excelled.

Dineo Mokhosoa (cerebral palsy) won three gold medals (long jump, shot-put, and discus), while the athlete Louzanne Coetzee (blind) shattered the world record in the 5 000 m, as well as the Africa record in the 1 500 m. Juanré Jenkinson (cerebral palsy) won two silver medals (discus and shot-put) while Danie Breitenbach (blind) won two gold medals (800 m and 1500 m).

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