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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

Emma Sadleir talks about social media etiquette
2016-05-18

Description: Emma Sadlier Tags: Emma Sadlier

Emma Sadleir
Photo: Supplied

“We have all become celebrities, we have become social figures because of our power to publish information. We have all become brands, and we need to protect our brand. Digital content is sometimes dangerous content,” said Sadleir.

On 11 May 2016, the University of the Free State, in collaboration with the Postgraduate School, hosted, Emma Sadleir, a leading social media expert, in the Equitas Auditorium on the Bloemfontein Campus. She is an admitted advocate, specialising in social media law.  Dr Henriette van den Berg, Director of the Postgraduate School, described Sadleir’s presentation as a privilege for all the staff and students who attended.

Sadleir said that there are two important rules that staff and students of an institution should try to follow. The first is not to bring the name of the institution into disrepute; and the second is not to breach the goodwill of the institution or, in other words, not to bite the hand that feeds you.

“The common law, even if there is no policy, is that anything that brings the company into disrepute can lead to disciplinary consequences up to termination,” said Sadleir.

Sadleir focused on hate speech and free speech, stating that free speech is a right that is entrenched in the constitution, but, like every other right, it has limitations. She mentioned Penny Sparrow, Matt Theunissen, Velaphi Khumalo, and Judge Mabel Jansen, all of whom have been lambasted by the public over their racist posts on social media. Sadleir stressed that, even on social media, content has to be within the confines of the law, and people must remember our rights are not absolute. We have a lot of freedoms, but no one cannot disseminate hate speech.

“Would you publish whatever you thinking on a billboard, close to a busy highway with your name, picture and employers details or the institution you studying at? If you have no grounds to justify the comment, do not post it,” warned Sadlier.  

According to the South African Bill of Rights, everyone has the right to privacy, but an expectation of privacy has to be enforced. She said people over-document their lives on social media, decreasing your right to privacy drastically. “It is like CCTV footage of your life. It is simple, the more you take care of your privacy, the more you have,” said Sadleir.

Sadleir said it was important for Facebook users to have privacy settings where they can review posts where they are tagged. According to Sadleir, managing your reputation is not only limited to what you post about yourself but also managing what others post about you.

She cited a 2013 case in the Pretoria High Court in which a new wife wrote a scandalous Facebook post about her husband’s ex-wife, tagging the husband in the post. The courts found both the new wife and the husband guilty of defamation.

“If you have been tagged in something but have not been online and seen the content, you are then an innocent disseminator. The moment you are aware of the post you are liable for the content,” said Sadleir.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently,” Sadleir said, concluding her presentation with the quotation from Warren Buffet.

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