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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 Dean of Student Affairs appointed
2016-08-23

Description: Pura Mgolombane Tags: Pura Mgolombane

Pura Mgolombane, newly-appointed
Dean of Student Affairs at the
University of the Free State.
Photo: Charl Devenish

“Students must always remember that people are human beings before any other identity they may embody.”

This is the message to the students of the UFS campuses from Pura Mgolombane, newly-appointed Dean of Student Affairs at the University of the Free State (UFS) in August 2016. He has replaced Cornelia Faasen, who acted as Dean from December 2014 to July 2016.   

Being part of the Kovsie community
Previously, he was part of the Kovsie family as Assistant Dean of Student Life and Leadership (2011-2013). Before that, he was the Diversity, Ethics, and Social Justice Manager at the University of the Witwatersrand from August 2013 to July 2016. Mgolombane said he is most excited to “observe and experience an inclusive culture” at the university.

“I am looking forward to being part of a team that creates sufficient conditions for every member of the Kovsie community to feel that they belong here; from Qwaqwa campus, to South campus, to Bloemfontein campus.”

Making sure humanity comes first
His primary focus will be “to create Humanising Student Lived Experiences”. I want to create conditions where students feel that their humanity matters, because it is in such conditions that students are likely to excel academically,” he said.

These conditions will be created through the introduction of programmes and activities known as pedagogies, namely the humanising pedagogy and the pedagogy of discomfort. “All of these pedagogies and frameworks will be contained and further clarified in the Dean of Student Affairs Strategy which will be finalised no later than December 2016.”

Overcoming challenges faced by students
Regarding the challenges facing UFS students, Mgolombane said that “it is only when all out humanity is affirmed that we are likely to find lasting peace.

“Those who are in power or privileged positions have a responsibility to be in solidarity with the marginalised groups in pursuit of Social Justice.”

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