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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

PSP allows Dr Thom Wium to develop as an academic
2016-12-26

Description: Matildie PSP Tags: Matildie PSP 

For Dr Matildie Thom Wium, the
rewarding part of teaching is “the
moments of synergy with a group of
students” and when she senses that she
could, for instance, help them to better
understand a music selection.
Photo: Sonia Small

Being part of the Vice-Chancellor’s Prestige Scholars Programme (PSP) has opened doors for Dr Matildie Thom Wium. She is able to better plan her research, and the overseas trips she has to undertake for this helps to develop her skills.

The senior lecturer in the Odeion School of Music (OSM) at the University of the Free State (UFS) says these are some of the advantages the PSP holds for her.

She attended two international conferences this year – in London in January, and in New York in August. Furthermore, she is working on musical analysis with Prof Timothy Jackson at the University of North Texas, US from 12 September 2016 to 31 December 2016. Prof Jackson is a research professor and was one of her PhD promoters.

Conferences contribute to her vision
“I think the PSP is a fantastic initiative,” says Dr Thom Wium, whose husband Daniël Wium is a lecturer in Astrophysics at the UFS. She says the reseach support from the PSP is amazing. “In addition, the writing retreats offered by the PSP help to set time aside during the busy semester to work on articles.”

“I think the PSP is a fantastic initiative.”

The conference in London was on operatic practice in the 19th century. In the US, Dr Thom Wium, who has been working at the UFS since 2007, also participated in a panel discussion on this topic. “It means a lot for my vision as an academic to participate in conferences where I have the opportunity to meet and exchange thoughts with the people whose work I read and cite.”

Involvement in SA equally important

However, she believes that it is equally important to stay involved locally. At the conference of the South African Society for Research in Music, which was hosted by the OSM from 25 to 27 August 2016, she presented a paper on composer Arnold van Wyk and performed a song cycle by him. She did research on Van Wyk for her PhD.

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