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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

Statement by Judge Faan Hancke, Chairperson of the Council of the University of the Free State (UFS)
2008-03-08

The Council of the University of the Free State today (Friday, 7 March 2008) unanimously condemned the offensive and racist Reitz video in the strongest possible terms.

Council further labeled the video as an insult to women, to older persons and to poor working people who are defenseless and vulnerable and expressed its disgust at the action of the students concerned.

Council also apologised unreservedly and sincerely to the five UFS employees who were shown in the video and offered all emotional and counselling assistance necessary as well as in the current criminal matter under way or possible civil action they may undertake.

At the same time the university must also provide counseling to current first year students of Reitz who were not present at the time of the filming of the video.

Council also mandated the management, in addition to the other disciplinary steps under way, to consider the possibility of closure and of conversion of Reitz into a beacon of transformation, hope and liberation (either as a residence or in some other form).

This must take place in accordance with due process of the law to give residents and other stakeholders reasonable opportunity to make submissions so that all relevant considerations can be taken into account.

The Council expressed its full confidence in the management and supported the steps taken by management thus far under trying circumstances concerning transformation, residence integration, the Reitz video and the vandalism of the campus.

It reaffirmed the decision taken in June 2007 to increase diversity in student residences and recommitted the UFS to implement the policy.

The Council condemns all forms of racism and committed itself to eradicate racism and racial prejudice in any form and from any quarter on the UFS campus.

The meeting also approved the appointment of an external expert agency to assist the university in:

  • understanding and identifying the current challenges relating to the implementation of the integration policy 
  • supporting the university management and making recommendations on how to enhance the process of implementation

The intention is to provide additional capacity to the management in order to accelerate the transformation and integration process.

It called on management to take firm action against any staff or student who violates the law, is involved in threats, racism, disruptions, intimidation and vandalism and condemned these actions in the strongest possible terms.

The Council reassured all staff, students, parents and other stakeholders that firm action will be taken against persons who are guilty of disorderly conduct, intimidation, disruption or similar actions with the full force of the law.

The management was requested to maintain law and order so as to create a conducive environment in which academic excellence can be furthered. The Council appreciates the steps that have been taken in this regard.

The Council supported a management initiative to investigate the fundamental issues underlying many of the current problems in residences, including:

  • residence culture, including initiation, as well as race, racialism and racism
  • alcohol and drug abuse role,
  • place, organisation and management of residences constitution of student structures
  • and the role of political parties in student politics and structures
  • the physical structure of residences as part of a campus accommodation strategy

The Council agreed that social cohesion and racial tolerance will be highlighted as a strong theme in the academic cluster initiatives of the UFS and that management should find additional ways to strengthen existing programmes regarding diversity on the campus among all staff and students.

The Council called on all stakeholders to honour the high values of the Constitution of the country, to maintain these values and to further them in an orderly and peaceful environment.

Media Release
Issued by: Anton Fisher
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: 051 401 3422
Cell: 072 207 8334
E-mail: fishera.stg@ufs.ac.za
7 March 2008

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