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RU Ready for 4th term?

Jacqueline Lekoloane

Exam term is upon us yet again. Mental readiness and preparation is highly required. It’s time to put the 1st semester and all its troubles behind. Things might not have gone accordingly or as planned in the first semester and for some people hope might be lost but this is not the time to wallow in what happened but what is happening and what will happen.

Just as the year flew by this term is going to be the same and if careful planning and execution isn’t put into place some people might wake up late. We all have spent three full terms at Rhodes. We know ourselves, some have failed, some have succeeded. We can use our past experiences to learn new ways of tackling varsity life or for some people to unlearn things that are derailing them from their journey.

It might look like it is a long term but experience has shown me that it is going to just fly by like the other terms. This is the last term of university for some people and obviously people would want to make the best of their university career before they go out to the real world but you wouldn’t want your best times to stand between you and your degree or qualification.

My advice to final year students and all the other students is to finish strong. You’re nearing the finish line of your college career, but don’t ease up now. Taking it easy over a final semester has caused many students to do badly in classes and even delay graduation. Don’t let that happen to you. Instead give your final classes adequate attention so that you can perform your best. Be sure to be mentally prepared to juggle every aspect of your life prioritizing the important ones. Take advantage of the services offered by the university. You may be able to get help with your resume, learn about job opportunities you’re qualified for or network with connected alumni. We all want different things and be mindful that what you want might not necessarily be what your buddy wants.

Have as much fun as you can and if at any point and time you feel you are losing balance or direction be it academically, emotionally, physically seek help. We need to remember that we are a complex mix of academic, physical, mental, spiritual and emotional dimensions. Each of these dimensions needs to be acknowledged and nurtured to maintain an adequate equilibrium for effective functioning. Inability to strike a healthy balance in your life will result in factors like demotivation, stress, depression, anxiety, exhaustion, lack of appetite or over-eating, insomnia or hypersomnia, inability to study or work.

Here are some tips for dealing with exam stress:

  • Learn to recognize when you are stressed
    • When you feel like you are losing it. It’s important to take time out and do something to get your mind off things. Something that excites you and relieves your mind from the stressful event. Take a walk, go out with friends, take a nap/sleep or watch a movie.
  • Avoid comparing yourself with others
    • We are all wired differently. Know yourself and plan according to what and how much you can handle.
  • Draft a study table and stick to it
    • This can be hard and tricky. Avoid waiting till the last minute to start the draft as this will not only take up your time but it will confuse you. This organizes your schedule and enables you to keep record of your progress.
  • Eat right and healthy
    • A healthy diet serves a healthy mind. Consuming a balanced diet fuels the body to operate at its maximum and this is good for your brain.
  • Make your bed a sanctuary and get enough sleep
    • Avoid studying in bed. Make it a point to go to bed only when you know you will be sleeping. Make your bed some sort of a reward center where you only go after you have achieved a certain milestone. In that way you don’t feel guilty sleeping.
  • Incorporate physical activity into your day
    • This will stimulate your mind and increase your mental alertness, energy and positive mood. Exercise also improves attention, speed of processing and the ability to perform cognitive tasks.

Below are the wellness facilities to help you kick start the 4th term knowing that you have backup and full support from the university.

Academic wellness: Deans of departments

Emotional and social wellness: Counselling Centre

Contact:  (046) 603 7070 or counsellingcentre@ru.ac.za

Physical wellness: Health Care Centre

Contact: (046) 603 8523 or healthcarecentre@ru.ac.za

For more information on  wellness support facilities visit http://www.ru.ac.za/studentaffairs/wellness/ 

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