Our School and Coping with Life

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Written by: Dorothea Hendricks

Dear Students
University students all over the world have challenges - including the reality that for most students, being overstretched and broke are simply part of the privilege of studying. 
However, I want to have a boast moment please.  My suspicion is that at TSiBA, students have a far higher resilience, you bounce back from challenges in a shorter time, and you are focussed on the goal with greater determination.  The other thing which makes us stand out I feel, is that students support and encourage each other, to an admirable degree.  In my life I have had direct experiences with UWC, CPUT, UCT, University of Zimbabwe, Rochester University, Wits, University of Johannesburg, Unisa.  YOU STAND OUT!!! FOR SURE!!!
So, as you prepare for exams, I want to just remind you of your INBUILT and DEVELOPED ability to cope!!!!! You are able to stretch yourself, humble yourself, focus, work hard, get through in absolute amazing ways.  You are able to feel anxiety, and yes, handle it in a very healthy way. 
Here are some secrets of coping extra:

1. Don’t lose a night’s sleep studying.  Being fresh gives you a greater chance of figuring things out in an exam.

2. Arrive bright and EARLY on the day of exams.  Eat your breakfast at school, but arrive very early. This in itself removes the stress in the hour before exams.

3. Ensure that you are warm, and have a warm extra something in your locker incase you rain wet or the temperature in our building is colder than expected.  When the body gets cold, the shivering is actually the heart trying to pump extra blood in the body to push up your temperature.  However, shivering will enhance anxiety. So be comfortably warm at all times.

4. Loyiso’s passion:  Drink water!  It is a proven fact that the body operates far better with the water flowing through it. 

5. If a fellow student needs emergency tutoring from you, respond with what is real for you eg.  ‘I can only help you with 15 minutes else I’m in trouble with my studies myself.’  Then stick to the 15 minutes. 

6. When your mind goes into automatic doubt mode before an exam,  say to yourself, but I am going to do my best in calmness and figure out things to the best of my ability.  I know that I am good at doing this.

7. In a way that I cannot explain, I’ve noticed that at exam times, family hassles surface to a larger degree.  DON’T GET INVOLVED.  Whoever wants to say whatever, whatever is happening, tell yourself after exams I’ll pay attention to it.  It is good to transform the worries directly into prayer and to say to God, please handle every detail of every need at home.  And help me to focus despite what is happening at home.  Then focus, knowing that Divine Help surrounds your family.  Since family do not mostly know of the pressures of being a student, don’t get upset at any words mentioned to you.  Let it go in the one ear, and out the other ear - but keep the facts of your studies secure between your ears please! [Funny hey!]
8.  A very sad reality is that for some students, there are traumas happening right now.  Lubabalo for example Sibhene has had to have the devastating reality of losing his mother, Noluthando, now.  Please pray for the family during this time of bereavement.  His email address is:  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  .  Here too, with your loving prayers for him and the family, he will know that at school, love will surround him as he prepares.
It has been my personal advise to students who have had to deal with big things like this, to just try to keep going as best as you can.  The problem is that if you don’t, the pressure goes from a Table Mountain to a Kilimanjaro overnight, and it is hard to catch up.  So for you too, just keep going as best as you can.
9. For students who have lost DP’s, carry on studying the subjects you are able to write.  Your degree being extended by a year is actually not the end of the world.  In fact, the average time of getting your degree, in all universities, is not usually in the shortest time possible.  However, you MUST review after exams, and do an honest reflection of why you lost your DP. And fix up from your side what you need to, and address whatever needs to be addressed clearly before it is too late.
10. It is a proven fact that the human mind when it should be focussing at times, will suggest an alternative action eg. now turning out your room, spending hours on something which will not directly make you pass.  Leave unnecessary jobs for later, and just spend as much time as you can doing what will help you pass .

There are a couple of wonderful learning tricks I can teach you. Come if you need to.

You are at TSiBA because you have the potential to cope, to pass, to get through any and every challenge!!!! 
Support Team will tell you, if you, amidst your studies, need to have a good cry, have a good cry!!!  It releases a whole lot of Feel-Good hormones!!!!  But then after the cry, say: ‘Ah, now I can carry on, and get on with what I choose to build my future.’  If you need to talk, come to me, or one of the Support Team or staff, we will be there for you.  By now you know that you can email me, sms me. 
I wish you all well.  Rely on the strength and the Touch of God on each of you.  Chat to Him in between, and when you sit down to write exams, remember to just become aware that you are NOT alone, that He is right there with you!

I write on behalf of the staff too, to wish each of you well.  We have confidence in you, and in our TSiBA community, knowing that each of you have a rich and ready resourcefulness to tackle anything, right inside of you.

With love

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