With the academic year in full swing, thousands of matriculants across the country will be preparing for one of the most important years of their schooling career. Marking the end of your high school journey and the start of your future, being a matriculant amidst a pandemic can be quite daunting.
While some students may be excited and ready to complete their final year, others may feel anxious and overwhelmed by the pressure. If you feel like you may be struggling to get into the academic mindset, here are a few tips to help you prepare for success.
Keep calm and breathe
It may sound cheesy but if you’re feeling overwhelmed, trying to keep calm and taking a deep breath in and out can help a lot. Keep your head above water and try not to let the pressure of your final year affect you.
Studies have shown that following simple breathing techniques can help relieve tension and bring calmness. By taking intentional slow deep breaths, your body will be able to enter a state of relaxation.
Revise and study
The year may have just started but revising your work and creating a study time table can help you in the long run. While it may seem like the obvious thing to do, being well prepared whether it’s for an exam or a subject you may be having trouble with can help lessen the load and decrease the chances of feeling anxious.
By revising and planning, you’ll also be able to dedicate more time to work you may not have understood the first time. The key to revision and studying is to ensure that it’s productive. Whether you study visually or verbally, finding a suitable studying and revision technique eliminates the possibility of last-minute cramming and procrastination.
Take care of your well-being
Having a good night’s rest is incredibly important when looking after your mental and physical health. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can lead to several negative symptoms such as depression, anxiety, lack of concentration and memory problems.
Getting a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep can help keep your mind sharp, well-rested and calm nerves.
Talk to someone you can trust
There’s no doubt that preparing for your matric academic year can be stressful. The constant pressure to succeed in assignments, mock exams and end of year exams can take a toll on one’s mental and physical well-being.
All of this pressure and anxiety can eventually build up and leave you feeling mentally and physically drained.
A really good way to alleviate some of this pent up anxiety is to talk to someone you trust. Whether it’s a family member or a peer, they may understand and empathise with your situation. Expressing how you feel can help you find focus, determination and some relief.
If you or someone you know at school may be struggling with academic depression and anxiety please contact the SADAG at 0800 70 80 90.
Even before the world was hit by the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning has seen immense growth. Despite South Africa easing steadily and slowly into the transition of online, over the last few months, educational institutions and students have had to fast track and adapt to e-learning.
What is online learning?
Online learning is an educational approach in which students and teachers follow a structured curriculum programme through the use of an electronic device. However, with the concept of traditional learning radically changing, online learning has seen a rapid increase due to its convenience, cost and accessibility.
And while online learning and distance learning are used interchangeably, the two are entirely different. Online learning offers a more blended approach which can include in-person interaction, whereas distance learning doesn’t.
Enabling you to learn and teach no matter where you’re located, online learning takes the need to physically attend class away and instead allows you to learn from the comfort of your own home. This means that people no longer have to worry about commuting to being caught up in traffic to attend class.
- Maximise your learning abilities
Since you’ll have more freedom, you’ll be able to tailor your schedule in a way that suits you. While online learning is still relatively new to some students and educational institutions, it allows students to learn at their own pace, allowing them to teach themselves and take their time in processing information before moving on.
- Career opportunities
By teaching you to be independent and solely accountable for your learning, online learning forces you to improve your time management skills following your own study time.
This, in turn, results in you being able to take ownership and responsibility, which is a great example that can be used when undergoing a job interview. It showcases that once you’re committed to something, you’re able to persevere and see it through until the end, which is a skill that is desirable to many employers. It also showcases that you are dedicated and self-motivated, which are considered valuable skills within the workplace.
With access to multiple digital resources that can be integrated into lessons and forums, such as Microsoft Excel, google docs, slides and zoom, you’ll also be gaining digital skills and exposure that could help you in the future.
While some schools and students may still be adapting to online and digital learning, it is clear that online learning can be just as effective as traditional learning. While it may be weighed against several challenges, South Africa is weighed against many challenges, it still shows a positive process, preparing young minds to take on the digital environment and fourth industrial workplace.
As the country recovers from devastating economic setbacks the global pandemic has caused, many South Africans have been left with permanent salary cuts, unemployment and retrenchment. However, as the nation makes its economic recovery, perhaps it’s time to manifest and plan your next big career move.
No matter what career you may find yourself in, somewhere down the line, you’ll find yourself making a career change. Whether you’re just starting out in your career or simply choosing a different career path, having a career plan is crucial in figuring out your next steps.
Here’s a 3 step guide to help you plan your next career move:
- Self Reflection
When it comes to your career path, it’s easy to neglect reflecting on your career especially when you’re caught up in the job hunt. However, setting time aside to assess and think about your current situation, is crucial in creating a productive career plan.
Research has also shown that the key to success is reflection, as it has the ability to increase productivity and performance. However, besides reflecting on your career, you should also be reflecting on yourself, your values, interests and skills.
Once you understand yourself, your goals and your passion will you be able to create a plan that aligns with yourself and your lifestyle.
- Set Goals
Once you’ve done some self-reflection, you’ll be able to identify which career path you want. Now, you just need to figure out how you’re going to get there. When it comes to setting goals, first identify what kind of goals you want to create. By sharing and writing down your goals, you’ll not only give yourself a sense of accountability but you’ll also be cementing them into your long-term memory.
Once your goals have been set, it’s time to develop a plan. This allows you to identify your interests, skills and what you need to do to get where you want to be.
- Explore further career options
While it may be impossible to plan everything in your career, it’s at least good to know where you’re heading and what career paths are available to you.
Despite fewer job opportunities being available, growing your skills and work experience should still be a top priority. By continuing to grow your skills and work experience, you’ll be able to broaden your experience or perhaps even find a mentor within a field that interests you.
To view South Africa’s latest jobs in demand for 2020 click here.
While facing the harsh reality of unemployment can take its toll on your physical and mental health. Remaining positive and motivated can help you overcome the hurdle of unemployment.
A new year means new possibilities and new goals, so why not put your best foot forward and start planning your next career move.
Seen as one of the most beautiful countries in the world, South Africa continues to face the hardships of unemployment and poverty. The global pandemic has seen the nation take a massive hit on its economy, facing devastating levels of unemployment.
Higher Education Science and Innovation Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande recently launched the latest national list of occupations that are high in demand in South Africa. Updated every two years, this year’s list comprises of 345 in-demand skills, indicating the needs of the labour market.
According to the department of higher education and training, identifying the country’s skill needs and ensuring that education and training assist the needs of the economy is crucial. The department also defines these occupations as jobs that showcase a relatively high employment growth rate based on past, present and future trends that the country currently lacks.
What does this mean for you?
Sitting at an unemployment rate of 30.8%, many South African workers are facing the harsh reality of unemployment. However, this reality can be avoided. Education is key and if we are to reduce the country’s unemployment rate, our citizens’ skills need to be filtered out into the required needs of the economy. So whether you’re in matric or simply looking for a career change, perhaps it’s time to look at your options. Do you want to apply for a job that fits in your career field or are you willing to find a job that is in demand to increase your chances of finding a job?
Considering upskilling yourself
Being unemployed can be challenging and searching for job months on end can eventually take its toll on you. However, there is one thing you can gain from it, and that is making yourself more employable.
Try learning new skills by taking part in free online courses or learning portals. While being unemployed can become frustrating, one upside to it is that you’ll now have an opportunity to study and learn new skills at a pace that works for you.
Not only can these skills be added on to your CV, but it will also show employers that you’re ambitious and have a desire to grow your skills.
Look at your options
Unemployment for many South Africans is the reality at certain points in their career. With that being said, just because you’re currently unemployed doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities. Instead, look at your options.
Learning a new skill, freelancing or even volunteering are great ways to add temporary opportunities to your work experience. While it may not fit into your chosen career field or niche, these temporary opportunities put your existing professional skills to good use.
And the list of occupations in high demand may be a good place to start
With the nation still fighting the spread of the Coronavirus and gradually making its economic recovery, the current global pandemic has possibly changed the way you’ve learned and how you’ve thought about your career trajectory.
Facing many uncertainties, the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of many young graduates. Recent graduates are anxious and are faced with having to put their career plans on hold and many have a bleak financial outlook. Rather than celebrating the start of a new chapter in their lives, many graduates are understandably worried about finding a job during a global pandemic. Searching for work immediately after graduation is challenging on its own, and adding that into a worldwide pandemic can be even more daunting.
The prospect of unemployment
There’s no doubt that the current Covid-19 pandemic has triggered one of the worst unemployment crises the nation has seen and if you’re graduating in 2020, you may have an even tougher time landing your first job.
With the country facing a 7.7% increase in their unemployment rate, graduates may have to make tough decisions due to the tough job market, many losing internships or jobs they’ve applied for as they’ve been cancelled or withdrawn.
Finding your first job may take a while
When it comes to finding a job fresh out of university, don’t beat yourself up if it takes you awhile to find your dream job. Yes, you may need to start earning an income, however, due to many businesses facing economic difficulties, it may be awhile before companies are able to afford hiring.
While this can be a bit demotivating, keep in mind that your first job won’t determine your career. It may force you to adjust the future you envisioned for yourself but it just means you need to appreciate any opportunity to get your foot in the right doors.
Stress and anxiety
With many people now facing the harsh realities of being unemployed, there’s no doubt that as a young graduate you may be feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed. However, it’s important to try and not crack under the pressure and instead focus and prioritise your mental health. Yes, you may be feeling more stressed than usual, but you’re not alone.
While it may not be the easiest pill to swallow that you are now unemployed, you can still use this time to explore alternative options, like remote working, online learning or even volunteering. Just because the path has changed, doesn’t mean the vision should.