Off To Varsity? Here’s How To Ease The Transition.

Starting varsity is an exciting step in one’s life, but it can definitely be stressful and scary at the same time. Here are some tips on how to make the most out of your first year at varsity.

Keep these tips in mind once you start classes, but more importantly, don’t forget to have fun along the way.

Believe in yourself 

Don’t ever think you’re not good enough to be where you are. The fact that you are where you are shows how incredible you are. You picked your course for a reason, most likely because it’s something you have a strong interest in, and any difficulties will be worth it in the end.

Get ready to make new friends

It can be overwhelming when meeting many new people, but remember that countless students will start university at the same time as you. The great thing is, you’re bound to share interests with other people so put yourself out there so you can find them, and they can find you.

Be organised

Being organised is not just important for your mental health but also your academic performance. Have a calendar that you regularly update with your assignments and make a daily to-do list to be more productive. It’s also helpful to write down your tasks and plans for the day or week.

Ask for help

Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions. Lecturers are there to guide you and facilitate your learning experience. If there is something you don’t understand raise your hand and ask for clarification.

Participate in extramural activities

It’s essential to take good care of your mental, and physical well-being by participating in sports activities or social clubs. Take advantage of the extra-curricular activities offered to you. This is also an easy way to make new friends.

Be safe

You may experience feelings of freedom once you’re in varsity like you can do just about anything without any consequences but unfortunately, this is not the case. You will always need to take precautions. Use a condom, don’t walk the streets at night alone and avoid substance abuse.

Varsity can truly be the best time of your life, so don’t forget to have fun, make memories and invest in your future.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

Life After Matric 101: I’m Done With High School, Now What?

Have you just completed matric and want to figure out what to do?  Whether you decide to study, travel or work, you can make the most of your experience by being prepared. Let’s explore some of your post-matric options:

Apply for University

You can use your Matric Certificate to study at university. This depends on the Matric Pass Levels you achieved. If you have a Bachelor’s Degree or Diploma Pass, you have a better chance of being accepted into university. However, your acceptance still depends on whether you meet other requirements that the university may require.

If you obtained a National Higher certificate and a National Senior Certificate pass, you could study at a college. Your chances of being accepted at a college are better than at a university.

Upskill Yourself

 Many institutions offer you the opportunity to upskill yourself while gaining highly desirable skills like an FET college. There are short courses available that are up to 6 months to a year that you can take.

Build Experience

If you would like to gain work experience, here are some of the options to consider:

  • Finding a part-time job: Look for entry-level jobs, you can visit websites such as Careers24, Indeed and Pnet for opportunities.
  • Becoming a nanny: If you love kids, offer to babysit or help clean around the house for a family member or neighbour and earn some money. This experience can open up opportunities for au pairing.
  • Pet walking: If you love animals, you can ask your neighbours if they need help walking or looking after their pets.
  • Getting a retail Sales job: Some stores in malls offer part-time or even weekend work. Visit your local mall and see what opportunities are available.

Your options after matric are endless. Remember to give it your all and you can have a fulfilling career journey.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

How To Prepare For Term 3

The start of Term 3 may represent the midpoint through the year where you are heading to the end of the year examinations. This can be both scary and refreshing as you will get to take new classes that you may find challenging or worth the while. These are some of the things to help you prepare for term 3:

Reflect on the first and second terms.

When the first and second term is over, this is a good time to reflect on how you performed; you might find that you had some highs and lows, and this will help you prepare for what’s coming. Reflect on how you balanced your workload and if there were any unhealthy habits that didn’t help you; this will help you improve if there is a gap.

Preparation is everything.

Attending new classes can feel scary and overwhelming at first but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Preparing early has proved to yield good results. You can start by creating a study plan and deciding how much time you want to commit to one subject. Remember that some subjects might require more time than others.

Set goals.

When you have reflected on the past terms, use those reflections to help you be ready for the new term. You need to set goals which can be short or long-term, big or small, personal, or even school related, as long as the goal will help you to be motivated to be the best that you can be.

Master your learning style!

Everyone has a unique learning style, and you can master yours as well. When you understand your learning style, it will help you to understand your strengths and weaknesses, which can help you avoid making past mistakes.

Balancing life with school

It can be challenging balancing your personal life with school, but it is possible. It can be achieved by having a plan as to how much time you need to spend on your schoolwork versus the time you need to do chores or be with friends. You can also draw up a schedule where you list your activities and the time needed to do them. It is important to stick to it.

You can still have a great 3rd term, Choma, remember to ask for help when are having difficulties, everyone around is rooting for you.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message, an  Instagram message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

Handling pregnancy in school

Being pregnant while you’re in school can be scary. You don’t only have to deal with your pregnancy but you’re likely to face judgement, negative comments and the normal pressures of studying. However, there are ways to deal with this. Here are my tips.

Accept the situation

This is probably the toughest step, but it’ll help you start planning ahead and finding solutions. While being pregnant in school isn’t easy, it’s important to accept that the situation is happening right now and that it’s not permanent.

Prioritise mental health

Your mental health affects you and your unborn child, so it’s important to prioritise it during this time. Incorporate positive ways of dealing with stress and anxiety, like meditating, reading, light exercise and journaling. This will help you clear your head and focus better on your responsibilities.

If you are finding it hard to cope with the stress you can reach out to the CIPLA 24-hour Mental Health helpline on 0800 456 789. I’m also here for you, if you need to talk.

Ask for help

Apart form getting prenatal care (very important), you’ll need help dealing with your studies and planning ahead. It helps to speak to a teacher or an adult that you trust so that they can help you make arrangements for when you’ve got to be at home taking care of your baby. By law, the school needs to help you come up with a plan so that you can continue to do your schoolwork. No school can expel or refuse to let you do your work during this time.

Get enough rest

Juggling your pregnancy, making plans for your child and your studies can get exhausting. It’s important to prioritise getting sleep and using your free time to get some rest. This will help you prevent fatigue and maintain your mental health.

Know your rights

Your teachers are not allowed to treat you differently because of your pregnancy as this is against the law. As long as your safety isn’t jeopardised, you’re allowed to attend classes with your peers and submit tests and assignment. If your teachers do treat you differently or even discriminate against you, you’re able to contact your district Department of Education to report this.

Being pregnant while in school doesn’t mean you don’t deserve an education. You’re entitled to a good education, just like any other student, so no one has the right to take this away from you, Choma. Prioritise your mental health, use your time to plan ahead and lead on the support system around you.

Remember if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

5 reasons why Grade 11 is important

I’m sure you’ve heard teachers stress the importance of grade 11 quite often, Well, guess what? They’re right! Grade 11 is an important year for every high school student, here’s why: 

Prepares you for Grade 12 

You can look at Grade 11 as a trial run for your Matric year because most of the work covered in the syllabus will prepare you for Matric. Doing well in Grade 11 will definitely boost your confidence for your last year in high school, and that is why you should take it seriously.

University applications

Did you know that you don’t have to wait for your Matric results in order to apply for university? That’s right Choma, you can use your Grade 11 report to apply for university.  Another thing you should keep in mind is that space is limited in varsity, so it’s better to apply early to increase your chances of being accepted, because universities temporarily accept your application based on your Grade 11 results. 

Bursaries applications

Tertiary education is expensive and unfortunately, not everyone can afford it. There are companies that offer bursaries and they don’t only look at your Grade 12 results. They also consider your Grade 11 marks. If you don’t know where to apply for bursaries, check out the following resources; CellCgirl, Bursaries Portal, Bursaries South Africa and Puff and Pass. 

You can evaluate your post-Matric options  

Your Grade 11 results and overall performance empowers you to make better decisions about the direction you’d like to take when you finish high school, such as the options that are available to you, what courses to apply for and where you’d want to apply. 

Opportunity to implement a study plan

Keeping track of how long it takes you to finish your school work can help you implement an accurate study plan for your Grade 12 because you will need to manage your time well for your final exams – so that you can answer all the questions (exams are very long). 

A lot of people think Matric is that bridge you cross when you get there, but the truth is; you have to start preparing for it in Grade 11. If you start applying your mind in Grade 11, you will be able to deliver your absolute best and increase your chances of being able to follow your dreams when you finish high school. 

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657). 

How to get to the top of your class

If you’re not someone who always gets top marks in your class, you might look at others and wonder how they do it, or perhaps think that you obviously have to be born with high intelligence or luck in order to make it. That’s not necessarily true chomas.

Getting to the top of your class takes hard work and determination. Now don’t get scared by the words ‘hard work’, if you apply yourself and follow these tips, you will reap the rewards and soon everyone will be looking at you and wondering how you make being smart seem so easy:

Set a Goal

To be at the top of your class, you need to make a conscious decision to get there. So start by saying to yourself: “This year, I will get the best marks and do better than I have ever done before.” Success starts with confidence. Find out what goals are important to you and what you want to achieve this year. 

Research

Don’t just rely on what you hear in your class, do some extra studying on your subjects when you’re out of class. You could even ask your teacher to give you a breakdown of what you will be learning for the year so that you can prepare for it. This way you will ensure that you are always ahead of the class. The Internet and public library are great sources of information and are free and easily accessible. 

Resources

There are several places where you can get free reading and learning material. Get a library card and ask the Librarian to help you pick out books that relate to your school work or subjects. You could also do a Google search on your subjects to get further information. Just imagine how good it would feel when a teacher asks a question about a subject and you’re able to put your hand up every time because you prepared ahead of time for the lesson?

Another good way to get free resources, material or study help is to ask someone who has already done your subjects. Ask them for tips, old books and, if they have time, maybe help explaining certain subjects to you. 

Sacrifice

Being top of your class means that you will have to sacrifice a bit of your time. This means that you may have to focus more on your books and less on socialising. Of course, you don’t have to cut your friends out, just focus on balancing between school and your social life. 

Support

Tell your family members or those close to you about your plans to excel at school. Perhaps you can then look to them for support and this way they will respect your time and space when you need to study. Also try to find a study buddy. It’s always better to study with a friend.

If you’re wondering why you should worry about being smart at school, remember choma that it’s not just about being smart at school, it’s about excelling in school so that you can push through your high school years and eventually reach a point where you have even more opportunities to study in college, varsity and reach the career of your dreams.

If you excel at the top of your class and show that you are not only smart but hardworking, you could apply for bursaries and stand a better chance of getting one. When you’re done studying further, you will then have the opportunity to choose an awesome career. At the end of the day it’s all about making a success of yourself and I believe that anyone can do that, no matter where they come from.

So start thinking about your future now choma, go to your class and be the best you can be! You’ve got this!

What NOT to do during exam time

So end year exams are just around the corner, some of you may have even started writing. Exams can be a serious pain, but they’re not going away anytime soon – all this is a build up to your all-important matric exams. Instead of seeing the negative, rather see exams as your opportunity to shine, to test what you’ve learned this year and to give those brain muscles a good workout. Attitude defines everything.

Apart from embracing a positive attitude to exams and NOT being negative or putting ourselves down. What other habits should we avoid during this period?

1. Don’t panic

Yes, exams are stressful but if you get anxious or panic your memory might not be what it should be. Be serious about your studies but also have fun. If you find yourself feeling anxious, take a short break and go for a walk or get some exercise. The exercise will increase blood flow and give you the energy to keep going.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If there is a concept or material you’re struggling with, don’t be afraid to ask your teacher or even your fellow student for help. Why not get your friends together for a study group?

3. Don’t skip out on meals or sleep

Taking good care of yourself is super important, but even more so during exam times. Make sure you get plenty of rest and eat nutritious meals. Food like eggs, bananas, fruit and nuts are great brain food and will give you extra energy as well for those long study sessions.

4. Don’t wait till the last minute to study

Chomas, this is the worst thing you can do. Trying to force all the material into your head at the last minute will leave you stressed out, tired and worst of all, you won’t remember anything anyway. Instead, draw up a proper well-spaced out study plan long before your exams. Give yourself time to go through the material slowly and carefully, so that you understand everything. Also, give yourself enough time to practise and work through the material, not just read it. This is extra important for subjects like Maths and Science where you have difficult problems to work through.

5. Don’t procrastinate

We’ve all done this, that pre-exam procrastination by cleaning your room, doing laundry, absolutely anything to avoid studying. Trust me chomas, you do not need to create the perfect study corner to get things done. Stop, focus, and good luck!

Balancing Books and Bae

So, it’s 2016 and your New Year’s resolutions are underway. You’ve committed to making this year one of your best ones yet! You’re excited to be starting a new year of school or varsity/college but you and your bae are still enjoying each other’s company (you’re practically joined to the hip!). You know that to grow a healthy relationship, you need to spend time with each other. But, you also know that studying and spending enough time with your books is just as important.

So, how do you balance your relationship with your need to learn? Balancing both can be tricky but it is possible chomas! Here is how:

Make a schedule

Plan out how much time you will need for your school work and how much time you need to spend with each other, and then schedule him/her around it. Write down your schedule. That way, it will be a little easy to stick with and neither your relationship nor your books will suffer. Your end-of-year results and bae will both appreciate this!

Have study dates

In order for this to work, you both need to be realistic about what to expect from each other. This means that you both need to be understanding enough to not distract each other from studying. Why not go to the library for a study date? You will find that it’s easier to focus on your books when you are in a public place that doesn’t allow disruption. It’s a win-win situation because you are spending time with each other while focusing on your studies. This way you are also both being positive influences to each other.

Be realistic and compromise where you can

There might be days where you feel frustrated and think that this plan of balancing your relationship with your books and relationship was just a dream – that’s normal. There will be days where you need to spend extra time with your books. There’s nothing wrong with prioritising your studies… Your partner will understand this if you are both on the same page.  Nothing and no one is perfect. But, talk to bae because nobody is a mind reader. Which brings me to my last point…

Communicate

You’ll be amazed by how much you will know about a person and what is happening in his/her life by just talking to them! So you need to communicate with your partner in order to find out what is happening in his/her life – especially when it comes to school. Once that discussion happens, you will know when their assignments are due, when exams start and when school closes. This way, neither of you will be put in a difficult position of choosing whether to go on a date with bae or a date with your books. Both of you should recognise that school needs to come first. This way, when you do experience stress with your school work, he or she will understand. You BOTH need to be considerate of each other when it comes to this.

It’s always the small things that count. So having a WhatsApp profile picture of bae with the status update “Good luck on your assignment! Can’t wait to see you for ice-cream and a movie on Saturday!” will put a smile on your partner’s face.

Make 2016 the year where you can have it all, you just have to work hard at it!