Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Why your parents worry about you living in res - 5 tips on bridging the communication gap

Going off to university or college for the first time may be an exhilarating time for you, but not so much for your parents or guardians. In fact, many parents or guardians dread the day they will have to send their child out into the world of tertiary education, fearing for your safety and hoping you will be able to stay focused and disciplined. These fears will be amplified if you have to leave home and stay in a residence or other student accommodation.

1. E.T. phone home…
It’s likely that they will want to call you all the time to find out if you’ve eaten or if you remembered to wear warm clothes because it’s slightly cold outside. It may seem a little intrusive and feel almost as though your family doesn’t trust you, but just remember that they’re doing it out of love and you’ll probably do the same with your own children one day.
One of the most helpful things you can do is to discuss your parents’ expectations for communication before you leave home. If you feel they need to give you some space, try and break it to them that it would be easier for you to call them whenever you have a moment, but make sure you do call at least once a week, otherwise they’ll feel you’ve abandoned them.

2. You’ve got mail!
E-mail is another form of communication that works well for many families. Student life is sometimes unpredictable—you’re not always going to be in your room between 5 and 10 p.m., when your parents are home from work and want to talk to you. If you and your parents have access to computers, tell them you’ll communicate with them by e-mail during the week as well. SMS messages can also work well if they don’t have e-mail.

3. Coming home
Although students who stay on campus over the weekend tend to meet people more easily, because there’s less studying and more social time, it’s also healthy to leave campus from time to time to reconnect with your loved ones.
When you’re in the residence halls and your focus is on your academics and maybe on a part-time job, you have a big to-do list and a lot of stress, so it’s good to get away and let your mother spoil you with your favourite home-cooked meals.

4. Speak out
If you’re feeling highly emotional or if you’re having thoughts about quitting your studies and coming home, talk to your family. They might be able to think of a way to help you feel less isolated. You can also visit your university’s counselling service for advice on how to overcome the challenges you are facing. Often an initial visit will help you learn about the kinds of support available from your institution and elsewhere on campus.

5. Let’s talk about marks
University is a time when students become more independent — though they may have mixed feelings about it. Even students who don't seem close to their families usually still care about what their parents think and fear disappointing them.
Many students have struggles. It’s important to remember that your parents only want what’s best for you. If you’re struggling in varsity don’t be afraid to tell them. Sure, they may be disappointed, and they may even get angry, but they aren’t going to kill you. They’ll almost always want to help you, because they want you to be successful.

Everyone gets a bad mark once in a while. Sometimes the test was harder then you thought, or you didn’t get enough sleep. Just don’t come up with excuses when you don’t do your work. If you lie, your parents will only get more upset and concerned.

Your parents want you to succeed, but it’s your decision whether you will be successful or not. Don’t argue with your parents if they want to know your marks. Whenever you inform them about a bad mark, have a strategy for recovering from it and let your parents know that you are being proactive about the problem.

In general just be honest with your parents and try to communicate with them more. The more you communicate the better they will feel about your schoolwork and the better you’ll feel about telling them.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Eduxtras partners and the benefits of swiping your card

Eduxtras is Eduloan’s fund management card solution for students, designed specifically to take away the stresses of managing your education bursary.  The Eduxtras card gives you easy access to your funds which are divided into separate pockets to help you budget your funds in the way the fund provider wants. On instruction from your sponsor we can allocate funds to items such as tuition, accommodation, textbooks and even groceries every month - making sure you can budget for all the costs associated with your education.

Your Eduxtras card works just like a debit card. The card was designed especially with the student in mind, making it easy and convenient to manage and budget your bursary funds.  The Eduxtras card has been set up to have different independent pockets which can only be used at suppliers that are set up for each specific pocket (see our full list of partners where you can swipe your card here). 

The pockets are loaded by Eduloan as per instructions from the fund provider (whether it’s a university, bursary, sponsor or company). Additional funds can also be loaded onto the card at the Eduloan helpdesk (only at University of Pretoria) or by transferring funds from your bank account. It takes approximately 72 hours before the funds can be used.
When you make a purchase at a partnering supplier, money will be deducted from your funds and taken out of that specific pocket – without charging you ANY transaction fee!  

The solution provides peace of mind to you and your sponsor - you’ll never be able to use your funds for anything other than what they are meant for – even if temptation at the shopping mall is stalking you! This way you’ll always be able to meet your financial commitments while you’re studying.
Your funds can be split into different pockets.  Each pocket is unique on your Eduxtras card. For example, the pockets can be utilised as follows:
·         Books
·         Food
·         Accommodation
·         Tuition fees

You can only use funds in each pocket for that pocket's purpose. So, if you run out of funds in your food pocket, you cannot use funds from your book pocket to buy food.

Features include:
·         You can check the balance of each pocket on the Eduxtras student portal here
·         You will receive an sms for every amount loaded onto your card
REMEMBER: If you have not used up your funds by the end of the academic year, the funds will be transferred back to your fund provider. This is to ensure that you use the funds allocated to you responsibly and for the right reasons.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

I can’t get into university – what now?

It’s pretty simple – once you get past the psychological disappointment, you can do anything, really. Countless numbers of people have gone on to have successful careers despite not being accepted into university, and all that you need to do is take a deep breath and weigh up your options carefully.

There are a number of ways that you can still follow your dreams:

FET colleges
If you weren’t accepted into university, the next obvious choice would be to get a diploma at an FET (Further Education and Training) college. And if you think that diplomas aren’t as “good” as degrees, think again. The main advantage of getting a diploma at an FET college is the hands-on training that you get in the subject you decide to study. A degree will give you theoretical knowledge of the subjects and teaches you to think for yourself, but university students often graduate from university with little to no practical experience and often struggle to find jobs, depending on the type of degree they have obtained.

Diplomas, on the other hand, are there to address the skills shortages in South Africa, and focus on practical training rather than the theory of the subject. If you study towards a diploma, you can be assured that you will develop the skills you need to perform a specific job. University graduates might get paid better initially, but that’s only if they can find employment.

Another added benefit of studying for a diploma is that you can choose to upgrade your diploma to a degree at a later stage. Universities will give you credits towards your degree based on existing qualifications, so if you’re determined to get that degree, it might not be that far away after all.

Scarce skills
Here is South Africa’s current list of skills which are in short supply:

Engineering professionals
Natural & physical science professionals
School teachers
Higher education lecturers
Health diagnostic & promotion professionals
Business & systems analysts and programmers
ICT network & support professionals
Agricultural, medical and science technicians
Fabrication engineering trades workers
Bricklayers, carpenters and joiners
Food trades workers
Health and welfare support workers
Call or contact centre information clerks

Finding yourself a study field on this list in which you can qualify will mean that the chances of finding employment after you qualify will greatly increase.

Matric repeat
There are a number of reputable institutions (like Intec or Abbot’s College) that will assist you to repeat your Grade 12, this time with a university exemption. Repeating your Matric year may seem embarrassing if all your friends have gone on to tertiary education, but it will be well worth it in the end. This time, if you work really hard, you are almost certain to get better marks because you are already familiar with the subject matter.

Work experience
If you have a good work ethic and the will to succeed, get out there and start working. You may find that as you work your way up, the opportunity to study again will present itself to you. If you’re a student over a certain age with a solid history of work experience, institutions are likely to accept you as a “mature student”.

Whatever path you choose to take, remember that as long as you believe in yourself and work hard, you are bound to succeed, even if it takes longer than you expected. Whatever you do, don’t give up. And remember that Eduloan is here to support and assist you in making those dreams a reality wherever we can – call our customer service centre on 0860 55 44 44 to find out more about getting a study loan.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Tips on getting along with your new roommate or flatmate

University and college life brings many new experiences. One of the most challenging can be living with someone you know little about, or living with someone you know well but have never lived with.
Sharing a house with other students and living with anyone in a small space can be a frustrating experience, or it can be a great way to form lasting friendships. Sometimes people assume that when they like each other, living together will be easy, but simply liking someone does not necessarily mean that you can live together successfully.
Living together involves being able to talk and share ideas, being tolerant and able to agree on how to handle situations. You have to be considerate and tolerant of the habits of other people and try to establish a couple of ground rules from the beginning.
Living with roommates can sometimes present intense problems, because you may have completely different attitudes to many things, such as playing loud music, washing of dishes and general cleanliness.
Living together requires certain skills; skills that can be of benefit in any situation in which you need to share space, be it permanent, as in marriage, or temporary, as with roommates. Whenever two people live together there are always both similarities and differences. Inevitably, there need to be compromises, but there is also room for each to learn something valuable from the other. It is not necessary for people to agree on feelings, preferences, or opinions - it is necessary to understand each other and respect each other’s rights.

Skills you can work on to enjoy your stay with others:
Self-knowledge and confidence: If you know yourself, you would be confident enough to share feelings, dislikes and likes personal preferences, habits and characteristics- especially the “quirks” we all have. You need to share information about the way your emotions work so that your roommate can read and understand your feelings.
Respect: be considerate towards your flatmates and treat them as you would like to be treated. Allow other people their privacy and don’t go into your flatmates’ rooms when they are not there, or use their things without asking first.
Communication skills: learn to negotiate and identify common areas of conflict including neatness, noise, visits by guests, study arrangements, sharing of belongings, money issues, messages, values, social lifestyles, and schedules.
You need to listen to each other without interrupting and focus on really understanding how he/she feels. It is better to communicate face-to-face in a friendly manner than to leave angry notes or take revenge in some other way.