Friday, 26 April 2013

Year Of The Artisan & Skills-Based Education: How To Become A Beauty Therapist

This year has been declared the “Year of the Artisan and Skills-Based Education” by government, to promote the diplomas and courses offered by Further Education and Training (FET) colleges in South Africa. This month we will be looking at what it means to become a beauty therapist and what you will have to study to qualify as one.

Beauty therapists are professional, qualified people who strive to help others feel good about their appearance and help them to enhance their natural beauty.

The world of Beauty Therapy is exciting and fascinating, with strong connections with the fashion and hairdressing industries. The field is varied and diverse, offering many opportunities to learn and develop skills in a range of different areas.

Beauty therapists use various facial and body treatments to help their clients look and feel their best. Beauty therapists offer treatments such as:
  • Make-up application
  • Eyelash and eyebrow shaping, perming or colouring
  • Manicures, pedicures and specialist treatments such as nail extensions
  • Unwanted facial or body hair removal
  • Body massage and aromatherapy
  • Various non-surgical skin therapies

Individual therapies take place in warm, clean and private treatment rooms or cubicles. Beauty therapists usually wear a uniform to protect their own clothes and to look clean and smart.

There are good career opportunities for beauty therapists and they can follow various career paths which include:
·         Practicing in a health spa or skin care clinic
  • Practicing on board a cruise liner
  • Consulting and practicing within a medical environment (i.e. pre and post-surgery)
  • Owning and managing a clinic or health spa
  • Lecturing or teaching at a training institute
  • Practicing as a representative, product trainer or manager of a professional cosmetic company
  • Practicing as a journalist within the health and skin care industry
  • Practicing in either the fashion, media or theatre industry
  • Aroma therapist
  • Reflexology
  • Nail technologist

Full-time beauty therapists can work up to 40 hours a week and often work after hours or on weekends. New products and techniques are however introduced all the time, so beauty therapists need to keep their skills up to date. Therapists usually take short courses on using particular products, or study further to get qualifications in specialist techniques.

A beauty therapist should have excellent interpersonal skills, be a good listener with a caring attitude, be good with their hands and be interested in science, and in health and beauty.

Satisfying aspects of being a beauty therapist
·         Helping others
·         Making a difference in people's lives
·         The opportunity to work part-time or flexi hours

Challenging aspects of being a beauty therapist
·         Working with a client with a poor self-esteem or a difficult client means that you will have to approach every client with care, taking control of the situation and advising the best treatment for the client
·         Constant changes in fashion, techniques and technology means that you will have to keep up-to-date with current trends.

Applying for a course in beauty therapy

There are various FET colleges that offer both part-time and full time courses in beauty therapy. Each college will stipulate their minimum application requirements and it is always better to confirm the requirements with the school or college before applying.

There is a complete list of schools and colleges listed on The South African Association of Health and Skincare Professionals (SAAHSP) website. These schools and colleges adhere to the SAAHSP and comply with their principles to ensure the best standards in beauty, health and skin care.

It might also be a good idea to talk to a beauty therapist to find out how they enjoy their day-to-day activities and to gauge whether it is something that you would like to do.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Ten creative ways to turbo-charge your studies

Have you wondered why some people seem to be able to pick up new skills or knowledge effortlessly, while you have problems even recalling what you ate last night?
Though a minority of them may be gifted with exceptional intelligence, most people owe their accomplishment to certain techniques that they use in learning. Here are ten creative techniques to help you improve your learning speed and help you think out of the box when it comes to thinking:

1. Get your hands dirty
Are you trying to learn how to paint, massage, swim or drive a car? Instead of spending time reading or thinking about it, why not try it out for yourself? New skills are best learned by real-life experimentation and you will learn a lot faster through trial and error and training your reflexes.
2. Pretend to be a teacher
When you are learning something new, pretending to be a master can help. This may sound contradictory, but by taking on the role of a teacher, you are forced to get all the facts and concepts right and think more broadly than learning just for yourself as you anticipate possible questions from your students. Explaining what you’ve learned also increases your own understanding through the exchanges of ideas with others.
3. Cultivate ambidexterity
Use your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth, comb your hair or use the mouse. Write with both hands simultaneously. Switch hands for knife and fork. This helps your brain to create new pathways and circuits for learning.
4. Think in pictures
Albert Einstein thought in pictures, not words. In fact, he had a poor memory for words. So he visualised scenarios, such as light in the form of a train racing down a railway track, to answer complex scientific questions. So did great inventor Nikola Tesla who carried out entire experiments in his mind first before putting them into words.
Think of the information you’re trying to grasp as visuals and make them as fun as possible. Go through the visuals in your mind and interact with them; don’t just be a passive observer. The more engaging the imagery, the faster you’ll be able to absorb and recollect the information later. If you are new to visualisation, try guided visualisation first to realise the potential of guided imagery before coming up with your own.
To further enhance learning, incorporate interesting charts, diagrams, photos and mind maps whenever you can, especially when difficult concepts and theories are involved. Pictures have the benefit of packing tons of words into easy-to-understand graphical representation. Recalling a picture is also much easier than stuffing ten paragraphs of text into your head. Creating your own visuals will help to etch the information into your mind, but if you can’t, Google is only a click away.
5. Exercise your brain
Keep your brain fit with brain fitness programs, puzzles, sudoku, chess, computer games and mahjong, a popular Chinese four-player game. Our brain is a complex organ consisting of billions of cells called neurons that change with our life experiences. By engaging in these activities and learning new things often, it is possible to train our brain to function better and prevent, or put off, the adverse effects of aging, Alzheimer’s disease, or brain injury.
6. Read out loud
If reading has been your predominant way of learning, try listening for a change. That is, read the information out loud, as opposed to reading silently, and understand what you are saying. Be creative: use different tones or alternate your volume. Just make sure you aren’t disturbing anybody or causing any alarm.
Getting your ears into the act can enhance your understanding and help you to better recall information when you need them. The reason is simple. By engaging more than one modality, you create more ‘hooks’ for the brain to attach and link the information, increasing their chances of being retrieved. Although reading aloud may slow you down, the time you saved in re-reading later makes the effort worthwhile.
7. Learn to the tune
Music is another way to enrich your learning experience and some music has been found to relax the brain and improve learning by helping you to recall better. But whether it’s classical, the sounds of nature, or traditional music, the best music is one that works for you.
8. Meditate for focus
If your mind is stressful and imbalanced, chances are you will find it difficult to focus and concentrate, let alone understand and absorb any information. Learn to clear, relax and focus your mind with meditation for fifteen minutes before any intense learning.
There are many types of meditation to choose from and there’s always something for everyone. For starters, try the breathing meditation, as it is easy to pick up and work within minutes to prepare you for a reading marathon. If you can’t sit still, then a walking meditation may be the answer to your agitated mind and hyperactive body.
9. Physical exercise
A healthy body really does mean a healthy mind. In the last decade it became clear that regular exercise beneficially affects brain function. Exercise boosts brain power by stimulating formation of new brain cells (neurons), the process known as neurogenesis. Also, exercise strengthens connections between those cells. Researchers have found the areas of the brain that are stimulated through exercise are associated with memory and learning.
Physical exercise may even help prevent Alzheimer's disease. Several studies have confirmed that regular physical activity reduces the risk of cognitive decline and dementia in old age.
10. Laugh out loud
Laughter really is the best medicine! The medical world has begun to take more serious notice of the healing power of humor and the positive emotions associated with it. By having fun and laughing, your stress levels decrease significantly and your memory improves. Humor stimulates the parts of our brain that use the "feel good" chemical messenger dopamine. 

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Do you feel good about your studies? Five tips to get more satisfaction out of your course

After spending a few months in tertiary studies, many students are either struggling to keep up with their coursework or fighting off boredom. Students in this position either think about changing their field of study or dropping out completely, believing they are not cut out for either the specific course they are doing or furthering their studies in general. But if you are in this situation, try to follow these five tips to get more out of your course before you make any changes to your course.

Get perspective

If you’re having difficulties with the material you’re working on, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Remind yourself what you want to achieve and what you want to end up doing once you have qualified.

If you’re not enjoying your coursework right now, it doesn't necessarily mean that you won’t enjoy the application of what you’re learning now in the next module you study. Try not to make any major decisions until you get the opinion of an academic adviser – it may be that a little patience and perseverance is all that’s needed before you start to enjoy what you are doing.

Get an attitude

You may have heard the phrase “your attitude determines your altitude” - whatever you are doing, your frame of mind goes a long way to either turning it into a success or turning it into a disaster. Remind yourself that you are the master of your own destiny and don’t allow other people or things to get the better of you.

Get competitive

If you are competitive by nature, you can have a lot of fun with your studies. Instead of thinking that you’re at a disadvantage in comparison to other students, you can turn things around by getting competitive and turning it into a game.

Think of every project as a challenge and set out to do your assignments better than anybody else. Try to surprise everyone by doing outstanding work. You can also select a few fellow students and compete against each other – with a prize set for the highest marks!

Keep your eyes on the prize

Whatever you do, don’t ever forget that you have a long-term goal in your tertiary education. Even if the goal-posts shift, try to bear in mind that your career goals can only be achieved by staying the course and working hard.

Get support

It’s unfortunate but true that some students don’t receive much encouragement or support when it comes to studying. Some students don’t have any encouragement from family or don’t even have any family at all, but that doesn’t mean nobody cares.

There are lots of people who care very much that you succeed in your studies. For instance, people who work at the institution where you study have a big stake in your success. They are judged on your performance, so if you don’t do well, they don’t do well either.

People from all walks of life are concerned about education and the issues students just like you have to face. If you feel like you’re not getting the support you need at home, then try to find an organisation that deals with student affairs and talk to them. You might find that there are plenty of people who are willing to cheer you on and would like to see you succeed.

If you are seriously thinking of changing your field of study or major, ask yourself the following questions before going to speak to the relevant people at the institution where you are studying:

  • How did your interest in this field of study begin?
  • How much research have you done to find out more about the type of job you aim to get after your studies?
  • Can you see yourself doing this work? Is it a realistic and practical vocation?
  • Where did this idea come from? Did it stem from a passion? Was it a suggestion from family or friends? Social/cultural influences? Recommendation of a teacher or mentor? Was it out of a desire for money, power, prestige or success?
  • Is it a good fit for your academic ability and strengths? Is it a good fit for your personality?

Write down the answers, and if you think you have a solid reason, go ahead and make the change. Whatever you decide to do, good luck and work hard!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

I’m Not Just a Student Number – we want your submissions!

Do you want the chance to prove that you’re more than just your student number or a name on a class register?

This year, Eduloan is celebrating the individuality of students and scholars, recognising the potential in each one of you. As the only education finance specialist in the country, we realise that students don’t all fit in one box and that all of you have your own uniqueness that you can use not only for the betterment of yourself, but for the benefit of those around you.
That’s why we’re asking YOU to give a voice to students all over Southern Africa.We want you to participate in our “Not Just a Student Number” initiative and submit a thought-provoking article for our blog based on the theme for the month. 

Submit your contribution to before the 30th April and we could select yours as the winning article to be featured on our blog for next month. We also have a R1 000 cash prize to give-away to the winning entry each month, so get your creativity going!
You can write about anything, but it must not be fiction (fic·tion [f k sh n] noun. Writing that is produced by the imagination and is not necessarily based on fact)and it should touch on your viewpoint and life as a student or scholar. It should also have something to do with the monthly theme that we are giving you below. Make sure you don’t write anything negative about a real person without their knowledge.

We want to hear from you:what is life really like for you as a student or scholar and what makes you uniquely you?
This month’s theme is: Wanting More

Thought Starters:
·         I want more student interaction in my classes… this is how I plan do it
·         I want more books in our library… here is my plan on achieving this
·         I wanta better future… here is my plan

1.       Your article must be between 300-500 words long
2.       It must be non-fictional (non·fic·tion [nänˈfikSHən] noun. Writing based on facts, such as biography or history) and factual
3.       Your writing must not be degrading or libelous to any person
4.       It must have something to do with your life as a student
5.       Any piece containing profanity, hate speech or racism will be disqualified
6.       Your article could be reproduced in print or web publications on behalf of Eduloan.
7.       The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into
8.       All articles must be your own work – no plagiarism

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