THE OUTSIDE IN: Why fit in? – You were born to stand out!

We’ve all been there; facing the moral dilemma of climbing into the sheep’s woolly coat or wearing the tiger’s vibrant stripes. This dilemma is commonly found in a teen-sprawled environment – much like the one we find ourselves in at university.When first arriving at university, students undergo self-interrogation in terms of: Do I retain the self, or just become part of the whole? Many have chosen the latter. As students, we have been faced with the concept of ‘cliques’, from when we started primary school – a concept that should never have taken off in the first place. Since then, it has shaped the way we select friends, how we behave and dress, and even the goals and aspirations we set.

Students were interviewed to find out if they had any concerns when starting university, in terms of making friends. Many responded by stating that, when they started university, it was easier to be themselves and to attempt making true friends – because pretending to be something you do not attract those that are two-faced.

However, they were also asked if they ever had to alter an aspect of their identity, to fit into a certain crowd. From smoking cigarettes and marijuana to tattoos, expensive clothes and ridiculous amounts of makeup – interviewees admitted that some of these trends did emerge. Furthermore, most of the interviewees decided to follow the route of joining the ‘popular crowd’, and ended up bunking classes and lounging in the ‘kraal’ all day. All of this was undertaken in the hope to ‘blend into’ the university populace.

Lastly, the students interviewed were asked to offer fellow students a piece of advice when entering this new environment. Here is what they offered – at the end of the day, no matter how cliché this might sound, it’s always best to be yourself. Focus on what you came here for. If you know where you are going with your studies and your career, you end up attracting people who bring vibrancy and good-heartedness to your life. Ultimately, students strongly suggest that if you’re trying to fit in – don’t!

DE-STRESS THIS RECESS (WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LAUGHTER)

The first term of university is hard and always a challenge for everyone. You go from summer bliss to 7:45 lectures – in a short period of time.

It gets to a point where you are so swamped by university tasks, that you second guess participating in social activities. But with recess upon us, here is a recommendation to help you de-stress.

Whose Line PE, is a weekly live improv comedy show, that is perfect for when you are craving a little laughter. This is one of Port Elizabeth’s funniest shows, with a 4.5-star rating, that takes place every Tuesday night from 19:30 to 21:30. It is hosted at The Bru Bar, in Walmer.

The show keeps the audience engaged by letting them set the scene. Comedy is created on the spot as the show progresses. With R50 a ticket, it’s two hours’ worth of guaranteed laughs.

Take a load off, and try this entertaining show this recess period!

TIME MANAGEMENT USING BULLET JOURNALS

With tests being written, tasks piling up, and exams around the corner – time-management skills are essential in order to keep your head above water! A bullet journal is a customized organizer and a powerful tool that can help you manage your time effectively.

Here are some tips on how to make your own bullet journal:

  1. First things first, you’ll need a book. Why not get an A5 notebook from Spar or CNA – something light, portable and easy to store.

  2. Next, list all the important dates you have coming up in the form of a to-do list. Having a to-do list in your bullet journal helps you to clearly see the tasks at hand. A tip is to prioritize your tasks from the most important or difficult, to the least.

  3. Try colour coding and symbols. Research shows that the brain notices and remembers colour. Therefore, if everything in one colour has to do with one thing, it’s easier to remember the concept. At the same time, patterns, exclamation marks for important notices, and check boxes to check off tasks as they are done – all assist in easier planning.

  4. You can also include study notes, inspirational quotes and motivational pictures.

Time management at university is essential, so it’s important to find out what works best for you. Bullet journals are just one of the many awesome ways to get organised.

 For more info on bullet journals, visit bulletjournal.com

HOW TO ENGAGE WITHOUT BEING ENRAGED

The rise of social media and the digital age has taught us to speak our minds. This is a wonderful thing, as freedom of speech is one of the core tenets of a democratic society. However, it seems that somewhere along the way we’ve lost two key skills: the ability to listen and to respond.

The news has become flooded with controversial topics; it’s no wonder we feel the need to voice our opinions all over social media. However, there are certain topics that require us to be level-headed and to think before we speak.

Here are a few tips on how to communicate effectively:

* Simply ask yourself, “Why am I engaging in this particular conversation?” If the answer is that you want to voice your own opinion, or that you want to try and ‘win’ an argument, then it is unlikely that you’ll find any merit in an opposing viewpoint. This renders the conversation useless, as both parties are simply speaking ‘at’ each other, with neither one willing to lend an ear.

* It is important to understand the difference between a response and a reaction. Due to the immediate nature of social media, we’ve become accustomed to instantly reacting to the messages communicated to us. However, when engaging in a conversation, one should take time to digest what has just been said, then respond thoughtfully rather than reacting instantaneously.

* Remember that the point of engagement is to exchange ideas and possibly grow from the experience. If both parties are not prepared to listen to one another, chances are conflict will occur.

Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be on your way to facilitating fruitful dialogue.