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It is a matter of time (management)

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Students lead busy lives, with assignments, research, exams, part-time work, and other responsibilities constantly fighting over the time they have available. Do you feel the same? The tips below can help you take control of your life.

1) Check list

Make a list of things that need to be done today (daily), this week and this month. Having your deadlines in front of you will help you tackle them. Cross items off as you go along. Seeing deadline after deadline being ticked off, is an excellent productivity driver.

2) Prioritise

Not sure how you will meet all your obligations today? Then prioritise. What is important NOW? What could wait until tomorrow? If nothing can wait, then be prepared to burn the midnight hour. It happens to the best of us. Prioritising also means that you'll have to be prepared to say 'no' to your friends occasionally.

3) Stop procrastinating

What takes away from what you need to do? Are you spending too much time on Facebook and Twitter? Playing online games too often? Perhaps it is time to implement a 'procrastination allowance', by giving yourself 15 minutes every even hour to check your social media channels. Use an egg timer, switch off the notifications on your phone.

4) Reward yourself

When you have met a deadline, reward yourself. Take an extra 30 minutes for social media, have a nap, or do whatever floats your boat. Don’t do it in excess as you don't want your reward to steal away from the time you are trying to save.

5) Sleep

Feeling like a zombie because you didn't get enough sleep it detrimental to your time-management attempts. A good night sleep will help you focus and deal with your deadlines and obligations more efficiently.  - Follow the author on @miriammannak

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 April 2014 08:41

Alumnus interview: Justice Edwin Cameron

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Justice Edwin Cameron's latest book, "Justice : A Personal Account", was published in February 2014. He made time to speak to Matshelane Mamabolo for about his experience as a student at Unisa where he obtained his LLB (cum laude).

1. Tell us about yourself?

I am a judge in South Africa's highest court, the Constitutional Court. It is an interesting and challenging position, one that brings some stress and occasional headaches, but, more importantly, much fulfilment. I am also living with HIV, on successful ARV treatment, a campaigner for prevention and treatment, and against stigma and prejudice, a proudly and openly gay man, a godparent to many children, and a devoted cyclist.

2. Describe your most enjoyable moment as a Unisa student?

The best moments for me were the student groups. We met both formally and informally to discuss our study material, and to share the difficulties we, as part-time students, were experiencing in mastering our Unisa courses. I made friendships through my Unisa studies that endure to this day.

3. Describe your least enjoyable moment as a Unisa student?

Sometimes I found studying by correspondence isolating - which could be dismal and disheartening. Also, at that time the law faculty examined by requiring detailed rote-learning of the study guides. I hope that has changed.

4. How has your experience as a student at Unisa subsequently helped to set you apart?

I think I learnt determination and focus and the ability to sit long hours alone, concentrating and pushing towards a goal.

5. Your best advice for current students?

Our country craves skilled, critical-thinking, sceptical, committed, focused, well-educated people. Unisa is still one of the finest institutions in our country that is helping to provide broader access to tertiary education. So I say, work hard, take heart that others have made it before you, despite hardships, and across the same obstacles. So look forward to the time when you will be improving our country with your Unisa qualification.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 16:50

Accidents happen and bad luck strikes: get insured

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One of the downsides of being a student comes in the disguise of a tight budget. As a result, insurance is often not treated as a priority. However, being protected against health problems, the implications of traffic accidents and other issues is crucial.


Getting a medical aid is a non-negotiable. That you are healthy now doesn't mean you will never need to see a doctor. Besides, accidents happen, they happen all the time, and they happen to everyone. Even the smallest fracture as a result of a traffic collision could cost you, when uninsured, tens of thousands of rands in surgery and specialist costs. Various medical aid companies have low-cost plans for students, including Momentum and One Plan.


Do you own a car? Do yourself a favour and get insurance, even if it is just Third Party Liability insurance. This covers you when causing damage to someone else's vehicle. More comprehensive insurance covers you against issues such as fire damage, hail storms, hijacking, and intentional damage.


Have you ever asked yourself how you would replace your material possessions, such as text books, laptop, camera and phone, in case your house burns down? What about when someone breaks into your home? Household content insurance protects you from having to fork out thousands of rands to make up for the loss. You can also insure just your most valuable belongings including your phone, camera, laptop and other equipment.


Insurance doesn't come for free. However, our motto is: rather pay a couple of hundred of rands you do have, instead of having to pay tens of thousands of rands you don't have. For budgeting tips, see our previous story .

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 March 2014 09:56

No end in sight for Unisa study material delivery woes

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Unisa students who receive their study material late year after year have little hope for a resolution according to Labour Law Management Consulting CEO Ivan Israelstam.

"It is impossible to avoid strikes and Unisa might need to contract with another provider if the Post Office cannot be relied upon to deliver the study material on time."

Speaking to StudyNotesWiki following a crippling strike by employees of the South African Post Office last week Israelstam added that while it is wrong for a strike to bring education to a halt, "Unisa needs to enforce its contract with the Post Office through a civil claim."

Thousands of students across the country have taken to Unisa’s Facebook page to voice their dissatisfaction and express their agony which is intensified by approaching assignment deadlines. Unisa's uniform response seems to be to urge all students to download all their study material and submit all assignments through myUnisa notwithstanding the many challenges and costs that come with such a process.

The Post Office referred all questions about the non-delivery of study material to Unisa. The Post Office's General Manager for Communication Lungile Lose says the South African Post Office can only answer to Unisa as they are working for and are paid by Unisa.

While employees of the South African Post Office who are members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have abandoned their wage strike momentarily they threaten to reorganise if a mediation process over the next four weeks fails. Unisa could not be reached for comment after a number of sustained attempts to get them state how they intend to prevent a debacle like this one in the future.

*Add +Matshelane Mamabolo on Google Plus for further updates on this crisis.

Last Updated on Friday, 21 February 2014 15:35

Increased turnout expected in 2014 Unisa SRC election

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Vote nowA greater number of Unisa students are expected to take part in the 2014 Unisa Student Representative Council election as compared to previous polls according to Electoral Officer Thembinkosi Mnguni.

“The emphasis before was more on manual and now we have put in place the electronic one and we've been able to run through some voter education to students,” said Mnguni who has managed SRC elections for well over seven years.

Mnguni also told StudyNotesWiki that a new electoral policy and Constitution which detail the composition of the SRC and the election process are being used for the first time this year. Students from the 25 voting stations countrywide have been encouraged to vote through posters, SMS and e-mail. Unisa Radio has also supported the election drive through live broadcasts at different campuses. The often lively broadcasts are of interviews with students and the more than 35 student organisations taking part in the 2014 ballot.

While several students have complained openly about the reliability of myUnisa, Mnguni said these technical difficulties have not resulted in any major disruptions. He also adds that they have procured the services of PricewaterhouseCoopers ahead of the election to audit the entire election process.

StudyNotesWiki has also learned through Electoral Officer Mnguni that the election period will soon be extended by at least six days (to the 12th of February) in order to allow students whose NSFAS applications have not yet been approved as a result of the funding crisis at the financial aid scheme to exercise their right to vote.

A full list of candidates as well as their manifestos is available on the Unisa SRC website. All eligible students can cast their votes electronically, via mobi or in person at a Unisa Regional Centre.

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 February 2014 10:07

Seven simple money-saving tips for students

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Student life is awesome, but it can be tough from a financial point of view. There are however plenty of ways to push that salty crack moment further towards the end of the month.

Cash, no card: Ditch your store cards and stop buying day-to-day things like food on credit. Borrowing money costs money; lots of money. If you don't have the cash in your pocket or on your bank count, then you can't afford what you want. Either wait (save!) until you can, or let go of your wish

Budget: Draw up a budget and reserve specific amounts for food, going out, phone, rent, etc.  Don't forget your savings account. Just R100 per month equals R1200 per year, plus interest, which is enough a plane/train/bus ticket to see your family over Christmas.

Stop smoking: A one-pack-a-day habit easily sets you back R13 000 annually. Ditching the cigarettes will gain you R1100 per month.

Home made: Grabbing a coffee here and a sandwich there some three times a week sets you back ±R600 per month. Instead, fill a flask with coffee and pack your own lunch/snacks.

Book sale: Textbooks are very valuable, and most will end up gathering dust. Why not sell them? Place a notice on your uni's physical or virtual notice board and Bob.

Second hand: Buy textbooks, gear and other things including a replacement of your stolen phones second hand instead of brand new. It will save you tons of money.

Work! Want to have more to spend? Then find a job! Success and money have to be earned, and won't land in your lap accidentally.


Last Updated on Monday, 03 February 2014 09:22
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