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Six safety tips for students

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Safety is an issue that concerns us all. Crime after all happens everywhere, also on university campuses. Take the rape of a University of Stellenbosch student recently. While some things are beyond your control, there are ways to keep yourself and others safe.

1. Report suspicious activity

Are you seeing something suspicious? Are you seeing people who are hanging around for no apparent reason? Don't walk by and pretend it didn't happen. Report it to campus security and ask them to take action. That is what they are there for.

2. Report a crime

Have you been victim of a crime, or have you witnessed a crime? Then you should report it. No report means that the perpetrator has right of way to do it again. And again. And again.

3. Know your numbers

Keep phone numbers of the police, emergency services and/or campus security in your phone, preferably on speed dial. Ensure your phone has credit and is charged, or keep an emergency airtime voucher in your purse. Use those numbers in case you are (or someone else is) in danger.

4. Be aware

Be aware of your surroundings, particularly if you are somewhere you have never been before. Keep an eye on your belongings and people around you. Criminals rely on people being indifferent to their surroundings and not paying attention.

5. Protect your stuff

Don't carry your expensive laptop and camera in a fancy branded bag. Rather carry them in an understated backpack and invest in a security cable with, which you can use to connect laptop to your desk. Always lock your room when you leave, report broken locks or windows immediately. Invest in a safe.

6. Don't resist

In case of a mugging, remember that your stuff can be replaced – as opposed to you. Let the perpetrator have your stuff instead of resisting him/her. Resistance often ends in injuries, or worse. Insuring your gear and backing up frequently is a must.

- Follow the author on @miriammannak
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 January 2015 10:21

How to nail your first post-study job interview

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Being mere months away from having your degree, you have started sending our CVs to potential employers. When you are invited for an interview, keep these tips in mind.

Arrive on time – Rather be early than too late. You only get one shot when wanting to make a first impression. In case you happen to unexpectedly run late, make that phone call as soon as possible. Don't leave your interviewer in the dark.

Dress to impress – Don't wear jeans, tekkies and revealing clothing, no matter what. Rather overdress than arrive underdressed. Ditch the chewing gum.

Research the company – Know the basics of your future employer, such as recent business developments (including founding year, mergers, acquisitions and awards). See if they appeared in the news recently. It shows your interviewer that you are genuinely interested in the company.

Be honest, be yourself – Do not lie about your CV's content, nor your skills. It will come out sooner or later. Be honest at all times.

Body language – Shake hands when you meet your interviewer. Keep the handshake brief and firm. Make eye contact during the interview as it shows that you are confident about yourself and your capabilities. Don’t slouch but sit up straight, keep your shoulders relaxed, and your chin up. This give the impression that you are alert and actively involved in the conversation. Don't fidget.

Switch off your phone – Nothing is more important than your job interview, so switch off your phone and keep it in your bag or pocket.

Say 'Thank You' – At the end of your interview, shake hands with your interviewer and thanks him or her for his or her time. Keep a good posture. Even when interview did not go as well as you might have planned: stay confident, keep your back straight and make eye contact.

- Follow the author on @miriammannak



Last Updated on Thursday, 15 January 2015 10:22

Unisa Career Fair bodes well for future expansion

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Unisa staff, students and companies that took part in the 2014 annual Unisa Career Fair all had mostly good things to say about this year’s edition of the Career Fair. For a period of nearly two months students from five Unisa regions interacted with employers and recruiters on selected days in order to learn more about opportunities in the world of work.

Among the many employers that exhibited at the 2014 Career Fair were KPMG, Old Mutual, SANDF, Auditor-General, FNB and several government departments. Competition Commission Recruitment Specialist Londiwe Zwane (pictured) vowed to return to the Career Fair next year. She also urged LLB and Honours in Economics students to visit the Commission’s website/career portal regularly.

Career Development Specialist in the Directorate: Counselling and Career Development (DCCD) Mandu Makhanya spoke glowingly of progress she says she noted this year.  She told at the final leg of the Career Fair in Polokwane that, “…the response is good although I feel that there is room for improvement…for more students to participate.”

Makhanya responded to concerns raised by students about the absence of some of their favourite companies by saying that the DCCD invites as many companies as possible to exhibit at the Career Fair subject to each company’s recruitment policy and sentiment towards Career Fairs. She added that Mpumalanga will be included to the list of Unisa regions they will visit in 2015 increasing the total number to six and that Unisa will possibly have a stall during the 2015 Career Fair as well.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 September 2014 08:55

Turning your internship into a job

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One of the post-study challenges is finding a job. Having the paperwork is after all no guarantee that you'll get work thrown at you. An internship could be the answer. Here are some tips to turn an internship into a job.

Prove yourself

As an intern you need to be prepared to work hard, very hard, to make your superiors believe in you, so they will be prepared to hire you. Be an asset to the company, not a burden. Arrive on time, don't be the first person to leave, and take the initiative. Stand out.

Ditch distractions

Want to be hired full time after your internship? Then show your manager that you want to work. This means that social media, texting, games like candy crush and other distractions should be kept to banned to when you are back home or lunch breaks. If you want to be taken seriously, than take your internship seriously.

Bottoms up

The world doesn't owe anything you for having a degree so be prepared to start at the bottom, and work your way up. Do the boring tasks and do them well, offer help and assistance to your colleagues, and be humble.

Ask questions

Not sure about something? Then ask questions (and for help) instead of doing something you are not sure about, with the risk of messing up and wasting your manager's time. You are an intern. You are suppose to ask questions.


You won't be able to improve if you don't know how you are doing. Ask your boss how you’re doing, what you could do better, and whether you are meeting the goals of your organisation. This input will help you grow while showing your managers that you are taking your internship – and the company – seriously. It will make you stand out.

- Follow the author on @miriammannak

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 09:22

Students slow to take advantage of Unisa laptop initiative

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Students at Unisa are yet to make the most of Unisa's student laptop initiative according to Association of South African Directors of Information Technology (ASAUDIT) General Manager, Val Theron. ASAUDIT and PURCO negotiate the favourable laptop deals with various technology vendors on behalf of South African higher education institutions, including Unisa. While she is optimistic about future sales, Theron admits to a poor uptake over the past three years since the tender was granted.

"The students have been quite slow to respond. I think that the problem was mainly that we had difficulty in marketing this (the initiative) to students."

The student laptop initiative aims to ease the process of acquiring a new computer for staff and students at public universities by negotiating better service, price and warranty terms. The initiative names its capacity to act as an intermediary in the event of poor service as a unique selling point on its website.

Theron also told that an attempt at reaching more students was made 18 months ago when tablets were added to the tender. The results of that action are yet to be seen and negotiations with mobile phone companies are already underway to add data to the deals in the hope that that will lead to greater uptake. The three year tender is also soon to be renewed and Theron assures that newer devices will be on offer almost immediately.

Last Updated on Monday, 28 July 2014 13:32

Studying tips: How to excel during exams

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Studying for exams is never fun, but you can make the process easier for yourself whilst scoring the grades you are after. We have selected six studying tips that could come in handy.

1. Strategise

Work strategically, set yourself clear goals, and work towards these. Organize your studying schedule, stick to it by minimizing procrastination, and manage your time by using the following time management tips.

2. Study here and there

Scientists claim that one's memory is to a large extent coloured by circumstances like studying location. They say that changing your study location, for instance from the library to a coffee shop or home, increases the likelihood of remembering what you've learned.

3. Switch in between subjects

Immersion into one subject for hours on end, followed by immersing yourself into the next subject for long stretches of time, is not an effective study method. Researchers advise you to switch between subjects to keep the brain wide awake whilst keeping boredom at bay.

4. Take breaks

When you get tired, rest your brain. There is no point of studying when your brain is tired and stressed. Take regular breaks from your books by having a nap or going for a walk. A tired mind is after all a slow mind.

5. Practice makes master

Prepare by practising on old exams, if these are available. This will help you to get used to the format of the questions and the time frame.

6. Exam breakfast

You will perform much better during your exams when you have fuelled your body (and brain), so don't skip breakfast. Opt for brain food and drink lots of water. Being well-hydrated is essential for your brain to work


- Follow the author @miriammannak



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