Tag Archives: Wellbeing

Summer Small Group Training is here – get in now!

Are you looking for a short, sweet hit of exercise to get you moving through the silly season?  The RecCentre has just the answer, in our popular SGT courses for summer.

Getting started is the hard part.  As humans, doing anything uncomfortable is, well, uncomfortable.  If it’s too hard, we will easily find a way to not do it.   Exercise is no different.  It’s all too easy to plan to do your exercise and then when something else comes up, it’s the first thing to be dropped.  The funny thing is, once you get over the starting phase and start to see results, and feel the benefits, you’ll begin to look forward to your exercise and it will feel comfortable and easy.  You’ll also prioritise it, but how do we get to that point?

Well, there are lots of ways.  One really good way is to join a group of like-minded individuals and meet every week at the same time for your exercise hit. The Small Group Training courses on offer at the RecCentre offer this, in addition to qualified and experienced instructors to ensure you get off to a great start. Anyone can partake, but being a RecCentre member gets you discounts off our already below market prices. 

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So, if you’d like to get a head start on the silly season, and maybe learn something new or meet some new people, head over to our SGT webpages for more information.  We’ve got five different courses ready to go for summer, including Barre, Boxing, Boxing Plus,  and Bootcamp. All courses are four weeks, starting the week beginning 20 November. It’s just one session per week, except Bootcamp which is two, but we reckon you’ll be so motivated so quickly you’ll add a few more sessions in between.

What are you waiting for?  Courses start at just $30 for members, so head to our website to check out the details or call into reception to register for your spot now!

Happy Summer!
UC RecCentre

Good grades don’t equal self-worth

A few weeks back I was “The Cook’n Chaplain” for a 6 day emotional health course I’d organised for 24 students. And so while I was madly panicking in the kitchen making 50 hamburgers, everyone else were learning life changing things about making friends with their own mental health. As they chowed down on my Spankburgers™ (personal note: other people don’t love beetroot as much as I do) loads of them would tell me about how much pressure and anxiety they were feeling about their upcoming exams. “If I fail this paper, I don’t know what I’ll do! It’s just not worth thinking about…”

Sadly, most students I meet seem to believe the lie that their self worth is something they must constantly work hard to earn. Be it through good grades, securing a high paying job, or keeping their parents happy. Remove one of them and they feel their personal self worth begin to shrivel up. But as the famous monk Father Henri Nouwen put it “You are not what you do, you are not what you have, and you are not what others think of you. No! You are the beloved child of a loving creator.”

Now – you may not buy that last sentence, but regardless of your spiritual beliefs his big point is, you don’t need to earn your worth by passing some exam. Seriously. Because whether you feel it or not, you really are someone of huge worth. Without doing a thing.
Of course failure never feels very good. In the depths of disappointment it can feel like we’re nothing more than a sad garden slug being stood on by a giant academic boot, as we feel our hopes ooze out of us. But sometimes we just need to take a deep breath and get some perspective because despite what some people might imply – getting good grades really isn’t the meaning of life.
You are a person of infinite worth, and a D- or A+ means absolutely nothing on that score. So take a deep breath, remember you are so much more than the grades you get at Uni and remind yourself that in the bigger scheme of things (and if you allow it to), this experience will only make you stronger.

Rev Spanky Moore, Uni Chaplain
spanky.moore@canterbury.ac.nz

Worried about crap marks?

Ekant Veer 170628Associate Prof Ekant Veer deserves the title of role model –  he’s won awards for lecturer of the year, for his teaching and he’s got a great reputation when it comes to championing wellbeing. He also calls a spade a spade. Read on for his advice on any ‘crap marks’ that you’re worried about – and if you’ve still got exams on the go, this might just bring you some perspective and courage. 

So, you’ve got a crap mark.

It’s happened to everyone. I’ve received bad news and I’ve been on the other side where I have to deliver bad news. It’s part of learning to know when you haven’t done well enough. There are many things you can do when you get lower marks than you expected, but I want to take a couple of tips to help you to learn the most from a bad mark.

Put things in perspective

Firstly, it’s a bad mark. You’re not dying. Even if this was the last straw and your time at uni has come to an abrupt end, it’s NOT the end. You have your whole life ahead of you – this chapter hasn’t gone the way you expected – but there’s plenty more in this life to explore. Contrary to popular belief, having good marks doesn’t make you a good person and not having a degree certainly doesn’t make you a worse person than someone who has one. Life will go on – it’s a mark, nothing more!

Walk away

Never, never, NEVER act immediately after receiving bad news. Don’t email your lecturer, don’t update social media, don’t rant to your friends. Forget about it until you can look at the feedback more objectively. For most people this is at least 24 hours. [Editor’s note: three days for me. Feel free to share your comments on this one.]

Emailing your lecturer when you’re angry, in particular, isn’t going to help you in the long run. A few years back I received an email that read “WTF man! This isn’t ok! Email me when you’ve remarked my assignment”. Not a great way to make friends and influence people.

Reflect on the feedback

You should have some feedback from your lecturer. It may be generic feedback for the class or it may be specific feedback on your work. Either way, don’t just read the feedback and argue against your lecturer in your head about why they’re wrong. Read the feedback and see where you think you’ve made mistakes and/or could have done things better. Sometimes the main reason students don’t do as well as they expect is because they simply did not answer the question. They have told me a bunch of things that are really interesting but the central focus of the test/assignment hasn’t been completed – as such, it’s impossible to give them the marks they were hoping for. This is often where students feel most aggrieved because they may have put in a ton of effort for little reward – unfortunately, effort doesn’t equal higher marks when you’ve put your effort in the wrong direction!

Contact your lecturer PROFESSIONALLY

Let’s say you’ve calmed down and reflected on the feedback and you’re still unhappy. That’s ok, it’s time to get in touch with your lecturer. They may have office hours dedicated to giving assessment feedback – go see them. If they don’t, then craft a PROFESSIONAL email to them. Here’s how I suggest you contact your lecturer:

Microsoft Word - So you've got a crap mark.docx

Hopefully your email will be replied to quickly and you get a chance to meet with your lecturer and go over the assignment. They’ll hopefully explain in more depth where you could improve. This is not a time for your demand a re-grade, but a chance for you to learn where YOU can improve. If they offer to regrade your assignment then take them up on the offer, but don’t walk into the meeting looking for a fight – work with your lecturer to improve your work.

If you act professionally, ask for advice and debate your point carefully there is every chance that your lecturer may rethink their grade, but that’s not the aim of the meeting. The aim is for you to not make the same mistakes as last time!

Reflect on the feedback and MAKE CHANGES!

The worst thing for a lecturer is not seeing students improve when you give them time, effort and encouragement. We want to see you do well! So, once you have both written and oral feedback you need to make changes. Whatever you did last time didn’t work. Start your assignments earlier and send drafts to your lecturer to get feedback. Ask questions in class (yeah, turning up to class is important!). Make sure you’re on the right track from the start and put effort into overcoming your previous failings.

Getting a bad mark is a perfect opportunity to learn. It might be your study habits, it might be your knowledge, or it might be your understanding of the question being posed. Whatever the issue is, overcome it next time. One bad grade in one assignment is not as bad as never learning from your mistakes and repeating those mistakes for the rest of your academic and professional life. Seek feedback, take it on board and improve next time. Don’t be afraid of meeting your lecturer – a lot of us a marginally normal. Some are nice. Most want to see the best for you, so take their advice to heart and do better next time!

Ekant Veer

What do you worry about when it comes to marks? What people might think? What it means for the future? Do you have your own strategies and ideas for keeping perspective, not reacting to quickly, being kind to yourself and thinking about what you can try to do differently in future? Share your ideas and comments. Kia kaha.