Tag Archives: Wellbeing

Workshop: focus on peoples limitations or their potential?

Coaching conversations are at the heart of effective communication between individuals, within families, teams and organisations.

Feeling stuck? So often we experience conversations that focus on people’s limitations, encourage dependence and appear to have all of the answers.

Coaching conversations take an optimistic view of our potential. They build trust, commitment and personal responsibility through sharing of thoughts and feelings, guidance and providing balanced feedback.
This session focuses on practical steps we can all take to develop this potential in ourselves and others.

The next session is Thursday 7 December, 2pm-3pm in Erskine 121.
This workshop is part of a series of culture conversations alternating between Ilam and Dovedale campuses. You will meet like-minded people and learn from each other about shaping a constructive work place culture that values people.

Please forward this blog to anyone you think may be interested. All welcome.

Find information about other sessions here>

Mindful or mindless? Turn stress into positive energy

Mindfulness training starts NOW. How often do you find your mind drifting into the future “what if?” and the past “if only”. It is about learning to be awake for each moment of your life. But how do we do that when our daily existence is full of distractions? In the workplace we are constantly responding to noise and disruption in open plan environments and the urgent response needed to emails and mobile phones.

The next culture session explores mindfulness as a key strategy for re-energising and refocusing in all areas of your life but especially at work. And there are some major health benefits. The next session is Thursday 30 November, 2:00pm-3:00pm at Dovedale DD02-101.

The workshop is part of a series of culture conversations alternating between Ilam and Dovedale campuses. You will meet some like-minded people and learn from each other about shaping a constructive work place culture that values people.

Please forward this blog to anyone you think may be interested. All welcome. For the dates of further sessions refer to the following link.

Students, ‘crap marks’ and support

Students who receive what they perceive to be a bad mark can experience a range of emotions. Associate Professor Ekant Veer has a reputation for championing wellbeing. He also calls a spade a spade.  In Insider’s Guide we shared his advice with students on what to do about any ‘crap marks’ that they’re worried about, including how to approach lecturers professionally. We now share it here with staff.

Links to support services for students and what to do if a student is distressed are at the end of the blog.

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 advice do you give your students when they receive what they perceive to be a bad mark? Share your comments.

Support for students: 

For students in a state of psychological or emotional distress, the primary referral point is the UC Health Centre. This never changes. It is located at the rear of the UCSA carpark beside The Foundry bar. Phone: +64 3 369 4444

A wide variety of support for students can be found here: http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/support/

The 7-year degree: studying for a PhD in Life and Resilience

This week Tumama Tu’ulua  from the Pacific Development Team shares a student perspective on studying during the exam break on Insider’s  Guide- we’ve shared it here also for staff.

Seven years.

That’s how long it takes for chewing gum to digest after you’ve swallowed it. It’s also how long I’ve been studying my Bachelors degree – 25 years old and still studying.

Its been a cocktail of trials, a lot of errors, and a test of will. To be fair I haven’t studied that whole time, choosing to pursue sport in little chunks throughout and studying part-time, but when I look back at it and when other people look at it that’s how its going to look.

To say it was never hard to keep going when it didn’t seem worth it anymore, would be a lie. There are many times where I felt I was over study, felt like giving up, felt like leaving, and even felt like a bachelors degree was beneath me at one stage lol.

But I stuck in there (and am still sticking in there), not because I had to, or, because of the millions of resilience cliches, but because this degree isn’t just for me – its for everyone that has helped me have the opportunity to study and has kept me here. Now to me that is the definition of success, making my family proud, and providing for them.

For you it could be something completely different and that’s awesome, but my tips in staying resilient especially during the exam period but for uni in general is to:

  1. Know why you are here
  2. Know what your defintion of success is
  3. Know how success and happiness feels

These three things have helped me stay here.

When things get tough knowing my purpose for being here gives me something to hold on to, its my light at the end of the tunnel.

Knowing what success is to me, helps me recognise whether, or, not what I’m doing is adding value, it gives me direction.

Knowing how success feels helps me differentiate between when I’m under pressure and when I’m getting stressed.

You can’t operate under stress, so truly knowing how I feel when succeeding and happy gives me a measuring stick to when I’m getting stressed and I know I need to have a break.

A degree is the one tangible thing that validates to the world what I did here at UC. The relationships that I made here are so much more important to me, but, the things I’ve learnt mean a lot less to the world without that piece of paper. Studies were always my back-up plan, but when plan B becomes A its initially a hard switch to make. But put in the work, access the help available, stay focused and get the treats! Good luck with exams, hang in there, it will get easier, it will get better. UC for Life! (Literally lol).

Tumama Tu’ulua  – Pacific Engagement Coordinator
Pacific Development Team

Reporting Sexual Assault To Police – Step 5: formal interview

The Reporting Sexual Assault To Police series takes you through the process of reporting a sexual assault for adults 18 years and over. In STEP 5 Detective Nicole Bourke outlines what happens at the formal interview.

Click on these links for more information:

Support and advice at UC and in the community

Video resources – New Zealand Police

Sexual consent and assault

What can I do if I have been sexually assaulted?