COUNSELLING BLOG

Posts tagged school

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How to Develop Willpower

1. Make a list of those situations where you find it really hard to have willpower.

2. Brainstorm for ways that you can start to feel more positive about demonstrating will power. For example, plan to reward yourself every time you do something you really didn’t want to do.

3. Break bigger, more challenging, tasks down into much smaller, and more achievable, tasks. Acknowledge each step in the right direction. Recognise that you’re making progress.

4. Decide to challenge any tendency towards procrastination. Decide that you can change if you take it slowly. Set daily, realistic goals for yourself. Decide to follow through with them – no matter what! If it helps, have someone you can be accountable to at the end of each day (or week).

5. Push yourself to keep taking the small steps. In time, making an effort will become a habit. Hang in there until it does.

6. Focus on the long term benefits of achieving your goal. Imagine what it will be like – how your life will be, and how you will feel when you reach your goal. Try to visualise it in detail.

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Starting College or University

1. Money will likely be in short supply. You’ll find a student loan doesn’t stretch very far.

2. It’s likely that you’ll feel a bit homesick at first, but for most individuals that doesn’t last too long. Just throw yourself into the activities around you and try to avoid any visits home.

3. Your first week of classes will be a huge let down. They’re usually uninspiring – but get better with time. Expect to do a lot of work on your own as you don’t get taught at university. (They just spew out information and facts).

4. When you first meet your room-mates or the others in your class, expect long pauses and awkward silences. You will still be total strangers with no knowledge of each other – but that will pass in a day or two.

5. Your old friends will change as you’re all on different paths - so you’re bound to have fewer things in common now.

6. Romantic relationships will need a lot more work if one of you moves when you start studying. Also, distance relationships can be hard to maintain so think about whether the relationship should end.

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Successful Interview Tips

1. Before applying for a job, find out as much as you can about it – and make sure it’s something you want to do!

2. Also, find out what you can about the interviewers. For example, what are their names and job titles? What other jobs have they done in the past? You can often uncover a lot of information by simply googling peoples’ names and positions.

3. Try and find out about the company’s normal interviewing style. For example, is it likely to be one-on-one interview, or will you be interviewed by a couple of people, or will there be an interview panel? Also, will you be required to sit any kinds of test (general knowledge, case studies, IQ tests etc.)?

4. If possible, connect with others who have undergone a similar interview. Ask them for tips and ideas – or things to watch out for, or how best to prepare.

5. Research the company. It’s important to know as much as possible about the company’s history, what is does now, it’s plans for the future – and the expectations associated with the job.

6. Be clear about what you have to offer the company. It’s important that you match their needs to your experience, abilities and personality. Practise selling yourself to them!

7. If possible, rehearse the interview with a friend.

8. Pay attention to your appearance. Dress appropriately (err on the side of dressing conservatively); make sure you look tidy and smart; brush your hair and teeth; wear perfume or aftershave (but not so much that it’s overpowering).

9. Check out the direction is advance (if necessary drive there the day before to ensure you don’t get lost). Arrive 5 minutes early for the interview.

10. Be confident, respectful, polite, truthful, positive and enthusiastic. Think carefully before you respond – use proper grammar, and don’t speak too quickly.

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How to Cope with Test Anxiety

Although it’s normal to feel some anxiety when you’re preparing for, or taking, a test - too much can hamper you from doing well. Below are some tips to help you to cope with this:

1. Learn and apply proven studying techniques so you feel you really know the test material. This should help to improve your confidence and reduce excessive anxiety.

2. Work on staying positive while you’re studying. Think about doing really well, not always struggling, or even failing.

3. Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before a test.

4. Don’t forget to eat right before a test either. You need protein to have enough energy to concentrate fully for the length of the test. Avoid junk food as that tends to lead to a high and then a low.

5. Try to calm and relax yourself as you enter the test room. Take a few slow, deep breaths. In your head repeat positive self-statements like “I am well prepared. I’m going to do a good job on this test.”

6. Don’t start to panic if the questions seem too hard. Just skip over the ones you can’t do, and keep reading until you find something you CAN do.

7. Ignore the fact that other students seem to be finishing before you. Take all the time you need and focus on doing your best.

8. Once the test is over, try and forget about it. There’s nothing you can do until your mark is returned to you … and maybe you’ve aced it, or done really well!

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How to Deal with Different Types of Roommate

Roommates can be divided into the following types:

1. The thoughtless roommates: This is the person who leaves their stuff scattered around the room and never cleans or tidies up after themselves. First, remember that he or she is not deliberately trying to annoy you. However, you need to discuss this or nothing will change. When you do that, don’t come across as being angry and accusatory. Instead, stay casual, warm and friendly. Also, ask if there’s anything you can do to make life easier for them.

2. The “borrower”: This is the person who takes your stuff, and treats your belongings as if they’re also theirs. This can range from something small like a few slices of bread to something more important like your clothes or bike. Clearly, this is NOT OK and needs an open discussion so that everyone is clear as to what the boundaries are.

3. The explosive flatmate: Often, this type of person seems calm and tolerant – then suddenly blows up over fairly minor things. Yet, we come from different backgrounds – and each person is unique – so different stuff annoys us or becomes an irritant. Here, a frank honest, discussion will often do the trick so that tension doesn’t build, and spoil a good relationship.

4. The irresponsible flatmate: This individual is unreliable and doesn’t seem to care about the impact of their actions. For example, they break stuff and just leave it, or forget to pay the bills … They never see it as their problem, and they just don’t seem to care. This person needs confronting in a firm, respectful way. And if things stay the same – don’t ever share with them again!

5. The ghost roommate: This is the person who is rarely around. They often have a busy life or else they travel with their job. They’re rarely problematic – so be glad that they’re so easy – and enjoy your time together when they happen to be there.

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What should I choose for a job or career?

1. Ask yourself the question: “What would I do if money were no object?” What if you won the lottery and could do whatever you chose? What would you do to be truly happy (after just realxing and spending some cash)?

2. Break your dream job down into its most basic components: If you were explaining the job to an 8-year-old, how would you describe it? If the child asked you what was fun about it or how it made you feel, what would you say? These basic components make up what you should be looking for in a career.

3. Think about what attracts you to this job or career: For example, of you want to work in the theatre are you more attracted to the art of acting or to the process of creating?

4. Look into the kinds of jobs which provide similar feelings and experiences. For example, if your passion is travelling, think of jobs which would make use of that experience in some way (such as being a tour guide, or teaching overseas.)

5. Consider the downside of that career (As over time they could leave you feeling miserable!)

6. Factor in your financial needs. If you have obligations that your dream job can’t meet (for example, if your dream career can’t pay off your student loans) you might need to consider other options. However, you should always keep your focus on the kind of job that leaves you feeling happy and fulfilled.

7. Factor in the kinds of things you’re good at. Do you have an area where you really excel, something you do better than most other people? That is also something to consider in when you are thinking about a career.

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Some Brain Facts

1. The brain feels similar to tofu, and contains enough fluid to fill a 1.5-2 litre soda bottle.
2. Archaeological evidence suggests that human brains may have shrunk over time. However, there is nothing to show that humans are less intelligent today compared to previous times.
3. The brain alone consumes about 20% of the oxygen in our blood, and 25% of the glucose. Thus it is a major energy consumer.
4. The human brain has more pronounced wrinkles than the brains of other species. This is linked to more sophisticated neural pathways and higher intellectual functioning.
5. Neurons only make up 10% of our brain cells. The rest is glue holding the neurons together. These other cells also mop up excess neurotransmitters, provide immune protection, and regulate synapse growth and functioning.
6. The brain doesn’t fully mature until we’re in our late teens. Multitasking, empathy and good decision-making are some of the last skills to develop.
7. The brain never stops changing. It can adapt to damaged nerves, grow new neurons, and form new neural connections.
8. Male and female hormones lead to differences in male and female brain development. For example, brain imaging has revealed general differences in the way both sexes experience, make social decisions and manage stress. However, nurture and environment play an important role as well.

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Effective Exam Writing Tips

1. Make sure you read and understand the Instructions: This is absolutely crucial. A lot of students are keen to rush ahead and so they quickly skim over the exam instructions. Then, later, they discover that they did it wrong! For example, do you have to do every question on the paper, or do you only have to select a certain number? Is there a penalty for guessing – so is it better not to guess? (For example, because you lose an extra point for each answer you get wrong).
2. Read through the exam and divide up your time accordingly: For example, make a note of the number of questions there are, and notice what the different questions are worth. This isn’t wasted time as reading through the questions will actually start to activate your memory. Then decide which questions will be easy, and which will take more time, and mentally allocate your time accordingly. Also, allow some time at the end to review what you have written, and do some corrections if you think you’ve made an error.
3. Work through each question systematically: Slowly read through the questions, and underline key words. Make sure you check to see if there’s more than one part. Make sure you’ve fully understood what you’re being asked to do then plan what you will do before you start to write things down.
4. Attempt every question: It’s better to do something than nothing at all. You might get a few marks for thinking along the right lines. If you’re running out of time, then resort to bullets points. You’ll cover more by doing that than writing complete sentences.
5. What if your mind goes blank? Take a few, slow deep breaths and try your best not to panic. It’s important not to let your anxiety take over. Take control of your thinking by reassuring yourself that will pass in a moment – and is natural in exams. Repeat true, positive thoughts like “you’ve worked hard and are ready” and listen for your breathing – as it starts to slow.
6. Review what you’ve written and make corrections if they’re needed: Leave some time to go over your answers at the end – but don’t change what you’ve written unless you’re sure it’s wrong. Also, look out for blank spaces, for question you have missed, and turn over the last page – in case there’s something at the end!

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How To Make Yourself Do What You Don’t Want to Do

1. Rather than listening to the voice in your head that is screaming “I hate this; I don’t want to do this” think about why it is a GOOD thing to do.
2. Instead of trying to pretend that you don’t feel this way, accept that you are feeling very blah and negative.
3. Don’t think about results and how well you think you’ll do, as this could raise your feelings of anxiety and fear, just think about “right now” and the first thing you can do.
4. Accept that life is tough, and is full of things that suck – but recognise that doing hard stuff is better in the end. You’ll likely have more choices and freedom, if you do.
5. Just do a little bit for now – then give yourself a proper break – then go back and do some more – and soon you’ll find you’re in the flow.
6. Don’t allow your mind to wander and think of other things. Stay focused for that short time – and then stop, and have fun.

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Stress and Exams

Students who manage best in exams:

- Maintain positive relationships with family and friends

- Continue to allow some time for exercise and leisure

- Get plenty of sleep

- Eat sensibly

- Have planned time for study

- Are organised

- Learn and practice simple techniques for relaxation (see the school counsellor for ideas)

Warning signs that stress may be exceeding a helpful level include:

- Irritability

- Tiredness

- Poor concentration

- Poor short term memory

- Recurring worrying thoughts

- Lack of tolerance for others (you may not detect that in yourself)

- Anxious about little things

- Listlessness

- Prone to bursts of anger and tears

- Indications of feeling ‘down’, alone or misunderstood

- Disturbed sleep

- Indigestion, poor appetite.

No one sign necessarily is cause for worry and these signs need to be considered in the context of your life. However, it is better to seek help than to struggle with worries by yourself. Signs of depression or anxiety in particular should not be ignored.

Source: http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/gotoschool/highschool/stressexams.php

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Quick Tips for Good Time Management

1. Create a daily ‘to do’ list.

2. List goals and set priorities.

3. Do ‘A’s’ first (Most important things).

4. Do them now.

5. Ask yourself “What is the best use of my time right now?”

6. Be realistic: New habits take time to develop.

7. Reward yourself for small steps of progress towards your goals each week.

Source: http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/gotoschool/highschool/priorities.php

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10 Tips for Studying

Make studying a part of your everyday school routine and don’t be limited to ‘cramming’ for exams and tests.

1. Establish a routine: Set aside a particular time each day for study and revision and stick to it.

2. Create a study environment
This should be away from interruptions and household noise, such as the television. Ensure there is adequate lighting and ventilation, a comfortable chair and appropriate desk.

3. Set a timetable: With a timetable you can plan to cover all your subjects in an organised way, allotting the appropriate time for each without becoming overwhelmed.

4. Look after yourself: Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, and eat healthy foods. Keep sugary foods to a minimum. Make sure you get enough sleep each night. Regular physical exercise makes you feel great, boosts your energy and helps you relax. So try to keep up regular sporting activities or at least fit in some regular exercise as often as you can.

5. Reward yourself for studying: Watch your favourite television program, spend time with your friends, walk to the park and play sport throughout the week.

6. Have variety in your study program: Study different subjects each day and do different types of work and revision in each study session.

7. Avoid interrupting your concentration: Have all the appropriate materials with you before you start a session of study to minimise distractions.

8. Test yourself on what you have studied: Ask your parents or family members to quiz you on what you have learnt, use draft questions from books, past assessments or major exam papers.

9. Don’t panic at exam time: If you have followed a study routine and have been revising your class work, there should be no need to worry. Try to keep yourself calm, positive and confident.

10. Ask your teachers for guidance: Especially if you’re having trouble - whether it’s grasping a new concept or understanding something you learnt earlier in the year. They will be happy to help.

Source: http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/gotoschool/highschool/studyingtips.php

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How to Cope with Public Speaking Nerves

1. Remember that people can’t real see how you feel. Act as if you’re feeling calm and no-one will know how nervous you really feel inside.

2. Before speaking, visualise yourself giving a great talk and capturing the audience’s full attention. Often we create what we imagine in life.

3. Use positive self-talk. You need to be there for yourself at this time, and to affirm that “you can do it”, and that you’re going to do well. Don’t undermine your confidence or be self-critical.  

4. Recognize that a degree of anxiety in normal, and is experienced by all the best speakers, actors and performers. In fact, that extra dose of adrenalin can actually enable you to do your very best.

5.  “To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail.” Make sure “you know your stuff” and have prepared well in advance. Rehearse and practice well as that will give you confidence.

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