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May 22, 2017 | by  | in Mauri Ora |
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Mauri Ora

At busy times everyone is stressed, lecturers and students alike. In times like this, the Serenity Prayer is my go-to:  “…Grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  I’ve always struggled with the wisdom bit myself, but find the rest really helpful.

I can’t change the past: not having a topic a week before due date, not writing anything until the day before, my dog dying, Trump sacking the FBI director, my flatmate’s meltdown, my neighbours’ domestic (leading to my mind prioritising the potential murder next door), and my lecturer’s penalty for late work. I’m not always good at controlling my internal state — anxiety may hijack my attention when a “perfect storm” of stressors is upon me.

So, I need a dose of serenity. Perspective helps. Reminding myself of other important areas of my life — connecting with friends, physical exercise, appreciating nature, remembering that in five years this all-important assignment and the odd failed course will be lost in the mists of memory.

A dose of courage also helps — e.g. the courage to acknowledge that an assignment is important to me, and to make room for difficult feelings when I dare to start early.

“But what about the uni giving me a break,” I hear you cry.  The Assessment Handbook is a mine of useful information for advocating for ourselves and others — http://www.victoria.ac.nz/about/governance/strategy/academic-policies.  

Student Counselling encourages students to contact their lecturers directly and ask for latitude.  Don’t be put off by lecturers who say in advance that extensions will not be given in any circumstances. Lecturers must give latitude in certain circumstances. Ask the question and seek advice if your course coordinator seems unduly harsh.  No one benefits where students fail.   

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