Wits University is taking a stricter approach to students and staff “abusive” behaviour on social media.
CCDU has paired up with a counselling psychologist to offer free therapy that helps promote better stress management
One of the biggest problems students have is not being able to stretch their money for the entire month. Many are stuck with the dilemma of cutting back every time they receive their allowance, whether it is from their bursaries or parents. Meanwhile other students have what we nowadays call a “side hustle”. This is a way to get money by doing a part-time job that pays just enough to cover costs. By doing this, they do not have to worry about cutting back or, better yet, nagging their parents for extra money.
There are many ways in which students can help themselves get rid of their financial woes at Wits. The Career Councilling and Development Unit (CCDU) has for many years assisted students in acquiring jobs on and off campus. Wits Vuvuzela spoke to Raj Naran, a career development educator and team leader at the CCDU, about the jobs they can offer for students.
“Students can register to be on the CCDU’s database, so that they can be contacted if there are any available jobs,” Naran said. They can go to their offices on West Campus to register. Unfortunately it is not always guaranteed the job they get will be related to what they are studying. Naran said students can negotiate their pay when offered a job.
Fun off-campus jobs
Some students have taken it upon themselves to find fun and interesting jobs off campus. One of the most popular jobs, especially among female students, are promotions. This is considered a great job because it only requires you to work during the weekend. This could be in supermarkets or better yet fancy events, parties and clubs. We all know how students like having a good time and imagine being paid to do so, it is quite difficult to resist.
Bontle-Buhle Ngomezulu, a BCom student at Wits has been a promoter for a year now. She says that the pay can be good depending on the kind of campaign.
“Some campaigns really make it worth it, some really aren’t but it beats being broke,” she said. Bartending has also been a favourite among students, with the variety of bars in and around Braamfontein there is no reason to be unemployed. Lesego Chiloane and Cihangir Cevikem are both Witsies and bartenders at Kitcheners. Cevikem said persistence can be the key to getting a part-time job.
“I asked one of the managers for a period of four months and he kept on brushing me off, until he gave me a chance as one of the cleaners for a month or so and then I eventually got into the bar.”
Besides partying on the job, the one perk which was mentioned was the pay. “The money is really good,” Cevikem said.
“The pay is good, for a student,” Chiloane said. He said working at a bar requires a lot of discipline because you have to balance it with school.
International students can forget about applying for jobs in South Africa, unless they have an identity document (ID) or work permit. This was the general message at a careers fair, held earlier today at the Old Mutual Sports Hall at Wits.
The Counselling and Careers Developmental Unit’s (CCDU) graduate recruitment programme organised the fair for students from across all faculties but there was little on offer for students from outside South Africa.
International student Tinashe Chuchu, Masters in Marketing, attended the fair to look for potential recruiters and employment opportunities. He said the fair was a good initiative by Wits, however his choices are limited given his degree and nationality.
“There were a wide variety of opportunities for engineering students, social sciences students and commerce students,” he said. However he was turned away by companies who were not looking foreign students. “I left out all the banks, for obvious reasons. They do not take anyone who is not South African,” Chuchu said.
“I think the labour department puts (sic) regulations for companies to fulfil quotas,” he said. In his own experience of looking for jobs, Chuchu found that there were positions advertised for international students, but only for specific and scarce skills sets.
Laws and regulations
Kwame Owusu-Ansah, masters in Chemical Engineering, shared Chuchu’s views. Although there were many opportunities, Owusu-Ansah said some of them were very “shaky”. You can apply for some positions, but then you have to make sure you can get a work permit.
“I have a wide variety of choices because I’m an engineer. But until they find out I’m an international student, it slashes by three quarters.”
He explained that South African labour regulations are more stringent than in previous years. “They often refuse permits for international students, even if they give you an offer,” he said.
Lloyd Uta, an international student completing his Masters in Marketing, found companies that were looking for applicants from South Africa and abroad. Those were big multi-national companies and a few smaller companies looking to increase their human capital, he said.
However, Uta admits, “Choices are limited. I have to keep switching between what I want to do (marketing) and what I can do (IT),” to find job openings.
Amos Kova, a graduate recruitment manager at a bank explained why applicants had to be South African citizens, “We believe that we have an obligation to South Africa”.
Bohlale Paile, also a graduate recruitment manager at a bank said: “We don’t take international students at this point. We did before, but we ran into problems when it came to getting work permits”.
She explained that the Department of Labour required recruiters to motivate why non-South African citizens were chosen over South African citizens.
The motivation process and applications for work permits take time, which holds international graduates back from starting the graduate programme timeously.
Raj Naran, the Career Development Educator and Team Leader Career Services at CCDU said this year, the careers fair was open to everybody. “It does not have a specific focus.”
Companies came from industries where there was a shortage in a skills set, such as “accounting, engineering and commerce” he said.
Naran added that students should earn their jobs, develop themselves and prepare well, “and certainly, academic records play a role”.
Another careers fair is scheduled for September this year.
- Wits Vuvuzela. Postgraduate students still struggling with SA visa regulations. July 30, 2014.
- Wits Vuvuzela. International students stranded in SA. April 25, 2014.
- Wits Vuvuzela. No career fair for humanities. May 17, 2013.
Packed libraries, late nights, panic attacks and last-minute cram sessions. Yes, that dreaded time of the year has arrived once again and exams have crept up upon us quicker than a leopard pouncing on its prey.
There are no two ways about it: the stress of the exams are upon us again.
Wits Vuvuzela spoke to some Witsies about their exam-preparation techniques and what they do to remain calm and get through the work.
Tips and tricks
Njabulo Mkhize, honours in Applied Drama, shared a very handy and unique trick. He reads his notes out aloud while recording himself on his cellphone. This way, he can “listen to himself [and his study notes] anywhere and anytime”.
“Don’t cram and give yourself enough time to study,” says Kea Malebye, 3rd year law. Malebye says she tries not to study the night before her exam. She also makes sure she chews the same flavour bubble-gum when studying and in the exam. This helps her to remember her work as she associates the flavours with her notes.
Leané Meiring, honours in Drama Therapy, also suggests linking studying and writing the exam with something that will trigger your memory. “Work at a desk so that you’re mimicking the exam sessions ... And get eight hours of sleep!”
Other students in Drama Therapy say that self-care, taking time to reflect and knowing if you are a morning, afternoon or night person are pivotal in helping you cope with the exams.
Mpumi Skhosana, 4th year BA, says she exercises and prefers to watch academic videos than write out notes.
“Lots of sleep and jelly-beans, both while studying and in the exam” is what keeps Palesa Mopeli, honours in Fine Arts, calm. Mopeli advises Witsies to “keep a positive mentality and do your best”.
Give it your best shot
Finally, Simone Vasques, BA graduate, says “university life is really what you make of it”.
“This is one of those times in life where you’re in a situation with lecturers who are extremely knowledgeable [and] classmates are super interesting … so ask as many questions as you can”.
And as Mopeli told Wits Vuvuzela, what’s the worst that could happen with exams? Even if you fail, there will always be another chance.
For students wanting to speak to someone professional about coping with exams, the Counselling, Careers and Development Unit (CCDU) can be contacted on 011 717 9136.