Wits tackles second semester with empowering debriefing sessions

The Wits Counselling and Careers Development Unit (CCDU) held “coping with failure and exclusion talks” at university residences last week.

Khanyisile Bujela, a psychologist at the CCDU, said students need to abandon ineffective coping mechanisms and utilise structures offered by the university.

“I champion going to CCDU for counselling rather than thinking you can do it by yourself. When help is there, get into the habit of using it,” she said.

SRC academic officer Palesa Mofokeng said the intermediary role of the SRC is crucial when it comes to dealing with exclusion. She also said it is important that students not self-diagnose,

“If students find themselves struggling, it is important that they seek help before things escalate and they find themselves in situations where they face failure or exclusion,” said Mofokeng.

Bujela emphasised the importance of students consulting with lecturers and the relevant heads of schools or departments. She said students are afraid to consult with lecturers who are paid to assist them.

It was after this comment that Precious Gumbo, first-year urban and regional planning student, said: “I personally don’t consult with lecturers even if I don’t understand the work, because they say you were not listening in class or you are not applying yourself.”

Hlamulo Silinda, a first-year clinical medical practice student, said it is important not to give up after a first consultation, because the lecturer will then realise you may really be struggling and in need of assistance.

Mofokeng told Wits Vuvuzela students often seek help when it is too late and once the board of exams has completed its sitting.

“As the SRC we try our best to aid students and assist them by suggesting solutions that could remedy the situation. So when students have not taken pre-emptive measures we cannot be held liable,” Mofokeng said.

“Talks and workshops are freely available on campus, so when it comes to exclusion and failure there is so much we can do. The onus is on the students.”

FEATURED IMAGE: SRC academic officer, Palesa Mofokeng, talks to Wits Vuvuzela about the process of academic exclusion.   Photo: Anathi Madubela