I feel stressed and overwhelmed

  • —When you feel overwhelmed, your mind becomes clouded and crowded with thoughts that will stress you out.
  • —The first step is to find out why you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
  • —Identify the problem.
  • —Step out of the physical area that you are in when you feel stressed out. Then go to a different area to clear your mind.
  • —Gain clarity and start creating solutions to get around these negative feelings.
  • —We often become overwhelmed when we have too many things to do at once. Design a schedule with strict time frames that you can keep up with. Remember to allow time for yourself to just relax and to socialise.
  • —Shut out unwanted noise. It is easy to fall prey to feeling overwhelmed when you have to listen or concentrate on many different noises at the same time.
  • —Make sure you get enough sleep every night. This will help you be more focused. You will be able to handle more when you have rested well.
  • —Keep a balance of work and play.

I haven’t been able to make friends and I feel lonely

  • —The Psychological Services and Career Development Centre (PsyCaD) runs a peer buddy programme.
  • —Peers are people who are about the same age as you, who share similar characteristics and experiences.
  • —A peer buddy has a powerful influence over your own self development, as well as the development of various skills.
  • —Peer buddies empower each other.
  • —Peer buddies have been successful in raising levels in academic achievement.
  • —Peer buddies promote socio-emotional growth.
  • —Peer buddies provide a support-like service to students.

I’m experiencing personal problems and cannot cope

—The University of Johannesburg has a Therapeutic Service Unit within PsyCaD.

  • —The Therapeutic Service Unit offers psychotherapeutic services to students.
  • —It also provides psychotherapy to individuals, groups and families.
  • —The Therapeutic Service Unit has a 24-hour crisis line.
  • —The crisis line is a telephonic service available day or night to assist with any psychological related crisis.
  • —Psychotherapy assists with emotional difficulties and psychological distress.
  • —You can visit the Therapeutic Service Unit for academic or personal problems.
  • To find out more about what you can expect from psychotherapy click on the following link “What is therapy?” http://www.uj.ac.za/EN/TeachingAndLearning/ads/PsyCaDELET/English/therapeuticservices/Documents/What_isTherapy.pdf

I cannot balance my academic and social life

—Achieving a balance between your social and academic life while at university may seem difficult.

—In order to create a balance in your life, you will need to use your time wisely.

—Some tips to keep a balance:

  • Time management is always the key within your life.
  • Get organised.
  • Get involved in social activities.
  • —Use 80% of your time accomplishing your university goals and use the rest of your time to socialise.
  • —Try your best to do your university work during the week and keep your weekends open for personal activities.
  • —Remember!!! Being a university student is a full-time job.
  • —Remember!!! Balancing your academic and social life is crucial.

I miss my home and friends

  • —Experiencing homesickness is more common than not, especially when you are living far from home for the first time.
  • —You will have to adapt to your new environment and to the many changes that you will experience. However, you will adapt.
  • —It is important to keep in contact with your family and friends while you are at university. Communicating often will let you feel less homesick.
  • —Take time to make new friends at university and get to know the people you now live with.
  • —Remember!!! Always be yourself.

Who am I and where do I want to be?

  • —At university, you are likely to come across the question ‘who am I and where do I want to be?’
  • —You will discover many things about yourself while studying at university.
  • —The Psychological Services and Career Development Centre can also assist you in finding out the answer to these questions.

How do I deal with relationships?

  • —Students at university create and maintain many different sorts of relationships while completing their studies.
  • —However, dealing with these relationships may be challenging at times.
  • —Time management is a good way to manage relationships and your studies.
  • —You can maintain your relationships by using social media, texting or calling in your spare time.
  • —PsyCaD also offers couples therapy. This will help in identifying problems in relationships, as well as creating solutions.

I am an international student and need support in adjustment

  • —PsyCaD has adjustment groups that offer support to UJ students.
  • —Interpersonal support groups offer students, who are struggling in any manner, support through a group process.
  • —There are discussion forums for students where students talk about their challenges.
  • —It is a proactive discussion, therefore, students interact with each other by sharing ideas and advice.

—Tips for adjusting:

  • A way to deal with the cultural shock while studying at university is to keep your cultural trends and keep in touch with family and friends.
  • If there is a language barrier, it is helpful to learn English through different media. You could also attend the University of Johannesburg English Language Programme (UJELP).
  • For assistance in reading and writing in English, the University has a Writing Centre that is equipped to assist students with writing and reading skills.
  • It is also a good idea to have a peer buddy, as they will be your support and help you adjust to your new life.

People are pressuring me to do things I don’t want to do

  • —When at university, you may be confronted with things that you are not familiar with, and you will have to make a decision of whether or not to participate.
  • —There may be other people influencing your decision. Peer pressure is a serious problem.
  • —If you are being pressured into doing something that you are not comfortable doing, get assistance and advice from a counsellor, a family member or your peer buddy.
  • —Remember!!! Make your own decisions.



  • Tips for dealing with peer pressure:

    ◦Dismiss the request and tell them you are not interested.

    ◦Learn to say ‘no’.

    ◦Once your decision is made, don’t allow others to influence you to do things that will negatively impact you.

    ◦Try to leave the group before getting influenced.

    ◦Be careful of who you choose as your friends.

    ◦Do not be afraid to ask for help.

How do I deal with staying with a roommate?

  • —Respect each other and each others’ valuables.
  • —Always be considerate. Remember that your life at university requires that you are well rested and have enough time to study and complete assignments.
  • —Keep your living space clean. It may be helpful designing a cleaning roster. It is important to commit to it.
  • —Do not use your roommate’s stuff. They may not appreciate it when you help yourself to their things, especially personal items and you may feel the same. Rather ask them but also do not get offended if they say no.
  • —The most important thing to do upon meeting your roommate is to set ground rules.
  • —This is very important as it sets the standard of living for you and your roommate.
  • —If you encounter problems with your roommate, it is best to have a serious talk with him/her.
  • —Always be honest with each other.
  • —You and your roommate should have a comfortable living arrangement.