15 Things you can control

Weekly Wellness…

You can’t control everything,
But here are some things you can.

Things you can control
previous arrow
next arrow

Ambitions for an Animated Lifestyle

What is animation?

“Many believe it’s just cartoons but actually, this is a medium in which different objects or images are manipulated to appear as moving images. These images are traditionally drawn by hand or digitally with thanks to modern technology”. This according to Mahendra Naidoo, animation lecturer at Boston Media House in Sandton.

What is graphic design?

Flip Hattingh academic manager for graphic design explains; “Also known as visual communication, graphic design involves planning and projecting different and creative ideas using visual and textual content.” Hattingh continues that, “As a graphic designer or an animator you should be a person that works well with others making sure that you think out of the box. Ideas that are out of the ordinary work best in graphic design. You need to be focused because what is learned in graphic design can be confusing.” According to Hattingh, these two fields both manifest as a way of expression, of telling a story as a way of getting a message across.

So what is the difference between animation and graphic design?
Naidoo says that one might assume that Animation and Graphic Design are based mainly on 2D aspects, think ‘flat’ drawing and a lot of advertising. “Actually animation is based on 2D and 3D aspects – these allow the window to open further and the opportunities for creativity to grow, becoming vast and never-ending”.

Naidoo explains that there are many different types of animation studios in South Africa. “The majority of them work in very similar aspects of the field, however, some specialiwe in certain aspects of animation.

Hattingh discusses the work opportunities, which can be for full-time employment either in studios or advertising agencies for graduates in this field.  “You can also freelance as a graphic designer and animator depending on which company you work for and the type of contract that you have signed. And of course, graphic and design form a huge part of the gaming industry, opening up even more employment opportunities” he says.

Tips from Hattingh and Naidoo on what it takes to make it as a good graphic designer and animator

  • Work well under pressure
  • Meet deadlines so that you don’t delay any other production happening around you
  • You need excellent communication skills in order to effectively communicate ideas and feedback with clients
  • Work as part of a greater team
  • You’ll need to possess creativity and artistic talent
  • Be able to think out of the box! Approach each challenge with new thinking

Boston Media House offers three-year and four-year qualifications both of which provide the option of specialising in animation and graphic design.

“Career options are global due to the fact that your institution is internationally accredited,” says Naidoo. “Animation and graphics are globally in-demand skills – animation studios look for animators all the time. Entertainment and corporate companies need graphic designers as these are still growing industries even though they have been around for a long time”.

As a graphic designer or an animator, you’re open to a whole new world every day. You get to work hand in hand with other industries and fields within the media industry. There are various paths open to you like public relations where you would work with designing a company’s corporate identity illustration. You could work in newsrooms, marketing agencies, and in film and television industries.

Jarid Naidoo (2nd Year Animation student at Boston Media House)

“Our lecturers are preparing us for the world out there and still are. Our two lectures Mahendra Naidoo and Amy Williams have been such an inspiration and offer assistance to us as students when undergoing this course”, says Jarid, a current animation student.

“Boston Media House does its best to prepare you for the industry as best as they can. But you can never be prepared enough! Especially on the business side of animation or going on your own, but the knowledge we are given does prepare us for the industry” says Makungu, an animation graduate from Boston Media House.

Staying Connected During Lockdown

We’re normally always connected in some way or another… I mean, we attend a contact-based institution. That says it all.
We’ve gone from having access to a campus hub for our expression to studying completely online and in our own heads.
We’ve gone from having a common place to meet and share ideas to isolation…

Here are some of the best ways we’ve stayed connected during lockdown…

Watch Live Streams & Virtual Concerts

Get the gig guide here


Do Free Stuff Together

Find free movies, series, games, books, guitar lessons, exercise classes and more here


Visit a Virtual Pub

You could even meet new friends on this vibe













via Metro

Download a Apps to Virtually Socialise

Discover 5 apps that you can use to virtually socialise with your friends here












via IndiaToday

Virtual Parties

How to turn your house into a club this weekend


Throw A Virtual Dinner Party

Here’s how


Group Work: Overcoming Challenges & Handling Conflict

You won’t all agree on everything all the time – life just doesn’t work that way.
The way we deal with tension and conflict is what’s really important.

When conflict arises, try to:

  • Remain Objective
    Focus on the issue and not the person
  • Remain calm & hear eachother out
    If the disagreement turns into a shouting match, call a “time out”, giving everyone a few minutes to calm down, then re-open the discussion with a rule that allows everyone a chance to speak
  • Use “I” Statements
    This requires people to take responsibility for their feelings and helps improve communication skills.

For example, instead of saying “We are sick of you arriving late for meetings”, you can say “I feel frustrated when you arrive late for meetings”

1 One of the biggest challenges include uneven contribution by one or more members and it definitely increases tension in the group.

Possible solutions:

  • Set clear expectations & guidelines for the group from the start
  • Assign roles & responsibilities to ensure equal contributions by everyone
  • Address the issue directly & respectfully with the person(s) not pulling their weight
  • Include a ‘record of contribution’ from each member in your project – this raises red flags for those not contributing and gives credit to those who are
  • Refer back to posts on the group: Group Work – The Basics, and Group Work – Getting Organised & Started


2 Scheduling problems may result in the work on the project starting late or not being able to continue.

Possible solutions:

  • Consider alternative ways of meeting or communicating, set up an email group or Whatsapp group for example, and use that as a way of discussing important items & keeping the project moving forward
  • Refer back to the post on: Group Work – Getting Organised & Started


3 Different Expectations & Work Ethics – Some members may be striving for a distinction, whilst others are just interested in passing. Some may also go out of their way to get work done ahead of schedule while others procrastinate and leave things to the last minute.

Possible solutions:

  • Keep work & project goals realistic a& attainable
  • Remember that your actions (or lack thereof) will impact on others in the group, or the group as a whole
  • Agree on a schedule up front & revise it periodically to ensure that everyone is keeping pace


4 Getting Stuck or ‘hitting a wall’ can result in procrastination & work avoidance.

Possible solutions:

  • Re-read the assessment brief focusing on the expectations & goals of the assessment
  • Call a brainstorming session so that you can generate & discuss ideas
  • Use mind mapping to link common ideas & threads
  • Set up a group-lecturer appointment to discuss the problem & get unstuck



Group Work: Getting Organised & Started

For group work to be successful, there have to be agreed upon rules, roles & deadlines – this is to ensure that everyone fairly contributes & works towards the same result.

Things you may want to consider at your first group meeting include, but aren’t limited to:

  • General Group Etiquette
    No cellphones, don’t interrupt someone when they’re speaking, always be respectful, arrive on time
  • When To Meet
    May be difficult but the group will benefit overall. However, don’t miss class in order to attend a group meeting.
  • Where To Meet
    Select a place that is accessible to all members, often campus is the best & easiest solution
  • Keeping In Contact With Eachother
    Other than the meetings, agree on an additional form of communication, eg email or Whatsapp group – something that everyone has access to
  • A Realistic Schedule
    Work backwards from the submission date so that you can identify important milestones, conflicting dates etc.
  • Minute Your Meeting
    This is common practice in the workplace and a good way to keep record of:
    Who was present or absent, what was discussed, what was agreed upon, who was assigned what task.
    After each meeting, the minutes need to be sent out all to all group members


  • Ahead of each meeting, agree on the agenda for the meeting
  • Use the agenda to keep the group focused during the meeting
  • End the meeting with a confirmation that everyone knows what’s expected
  • Agree on a date, time & venue for the next meeting


  • It’s important to know a little about the members of your group, particularly in terms of their strengths & weaknesses. You don’t want to appoint the final verbal presentation of your assessment to someone who has a phobia of public speaking
  • Be sure to include everyone in on discussions, decisions, and work allocation. People are more co-operative, productive & willing to take responsibility if they have been included in the groundwork that led to the decision
  • Everyone should be given a chance to speak and ‘pitch’ for specific jobs, listen to what they have to say & keep the group agenda, not your agenda, in mind when making final decisions – what is best for the group?


Common group roles include:

  • The Leader
    Leads discussions using open-ended questions; they facilitate discussions by clarifying & summarising group comments & decisions; they guide conversations, keeping them on track & positive; they check for consensus and/or questions from the group members
  • The Organiser
    Schedules & communicates meeting dates, times & venues; ensures that meetings follow an agenda; records & distributes notes of the meeting; monitors the project timeline, and keeps the project on track
  • The Editor(s)

Compiles the final piece of work from parts received from different members of the group; ensures the final product flows & is consistent; edits completed work i.e. spell-check, grammar, formatting etc

  • The Presenter(s)
    If applicable: works with the group members to compile a cohesive & articulate presentation; presents the presentation in class


  • Everyone understands & acknowledges that the assessment cannot be completed without the contribution & cooperation of all the members
  • All members are given the opportunity to share their ideas & express themselves
  • Differences or issues are dealt with directly with the person or people involved
  • The group recognises hard work and encourages each of the members to take responsibility for their tasks and/or roles. There is a shared sense of pride & responsibility



Group Work: The Basics

As media students you will eventually be entering industries that all place high priority on their employees’ ability to work well in and contribute to a team. Employers are looking for graduates who can bring new or different strengths to their existing teams. 



Group work requires the consistent application of certain skills in order for the process to run smoothly, and to allow for different people, with different attributes and personalities to work together effectively.

Communication & Listening Skills

Effective group work requires participants to practice both good communication & listening skills.

We’ve all at one point or another switched off when someone was taking, or interrupted someone because we just had to share our thoughts right. That. Instant. It’s fine to allow your communication and/or listening skills to slip in casual, social environments, but when it comes to high stakes situations, such as working on a group assignment, or with a team on a multi-million Rand campaign, these skills can be make or break, not just for you but the whole group.



  • Speak ‘in’ the group and not ‘at’ the group – speaking at someone comes across as domineering & not open to response
  • Speak to the whole group and not just your friends in the group
  • Contribute to the discussion, don’t dominate
  • Ask questions but don’t be argumentative
  • Encourage the group to stick to the topic and not waste time
  • Build on other’s ideas eg “That’s a good point, because it will…”
  • Use ‘open’ language eg “what do you guys think?” vs “I think we should” – people are more likely to listen and consider suggestions put forward in an open manner
  • Acknowledge your errors and apologise – by owning and apologising for your mistakes minor issues will remain just that
  • Be considerate of other’s feelings – think before you speak
  • Summarise what the group has agreed on to be executed by the next meeting – this ensures that everyone is on the same page



  • A lot of the time we don’t listen with the intent to understand or hear what the other person is saying instead we listen with the intent to reply. For effective group communication you need to concentrate on what the other person is saying, rather than thinking about what you want to say in response
  • Don’t interrupt others – everyone should be allowed the time and space to have their say or make their contribution without interruption
  • Focus on the content of what the person is saying, and then build on it or link it to other ideas



Effective Note Taking

Taking effective notes and writing down verbatim what your lecturer says are two very different things. Proper note taking not only assists with comprehension and attention but transforms you into an active learner.

Taking notes during lecturers forces you to:

  • Tune in & listen
  • Analyse what is said & identify what’s important
  • Be an active listener rather than passive – this makes you think about what you’re taking note of

The Do’s…

  • Be attentive to the main points
  • Take precise notes of formulas, definitions, terminology & facts
  • Use your own words where possible – this helps with retention & understanding
  • Use bullet points to indicate related info & distinguish major from minor points
  • Use highlighters to indicate new terminology
  • Write legibly – you need to be able to decipher what you’ve written
  • Create your own system of symbols & abbreviations
  • Review your notes within 24 hours – Relook words you don’t understand & fill in gaps or questions
  • Start new notes for each new lecture – remember to date & number your pages
  • Keep your notes as brief as possible


The Don’ts…

  • Do not try to write every word the lecturer says – seek out the main points & info
  • Do not use scrappy pieces of paper
  • Do not record or film a lecture with your phone instead of taking actual notes – by actively taking notes you are processing & retaining the info

  • If it’s being written on a whiteboard
  • If it’s in bold or CAPS or both!
  • Emphasis – this can be picked up in two ways
    1 Tone of voice & gestures
    2 The amount of time the lecturer spends on a certain point
  • Reviews given at the beginning of a lecture, highlighted points or topics from the previous lesson
  • Repetition – the lecturer won’t repeat the same point for nothing



NB vs urgent tasks

Time pressure is a prevalent source of stress both at college and in the world of work – it’s the result of having too much to do, and not enough time to do it all in.
The Eisenhower Principle is a prioritisation method that allows for the categorisation of tasks in a straight forward, no-grey-areas manner. The principle helps you consider your priorities, and then decide which tasks are essential and which are distractions.

Important Activities – have an outcome that leads us to achieving our goals, whether they are personal or professional


Urgent Activities – demand immediate attention, and are usually associated with achieving someone else’s goals. They are often the ones we concentrate on and they demand attention because the consequences of not dealing with them are immediate

Step 1 – Select a task and decide whether or not it is urgent. This will help you in deciding whether immediate action is necessary or not

Step 2 – Using the same task from step 1, decide whether it is important or not. This will help you decide whether it is something you need to do yourself, or whether it can be delegated to someone else

According to the Eisenhower Principle tasks fall into one of four categories

  • Important & urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important and not urgent

Each category is then assigned a recommended plan of action

  • Important and urgent – DO it now
  • Not urgent but important – DECIDE on when to schedule it in
  • Not important but urgent – DELEGATE it to someone else
  • Not important and not urgent – DELETE it


Time Management: The effective use of to-do lists

Are you struggling to keep up?
Have you forgotten an important deadline?

These are all symptoms of poor time management, which can be corrected with a prioritised to-do list. To-do lists can also change your life when dealing with multiple deadlines!


  • Write down all the tasks you need to complete for the upcoming week or month
  • If there are large tasks, break them down into smaller tasks
  • Ideally a task or step should not take more than a few hours to complete
  • It may be helpful to compile a to-do list per module you are registered for, or one for personal tasks, and one for college tasks. Try different approaches and see which works best for you

  • Read through your list and allocate each task a priority rating
  • If you find that majority of your tasks have been allocated as very high, redo your list with a realistic and critical eye, looking for what is really high priority, and what can be safely demoted to moderate or low priority

  • Start making use of your list by working through the tasks in order of priority
  • Once you’ve completed a task in full, tick it off or draw a line through it
  • Once a day spend 10 minutes revising your list – adding anything new that has come up, reassigning priorities should things have changed etc