How to be a successful online student (using eCards as inspiration)

I love ecards. Whoever writes them just seems to get me. As an online student, scrolling through memes and ecards related to my interests and study area can take up a lot of my ‘study’ time. In order to make some use of this procrastination technique, I decided to use some of the humorous content I’ve found to help explain the online student experience.

If you study online, I’m sure you will relate to at least one of these ecards!

  1. Choose a subject you are interested in

Online study ecard: choose a subject you're interested in

One of the most important decisions when choosing to continue your education is making sure you study something you are really interested in and passionate about. This applies to your overall degree as well as to assignment topics. If you choose to study a topic that interests you, you are more likely to work hard to achieve your goals, and to enjoy doing it!

  1. Inspiration

What inspired you to study your degree?

online study inspiration

Discover what it is that keeps you focused and inspired throughout your studies. What was your initial inspiration for studying your degree? What do you want to do with your degree after you have graduated? Keep yourself focused and inspired by making a study playlist or hanging pictures of your family, partner, dream job or inspirational quotes where you study. Use this inspiration to help you keep on track and achieve your study goals.

  1. Stay positive!

online study: stay positive

Sometimes things don’t go to plan, and that’s OK! Don’t dwell on the disappointments or setbacks; use them as an opportunity to learn from the experience and grow as a student and as a person.

  1. Be realistic about your goals

online study: setting goals

Be realistic about your goals and what you need to sacrifice in order to achieve them. In an ideal world we would all succeed without studying, but the reality is you will need to put the effort in to achieve your study goals. This may mean you have to make some sacrifices, like cutting back your social life or replacing TV-watching time with study. Work hard and you will be rewarded with better grades, less stress at exam time, and being on track to graduate on time.

  1. Prioritise

online study: prioritisation

Prioritise your study goals with everything else you have going on. Being organised is important for many reasons, but make sure you plan enough time to actually study!

  1. Stay on track

online study: staying on track

Set yourself goals and study to-do lists and regularly check in to make sure you are on track. It isn’t a big deal if you miss some of your study goal deadlines, but it’s always better to stay on top of things as much as possible instead of having to cram like a crazy person at the last minute for an assignment deadline or exam.

  1. Procrastination

study online: procrastination

The procrastinator inside all of us tends to creep out during peak study times (you’re not alone in this!). It can be a welcome distraction from studying to starting an assignment. But there are ways to make your procrastination productive. Why not search some industry-related infographics on Pinterest or whip up some nutritious study snacks? Just remember, everything in moderation. You don’t want to get carried away and have the due date as the do date!

Find more ways to put the ‘pro’ in procrastination!

  1. Take regular breaks

Online study: take breaks

While it is important to study hard, make sure you also take the time to relax and unwind. Taking regular breaks helps to keep your mind refreshed and focused on the task at hand, as well as preserving your mental health!

  1. Celebrate the small things

Online study: celebrate

It can be difficult trying to juggle the competing priorities in your life, so make sure you celebrate all of your achievements, no matter how big or small. Whether you get the laundry done in the middle of the week, manage to cook and freeze the family’s meals ahead of time or receive an A on an assignment, take a moment to celebrate your achievements and recognise the amount of hard work you had to put in to make it happen.

10. Reward yourself

Online study: reward yourself

Finished a 30-minute study session and ticked all the boxes on your study to-do list? It is time to relax, unwind and reward yourself. Bake yourself a treat, order your favourite take-out or watch an episode of your favourite TV show. You’ve earned it!

Do you have any favourite memes or ecards that explain your study experience to a T? Feel free to share them or let me know which of mine you related to the most!

#usqstudy #usqonline #onlinestudy

aBroaden your Horizons

study abroad: broaden your horizons!

The world is our oyster isn’t it? It’s a big wide world out there and I’m ready to get my travelling shoes on.  Oh wait… I’m a full time uni student!

As I write this, my friends are posting photos of London, Paris, Hawaii, China or New York into my newsfeed and the most exotic place I have been is a new-found aisle in the library.

There must be a way to have my cake and eat it too. Most of the time I don’t understand that saying: if there’s cake, I’m all over it. Cake analogies aside, there is a cure for our itchy feet that won’t compromise our hard study work or set us back in the time it will take to graduate.

There are two options for getting out of your comfort zone and taking every opportunity uni has to offer (you’re thinking ‘I would have been happy with just one, but two options… wow!’).

study abroad on my way

Option 1:

If you don’t study over Semester 3, do you find it hard to fill your days? After you’ve caught up on Game of Thrones and watched the finale of How I Met Your Mother a few times, you may start to think that all this spare time isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. This time of year is an awesome opportunity to organise a trip overseas (even as a working holiday) and explore your options of gaining experience in a foreign country.

If you do study over Semester 3, your classes are online so all you really need is internet and a device that allows you to check your UMail, access StudyDesk and write your assignments. So what are you waiting for? Enrol in your online classes and start planning your overseas adventure!

study abroad dream discover

Option 2:

OK, this is where it gets really interesting and this is by far the most exciting option. USQ offers a Study Abroad program that will allow you to see the world and not fall behind in your studies.  With a number of scholarships available from USQ and government grants of up to $5000 (which anyone can apply for) we can help you pay for your travels and will even suggest a number of partner universities where you can continue your studies overseas. You would still be a USQ student, but studying at an overseas university.

Having someone help me pay for my trip and not losing any valuable study time sounds like a win to me!

You had me at Study Abroad. I’m off to start my travel plans, pack my bags and find some super cool luggage. If you want to find out more about your USQ Study Abroad options and follow in my footsteps on an overseas trip of a lifetime, have a chat to your friendly Study Abroad Coordinator by emailing international@usq.edu.au or check out the web for more info http://www.usq.edu.au/international/study-abroad/.

study abroad packing

Why are you still reading? Go and get your passport!

Pinterest isn’t just for girls! How guys are using Pinterest and our top 5 recommendations

Pinterest is a social media platform that has been popular with the ladies for a while now, but did you know that guys are out in force using Pinterest as well?

Pinterest is a great way of collating ideas, recipes and inspiration. It is quick and easy to find content, you can organise your finds any way you want, and they are good to look at too!

6 of the most common things guys are doing on Pinterest are:

  1. Drooling over delicious snacks and meals (and learning how to impress their date with their cooking skills!) #realmencook http://www.pinterest.com/usqedu/brain-food/

brain food

  1. Getting tips for completing home DIY projects http://www.pinterest.com/usqedu/inspiration-for-my-dorm-room/

dorm room inspiration

  1. Designing the perfect man cave
    http://www.pinterest.com/usqedu/study-spaces/

study spaces

  1. Dreaming of faraway adventures and planning their next holiday http://www.pinterest.com/usqedu/study-abroad-australia/

study abroad

  1. Sharing their achievements with friends #checkitout #goodonyamate http://www.pinterest.com/usqedu/future-leaders/

future leaders

  1. Laughing at memes and other silly things http://www.pinterest.com/usqedu/usq-fun-and-motivational/

motivational

Want more? Here are our top 5 recommendations of things for guys to look at on Pinterest!

  1. Learn how to bulk up with great exercise tips and fitness motivationals http://www.pinterest.com/usqedu/health-fitness-healthyu/

healthyu

  1. Discover tips to help you study like a pro and ace those exams #yougotthis http://www.pinterest.com/usqedu/study-at-usq-usqstudy/

study

  1. Find out how to make your paycheck go further with budgeting tips #studentbudget http://www.pinterest.com/usqedu/student-budget/ 

    student budget

  2. Progress your career to the next level with career advice and tips on how to #getthatjob http://www.pinterest.com/usqedu/get-that-job-life-after-graduation/ and http://www.pinterest.com/usqedu/career-advice-once-youve-got-that-job/getthatjob
  3. Reduce stress by looking at cute baby animals (this may sound girly, but try it!) #toocute http://www.pinterest.com/usqedu/stress-management/

stress

What do you like using Pinterest for?

For more inspiration and tips, follow us at http://www.pinterest.com/usqedu.

Happy Pinning! #usq

Reference: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/guys-on-pinterest-2014-3#now-for-another-type-of-visual-inspiration-14

Why you shouldn’t study in bed

OK, I’ve just heard the collective intake of breath as each and every one of you realise that at one time or another you’ve settled into your nice warm bed in your PJs with your hair unbrushed to hit the books.  While it’s OK occasionally to study in bed (read: when it’s cold in winter), it’s not the ideal space to get the most out of your study time.  Before you bed-studiers are completely scandalised, check out the dangers of studying in bed and discover our tips for setting a comfortable space to get those study juices flowing.

Studying in bed with laptop

 The dangers:

  • Let’s be honest, studying in bed leaves you open to becoming distracted.  If your laptop has internet access, you are likely to be trapped by Facebook, Pinterest or YouTube rather than focus on your uni work.
  • Having to wash your sheets again because they are covered in pen, highlighter marks or crumbs (too many late night study snacks!) is not an effective use of your time.
  • One minute you’re reading your textbook and feel like you’re in the zone and the next you’re catching z’s.  Those pillows are just too comfy!
  • It can be awkward having to explain to your family, partner or roommate why you’re still in the same clothes they saw you crawl out of bed in.  Save them the worried phone call to a counsellor and at least make the effort to get dressed before hitting the books.
  • I’m no chiropractor, but I know that a long study sesh in bed can lead to a sore back, and that can never be a good thing.

Studying in bed - the impacts

Now that I’ve scared you with the dangers of studying in bed, it’s time to look at some tips for setting up an awesome study space (sans doona and pillows):

  • Only have the benefit of one room to study in? That’s ok.  Find a comfortable, supportive chair that will make you sit up straight. Sitting up will help you concentrate and you’ll feel busy and important.
  • Find a suitable desk (or kitchen table) that is a comfy height you can sit at for long periods of time. Make sure to de-clutter your study space (you will have to throw out the four inches of junk mail you’ve been saving for when you have time to read it).
  • Set up your stationery and laptop or computer.
  • While it’s important to have a designated study space, you can be completely portable. If you have to pack up your study materials before the rest of the family or your housemate arrives home, have a box handy to put all of your study stuff in so you won’t lose anything important.
  • If you are finding it difficult to find motivation to study, why not dress how you would if you were going to uni to put you in the right frame of mind. Check out our uni style pictures for inspiration.

Study in bed - sleep!

There are alternatives to studying in bed and while sometimes it’s important to have a ‘Pyjama day’, getting out of your comfy bed has its perks and will maximise your concentration.  A designated study space will give you the best chance of study success and hopefully save you from any of the above dangers.

Check out ideas for comfortable and stylish study spaces on our Pinterest boards.

Share your online study experience with us social.media@usq.edu.au #usq #usqonline #usqstudy

Midyear study – it’s not too late to start!

Here are the 6 types of midyear students. Are you one of them?

1. The gap year that never ended.

Deciding to take a gap year after high school to do some soul-searching and learn more about yourself seemed like a good idea, but then bills, lifestyle and family commitments made regular paychecks a necessity. Work doesn’t have to be a let-down. Studying your passion can fit in with your travel and busy lifestyle.

You can study online, part-time or full-time. There are so many options to make the most of your time, without having to sacrifice your job or stamps on your passport.

2. The new years’ resolution that is taking longer to achieve than expected.

We all make resolutions that seem easy to keep when we are wearing party hats and counting down to the New Year. Losing weight, learning how to cook, giving up chocolate or finally getting a pet are excellent resolutions, but investing in your future is a resolution worth keeping.

It’s never too late to achieve your career goals, no matter how long ago you made the resolution, and starting your uni degree is the first step to help you get there. At USQ, we believe it is all about the journey and no matter how long it takes you to get there studying part-time, we’ll be here to celebrate when you cross the stage.

3. You got the promotion and now need more skills to go with it.

Have you recently got a promotion at work and you’re worried you don’t know what you’re doing? Where’s your positivity? Your boss believes in you and so do we. Now is the perfect time to boost your confidence at work as you put your studies into action.


If you’re not ready to commit to a full degree, we have over 700 single professional development courses from various disciplines from our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. By completing a professional development course, you’ll walk into your workplace with your head held high and know you deserve your promotion. You’ll be climbing the ladder in no time!

4. The realisation that your job isn’t what you expected.

If you struggle to get out of bed on Mondays (and not just because you had a busy weekend!), cry over your morning coffee before forcing yourself to get into your car to go to work, it’s time to start thinking about your options. Don’t spend any more time in a job you hate or don’t feel valued in! It’s time to reevaluate your career goals and be proactive about taking steps to achieve them. For most career changes, this means going back to uni to learn the knowledge and skills necessary to break into a different industry or get the qualifications you need to get ahead in the workplace. There is no time like the present!

5. The degree that wasn’t quite you.

Have you already started studying or completed a university degree a while ago and decided it just wasn’t for you? You finished high school and uni seemed like the next logical step. Jumping into study without being sure of your future can leave you feeling discouraged.
Never fear, midyear entry at USQ gives you the opportunity to apply for a different degree, and perhaps you may gain credit for a previously completed course. Choosing the wrong course isn’t the end of the world, it can actually be a good thing! You now know what you want to achieve and how a degree will help you get there, there will be no end to your passion, interest and engagement, and this will be reflected in your grades.

6. The midlife sea-change.

Have you recently packed the kids off on their own university adventures, been made redundant, or woken up one day with the realisation that it’s time to follow your own career dreams.

Spend some time thinking about what your passions, interests and hobbies are. Do you want to study to gain industry knowledge and develop a career, or are you studying for interest’s sake? What are you most passionate about? This is your ‘me’ time and there is no right or wrong answer to these questions; only you can decide what you want for your future.

Whatever reason you have for wanting to start study, the best thing about starting your degree midyear is that you will be further ahead of the game than if you wait another six months and start Semester 1 next year. Many USQ degrees even run classes during a third semester over the Christmas holidays, so you can catch up with your peers.

Feel like you’re in way over your head and need some help working out the difference between minors and majors? Check out this YouTube clip!

If you want to find our more about your options, talk to us!

Future students contact details:

Phone: +61 7 4631 5315
Freecall: 1800 269 500
Email: study@usq.edu.au

Find us on social media #usqedu #usqstudy #usqmidyear

From Learning to Earning

With the semester three exam block now underway, I thought I’d take a bit of a side-step and follow on from my previous post. On the last instalment, I shared with you my experiences on summer placement and how it was beneficial in making connections between what I’d learned in university and experiencing it in a practical context.

Besides being able to experience the chosen industry in a practical setting, work experience also provides a great platform for professional development and an opportunity to make some connections with people in the industry. Overall, a big part of work experience, and perhaps the main reason, is having a greater chance of securing employment as a result of the practical experience.

Following a much needed rest and relax over the December holidays, I was lucky enough to be offered a full-time position as a result of completing the work experience program! It has been an extremely exciting time adjusting to the new job; a valuable learning experience and has had its fair share of nerve-wrecking moments.

Image

With two weeks now passing since I started, I thought I’d focus this blog on the main similarities and differences I’ve found between full-time study and full time work.

  1. Meeting Deadlines – just like managing upcoming assignments, work has its deadlines for when tasks are to fall due.
  2. Working independently – just like university studies, this work is self-paced and working independently of others. Luckily, at USQ students have the benefit of supportive lecturers, student relationship officers and student services for extra guidance and support.
  3. Finding the balance – a struggle every student faces once in a while is striking the right balance between study and life. Work is no different and with full-time hours I’ve found there is even less personal time in each day. Needless to say, this factor will be one I’ll need to work on the most once semester one begins!
  4. Hours of work – although on-campus study may involve up to 12 hours per week of face-to-face classes, the time spent on independent study is not necessarily confined to the traditional nine-to-five working hours.
  5. Money – perhaps the most obvious difference between the two, you are paid to work, whereas you pay to study. While many students (myself included) often grow accustomed to living on a shoe-string budget, university study is a long-term investment and can be the key to scoring that full-time position.

With all this said, I wish all the students in summer semester exams the very best and now the countdown has begun until the start of semester one!

The Study Playlist

Music is an integral part of many of our lives. I know for myself that few days pass by
without one, or many, of the albums I own resonating through the house. Music enriches our experience in a manner that no other external stimuli seems to be able to replicate. It evokes passion, joy, focus, spontaneity, melancholy, reflection, memories and many other responses.

In the light of our response to music, the music that you choose to play as you study will
impact your ability to study.

Image

Photo credit: 8tracks.com book.wyrm

The question is, what makes a great study playlist? Here’s a few things I’ve found
helpful.

1. Choose instrumentals. As a general rule, depending on your personality of course,
lyrics act as a distraction. Whether it’s John Mayer, Taylor Swift (any questions regarding
the validity of this inclusion can be directed at All Too Well from Swift’s record RED,
lyrical brilliance), Coldplay or Bob Dylan, lyrics have the capacity to engage and tell a
story and oftentimes capture our attention.

Image

Photo credit: Pinterest
(PS: Five points to whoever comments with the artist and song this lyric is from)

2. Choose something outside of your normal listening. There’s two reasons for this
one. Firstly, if you’re anything like me, you might be inclined toward analysing the music,
anywhere from chord progressions (I – IV – V anyone?) to the tone of the electric guitar
and the quality of the recording. I’ve found that straying from my usual genre’s of
listening helps to break the analysis and focus on the task at hand. Secondly, listening to
new music breaks the familiarity of tracks previously listened to and allows us to create
new patterns of thinking around the new music. Have you ever been listening to a track
that was a staple at a particular time of life and noticed how it evokes similar emotional
and physiological reactions to that time you first listened to it? This is an example of the
thought patterns we create when listening to certain pieces of music.

Image

Photo credit: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/

It would be remiss of me to not actually have some recommendations in this blog as to
what you should be listening to as you study. There is many studies that place classical music at the top of the list for productivity, creativity and focus and this (http://med.stanford.edu/news_releases/2007/july/music.html) piece by the Stanford School of Medicine highlights some potential benefits to listening to classical music while studying. Another well researched (and somewhat conflicted) line of thought is “The Mozart Effect”, that, when initially studied, showed an improvement in spacial reasoning among subjects. Many studies since the original have found both correlating data and incongruent data regarding the matter. In short, the verdict is still out.

My recommendation, however, would still be to listen to Classical Music when studying.
Composers such as Chopin, Bach and Mozart never fail to set a beautiful atmosphere and
block out external sounds which may otherwise act as a distraction. Pachelbel’s Canon in D is still highly regarded as one of the most relaxing pieces of all time and features on many Study Playlists. For some great, pre made playlists, check out Spotify and Youtube. These tried and tested playlists have helped many students get through hours of study and there’s always plenty of comments to help you find your way.

Here’s (https://play.spotify.com/user/127564522/playlist/0CwzkFXVbEK6VJO3Rzo7lX) the link to my favourite Spotify study playlist.

Image

Photo credit: http://dailydoseofstuf.tumblr.com

After all this, more important than anything when your studying is to create an
environment where you can relax and focus. If you find that it’s ADTR that helps most in
that endeavour, listen to that, if it’s the Top 100 Billboard then listen to the Top 100 Billboard and if it’s Smooth Jazz, listen to that. For me, silence is as good as anything and I’ll put on some classical if I find myself distracted by other sounds. Find what suits you.

Until next time,
Josh

Better the mind through learning and the spirit through travel…

The world is our oyster, isn’t it? Well, that’s what I’ve been told anyway. It’s a place full of wonder and excitement that is just waiting to be explored…

However I find myself writing this blog while I sit and watch my friends posts photos of London, Paris, Hawaii, China or New York into my seemingly localised news feed, with the most exciting place I have checked-in to recently is my exam centre. Yep, I’m a uni student. And the only exotic place I’m exploring right now is a new-found aisle in the library.
Blog 1

It’s a tough gig being a uni student; there is hardly a week without some type of assessment due, the weight of our textbooks could cause permanent back damage, not to mention the side effects of a constant caffeine intake. But we all know that it’s worth it, because one day, not too far away, we can hold that degree in our hands and say we did it! There will be no constant stream of assessment, no backpack of textbooks to lug around, and no need to intravenously consume coffee (okay – we don’t have to get rid of the coffee).
Blog 2

Knowing that our hard work will pay off one day is all well and good, but what about now? What about those countries that are calling my name? Visit me! Visit me! So I propose, just because I’m at uni doesn’t mean I can’t explore the world.

It’s the 4th of November, and I have one exam left for Semester 2. It’s the last week of exam block, hence why I am strategically spending my time writing a blog. It’s called life reflection, not procrastination. I have also spent my valuable study time enrolling for Semester 1 next year. While both life reflection and enrolling for next year are both important tasks, something did occur to me…there is three months between my last exam and when my first classes start next year. That’s a 3 month break! One quarter of the year! (Yep, totally passed data analysis).
But in all seriousness, there is a lot of travelling that can be done in three months. As a part of a generation that wants to live in the present rather than the past or future, I’m not going to let study get in the way of my dreams of travelling. I can have both. In fact, I have a new mantra: better the mind through learning, and excite the spirit through travel.
Blog 3

So it’s been a very productive study session, enrolled in my subjects for next year, undertook some life reflection and came to the realisation that I didn’t have to give up study to travel the world. So time for a quick study break before I hit the books again…and by books I mean travel guides. “Better the mind through learning and the spirit through travel…. Better the mind through….”

USQ Career Fair Employer Tip

Video

The University of Southern Queensland’s Career Fair is about building bridges to future career paths and helping students enter their chosen career after graduation.

In this video blog, employers share their tips for gaining employment after graduation with our students during USQ Career Fair.

What are your tips for meeting employers for the first time and securing graduate employment?

My Learning Journey

Well, it’s over. The first year of my degree is over. With the end of the year coming up, what better way to reflect upon my journey so far than to share it with you….

The year just gone is my 13th year of education, in my 18 years of life. That’s over two-thirds of my life spent learning about the world, life and topics in which I am interested. It’s thousands of dollars of uniforms and stationary…it’s hundreds of teachers, lecturers and tutors…and countless quizzes, assignments and exams. I’m pretty lucky, aren’t I? According to an American study, only 6.7% of the world’s population have undertaken tertiary education, and I will become one of them. I know it’s easy to say this now since exams are over and there are no assignments to make me rethink being my decision to go to uni, but I am grateful that I am able to become part of the 6.7% of the world’s population that hung in there.

In my reflections, I asked myself what I had learnt this year (and I urge you to do the same). In my subjects this year, I have learnt everything from how to evaluate shares on the stock market, to the history of the radio. I have learnt the basics of contract law, and how to manage conflicts in the workplace. I have learnt what makes a consumer purchase a product, or how to mathematically test a hypothesis. I have been given the opportunity to understand the world a little better, in more areas than I had ever imagined. I am sure for everyone reading, whether you are at university or not, you have also learnt something this year. You may have learnt a new trick on your skateboard; you may have learnt a new song on the guitar; you may have learnt about the solar system; or you may have learnt how to read. No matter how young or old, we are all learning. I guess university is just a formal way to learn about the things you like.

During holiday time, I always try to have a bit of ‘r and r’ – reflecting and resolving. I have already done the reflecting part…so it’s time for some resolutions! When I began thinking about making some resolutions for 2013, I starting along the lines of, “I am going to begin all of my assignments as soon as I get them” and “I am not going out on the weekend if I am not up-to-date with all of my study”. (But I guess, to stick to resolutions, they have to be realistic). So instead I have come up with the following resolutions for 2013 in relation to my studies:

1. Be grateful to learn – it’s not a right, it’s an opportunity.

It is easy to get bogged down in study, and only see it as a chore that must be done. In 2013, I want to look at every assignment as an opportunity to learn and develop skills.

2. Share my own knowledge or experiences with someone who needs a helping hand.

When I look back and think about all those people who had given me advice about exams or study tips, I found that information invaluable. I want to pass on my tips and experiences to others, in the hope that it makes their journey a little easier too.

3. Take time to thank those people who, each day, help me achieve my dream

It’s simple: I admit to being ‘outwardly stressed’ (see picture below). So it’s time to say, “Sorry” and “Thank-you” to those who took the punches when times were tough.

Well, I think these resolutions are a bit more achievable… and a bit more rewarding. With a new year on the horizon, it’s a great time for everyone to have a bit of ‘r and r’. For everyone who has been lucky enough to undertake education this year: be grateful. For those who have experienced the joys of life: share these joys. For those who have been given a gift, talent or skill: use this to help those who are less fortunate than yourself.

This year, 2012, has made me realise that education is a gift, an opportunity and an honour.  So let’s celebrate our fortunes! May everyone have a safe and happy holiday (or an enjoyable third semester of study) and from the team of USQ bloggers: thank-you for your support and you will hear from us in 2013!