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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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

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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!

Welcome to the USQ Student Blog

Welcome to the latest way to get to know some of the amazing students of the University of Southern Queensland.  This blog will give you the chance to see what is happening on all three of USQ’s campuses, at Toowoomba, Springfield and Fraser Coast.

If you are thinking of going to uni, then this blog is great to follow to discover some of the exciting opportunities available at USQ.

If you are a student currently studying with USQ, feel free to follow our bloggers and see what some of your peers are getting up to when they are not in class.

We hope you enjoy getting to know our bloggers and sharing in some of their experiences.