How to travel on a student budget

Hola amigos!

Bienvenidos to another installment from the travelling student. Are all of you as excited as me that we only have 1 month left of university this semester? How incredible is that… I just feel like dancing!

Ok, fine, I won’t dance…

Now is probably the time all of you intelligent and adventurous people are gearing up to travel on your summer breaks. When I talk about my life as a travelling student people often get confused and say ‘but students are poor, how could they possibly travel?’ Travelling doesn’t have to be as expensive as everyone thinks. Of course, you can pay the $4000+ premiums to get an all inclusive ‘Euro Trip’, but I don’t really consider that travelling. If you’re keen to do some real travelling on a student budget, then follow me!

Before a trip I break down my expenses into 3 categories to ensure I don’t go burning a hole in my bank account.

1. Flights
Flights are mostly standardised, but if you pick it right, spend time checking the dates and play the waiting game, you may be able to snag a $850 return ticket from BNE to CDG (Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris) like I did. However, this is very much a luck/timing/preparation thing. Also, don’t leave booking your tickets until you have only one week before your departure, as your flight could end up being double the standard price (depending on the distance you are travelling).

qantas

2. Accommodation
This depends a lot on when and where you are travelling to, but as a student you can find great rates for accommodation with youth hostels, couch surfing or even try your luck with a work away, where you do jobs in order to pay for bed and board. (Follow up story of mine in a Castle in South of France to come.)

workaway

3. Activities and living expenses (day-to-day)
Once again, if you are visiting a small town in western Ecuador you wont have much need for this, but if you are bopping about London town you will definitely need a larger wallet.

One way I have been able to slice my expenses down is by:

  1. Using my student card as much as possible (people understand what it’s like) and
  2. Cooking at home. This is a lot cheaper than going out to restaurants for every meal.
  3. By offering to wash dishes in a restaurant in exchange for cooking lessons or use of the kitchen, you can learn how to make a special delicacy from each place you visit. I have done this, and I now know how to make Pain au Chocolat, Baguette and marvelous patisserie products.

Win-win!

STA student travel
Finally, there is one service that really helped me on my journey as a student. I recently flew Paris to Brisbane for three quarters of the price on Emirates thanks to STA travel. www.statravel.com.au

statravel

Not only do they provide cheaper flights and great customer service, but you can get an ‘International Student Identity Card’ which has served as an ID for me all around the world.

Moreover, on a global scale it offers over 42,000 discounts in 125 countries and 40% off international airfares from their website. Locally, STA offers exclusive deals for their members, along with 20% off 2500 restaurants and cafes within Australia. With your STA discount, you can also get $11 movie tickets, discounts on software and a FREE ISIConnect travel sim card. The list goes on, but I’m sure we all have study to get back to…

I can already picture us sitting on the bouncy chair of an Emirates/Qantas flight to an exciting destination in a month’s time.

Adios for now, and happy studying!

We got this.

Why you should chase work experience

Intern life meme

Today I’m going to chat to you all about the importance of work experience.

Now, a lot of you guys out there are probably just about to graduate from your degrees (yay!!) and start looking for jobs (boooooo!!).

I know, I know, you can see the finish line just over the horizon and all you’re thinking about is your six-month trip to America that will be starting as soon as your last exam ends.

But, just before you too deep in your thoughts of free time, ask yourself this; if I walked into an engineering firm, or a nurse’s station, or tried to start my own business…would I have any idea what to do?

The answer is probably “nope. Not a clue.”

Actually, your answer would probably be something like “I know the theory behind it, so how much harder can actually doing it, be?”

Well actually…in my experience, it’s a lot harder…

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand and respect the fact that you’ve spent the last three to five years working hard and pulling all-nighters to get your degree, and now you have all of the theory under your belt.

However, theory can only get you so far.

For example, let’s say you’re studying nursing and midwifery. Now, it’s one thing to look at a textbook and sit in a lecture room listening to someone talk you through your role during childbirth. However, once you get into a birthing suit with a screaming woman, a fainting partner and you’re up to your elbows in goodness-knows-what fluids…it’s a different story.

And for those of you who have just started studying, or are about to, this practical experience is a fantastic way for you to discover if the degree you’re studying is really something you want to pursue for the rest of your career.

Now in a lot of degrees, this experience is included (not specifically the child-birth one but you see my point.) You are either sent into a classroom, or a hospital, or a radio studio as part of your learning. However, a lot of the time the organisation you’re with will understand that you’re there to get a grade and that you really had very little choice about being there.

Therefore, I would recommend going out of your way to find extra experience, as I have done.

I started doing work experience back in high-school when I went to Charleville and worked on a cattle station for a week.

Three things happened:

  • I was the first girl in the past hundred years of the school’s history to go out of my way to learn about agriculture.
  • I accidentally crashed a car through the property owner’s fence.
  • I learned how to fix a fence.

Anyway the point is I went out of my way and learned something I simply couldn’t from a textbook… and also that trying to stop a manual car with no brakes is no easy task…

A year later I did a week of work experience with the local radio station, fast-forward five years and here we are- I’m about to graduate from the bachelor of applied media, majoring in journalism, about to head into the world of radio.

So for those of you transitioning from uni to the work force, I would recommend going out of your way to do some work experience or an internship. Just…try not to crash a car through a fence…

Juggling a career, family and study

First things first… tadaaa!

superstudy

There’s a superhero in each of us, albeit maybe not quite a latex-clad, dark, mysterious and cape-bearing kind! It’s no mean feat as a mum or dad to juggle school drop-offs, a job and university studies… it takes some awesome skills! We all need to start by giving ourselves a pat on the back. Whether you are a current studying parent, a parent, or maybe even working and just considering studying, I have some hints and tips on how I juggle it all.

Once you start your degree at university, it is important to know that you are not alone! There really are all kinds of university services that can help support you in achieving your dreams. In my time at USQ, I have personally have used The Learning Centre for some free advice on assignment writing etiquette, been to see Student Services and gained some career advice from the university’s career’s guidance officer. These services were particularly helpful in clearly establishing my career goals and were a great resource in my job hunting. I would encourage everyone to give them a go. I really can’t speak highly enough about the support I received.

krisi 2

When you are in the midst of juggling everything in your life, please don’t forget that your family can partake in this awesome journey that you are on (the kids included). By this I mean, from getting help with cooking dinner to making studying a fun experience, your kids can join in. As my son has grown older, he loves to ask me if I need my text book or if he can have a ‘read’ himself. This is very cute, so remember to take photos, as these are all special memories!

I find it really important to keep a diary. This way I can best manage my shifts at work, assignment due dates and special family occasions. It is just a really visual way of remaining as motivated as the day you started and keeping on track. The university sends out a super-large calendar at the beginning of each year. I pop this up on the wall for all of my family to see. I must admit that it has gotten me the odd dinner or two cooked curtsey of my family!

Occasionally I have taken a course off-campus and online. This meant that in the second year of my degree, I had some more free time during the week to get more work done. I really enjoyed listening to the lectures online, and I even downloaded some as audio files to listen to while on long trips in the car.

To sum it all up, I linked in with some support services at university, enjoyed getting my family involved, managed my time with ease by using a calendar and took the opportunity for flexible study options when needed. Everyone is different, but with the goals that I have kept in mind along the way, I found these methods to be key in my success along the way!

superstudy1

What are some of the things that you put in place while juggling carer, family and study? I’d love to hear some really creative brainstorming!

Your A-Z Moving Away from Home to Study Guide

I don’t want to scare you or anything, but moving away from home to study is really daunting… if you aren’t organised. There are so many things to think about, do, plan, pack and organise. It’s definitely a ‘who said being a grown up was fun?’ moment, but trust me, it is all worth it in the end.

move out of homeBetween my experiences and having friends with similar experiences, I have put together the ultimate ‘A-Z Moving Away from Home to Study Guide’.

A: Application for study! There’s a reason this is first on the list. You need to get accepted into your course before you arrange anything else. Pour your heart and soul into achieving success in order to get there.

B: Books and stationery! Do some research on what textbooks you are going to need before starting uni as this will most likely require saving some $$$ before your big move.

C: Clothes! Packing my clothes is up there on my ‘hardest chore’ list. My wardrobe space at college didn’t compare to my wardrobe at home, so it’s important that you do this a couple of weeks in advance to prioritise the ‘I will wear this a lot’, over the ‘But I like this top!’

D: Desk for studying! If you aren’t planning on going to college, buying or moving a desk with heaps of space is essential. A large dining table also comes in handy in times of need, just ask my housemates who deal with my assignment mess around due dates (they may advise you otherwise)!

E: Entertainment! At times throughout the uni semester, it may seem as though you have no time for reading your favourite book or catching up on your favourite TV show, but do make sure you have something on-hand to use as a ‘I need to walk away from this assignment to be inspired when I come back’ tool.

F: Family time! Your life becomes very busy after relocating and starting study, so spend as much time with your loved ones as you can before you go.

G: Government funding! Moving away from home can certainly come at a cost but there are options for some students relocating for study purposes, so make sure you check these out to see if you are eligible.

H: Home reminders! I won’t lie to you, you WILL get homesick, so make your new place feel like home to lessen the pangs. My favourite reminder of home is a crotchet tea towel from my grandmother!

I: Internet! Your best friend as a uni student. Make sure there’s a will and a way to have it when studying.

J: Job! If you know you are going to need a job after working out your uni student budget, try to prepare a resume before moving.

K: Knowledge and advice! Although you may not always agree with them, consider the advice your parents give you and let them support you in your new journey.

L: Laptop! You will depend on this every single day so make sure you have essential software installed that you’ll need for study.

M: Money! Saving doesn’t seem very enticing before you go but you will thank yourself later!

N: Necessities! If this is your first move, pack only the things you will use every day, so that the unpacking process is far less painful.

O: Orientation Day and/or Open Day! Arrange your moving plans so that you can attend one of these days to meet new people while familiarising yourself with the uni and its facilities.

P: Photos! Sometimes having a little snapshot to make you smile will be what gets you through stressful and/or homesick times.

Q: Quality down time! There’s nothing worse than starting uni feeling stressed from moving – make sure you take time for yourself, to refresh before you start study.

R: Rent or a place to live! If you know you want to go live on-campus at college, apply as soon as you can so you don’t miss out on an awesome opportunity. If you want to rent, keep an eye on real estate procedures so you are prepared for the largest process of moving away from home!

S: Scholarships! USQ offer many different subsidies to help make your uni transition so much easier. Have a look at what scholarships you might be eligible for at http://www.usq.edu.au/scholarships.

T: Transport! If you don’t own a car or have a license, research public transport so it’s not a massive problem when you move.

U: Utilities! If you plan on renting, there are connections that need to be made before you move in, particularly electricity, phone and/or gas… unless you want to eat by candlelight and have cold showers!

V: Van or truck to move your belongings!

W: Weekend bag! Pack a medium-sized bag that will fit all the essentials you need if you decide to go home or away for the weekend.

X: X-tras! AKA Extras. Pack a couple of the little things that hold sentimental value to you and you know you won’t be able to go long periods of time without.

Y: Your very own office chair! Ok, so maybe this option is a little on the lavish side, but I absolutely love mine, and a comfy chair is essential for long days of study.

Z: Zen! Meditate, relax, have positive thoughts and most of all, enjoy this huge new journey of your life!

Have you got anything to add?

How I study while travelling the world

Kaixo zer moduz? (Hi, how are you?) It’s the zany circus writer again, this time writing from a deck chair in a maze of hundred-foot bamboo, drinking a ‘Chai of the Tiger’ after packing for my birthday of travelling escapades this weekend.

Happy birthday to me…

Jose's birthdayStudying while travelling, how is it done?
The majority of people in this world believe travelling and productivity don’t go together. Mes amis, I am living proof that they can blend as well as Ben & Jerry’s and watching The Notebook! Unfortunately, as I value your wellbeing, I must tell you that (like eating a liter of B&J ice cream), it is not easy. But it can be done!

Being a successful travelling student is about making the decision to do the preparation and work. Here are a few tips to help you succeed:

Choose the right university
Choosing the right university is important in any case, however, it is of paramount importance when studying en voyage. It’s vital to choose a uni that provides you with great online support and flexibility, such as USQ, because you will be on the move.

USQ

Choose the right travel buddies
Nobody likes travelling with a bad group of people, so ensure you travel with people you enjoy spending time with but who will also respect you and let you study when you need to. You do not want to have to choose between their friendship and your study goals. Furthermore, you do not want your prior engagements to be a burden on the group; if you travel alone, this doesn’t apply.

Plan, plan, plan!
Make sure that when you leave to go travelling you pack all your necessary textbooks and stationery; you don’t want to have to orchestrate the shipping of a hundred-dollar textbook overseas! More often than not, it won’t arrive in time for that assignment… or at all. Also, make sure that if you need to access online services for your study, your accommodation has reliable internet access.

Doesn’t that view just enthuse the student mind?

Doesn’t that view just enthuse the student mind?

Be realistic and set goals
Before embarking on what could quite possibly be the greatest adventure of your life, make sure to ask yourself, ‘Do I really want to do this?’ If you do, schedule out how much time you will set for study and how much time you will have for exploring your destination. Be realistic. Moreover, set out your goals for each study block. There is no point in sitting down to study for 5 hours and only getting through 2 pages because all you can think about is the local Marrakesh markets outside!

Mo-ti-va-tion time, come on!
Zig Ziglar once said, ‘People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily’. Apart from organisation, motivation would be the most important aspect to ensure you successfully complete your goal of studying while you travel. Thus, you should bring lots of motivational tools. My personal favourite motivational tool is to make a deal with myself, such as: ‘you can go exploring for 5 hours if you complete Module 3’.

Jose basque

Enjoy your time on stranger shores!
Finally, it is really important that when you are touring and exploring places, you enjoy it! You are so lucky to be one of the few people who can travel and learn!

As you can see, studying while travelling is in many ways similar to other student’s lives, you just have to amplify your organisation.

So go and travel the plethora of stunning and exciting places on this earth, while getting a top-notch education. As I always like to say ‘I got a PhD in travel life, without ever stepping in a lecture hall’.

4 Days before my birthday

4 Days before my birthday

Why I work and study: how working helps me as a student

krisi blog 1So I bet there are more than a few of us out there who are working and wondering if study is for them or are studying and aren’t sure if you want to take on a bit of work. As a university student and an employee, I am here to tell you it can certainly be done. In fact, it is truly worthwhile to gain some experience working while studying, just as it is important to have a source of income while you study!

krisi blog 2

My journey as a working university student can be seen as a bit of a road-trip. I was off and running, green lights all the way! I knew in which direction I was headed. I wanted to study and work towards my dream career but I knew that I wanted to keep working and earn some income to help me with the costs of studying along the way. I also applied for a few scholarships which helped purchase most of my text books, which also really helped.

krisi blog 3

After the excitement of it all started to wear off and I became well-versed in sitting down to a study session after a shift at work, I noticed myself take a detour from time to time. It is ok to procrastinate and everyone gets tired sometimes. After all, all this study and work… who could blame you if a yawn or two escapes from your mouth!

krisi blog 4

After a while I really started to notice a difference in myself:

krisi einstein

Ok maybe not quite Einstein, but I was growing personally and professionally. I had gained all of these awesome skills, like self-management, and I even got an exciting new role at work… which was great. I realised that all of my time and effort had brought me a long way on my journey. I began to feel so proud of myself; I had achieved some short-term goals already.

krisi blog 5

Then, all of a sudden, I found myself here, in the third year of my degree, powering through it seems, having countless valuable experiences that are inching me closer and closer to that dream career of mine.

My goal’s now are so much clearer than they were to begin with. I have even scheduled in time to do volunteer work in a related area to my degree. These experiences, studying, working and volunteering, have only driven me to learn more. I have been getting increasingly excited about the career ahead of me.

Everyone’s journey is different. I would love to hear your experiences about working and studying and what you have gained from doing both.

Til next time,
Krisi

My on-campus experience at USQ Springfield

By the words of Three Dog Night,

‘One is the loneliest number you could ever do’.

There are a few things I know about these lyrics:

  1. The man singing them was probably never sober enough to remember them.
  2. They come from a very catchy song, which was featured in the Disney movie Recess: School’s Out (best movie ever, don’t judge me please).
  3. They make a good point, especially when it comes to your university life.

Being alone whilst studying at uni would be like a Dyson vacuum cleaner and seriously suck.

Although university is awesome in so many ways, including giving a person a chance to discover how they can make a difference in the world, it can also be pretty tough.

Going from a comfortable and probably more controlled environment such as school or work to a place full of strangers, where you are much more responsible for yourself, can be difficult for a lot of people.

I remember feeling so nervous before starting university because I hardly knew anyone. I would practice introducing myself to other people in the shower because I was deathly afraid that I’d forgotten how to make friends. I remember thinking:

How am I supposed to remember how to talk to strangers and create a friendship? The last time I did that was in preschool and it isn’t as if I can bond with someone over our matching butterfly clips or the accessories we dressed our Barbies in, can I?

So even for someone like me, who can talk under wet cement, making friends can be a bit intimidating.

friendship-friendship-everywhere

That is why it’s so important to involve yourself in the on-campus experience.

Involving yourself in on-campus life gives you three things: support, super-lots-of-fun (one word) and a leg-up in your career.

1. Support
Involving yourself in on-campus life and activities can help you get through your uni years. Even just becoming good mates with the person who sits next to you in class can help you out. Not only is it far more fun to sit through an economics lecture when you have someone next to you to point out that your lecturer has something in their nose, but you’ll find that if you get chatting to the other people studying the same degree as you, you’re more likely to get along better because you probably have very similar life goals, and you most likely think the same way.

You may have been the only person in your family or friendship group to think that Django Unchained is the FUNNIEST MOVIE EVER, but once you get talking to someone with a similar sense of humour to yourself, you’ll find that you’re not, in fact, the only one who thinks that Jamie Foxx saying ‘The D is silent’ whilst covered in blood and battling oppression in the most violent way possible… is hilarious!

Knowing that you’re not the only one stressing about an assignment, or having someone to be able to talk to about a question in a study module that may as well be written in wingdings based on your understanding of it, can help you out a lot when you’re struggling.

The on-campus life at USQ also includes some awesome, free, student support services. In Springfield, there is an entire floor dedicated to helping students in any way possible: we have on-campus counsellors, people who are there just to help you proofread and reference your assignments, IT support, psychology rooms and prayer rooms.

Also, and I really think this is the best idea ever, every week the university LITERALLY hands out boxes of free food to students. And it’s not just healthy, boring food either… last week there were Tim Tams!

2. Super-lots-of-fun

Two words: Mechanical. Bull.

Yep.

That’s right.

USQ goes out of their way to make sure that the whole getting through uni’ thing is as much fun as possible! Check it out:

Every Wednesday we get some form of free food, on top of the free boxes of food as mentioned above (FUN).

About once a month a bouncy-castle is put up, and almost every week there’s a stall set up about something… student tourism (FUN), sex ed (…), community involvement (FUN).

Bouncy bouncy

The uni also has some awesome clubs and sporting teams. The best part is anyone can start up a club or team if they want! Right now, there’s a Minecraft club, a Dungeons and Dragons club (DOUBLE FUN) and there used to be a pirate club, which I’m hoping someone starts back up again soon.

The uni also organises student trips down to the theme parks on the coast (FUN). And of course there are the common rooms accessible by all students. These rooms are full of Xbox’s, pool tables and a basketball court out the back for you to show off your mad skillzzz (FUN AND HEALTHY!).

See? Look at how much FUN we’re having!!

3. Getting a leg-up in your career
Getting involved with on-campus life also means getting involved with extra projects related to your degree. I’ve found this to be the best part of university life.

Because USQ is always putting on such awesome events, including mechanical bulls, they’re always looking for students with different sets of skills to help out. Essentially you can kill two birds with one stone… or two ‘roos with one truck… or two animal-product-free bars of soap with one bubble bath for the vegans out there. Anyway, my point is you can use the skills you’ve learned at uni to help out FOR the uni, and add a little something to your resume to help out your career.

Experience before I get experience

This is what happened to me. When the uni was covering a red carpet for the local council and needed a reporter, I put my hand up. By doing that, I was able to sharpen my skills and help out the uni. I was also able to make contact with local council members, which have been VERY useful!

Getting involved with extra activities on-campus has also shown my lecturers how passionate I am about my degree and my future in media.

Basically guys, it’s tough to do stuff when you’re alone, so get out there and talk to someone! (Yes, I know that rhymes, and yes, I am a rapper).

To demonstrate this again, I’ve summarised this blog in a little rhyme:

When I’m a uni (yo):
See someone I don’t know?
I introduce that.
Don’t understand something?
I ask that.
See a club I like?
I join that.
Met by an obstacle?
I challenge that.
Want to achieve something?
I step up to that.
…yo…

The 5 stages of starting an assignment

It appears as though semester two is well and truly underway again. Now is the time to start (if you haven’t already) moving through the motions of those assessment pieces, and for those of us graduating or taking a holiday over summer, these will be the final few for 2014! What’s not to cheer about? Oh that’s right… all the work we have to do beforehand. I was thinking… why don’t we make this a little bit easier for each other and share some of our rituals for how to get the ball rolling on our assignment work? I usually only get the opportunity to speak to classmates studying the same degree as me about what I get up to around assignment time and I think it would be really valuable to start bouncing ideas around with other faculties too!

Let’s get started, here are my top 5 super-secret psychology student assignment preparation stages:

1. Find your motivation and set yourself up for SUCCESS!
I personally like to blu-tac my study schedule to my lounge room wall so my goals are always there as a reminder to stay on track. If you’re a little bit edgy and competitive, maybe pair up with a fellow classmate and devise a challenge. Who can keep to a weekly assignment writing schedule? Word of warning: WINNER TAKES ALL. Kidding, but maybe the overall champ gets an IOU for coffee?

USQ success

2. Prepare… your time!
Prepare to be flexible when things might go off track and don’t beat yourself up if and when it happens. If you are working on a group assignment, allow yourself even more time so that you can be flexible and understanding of other team members time committments. Remember that there are some incredibly valuable skills to be gained from group work, and you may even begin building some new friendships!

3. Organise food and drinks to ensure you remain well-fed and hydrated.
This is not difficult for me because I love procrasti-eating, but sometimes I do need to remind myself to take a break, stretch and grab a glass of water. I think it is important to be organised before you sit down to do some serious assignment writing by preparing a yummy study snack and having a bottle of water on hand.

4. Become mobile.
Set yourself up with a cloud storage account so you are able to access your assignment anywhere. Because USQ has set us all up with UDrive, this is easier than ever. MS Office is also free on mobile phones now and for those of us who are pretty tech savvy individuals, this can make studying on the go that little bit easier.

5. Get started!
Finally,  get comfy and pull out your study materials. You might be here for a while so it makes sense to make yourself right at home in your chosen study zone. I have heard of all kinds of elaborate set-ups during my time studying at uni, but my preferred study space is on the couch with a desk or two and lots of cushions to support my back.

These stages are critical for me to get the ball rolling on the assignment writing process, but they can change depending on the type of assignment.

There is always a new, different or smarter way of starting an assignment and I would love to hear yours!

Group work: playing to your strengths

Today we’re discussing what a lot of students see as the dreaded, soul-crushing experience of group work. I know a lot of people really, really, really dislike group work and I understand why. There’s usually one person who doesn’t show up or do their part and gives you a lame excuse. I once worked on a group assignment with a guy who would show up, but then literally fall asleep in the back of the room. Although he provided us with endless entertainment (we used to see how many pens we could stuff in his jumper pockets or how many sticky-notes we could stick to his body before he would wake up, he wasn’t very helpful when it came to the assignment. Had we been studying sleeping patterns, this may have been a different story. But guess what? Group work is an important part of uni life, so we need to learn how to make the most of it!

eliza teamwork theory

When we are first told we have to take part in a group assignment, our first thought is often ‘Why do group assignments even exist?’

Well… it’s unlikely you’ll ever find a job where you never interact with others. Unless your job is to be the first person to live on the moon or something like that. And when you think about it, a lot of awesome things wouldn’t exist without people working in a group. We wouldn’t have movies, much music, buildings… we’d all essentially be living like Tom Hanks in Castaway, yelling ‘Wiiiiiillllllsssssssooooonnnnnnnnn!’ at a volleyball with a face on it. In fact, we wouldn’t even have this analogy because that movie wouldn’t even exist. So, you see, group work is important.

When assigning the roles in your group, try to pick a job that you’ll enjoy, no matter what time of day it is or how stressed you are. Also, try to pick a role that’s going to help you in the long run. For example, I want to be a journalist, so I try to pick roles that involve writing or talking. And if you’re feeling up to it, challenge yourself! University is a safe place to make mistakes and ask for help, so you should feel comfortable knowing that if you get in a little over your head, you can always ask for a hand.

When you first plan the assignment, make sure everyone’s roles are as clear as possible so there won’t be any overlapping and all the gaps will be filled. It’s also important to communicate when you have a problem! If Disney movies have taught me anything (aside from the fact that I will probably never be a mermaid) it’s that you should always be straight up about how you’re feeling about someone.They might not realise they’re upsetting anyone, so by telling them, they can do something about it. Just make sure you go about it in the nicest way possible. Be gentle and positive in the words you use, and try to remind them of why this assignment, and their contribution, is so important. And don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. If you explain to your group that you’re struggling, they may be able to help you, and should be more willing to, considering that your problems affect the group.

teamwork

Be careful to maintain a balance between your individual role and the ‘working together as a group’ part of the assignment. If you’re the sort of person who has a tendency to take over, then listen up! One of the things you learn by doing group assignments is how to trust others. I know you’re just trying to be caring when you’re looming over your group mates asking them constantly if they’ve written their three paragraphs yet, but they probably won’t see it that way.

teamwork

A way to do this is to inspire your team mates by reminding them how important the end goal is. For example, if you have a Facebook group for your assignment, every now and then post a reminder of what it’s going to take to get a High Distinction. This will inspire others to do their work and keep you motivated too.

So you see, guys? Working in a group doesn’t have to be horrible! Just remember that the people you’re working with are all in it to reach a common goal. You probably have a lot in common with your team mates and they are there to support you if you need help. Most importantly, you’re learning important teamwork skills that will help you succeed in the workplace.

How playing sport helped me succeed as a student

Soccer has been a big part of my life… a whole 12 years of it. This year I decided it was time to roll down the socks, unstrap the shinpads, pull the laces from my boots and have a year-long break so I could enjoy sleep-ins and having that extra little bit of time for study on weekends.

Apart from the many embarrassing memories of mis-kicks and clumsy falls (yes, there was more than one!), I got a lot out of playing soccer, because it has always been more than just a sport for me. Thanks to the many awesome people involved, playing soccer provided me with a whole new community and the opportunity to learn life lessons by being part of a team.

A massive kick later and the soccer ball has rolled into my life as a uni student, along with some team-spirit, and this is how…

Taking advice
On the field without the help of my coach, my skills probably wouldn’t have improved. Likewise, at university I have found it important to take on board any advice my lecturers give. After all, they have a lot more experience ‘in the field’ than I do and following their guidance help me to adopting the tricks of the trade!

USQ sport teamwork

Working as a team
Co-operating with others was a fundamental aspect of playing soccer, while support within the team was the key to our successes. These teamwork skills have proven beneficial to establishing life as a uni student given that there are many occasions when you have to work within a group. Whether it be the extremes of a group assignment or simply a class group activity, collaboration is significant if you plan on achieving your study goals. I have team sports to thank for getting me out of my control-freak ways (although some may argue I still am one) and for teaching me the nuts and bolts of working as a team to produce something better than what could be achieved alone. I’ll let you in on a secret… uni is so much more FUN when you have people to complete it with!

USQ teamworkApproaching new people
Throughout the soccer season, there are many people on the opposing team you don’t know. Some may have thought it was an evil plot for distraction, but I would take advantage of the ball being up the other end of the field to have a chat to someone from the other team. All of a sudden it hits you that you CAN be friends with someone you are in competition with. I know that once I graduate, all my classmates are going to be looking for a job around the same time I am. Because of this, it isn’t unreasonable to experience some rivalry within the cohort, but, just like making conversation in a soccer match, we are all in the game together so why not enjoy each other’s company?

With uni being the key to my dream career, I feel I need others more than ever to reach my goal. Thanks to the USQ community, I feel very much supported in this.

As the title of John Maxwell’s book reads, ‘Teamwork makes the Dreamwork,’ and I can hardly wait until I reach the last page!

Feel free to share how your team sport involvement has set you up as an awesome uni student!