7 ways to spend your Toowoomba weekend…

As most of us have already experienced, the very moment we click the last button to finalise enrolment for our uni program, it is virtually automatic that we fall into the ‘uni student budget’ scale of Australia’s economic statistics, whether we are working or not. The weekend rolls around and the recurrent question on what to do always surfaces, with available funds always in the back of your mind. I really enjoy living in Toowoomba and as time goes by, I realise even more what this city, yet country-feel place has to offer. So, for my fellow South West Queensland peers (and for those visiting too of course), here are 7 of many ways to spend your Toowoomba weekend, with most barely requiring coinage…

1. Table Top Mountain

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Studying is without doubt the most sedentary hobby I have ever adopted. However, the perfect fix to this is escaping to Table Top Mountain for a hike. It is quite steep in parts but if you take the easiest route, it is only approximately two kilometres return. If you find yourself complaining most of the way up, you’ll bite your tongue when you get to the top and see the awesome view!

2. Milne Bay Aquatic Centre
Another alternative to getting active, however this time in the water! Milne Bay has numerous pool areas located in the one centre. This is ideal for those of you who are studying parents and need a break as it caters for all ages. You’ll get a breather, while the kids have a blast! It goes without saying that the rest of us will also enjoy this approach to a study break!

3. USQ’s Japanese Gardens

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The ideal location for a stroll and a study break, situated at our very own uni – how lucky are we, right?! The picturesque features of waterfalls, mountain streams and wildlife are all my favourites. The little red bridge is also pretty cute too! Provided seating and tables opens the option of taking along a picnic lunch or if you’ve got an artistic streak, perhaps a pencil or paint brush wouldn’t go astray.

4. Local Sport
Another option that sticks to the uni budget is heading on down to watch some local sport. The only other better alternative I can suggest is to not just watch, but play! I’m still learning about the Toowoomba district (and I’m sure I will be for a very long time) but I do know there are a range of sports played in the area and surrounding districts, all it takes is some research on what you’re interested in.

5. Cobb and Co Museum

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If you’re a history and heritage lover, this is probably a great way for you to pass some weekend time. With only the matter of a 10 dollar note (concession entry), you can explore throughout the museum, with a 30 minute guided tour included in the cost. You may even strike lucky and go the same day as a workshop! Or perhaps research beforehand so you can plan to go the same day as these hands-on activities. Another good one for studying parents as there are family entry packages available and events that the kids will love!

6. Cinemas

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Seems like a pretty original way to spend some of your weekend, but nonetheless relaxing. Toowoomba residents are lucky enough to have two cinemas – Grand Central and the Strand. This is FYI non-local Toowoomba people, as I learnt the hard way. By the hard way I mean turning up at Grand Central ready to see a movie that wasn’t even on at that cinema, only to realise later that it was on at the Strand. By the time we arrived at the Margaret Street location, we were already 15 minutes late, there were no parks close by and it was raining. Yep, another one to add to the ‘Kristie’s moments register! However, Tip 101 – make sure you know which cinema is screening the movie you want to see, and leave a little earlier to get a parking spot!

7. Picnic Point
Take along some snags for the barbie or eat out at the café located at Picnic Point, on the edge of Toowoomba. Another great place for pretty views and definitely a family friendly environment, with playgrounds and plenty of grassed areas to throw around a ball. There are also graded and signed bushwalks for those of us wanting to walk off all those study treats!

As I said before, I’m still learning on what to do of a weekend in Toowoomba and I’m sure my list could be expanded. I would love to hear your ideas and weekend plans to add to my bucket list!

Last but certainly not least – enjoy your long weekend! Eat way too much chocolate and have plenty of laughs with family and friends!

Kristie

New to USQ? The A-Z of student emotions

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Whether you are new to student life or a seasoned third year psychology student like me, I think that we can all agree that studying at university is a holistic journey that emotions are no exception to! Some might liken it to a rollercoaster ride, riding a wave of emotions along the way.When I look back on my journey through uni, I realise that I have literally felt the whole kit and caboodle from elation to almost panic and everything in between.
Recently I asked a few of my friends at uni what their experience has been like and it seems that there is no avoiding the ever-changing nature of emotions including all the ups and downs of student life. It makes sense though right? Of course you are going to feel upset or even disappointment when you miss out on the grade you were hoping for – remember it’s a good thing because it means that we care! We are all studying at uni chasing our dreams, interests or future careers. I don’t know about you, but my dreams mean a lot to me, this is why we cry when we feel over-whelmed by the enormity of them and become excited as they inch closer and closer until you can almost touch them.

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Yes, that was actually me! So, there is no avoiding the experience of the whole spectrum of emotions, it seems that they are necessary to our growth but what helps manage them?

BALANCE & SUPPORT
I have found that balance and support play a huge part in my stress and anxiety levels at uni. It wasn’t until my second year of uni I started to realise that I REALLY needed more of the B-word. So I took a summer semester to lighten the course load for my third year. I am glad that I did because I feel more motivated than ever with only three courses that I have to focus on now (rather than four), also meaning less procrastination – Woohoo. I am also getting better at asking my friends and family for support, asking if they can help by cooking dinner tonight while I read a chapter of my text book. I have also always been a big fan of The Learning Centre at uni, when I was finding my statistics course really challenging I was able to receive maths support which was really helpful.
Everyone’s journey is unique, but I promise some days you will laugh and others you will feel a little lost. Remember you are not alone, we are all in this together (newbies and 3rd years alike)! The adjustment into self-directed learning, where there are no teachers hovering behind your back, only your conscience on either shoulder is sometimes difficult. The transition into freedom can be a double edged sword because with freedom comes responsibility. I think though if we can just remember to check in with ourselves regularly on the question of balance and support, we can manage our emotions and stress levels just that little bit better!

Let’s start a conversation, share your successes with me and your peers or tell us what your barriers or fears have been along the way!

- Krisi

Studying Technology – The tech savvy student’s guide to uni

In the current age of technology, it is no surprise that universities and students are
quickly becoming dependent on a wide range of technologies to change the way students
learn and interact with information. There is a problem though. Only 10 years ago the
iPhone and the iPad were non-existent; even laptop computers were only just beginning to
make their way onto the scene. The question is this: how do we, as students, make the most of available technologies for study? Well here it is, the tech savvy student’s guide to uni.

First item on the agenda: the tablet. Since the introduction of the iPad and subsequent
releases of both iOS and Android devices, the tablet has quickly become an essential part of life. On one device it is possible to interact with friends, update your instagram feed, catchup on the latest news and, with current apps, have all your education in one place.
A recent survey by the Pearson Foundation found that over 60% of university students
in the US believe that tablets will effectively replace textbooks in the next 5 years.
Furthermore, three of the main publishers, McGraw-Hill, Macmillan and Pearson, have
begun the transition to ebooks, with many of their textbook offerings available online and
often with physical textbook purchases as a companion.

There is definitely advantages and disadvantages to ebook purchases and usage. On the
advantages side of the equation is the flexibility of a tablet (factors such as weight and size), price (ebooks can be up to 40% cheaper than their physical counterparts) and accessibility (options such as brightness of the screen and text size can be adjusted). Of course, there are disadvantages. If you’re a person who likes the ‘feel’ of books in general (like myself) it can be difficult to adjust to ebooks. One further disadvantage is the loss of resale. If you like to sell your textbooks, then reading from a tablet is not the way to go.

Now on to apps. There’s just a couple of super useful apps that will help with
productivity, note taking and assignment writing.

1. Evernote. This is the all-in-one app for note taking. With syncing across iOS,
Android, Windows Phone, OS X and Windows, this app is for everyone. Evernote makes
researching and collating research easy, note taking in classes a breeze and accessing it across different platforms as simple as a walk in the park. Best of all, it’s free.

Evernote

2. Clear. This simple little list-keeping app will keep all your tasks in one place and
make keeping track of tasks that much better. It is available exclusively on iOS and Mac OS X, however, if you own these devices it is well worth the asking price of $5.99. Wonderlist is a good alternative if you don’t have the $$$ to fork out and is available on most platforms.

Clear

3. Dropbox. If you don’t have Dropbox, get it now. Dropbox is one of the easiest ways
to access files on all devices using the cloud and it is free. The simple interface will make it easy to access what you want, when you want it, and will save you carrying around those extra couple of usb drives.

Dropbox

After all that’s written above, there’s one thing that trumps it all when it comes to study.
You can have all the apps in the world and still procrastinate, all the devices and still fail to get work in on time. So, if it’s the technology that is distracting, stop using it as much as possible.

In preparing for this blog the one thing I found was that many students also find technology
very distracting. What’s the solution? It’s simple, take the time to recognise the apps or devices that are important to studying and keep those and make the most of them. All the rest can be put to the side for relaxation and entertainment times. Don’t worry, you’ve got this.

Until next time,

Josh

A day in the life of a uni student…

What does your typical uni day look like? To be direct, mine isn’t always eventful. Sometimes I feel like I’m on auto-pilot, doing the SAME thing every day. Nonetheless, does it make me geeky or cheesy to say that I am enjoying every single minute? No word of a lie, on a daily basis I find my uni experience more rewarding and the amount of ‘ah-ha’ moments I am experiencing is substantial. I’ll step you through the basics of a day in the life of Kristie with the hope that at least some of my uni student encounters match yours…

6:45AM: One eye opens, I roll over, frantically trying to find the snooze button ASAP to stop the noise that has just suddenly awoken my precious sleep, whilst questioning (every single morning) why I set my alarm so early, even if my first class starts in just over an hour.

7:00AM: This is when the constant battle between my head and my body takes place. My head is saying “GET UP KRISTIE, you’ll be running around like a moron trying to get ready in time for your first class”. My body objects “surely you can spare an extra five minutes of relaxation”. Who wins? That usually depends on how many hours sleep I have had. The class I have that morning perhaps could also be a factor, but shhh – that’s our secret!

8:00AM: The starting point to my uni day. This is usually experienced one of two ways – going to a lecture and having to face 3-4 flights of G Block stairs or switching on my laptop ready to chip away at one of my study schedules. I try and adhere to kicking off my day at this time on weekdays as I find that treating a uni day like a work day pays off with some free time you never thought you’d have.

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10:00AM/11AM: Around this time of the morning, my tummy is usually demanding my care. I also believe that breaks are so important if you have been in class and/or studying away for a couple of hours or more. Getting myself into the routine of stepping away from my computer/textbook usually avoids the aftermath of my brain simply telling me “no more” and my body shutting down. However, I attempt making this break a maximum of 20 minutes so I remain in study mode.

12PM/1PM: Another break and body fuel-up is in order, as well as catching up on other things that ‘need doing’ before getting back into the swing of things. Some may believe I am a perfect example of multiple procrastinators that are pictured below (you may need to zoom to read the blurbs). Either that or I experience a variety, if not all of the stages of procrastination, which can also be seen below.

USQ - a field guide to procrastinatorsUSQ - stages of procrastination

3PM: Yep, you guessed it! An additional break to revitalise and prevent mind-clog

5PM: Time to stop work. Living out of home comes with the responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, washing, the works – all the joys of adulthood. Once I have attended to my household duties, it’s time to wind down and think about the day to follow (Home and Away may also be included in this equation). By doing my work during the day, I can enjoy this time of the night and I believe that relaxing before bed is crucial for a good night’s sleep. However, if I’ve had a slack day or a full day at uni, I do utilise this time for some catch up on study and assignments!

Of course these time frames depend on my uni schedule but this is the rough idea. You’ve probably just read this and thought – “Is that all she does all day, every day – studies, eats and goes to uni?” Not quite. I also try and fit in exercise as a source of my motivation. After all, sitting down all day needs to be broken up one way or another, and somehow I think sitting and eating being the consumption of my day wouldn’t be very good for me. When I’m at uni, I usually go for a stroll around the campus at least once a week to see what’s happening, and I also like to treat my eccentric fascination with the USQ Bookshop! Additional to this, I may spend some of my day baking, kicking a soccerball around, and I’d be avoiding the truth if I didn’t include a scroll or two on Facebook and Instragram. On the weekends I ensure I spare the time to enjoy spending time with my loved ones.

USQ Print Express

Becoming a volunteer is something I’d like to do again in the very near future. USQ are in the process of starting up a program called BEAMS which involves being a mentor for school aged students to assist them with believing in their potential and aspiring to achieve. I’m really looking forward to participating in this experience and I think it’s a fantastic opportunity being an Education student. If you are interested in becoming involved and/or want more info, see: http://www.usq.edu.au/current-students/opportunities/beams Tell me about your day as a uni student! Is it very similar or very different to mine?

Kristie

Flume Study Tips Video

Some of you may have seen my ‘Flume study tips video’ on USQ’s Facebook page and although it is mostly a fun dig at revising the meaning of some of theories that I had to learn for my social psychology exam, I also really do have faith in the power of music.

When I am feeling really stressed and I am alone in the car, you can bet your bottom dollar that I have the music cranking. I – love – to – sing – in – the – car! I am a firm believer in killing two birds with one stone (that’s the time management side of me), think health, fitness and stress relief. You can sometimes catch me going for a run, supposedly getting exercise but you can bet that I didn’t go without my music, which is what I find relaxes me especially before a big exam.  Whether you like to jam like me or you simply want to chat to others who are students just like you, I encourage you to get connected and involved with the USQ community and share your experiences. You never know, if you’re lucky you may even win a onesie like I did!
What’s your go-to study anthem?

- Krisi

Flashbacks and a Fresh Beginning

The most exciting yet gut-wrenching time for ‘freshers’ (perhaps continuers too) arrived at the start of this week. You guessed it – O’Week! From a quick glance, the phoenix energy has definitely been circulating the Toowoomba campus this week with the scrumptious aromas of sausages sizzling, smiling faces at stands providing abundances of information, friendly tours of the library and university grounds, and long queues for your very own student ID cards. And let me assure you – it doesn’t end here. Work and other commitments don’t allow me to fully participate in O’Week this year, so I have decided to share with you all a few highlights of my very first O’Week, last year.

Toga Trivia Night
This night saw us college students pulling out our favourite Roman inspired bed sheets and some safety pins, searching and following “how to make a toga” on Youtube, followed by coming altogether at McGregor College to answer many questions unbeknown to some, yet familiar to others. Either way, you were bound to have fun – those who didn’t know the answer would humorously answer with a random  and arbitrary answer for the crowd to enjoy, and the others who had correct answers were that step closer to winning. It was so exciting to see USQ’s efforts on making this activity a university-wide event this year and I’m sure those who attended returned home with a belly sore from laughter and a head full of interesting facts, just like I did!

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Steele Rudd’s Big Day Out
On the agenda for Steele Rudd’s BDO was rock climbing, Latin dancing and a stop at Bon Amici’s café, all in Toowoomba’s CBD. These activities created a smooth transition to college life and it was a speedy alternative to meeting everyone and making new friends. The typical O-Week challenges of being yourself and having confidence were particularly tested on this day, thanks to the high demands of team work. Rock climbing was definitely a stand-out for me, having to trust someone you just met to hold your harness, while you climbed (and vice versa) was daunting, but definitely an experience I won’t forget!

Market Day
Held at the start of O-Week last year was Market Day, AKA Freebie Day. Did someone just say free stuff? Yep, awesome right? My favourite freebie was the large collections of pens I had accumulated by the end. These weren’t your average pens that would last you one or two uses. I can vouch that the majority are still working for me today! With freebies aside, having the opportunity to gain more information about USQ’s services and social clubs, as well as local Toowoomba organisations was very beneficial and was a head start to helping me feel at home after having to relocate for uni.

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As O-Week draws to a close and Semester commences, it’s time for us to knuckle down and get prepared for Semester 1. These are the tips I found handy being a new student last year:

  • Make sure you have your timetable on hand at all times, with your room numbers clear (I may or may not have gone to the wrong class in my first week of uni – luckily it was a class I was enrolled in anyway and the class I was supposed to be in happened to be scheduled again for that afternoon)
  • Create a study timetable including all other personal commitments (work, dinner, sport/hobby, and so on) – I cannot emphasis this enough, you will amaze yourself how much easier it is to fit everything in and get things done on time!
  • Sit next to people in class that you don’t know. You may be screaming at the computer screen saying to me “you’re crazy, right!?!” But chances are, your peers are just as nervous to approach you as you are them and they will be so thankful to have someone who can break the ice and to share ideas with!
  • Get enough sleep every night – I probably sound like your mum who nags about eating your vegetables, but it helps a great deal to be feeling awake and ready to learn/study. I would be lying if I said I have never woken up using my laptop as my pillow, feeling woeful!
  • Lastly, yet most importantly, have fun and embrace uni life, ask for help when you need it and have confidence in doing well!

If you need further tips on making friends or conversation starters, I stumbled across this clip where Jordan takes us around Toowoomba campus showing us just how it’s done! Check it out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NP5WWmQRm9U&list=UUp0ShvPUKqiKvfj40bexawg&feature=c4-overview

Feel free to share your O-Week experiences and your starting Semester 1 clues or blues below!

All the best!
Kristie

USQ Springfield O-week!

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For those of you more experienced students who are going to o-week for the second, third of even forth time- I do not blame you!

How could you not want to go?? Gaining a connection with people of similar interests to your own, learning about your own important role in the growth of our campus, and tonnes of free stuff: food, stickers, rulers, booklets, food, pens, lollies, great information and oh yeah, food.

Honestly it’s a student’s dream come true.

But for those of you who have never been before, fear not.

I too, was once a first-year student and here was what I thought the “O” in O-week stood for:

  • OMG, what do I wear on my first day? (You’d think this one only applies to the ladies, but you’d be surprised…)
  • Over-estimated my ability to socialise, didn’t I?
  • Only I could get lost on a campus that has one building.

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As it turned out, the “O” in O-week stood for:

  • Other students are just as excited and nervous about being here as I am.
  • “Of course I can help you find out which room you’re in.”
  • Oh wow, I’ve learned so much, and university hasn’t even started yet!

Try to think of O-week as a fun transition to university life after such a long break (possibly including a wild schoolies which required three months of recovery).

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Here is some advice I give to all of you who are attending O-Week for the first time:

1) Be yourself.

Cliché- I know, but it really does apply to this situation.
Throughout your life so far, you’ve probably never been given the chance to truly be yourself once you stepped out your front door. Although school taught us a lot about discovering who we are as individuals, we were all made to conform on some level- either by wearing a uniform, sitting in class until the bell rang, or shoving your entire vegemite sandwich in your mouth at once because you weren’t allowed to eat it in the biology labs.

Even in the playground, there was always at least a slight pressure put on us to be or act a certain way so that more people would like us, or let us cut into the tuck-shop line.

But this isn’t a case at university!

First of all, there are no uniforms at university. So if you want to wear a pink, sparkly unicorn t-shirt to university (despite the fact you’re old enough to vote) YOU CAN!

Secondly, there will be others at O-week wearing shirts as bright as yours. So not only can you one-hundred per cent be yourself, but your individuality will be praised, and people will love you for it.

2) Stay open-minded.

One of the best ways your brain can develop is by taking healthy risks. This includes stepping out of your comfort zone. At O-Week, you’ll be getting involved in some pretty different and challenging activities.

When I went to O-Week, I found myself standing in front of total strangers talking about the worst gift I have ever been given, holding random people’s hands and lying on the floor of the auditorium whilst looking at the ceiling and learning how to breathe properly.
Although these activities may seem embarrassing at the time, there is a reason for doing them. So when the lecturer asks you to do an interpretive dance of your dream career- just go with it!

3) Pay a little attention.

Look, I get it. It’s super exciting the first time you’re able to use your phone in class without getting in trouble, but I guarantee your un-opened Snapchats will still be there after the psychology lecturer has helped you figure out your best learning strategy. Try to remember, those lecturers are there to give you a heads up about your future university adventure. So at least write down the main points on your note pad. And even if you’re just doodling little cartoon drawings with your free pen NEXT to the important notes after you’re done writing them, nod your head occasionally to remind the lecturer that you are definitely listening.

4) Ask every question you can think of.

One of my biggest challenges at O-Week was finding the balance between being too shy to ask any questions (resulting in confusion) and sounding like an attendee of a Southern Baptist Church- lots of loud “mmm’s” whenever I agreed with the speaker. To save you this awkward struggle, I would recommend writing down any questions you have and be the first to raise your hand as soon as the lecturer says “Any questions?”

Don’t feel embarrassed to ask. Chances are the room will be full of other people wanting to know the same thing as you. So be the hero who puts their hand in the air like they just don’t care (about looking silly in front of people they just met).

5) Smile, have fun!

Look at O-week this way, it’s probably the last time you’ll ever experience USQ for the first time. So make sure you have a GOOD time!

According to the totally credible website Wikipedia, smiling is contagious. This means that your smile may make someone else smile, even if they’re just as nervous about being at o-week as you are.

Having fun is also really important at o-week. I’ll be honest with you right now, university is not easy; Yes- USQ is always there to help you and yes-there are always people who care about you. But in saying that, going to university is a massive step to take in your life. So the best way to being your university experience is to go in laughing, with a huge smile on your face.

So if you take heed to at least some of my tips, and try to embrace every moment of the week, (even if it takes whispering YOLO under your breath to do it).

Your life until now has been about finding yourself- but university is about BEING yourself and putting your awesome, unique skills in to action!

This journey begins today! So have fun and collect tonnes of free stuff!!

-Eliza

5 Ways to approach the Holiday Finish Line

Semester 3 activities have come to an end and it is finally time to breathe in the holiday air. Some of us may have no idea how or where to begin. With my brain running on overtime, I have come up with some ideas on how we as ‘sucker for punishment’ people (as defined in one of my previous blogs) can prevent squander of the time we have left before Semester 1 begins.

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1.       Go on an adventure

Get together with a group of friends, or go solely if preferred, and head off on an adventure. Travel somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. You’re probably thinking, ‘yeah, right, I’m a uni student, like THAT’S gonna happen’ but it doesn’t have to be exotic, nor expensive. Even a national park within your vicinity would suffice. Take along a picnic lunch, togs and your comfy joggers for the authentic bush experience. After all, swimming, eating and bushwalking are all elements of this serenity!

2.       Volunteer

Approach your local organisations who would welcome an extra asset to their team temporarily. For them, the additional assistance would be beyond valuable. For you, a stupendous encounter is virtually guaranteed. You may even decide to continue this once uni starts. A win-win situation really! Adding to this benefit is an appealing quality to add to your CV that employers admire.

3.       Watch new/favourite movies

The demands of study don’t always allow you to relax for a WHOLE couple of hours so what better time than now to do so. Pick up a packet of popcorn and curl up on the couch to watch your favourite movie or go down to the video store to grab one you haven’t seen before.  Otherwise, make an outing out of it and head down to the cinemas with family or friends – that way you can catch up with your loved ones at the same time as viewing the latest flick.

4.       Get active

Again, time always seems to be to blame when it comes to exercising throughout the academic periods of the uni year. To avoid this, start going for a jog or walk most days of the week to get into an active routine before uni starts again. Doing so is likely to train your body into a habit of exercise. If this doesn’t entice you, do some research on local gyms and/or exercise programs that you can afford. This option is fairly likely to provide motivation – especially if a personal trainer is involved. Or even worse, your bank details are required and keeping fit dips into your uni drained account!

 5.       Prepare for Semester One

Although even thinking about more uni work is the last thing a Semester 3 student would feel like doing right now, there’s nothing worse than starting a new uni year unprepared. This is admittedly one of my favourite times –  the prospects of different subjects, meeting new lecturers and other people involved in the program, not to mention my strange infatuation with stocking up with an awesome new range of stationery! I also look forward to walking into USQ Bookshop at the start of every semester, with my course codes in tow, to surprise myself with the cover of each textbook I am going to need. Yes, I somewhat sneakily mentioned “the cover” only. But in all seriousness, having your books, stationery and textbooks organised prior to the semester is a fresh way to start the academic year. It also isn’t a bad idea to access Study Desk to discover what you’re in for through Semester 1, so that everything isn’t too overwhelming come the first day!

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Aside from these activities, the rest of the holidays could be spent by simply picking up your favourite book, reading a new one, or even having a barbeque to catch up with family and friends that you normally wouldn’t have time to see as often. Whatever it is you choose to do, make sure you make the most of the time left and that relaxing is included in the equation. The last thing you want to do is burn out before the year has started!

How do you plan on finishing your holidays?

Kristie

Add your own flavour ‘study parent’!

So you’re a parent and a university student or what I prefer to call a ‘studying parent’, among other roles I am sure. Then I bet you will be/ have been looking to strike a good study-life balance. Balance… you might be saying to yourself ‘pfft, what’s that’ but I am a firm believer that we can have it all! With the right priorities, a little task management and by drawing on our inherent ability to cope with the differing demands of our lives we can find this balance and adapt into the happy and successful studying parents that we crave to be.

Over the course of my degree, I have used many and varied tactics to study whilst parenting. To share more of my story though, I will have to give you the run down about my three and half year old son. He has light, golden-brown, scuffled hair, deep brown almond shaped eyes, is knee high to a grasshopper, the love of my life and FULL of energy. As my son has gotten a little older, we mostly like to ‘study’ together. At first he would read his own books and colour beside me. These days he prefers to copy, pretending to read mummy’s special text books and write with a black biro.

Sometimes before I sit down to write an assignment, I open Microsoft Word, change the page colour and let him type with some funky font and in his favourite colour of the day. After having the taste for feeling important and involved in my university work (or mummy’s Uni as he calls it), he happily resumes playing with his toys for a while. Other fun things that we have done together include making revision cards and sitting side by side wearing our headphones listening to online lectures and the dinosaur train ABC song.

I think the most important thing to take away from this is to add your own flavour to your ‘dual role’ techniques. You might do as I and my son have, or you may prefer do to something a bit different, more suited to your individual personality and unique family dynamic. Once you are settled into your new routine you will be well and truly on your way to achieving the ever elusive balance that may have seemed unrealistic in the beginning.

Til next time.

- a phoenix just like you, Krisi

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!