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!

About me: my application to acceptance

Hello, Bonjour, Hola, привет,

Fellow USQ students and future ones (do it!), I am so pleased to be writing on this blog. My name is Jose. I am a proud USQ student, with a bit of a strange story.

Jose in Paris in USQ onesie

A little while back my family got a call, packed up our house (which was a church), and well… quite literally ‘ran away with the circus’.

For the past 10 years, my family and I have been travelling the seven seas with CIRQUE DU SOLEIL. This dramatic, eccentric mix of circus arts, street performance, world-class acrobatics and rib-crushing comedy travelling company has become my home.

As you can imagine, this lifestyle is not an easy one and changing cities (sometimes even countries) every few weeks has posed a few problems. One of these problems was figuring out how to go to uni, in case someday I decide I want to stop this nomadic lifestyle. As doubtful as this may be, I still want to further my education.

Jose in front of a circus tent

This is why when I received my acceptance letter from the University of Southern Queensland (yes I did a little dance) to study a Bachelor of Business & Bachelor of Commerce EXTERNALLY, I was overjoyed at the realisation that I could continue my insane lifestyle at the same time.

Jose with surf boards

Since then, I have powered through my first semester with ease. This is in part due to the incredible support team at USQ, which have helped me every step of the way, from ordering my textbooks, downloading lectures, to organising how to sit one of my exams in Paris.

USQ has also shown a great deal of support for me to continue my training as an acrobat, providing me entry into the Elite Athlete Program. I am so pleased that now I don’t have to choose between training and study… I can do both!

Jose in Paris - acrobatics

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone at USQ for enabling me to open the door to a new path in my life.

No matter who you are I am sure you will thoroughly enjoy your time at USQ and I know they will assist you at every step. Remember: knowledge is power!

Jose

 

From the circus boy, who is now also a proud USQ student.

Insider scoop: helpful things to remember while on placement

Did somebody say it’s time to get out in the world, get a feel for how your knowledge relates to the workplace, develop some awesome skills and plump out that resume of yours? If this is you at the moment, don’t worry. I have been through the same thing twice now and I assure you, you are going to LOVE it!

If you are anything like me, then you are just busting to get hands on experience and more involved, but it is also completely normal to feel nervous if you don’t know exactly what to expect. My suggestion, no matter how you are feeling, is to get eager! This is an EXCITING opportunity because you can get a bit more of a taste for what it is like working in a field related to what you are studying.

When I was on my most recent placement, I jotted down some things that were helpful for me to remember.

Insiders scoop on work placements

Here is my insiders scoop:

  • While placements are giving students work experience, it is still important to be PROFESSIONAL. Especially when your university, lecturer or a co-ordinator have organised your placement for you, it is important to do your student body and university proud as well as being professional in the organisation you are placed at.
  • Know your expected LEARNING OUTCOMES. Work with your course lecturer and placement organisation to achieve them and develop professionally. Don’t fall into the trap of being a bystander in this valuable opportunity; make the most of it. You shouldn’t just be making coffee!
  • Understand the terms of each particular placement. Every organisation and placement is different and there are different expectations about the days, times and hours you are expected to be in attendance. DON’T OVER-COMMIT to a placement if you won’t be able to fulfil the requirements. Placements provide a great learning experience, but they shouldn’t be hell on earth!
  • ASK QUESTIONS. This is your opportunity to gain valuable workplace knowledge. Don’t be shy and ask questions that will help to increase your knowledge about the industry.
  • VALUE-ADD to the organisation. Immerse yourself in your new role, practise the relevant skills and gain context for all off your theoretical knowledge.
  • Don’t forget to ASK FOR SUPPORT from your loved-ones. They can help by making dinner or washing clothes if you find that you’re a bit strapped for time during your work placement.
  • ENJOY YOUR EXPERIENCE. Develop professional relationships and broaden your network.
  • REFLECT on your experiences. Take the opportunity to sit back and see exactly what you have been able to achieve as a result of your industry experience.
  • Have a celebration! REWARD YOURSELF for all of your efforts. Completing your work placement probably wasn’t easy. Some of us study, work, have families and friends that we need to strategically work around in order to participate in and achieve this goal. So well done, you deserve it!

What do you guys, my fellow students, find helpful to remember when you’re on work placements?

What’s your insiders scoop?

The new semester equation

How do you determine your readiness for a new semester? Are you ever ready?

If you’re anything like me, feeling absolutely prepared isn’t something I experience often. I like to take advantage of every moment during the holidays to relax and enjoy things I don’t usually get to do throughout the semester. This time round I spent my holidays in the tropical, warm North Queensland weather laying on the beach, visiting the Great Barrier Reef and doing many other tourist activities that allowed me to wind down. But when I returned to my extremely cold hometown, I had plenty of time to reflect on think about what worked well last semester and the areas that need improvement.

For me, kicking off an awesome semester is like a fun version of a maths equation: ‘A New Semester + Me = A Fresh Start’. Just like many maths equations, there are many different ways to reach the answer.

make a fresh start - motivational

The method I use to configure this exciting equation involves devising new semester resolutions and includes the following sums:

Important dates + diary = organisation!

At the beginning of the semester, I write down all important dates, including assessment due dates, work shifts, uni classes, appointments and anything else I know that will be happening throughout the semester. It’s so easy to get caught up in study mode that you forget to go to one of your shifts or you forget about your dentist appointment! By writing things down, you can focus on uni while keeping tabs on your life-outside-uni at the same time.

Study with highlighters - note taking success

Highlighting + study notes = colourful study!

Highlighters have definitely become one of my favourite pieces of stationery since becoming a uni student. Having a range of different colours and using these to make my study notes pretty and colourful has made a huge difference by helping me remember information for exams and locate information needed for an assignment – it’s a huge time saver!

Less procrastination + more study = productivity!

Ok, so I’m pretty sure ALL uni students know how to procrastinate. Although social media is so much more interesting than study, I have told myself that this semester I will use it in moderation. TV is also one of my biggest time wasters, but now that most TV channels have apps that allow you to catch-up on episodes, I can reward myself with my favourite shows after I do my study!

New classes + new people = new friends!

Although the idea of meeting new people can be daunting, it’s usually the case that they feel the same way too. You won’t always have a class of entirely new people every semester, but I’ve told myself that if this is the case I will be brave and sit next to someone I don’t know. Uni is so much more enjoyable when you meet new people and are social! And, most importantly, I will continue to communicate with lecturers and ask questions because their help is invaluable.

Smile + relax = have fun!

At the end of the day, I see the most important part of my uni experience as being happy and making the most of it. It’s easy to get so caught up in study that you forget to give yourself time to relax. Look after yourself, smile and relax.

take a smile

Best of luck cracking the code to your new semester equation and showing your degree who’s boss this semester!

New semester plans

Alright everyone, I’m sure we have all now taken the time to reflect on last semester- the procrasti-partying (if you’ve read my previous blogs, you’ll know that this is my specialty), the three cans of Red Bull a day, the late-night dinners consisting of raw two-minute-noodles and half a Snickers bar you found in the back of the fridge (yes, we have all been there), the constant concern you don’t have enough time in the day to get everything done, and of course that horrible feeling you experience when you’re rushing to get an assignment done in time. We’ve also seen the effects this lifestyle has had on our bodies – I find myself looking more and more like the girl from The Grudge – and our minds. If there was ever a time that I could have been cast as an extra in The Walking Dead, it was between 26 March and 18 June.

What's the plan? Planning for success

I think it’s pretty clear that something has to change this semester…

So here are my new semester plans!

Firstly, I really want to find that work/study/life balance people have been raving about. Now, considering I lack balance at the best of times, this could be quite a challenge. Finding this balance is a problem that I know a lot of uni students face; you may need to pay for rent, or maybe you have a family to support. This makes it hard to put your university studies as the number one priority.

For me, I have a problem with saying no. So if my boss asks me to work an extra shift or two a week, I find it really difficult to pass up on the extra hours. It’s not like I think the fate of the sales representative world couldn’t possibly go on without me (it turns out the world doesn’t actually revolve around me) and therefore I’m sure my boss could find someone else to fill my shift. I struggle to say no because I feel as if I’m letting my boss down, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way when they choose their studies over work.

But here’s the thing: the job you have now is probably not going to become your future career, whereas the opportunities given to you by studying at university will lead you to your dream job. I always think of uni as training for my future job, and everyone knows that unless you’re trained properly, you can’t do the job. So why skip training? Plus, you’re paying to go to university. I will admit that I don’t enjoy wasting my money; whenever I go shopping I am straight to the sales rack before I look at anything else, and the same goes with my university fees. I’m sure everyone wants to get the best value for money, and the best way to do that when studying at uni is to put one hundred per cent into your degree- don’t waste a minute!

Planning your career: from Plan A  to Plan B

Secondly, because this is probably my last semester as an on-campus, stereotypical ‘uni student’, I want to make the most of it. I want to go to the end of year ball, play laser tag and maybe even do a fun run. Not only do all of these events include free food, but they’re an awesome way for students to feel like they’re part of the uni community and provide an opportunity to network with other students. Connecting with other students can really help if you’re looking for some assurance that you’re not the only one stressing out about final exams.

Following on from that, I want to get myself ‘out there in the world’ this semester. I’ll never get over how quickly my degree has gone by. Seriously guys, I feel like it was just yesterday I was looking up formal dresses with my school friends in the back of class instead of listening to the teacher, because who REALLY needs to know how to figure out the volume of a triangular prism? Although I have tried getting myself out there throughout my degree (work experience with ABC Western Queensland in Longreach, covering media events for USQ and Ipswich), I feel as if my resume doesn’t have quite enough for me to feel one hundred per cent ready for the big, wide world that I’ll be exploring in the next few years.

No matter what degree you’re studying, gaining practical experience and making contacts is super, SUPER important!

No guys, seriously.

Career and life planning: what direction?

Because let’s say you’re studying astrophysics: you may know all of the theory about how to dismantle and rebuild a rocket ship from the inside out. You may know exactly what every part of the rocket ship’s engine is called and what makes it work, but actually pulling apart a massive rocket ship, with your boss watching you and reminding you that this needs to be done within the next three hours, is very stressful!

My fourth and final plan for this semester is to ask more questions. This semester, I want to be a gross, bathroom mat. And by that I mean that I want to soak up all things possible (in case you were wondering where I was going with that). As this is probably going to be my last semester studying applied media, I want to obtain as much knowledge about film, television and radio as humanly possible.

So these are my four semester plans. There aren’t many as I’m not really the planning type. I plan on enjoying my studies this semester and spend time reminding myself how fortunate I am to be able to study at such an awesome university.

Keeping plans simple to ensure success

I hope we all can take on this next semester with a more positive outlook… and ditch the Red Bull!

Going the Distance

18 months ago, I packed my bags to set off on a new chapter of my life – attending university away from home. This meant a couple of things: One – I wouldn’t be seeing my family every day, and Two – I would need to become increasingly self-sufficient.  So here’s what I have found on my journey so far…

Technology is AWESOME
Nowadays with Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, SMS and phone calls, it is a lot easier to keep in touch with your loved ones at home without missing them like crazy. Generally, I call mum and dad most days to catch up on what’s going on in our worlds, just like we would at home. Sometimes I think that they don’t even realise I’ve left!

Capture

Make time for visits
There comes a time when all forms of technology just don’t cut it and you start to have family-time withdrawals. I have found that treating weekdays like business hours and studying as much as possible in this time frame helps free up some time every now and then on weekends. Lucky enough for me, home is only an approximate 2 hour car trip away, so when I can, I try to go home for a weekend or my family comes to me. Sometimes we make an occasion out of it and go somewhere for dinner, or even have a nice dinner at home. After all, they say it’s the simple things in life that count!

Go out and make friends
Moving away from home is particularly daunting when you do so on your own and leave your family and friends behind. It isn’t very hard to get caught up feeling lonely and of course this is when the home-sick bug hits you for six. Making friends is the perfect solution to this. For me, I felt that living on college for the first year out of home was a wise choice as you are always surrounded by others and there’s no time to feel lonely. It was a great foundation for new friendships, getting to know the area, and to merely adjust to a new life away from family and home.

There are many other ways to build friendships including joining a sporting club or other hobby organisations. Funny enough, finding a job can also be beneficial for your social life as you mix with other people you may have never had the chance to.

Be organised
In the adult world of living away from family, all of a sudden there’s cooking, washing and cleaning all to be done with no help from your family. It really is a juggling act finding a balance between study and maintaining a house. For me, this is probably one of my biggest downfalls. Sometimes the ‘maintaining a house’ side of things outweighs the ‘study’ as I am professional at finding ways to procrastinate. “I need food to live, right? Cooking myself a three course meal is totally essential and study can wait” – yep, these are some of my famous words since moving out of home. Something tells me that a THREE course daily meal probably isn’t essential and there comes a time where study CANNOT wait any longer.  My biggest attempt at organisation includes preparing foods that can be frozen and used as needed after long days of study or uni, and that way I have no reason for house-procrastination!

capture 2

Although living away from family certainly has its challenges, there are many ways you can make this process easier. Simply, distract yourself by keeping busy and surround yourself with people who make you laugh and are purely good company.  When I have days where I really miss my family, it’s the simple things like picking up the phone that make a world of difference. Other times, it’s important not to let study take over, and remember that it’s OK to take some time out to travel to visit family. After all, they are the ones who have supported me to get here in the first place.

Until next time,

Kristie

How to get an assignment started (when it’s just not coming to you)

Ever experienced the pain-staking task of starting that dreaded assignment late, because that magical epiphany just didn’t come your way? Well even if that moment of great revelation doesn’t seem to come easily at times, let’s see if we can’t make some adjustments for these instances and get that assignment on track and underway!

First things first- fight the urges, you’ve got this. My top procrastination moments include indulging in a gourmet lunch… because that seems like a better idea than staring at the blank document for another second, aimlessly trying to gather my thoughts. How about those times I decided to get up and clean the light shade because I noticed they were getting dusty while staring around the room off-task and distracted… Oh and there goes my son again with the play dough, I might just choose to impress him and make a garage for his match box car again rather than continue on. I have even found myself daydreaming and then suddenly remembering that my hair could do with a fresh colour and my assignment comes out on the bottom yet again.

Egg procrastibaking

(Yes, that is one of my all-time favourite snacks thought of and created in a history making moment of procrastination)

If you are anything like me, there is hope out there! Take comfort that with just a few minor adjustments to approaching those assignments that just don’t seem to be coming to you, you can fight the urges and beat some of that frustration.

  1. It seems obvious but- know what the assignment is, read the outline early and give yourself time before you even need to get it underway to wrap your head around the task at hand.
  2. If it helps highlight, highlight and highlight some more. Highlight that marking criteria, the readings, relevant lecture slides and even learning objectives.
  3. Brainstorm, take the time to make a colourful, creative and interesting mind map of your ideas, how they link together and relate back to the assignment. Conceptualising the assignment in this manner can help open up your mind and give you a framework that you can build on.
  4. Plan ahead and break-it-down. Bite-sized pieces can literally make things that little more easily digested and give you the opportunity to become increasingly motivated, making progress by way of miniature-goals.
  5.  Don’t forget to work logically and if there is an example- follow the format. Relate the points that are covered in each paragraph of the example back to the topic of your assignment and get them covered.
  6. What about getting a change of scenery? I like to take my study outside and catch some of the sunshine rather than sitting in my ever-so un-inspiring lounge room for hours on end. (Tip: Just don’t forget to use paper weights… sometimes the wind comes along to rain on your parade and oops there’s 90 pages littering your entire backyard.)

Study Backyard

Failing all of this I am sure we are all apt or will become at some stage throughout your degree, well versed in the good old last-minute approach. There ain’t no motivation or inspiration like that of the looming 11:55 pm EASE submission cut-off. WARNING to first timers, this approach may result in serious psychological pain and chronic back fatigue. Not recommended for the faint-hearted- that’s for sure! But really you can expect to gain some pretty awesome assignment writing strategies from your degree. Even the most experienced of us struggle at times to get the ball rolling on an assignment.  If you get stuck you might like to think back to this blog and give some of the tips a go or you might use them as inspiration to develop your own.

All-in-all just do whatever gets it done, happy assignment writing my fellow phoenix’s!

-          Krisi

Getting through exam block- in 8 simple steps

Today everybody, I would like to talk to you about a serious problem I once suffered from. I know there are many out there who too suffer from this problem, and I would like to take this time to tell you my story about an addiction I had to a serious substance:

procrastination

But I don’t just want to tell you my story; I want to help all of my fellow procrastinators out there who struggle with this affliction, too. And so I have put together the eight steps of over-coming procrastination, and getting through exam block.

But first, my story.

It usually started with a thought process similar to this:

“Ok. Here we go. Exam block is here. And this time it’s going to be different! I’m going to be organized, prepared and disciplined! There will be order and feng shui coming out the ying-yang, and everything will be colour coded, EVERYTHING!! I will NOT get distracted this time! I am in control! I shall turn off my wifi and open my text book…right after I finish this episode of Ghost Whisperer.”

Aaaaaand so exam block begins for another semester. Now, I know what you’re all thinking; how could someone as wise, as studious, and as perfect as me succumb to the enticing grip of procrastination? Surely by my third year of university study I would have become a professional exam-blocker and would be able to resist such peasantry temptations.

If anything, over time I became a professional procrastinator.

I once procrastinated so hard that I ended up singing karaoke with my mates at an empty tavern instead of doing my assignments.

It was about the time I reached the second verse of Don’t Stop Believing that I realized I had a problem. And while I looked out at my mates, belting that final “wooaaaooOOHHHHHH!!!” instead of typing up my self-evaluation essay, I knew it was time for a change.

Procrastination is difficult, and overcoming it was hard, but looking back I could see how much better and brighter my future is without it in my life.

And so here are my eight steps to over come procrastination, and to get though exam block.

Step one: Admitting you have a problem.

Although it may not take a wild night of karaoke to come to this realization, everyone has to take the leap and admit that their exams really ARE close, and that procrastination has taken over.

If you find yourself cleaning every corner of your house, or baking every kind of cake you can possible imagine, or have suddenly decided that THIS week is the week to start learning how to be a rodeo clown- then yes, you probably have a problem with procrastination, and it’s time to move on to step two.

Step two: Looking at the bigger picture.

What you want to do is try to re-ignite your passion for study. Just like a relationship that’s going a little stale, you need to zap your attitude towards study in the passion microwave and re-freshen your love for your degree. (And yes, I did paraphrase from a “re-kindle your love life” book for that one.)

Remember that very first moment when you found out that you’d made it into your degree? How awesome did that feel!?!?! The butterflies in the stomach just before the QTAC page FINALLY loaded, and then the squeals of celebration after reading the first line. (Don’t even try to deny that you reacted that way because I know you all did!!)

Remember thinking that your whole future had just started? Those fantasies that ran through your mind of how this degree had brought you one step closer to owning your own company, or building your own buildings, or directing your own films.

Remember that day? That was a great day.
And although today, as you stress-eat your way through an entire packet of Tim-Tams and click over to the next episode of One Tree Hill, mightn’t be as great- remember what you’re aiming for.

Step three: Making the decision to dedicate the next few weeks to study.

Funniest_Memes_one-does-not-simply-study-at-home-without_9966

What you need to do at this point is get into full-on hibernation mode. That means making no new social plans until all of your exams are over and your assignments are in, and trying to cut back on other work, too.

Another thing you could do is turn off your internet for 30 minutes at a time, study hard-out for that half an hour and then have a break for social media time, because we all know how important it is to catch up on how our mates are coping with exam block, to compare their stress to yours, and to read up on some funny exam/study memes.

Step four: Telling people you have a problem.

When it comes to getting through exams and dealing with procrastination, the more people you tell, the more they’ll understand and be able to get you through it.

It may seem unbelievable, but you don’t have to go through exams alone. You can either get together with other students and study together, or get a family member to help you out, or anyone willing to help out. For example, one of my friends studies in trimesters so we always have exams on at different times. So what we do to help each other out is supervise each other’s studying. Whenever one of us gets distracted, the other one creeps up and yells out “KEEP STUDYING!!” and we have no choice but to get back to it.

Step five: Taking things slow and steady.

Studying for exams is more like a marathon than a sprint…I think…to be honest I was never very good at sport. Anyway, I know from experience that it’s better to pace yourself rather than cram.

Step six: Adjusting your lifestyle (for the next few weeks).

Let’s be honest right now, during exam block, you’re not out to look good- you’re not even aiming to look human. Because you’re not socializing, you’re not working as much, and you’re only really leaving your room to get food. So as I list off the perfect food and exercise régime for exam block, keep in mind that you should only stick to this during exams- not forever. Let me show you why:

When it comes exam block food, you want stuff that’s easily accessible and simple to make. This includes Oreos, two-minute noodles, baked beans, any form of potato chips- pretty much anything that comes in a packet, box or can. However if you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous, you could even smash out a frozen meal- but be warned, the point of sticking to easy-to-make foods is to avoid any possible procrastination sneaking back into your routine. You may say to yourself “I’ll just cook a simple steak and veggies” and the next thing you know you’ve bought your own cow, slaughtered and prepared it, and have now started your own butchers business- simply so you don’t have to study for your Social Communications exam.

Also, you want to be as comfortable as possible; if you can attach pillows to your entire body- do it. As I said, exam time is not a beauty contest (and in my opinion, if you’ve ever listened to a lot of what the people who enter beauty contests actually say, then you’d understand why a person should prioritize studying over spending time trying to look as good as possible.)

study-noun

Step seven: Getting creative.

One of the reasons why people procrastinate (in my experience-so, according to…me) is due to the fear of facing the dreaded flash-cards and boring textbooks. Now, first of all textbooks and flash-cards can be fun…for some people. But if that’s not really your thing, then you could try sticking colourful post-it notes with study notes on them on the outside of a glass shower, or the back of your toilet door. That way you’ll be looking at your notes at least three times a day.

You could also send your friends your study notes, and get them to randomly text you with pop quizzes. Annoying? Yes. Helpful? Mostly.

Step eight: Sticking to it.

This is the hardest step, because in the end it’s really up to you. Kicking the procrastination habit is tough, but once you’ve done it, and you’ve got yourself into the exam-hibernation mode with your pillow suit and your Oreos, you might as well go all the way and study hard!

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Studying is not always easy, but I promise you that it’s always worth it in the end. Now stop reading my blog and get to it!

Uni-style: What to wear to uni

“My closet is full of clothes but I have nothing to wear!”

Sound familiar? I am a huge suspect for this. The night before is spent studying till late and the last thing in mind is what to wear to uni the next day. The time comes to get changed and there is a fast approaching freak-out on clothing for that day. Here are 5 handy hints about uni-style apparel that works well for all USQ students.

  1. Your uni wardrobe doesn’t need to cost a fortune.

If you are wanting to add to your already overflowing wardrobe, but feel the $$$ won’t allow for it, head down to your local op shop. I’m yet to do so myself, but many of my friends pick up goodies for next to nothing and strongly recommend it!

  1. It’s nearly winter; comfort dominates style.

With winter just under a week away, it’s time to pull out the comfy attire in exchange for shorts and singlets, that will no longer suffice the cooler weather, especially in Toowoomba. For us girls, waving goodbye to pretty dresses to avoid disturbed concentration from shivering away in a class, is probably one of our biggest fashion dilemmas. I admire those who are completely opposite to me – brave and don’t feel the cold! (Sometimes I believe I was a frog in another life). Comfort becomes my number one priority; however it doesn’t have to be completely daggy. Another advantage to this is that there’s no need to change into “house clothes” to get comfy when you get home from uni and need to study!  Here are type of items I go for (no one at uni has laughed at me yet!)

  • Warm and cozy jumpers

Girls and guys, whether it be a hoodie, jumper or sweater, this is a winter must-have. My favourite at the moment is the knit look because it doesn’t just look comfy, it IS comfy!

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  • Dressy t-shirts

Sometimes a jumper is too heavy for the classroom and a nice t-shirt is able to alleviate this. And again, we have comfort!

  • Denim

One of my beloved winter items is a pair or two of good old jeans. I usually have at least a blue and a black pair in my wardrobe. I find they are the perfect match for any top and are handy to have on those mornings when your uni outfit is a last minute decision!

  • Dresses and leggings/stockings

We love our dresses and it’s such a pity to have to store them away in winter. Depending on the dress itself, sometimes a pair of leggings or stockings can solve this problem. I have also seen many girls in pretty knit dresses and leggings which really pulls off the comfortable winter look.

  • A cover-up coat, cardigan or jacket

My closet currently consists of a few different types: leather, cotton/poly-cotton and a long trench coat. These are great when you want to wear a summer top yet need a little extra warmth. One of these is always packed in my uni bag in winter!

  1. Uni goers are adventurous shoe wearers.

There’s one thing that has stood out to me when considering Toowoomba campus students’ fashion and that is the diversity of footwear. This ranges from Havaianas, to sandals, to ballet flats, to sneakers, and then to a more wintery boot. Perhaps it’s safe to say that there almost isn’t a uni-style as far as shoes go, although it’s probably preferred that they are in one piece and of reasonable standard!

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  1. Don’t be afraid to accessorise.

After putting on jeans and a plain shirt, sometimes you may feel as though your outfit needs an extra element. A scarf may be all it takes to fix this problem and it helps keep warm in winter, a win-win situation really. For the girls, a long necklace or chunky bracelet is also seen as a common accessory around campus. All of us also like a pair of sunnies when walking to and from classes, and these are a great addition to any uni outfit!

  1. Dress to suit you.

All of the above are just suggestions and aren’t exactly the “uni dress code”. Dress accordingly to your interests, as long as you look like a respectable member of the USQ community and your clothing choice isn’t completely outrageous. After all, it’s all about comfort! Life would be boring if we were all the same!

I’d love to hear about everyone’s uni attire. Perhaps I could add some of your suggestions to my uni wardrobe wishlist!
– Kristie :)

Back to School

Recently, I hopped back on the school bus by completing my second professional experience of my degree at a local school. There are two words that perfectly explain experienced feelings leading up to any situation similar to this one – excitement and nervousness.

Your first day of prac at a new and unfamiliar school is almost like your first day of school all over again. It’s back to packing your lunches (tiny teddies included), putting everything needed for the day in your bag and setting off to the Administration block to sign in and begin your journey. A constant reminder is needed that you are in fact a pre-service teacher, and no longer a student. Seeing the school under a different light really puts things into perspective, and answers all those questions you had as a child that started with “why does the teacher ______?”

The most overwhelming yet exciting part has to be meeting the class of students you will be working with for the first time. It always plays on the back of your mind – “will they take me seriously?” and “can I even do this?” Lucky enough for me, I had a very supportive mentor who had confidence in me and this gave me the boost I needed. Not to mention the 25 welcoming and smiling little faces that greeted me and put me at ease.

The beginning of my professional experience kicked off in authentic busy-teacher style, with 4 meetings to sit in on in the first three days. This was a real eye-opener to the different issues teachers deal with on a day-to-day basis and the lengths they go to, to ensure each child is catered for. One of the biggest things I really came to understand was that all students learn very differently, and at different rates, and seeing this in action was unlike writing any assignment and referencing it. There were lessons that went better than expected, and others that occurred oppositely to how I had planned, but this just meant it was time to reflect on what I had done and a new idea was to be put in place for next lesson. At times when I felt as though I was doubting myself, I quickly tried to turn it around, as any uni student who is still learning should. My mentor and I even had a little fun by attempting to teach the students the difference between “Miss” and “Mrs”, however this error still constantly occurred when addressing me!

The following announcement was that the class were going on school camp in my second week of prac, with me in tow! We set off to a dam on the coast which would accommodate us for a few days. For most students, it was their first time away from home and it was our job to keep this far from their minds. A benefit to this camp for me was having the opportunity to work with students from other classes who were in the group that my mentor and I were to supervise throughout all outdoor activities. It was awesome getting to know other children and their stories.

Blog - campsite

First off the rank for our group was mid-ropes, then archery. It was great to see everyone have a go, especially in mid-ropes with those students who were absolutely terrified of heights and being off the ground. For me, this projected that everyone can have a go at anything they desire if they put their mind to it. I loved the fact that by the time archery came around, I had familiarised myself with most of the students, so much so that I was automatically promoted to the “championship round” (yet to have my go) by one of the students who was the only one to have targeted and popped a balloon thus far :P

The two days to follow were much the same, all children participated in activities such as canoeing, climbing a giant ladder, team activities, bush craft and many more. They had a blast, which made my job there so much easier. On the last day, my group encouraged me to have a go at an activity that flung me into the air with the support of a harness, only more so making my prac experience end with a bang. Hopping off the school bus was sad but I can’t wait to do my next prac, and more importantly – graduate and begin my career!

There are 3 outstanding things that I took away from prac:

  1. Each child has a story – get to know them and their interests. This will enhance your teaching tremendously!
  2. Teaching isn’t just about the content. It stretches as far as educating children about every day social skills to the extreme of being a stand-in nurse/counsellor. After all, these children are why we are involved in this profession and they require our care at all times.
  3. Lastly and more generally for everyone (even those who aren’t studying Education), you won’t know unless you try! Never doubt your abilities, have confidence and you will do well.

Don't be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.

Until next time,

Kristie