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!

That G-RAD-uation Feeling!

RESULTS ARE OUT!  Congratulations to everyone who will be graduating in September.  It’s a rewarding moment, receiving THAT email after years of slaving away behind a keyboard.  After enjoying the immediate obligatory celebrations, there’s a bit of a gap before your graduation ceremony.  I remember a friend asking me “why bother going to your graduation ceremony, isn’t it pointless if you can just get your degree mailed to you.”

Here’s why…

Firstly, you get to wear an awesome hat and gown.  You know, the ones you always see in those American college films and they toss their hat in the air and by some miracle all catch their own respective hats.  Now is a good time to mention you’re technically not allowed to throw the hats now.  Did I mention the gowns are basically Hogwarts robes?

ProTip:  Take a wand to graduation and duel members of other faculties for maximum enjoyment.

tom graduation

Another part worth going for is the chance to be snapped by the local paper.  Personally, I love every bit of limelight I can crawl my way into, so with local newspaper photographers doing the rounds, there was ample opportunity.

ProTip:  Being friends with the valedictorian goes a long way to increasing your photo chances.

I did worry that the ceremony itself was going to be a bit of drag, much like the old-school assemblies.  However, on the day, you feel an emotional investment with each part of the proceedings.  From marching through the middle of town, to the keynote speeches, and even the individual presentation of awards to each student.  Standing in the wings waiting for my turn to receive my award was the best part.  Watching each student before me push their chest out, lift their head and stride across the stage, you know that they are feeling the same pride that you are.  It was at this moment I realised what I was about to be awarded wasn’t just a piece of paper.

Achievement unlocked graduation

What you receive during that fleeting moment on stage is ultimate satisfaction.  Each all-nighter pulled, each early morning lecture, each overdue library book fine, each social event neglected all culminated into an abundance of achievement and self-gratification.  That’s a feeling I could never recreate opening my degree in the mail.

I’ve since had my degree framed and it is something I am proud to hang on display for everyone to see.  There’s no better feeling than graduating uni, and I’d love to do a postgraduate degree just to do it again.

tom graduate

Until next time,

Tom

Kick-start the brain with some healthy study snacks!

On these cold winter days, it is easy to snack on all the wrong foods while you’re buried in study books. I know I do. But there are lots of options for us to choose that we don’t have to feel guilty about afterwards.  Here are some of my favourite snacks that are healthy and tasty too.

Banana, Honey & Hazelnut Smoothie

Banana, Honey & Hazelnut smoothie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blend 1 peeled, sliced banana with 250ml soya milk, 1 teaspoon of honey and a little grated nutmeg until smooth. Pour into two large glasses and top with 2 tsps of toasted, chopped hazelnuts to serve.

Pepperoni Pizza Bread

Pepperoni Pizza Bread

Halve a small loaf of Italian bread horizontally and toast under the grill. Brush with olive oil, top with tomato sauce, grated low fat mozzarella, parmesan and sliced pepperoni (or your favourite topping). Toast until bubbling. Sprinkle with dried oregano.

Feta dip

Feta Dip

Blend 1/2 cup low fat Greek yoghurt, 1/2 cup reduced fat mayonnaise, 1/4 cup crumbled feta, 2 tsps chopped fresh dill (or 1 tsp. dried dill), 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp white or black pepper and an optional dash of hot sauce.

Cut up veggies like carrots, celery, capsicum and cucumbers and use them to dip.

Banana Chips

Banana Chips

Slice a banana into thin slices and lay on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 950C/2000 F until golden for 2 to 3 hours. Let harden at room temperature.

Crunchy Chickpeas

Crunchy Chickpeas

Cook a 440g can of drained chickpeas in an ovenproof dish with 2 tbs olive oil and 1 tsp each of cumin and smoked paprika for 2 minutes. Season with salt, and then bake for 20 minutes at 2200C/4250F.

Bagel with Ricotta and Strawberries

Bagel with Ricotta and Strawberries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spread ½ toasted whole-grain “flat” bagel with 2 tbs fresh ricotta. Top with ⅓ cup sliced strawberries. Drizzle with 1 tsp honey.

Dark Chocolate and Nut Clusters

Dark Chocolate and Nut Clusters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix together ¼ cup unsalted roasted nuts and 30grams melted dark chocolate (70 to 80 percent cocoa). Drop onto wax paper; refrigerate until set.

I hope you all enjoy these mouth-watering snacks as much as I do. So when you reach for all those unhealthy treats we all love, but we know are not good for us, remember that there are some tremendous healthy, scrumptious and inexpensive snacking alternatives. Share your own snack recipes with us all, we would love to hear from you!

- Lisa

Jet-set your way to study success!

For regular readers of my blogs posts, I’m sure that my wanderlust comes as no surprise.  Everything I do can usually be related to the adventure, excitement and cultural experiences of international travel and my university study is no different.  Traveling has, in fact, set me up to be a successful student.

tokyo skyline

Let me explain…

When I travel, I often find myself immersed in cultures that I’m unfamiliar with.  I’m also often surrounded by people speaking a language that I have limited or no knowledge of.  Needless to say, the experience can be both exciting and daunting at the same time.  It’s kind of the way you feel as a student sometimes.  You know, you’re so excited at the beginning of semester as you log into StudyDesk, only to find lectures and readings that don’t make immediate sense to you.  They’re loaded with technical and discipline-specific words that you’re unfamiliar with and you feel a little out of your depth.  For all intents and purposes, the readings and course notes could be written in a foreign language with the amount of sense that they make to you on that first day.  But just as I find in the foreign countries I travel within, it slowly becomes clearer and you learn more and more each day.  In the end, you’re left wondering how it could have ever felt foreign to you because you now speak in that ‘foreign’ language yourself and it all feels like second nature.

Signpost

So now you know what I mean about travel setting me up for study success, right?  Those skills I’ve learned from years of travel are highly relevant and have prepared me to be the best student I can be.  The similarities between study success and travel don’t end there though.  My international jaunts have also taught me how to fight through my tiredness and pull an ‘all-nighter’ when I have to.  You know, you arrive in another country that’s many hours behind the time zone you just came from, meaning that you won’t get sleep until nightfall in your new location – many hours later than what it is in the time zone your body clock is working on.  That ‘all-nighter’ (or more typically, ‘half-nighter’) is a skill I’ve had to utilise a few times when fighting the clock to smash out assignment amazingness.

Uni student thinking

I’ve met a lot of different people in my many years as a travel junkie and I think it would be safe to say that no two people have been exactly the same.  Whether or not an individual appears to be better or worse off than me, the constant is that I can learn something from each and every one of them.  It’s our uniqueness that sets us apart and that same uniqueness that provides an opportunity for learning.  I’ve found the exact same with my study.  Each and every student I’ve ‘met’ and studied with (all online) has helped me to learn and progress in my study.  The collaborative effort and encouragement has been invaluable and set me up for the success that I’ve achieved thus far.

So you see, being a successful student doesn’t mean you have to sit behind your computer, buried behind a wall of textbooks day in, day out.  You can get out there and travel the world knowing that your experiences will set you up to be an awesome student too.  Happy travels!

University isn’t just White Fellas business, but Black Fellas too.

It has now come time to choose your path, do you go to university or do you do something else with your life?

Elders, Uncle and Aunty, Sista and Brotha, a university education is available to us and within our reach. Our mob and our country, need more of us to go to University so that our history and our ways won’t be lost and buried in White Man history. Time for us to stand proud and strong and support each other to go to university and become something our country and community will be proud of.

University isn’t just for those with white skin, but for us all.  Some people within our own community, our own mob, will tell you education is a waste of time and will lead nothing but heartache. I am here to say they are all wrong.

I am now onto my second degree at university, this time at USQ. When I completed my first degree, I did not know what I wanted to do, the field that I chose was competitive and work was hard to come by, but because I had my degree in my hands, another door opened up for me.

I landed a job overseas in Japan, teaching English to Japanese middle school children. I was paid to do something that came naturally to me, English. I spent over 3 years living in another country, learning about a different culture to the one that I grew up in. But without that degree, I would have never have had the opportunity to go and work overseas.

Now why did I choose USQ this time around? Quite simply:

  1. I wanted a university that would work for me and with me
  2. To study a degree that would lead to a career
  3. I wanted a uni that has won awards
  4. And has an excellent reputation both here in Australia and overseas.

I trawled through the various university websites, checked out courses and sent numerous emails to lecturers and admissions people with questions about the courses that were offered, I visited the Toowoomba campus numerous times for their Open Days and checked out the various schools and faculties before submitting my application.

USQ was my only choice; it has a great online component, fantastic on-campus lessons and teaching staff. But not only that, I met fellow Indigenous students who were working towards their degree in many different areas. There is even an Indigenous Centre to help you network, make friends and succeed in your studies.  Murri Meet-Up is a deadly program to learn from other students and at the Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies, the tutors are around to help and there’s a chill out areas in the court yard or common room to have a yarn with other students. USQ ticked all the boxes for me. I am now doing a course that I love, have met wonderful USQ people from the USQ Team who make university life meaningful and got to learn more about our country. I have found many Sistas and Brothas here, too.

The old saying of being seen and not heard is long gone here at university, if you have something to say, then say it and debate it. Like many people about the place there is ignorance as they haven’t heard the truth about Indigenous culture, but at USQ they’re making an active attempt to do the right thing for Indigenous Australians and our future children.

Education is for all and is not just limited to those with an OP score. If you didn’t have an OP score when you finished school, USQ has an alternative entry program that can help you gain entry into the course you want to pursue, Indigenous Higher Education Pathways Program or IHEPP. This is a one year program that will help you get into university and get you into your future career. Check it out http://www.usq.edu.au/study/degrees/indigenous-higher-education-pathways-program

USQ fly our flags high and continue to share the importance of our Elders, the importance of helping our mob and to watch us succeed in becoming Deadly graduates when the time comes. Not many universities can hold their head up high and say that they are trying to make Indigenous students feel included in all aspects of university life.

So what is stopping you from going after your dream?

I am unstoppable

Meet up with the USQ mob here at campus and follow your dreams to a rewarding future.

Whether you want to be a teacher or a doctor or nurse, there is a degree here waiting for you. Your USQ mob will help you every step of the way and when it comes time to graduate, you know that your mob here at USQ and at home are standing up there on the stage with you.

Have questions about joining the USQ student mob? Ask me!

- Julie

A Simpson-Free Springfield

So, I thought for this blog instalment I’d write a blog to you all about the go to places near and around Springfield Campus! Only the most avid student will ever believe that their whole time spent on campus will have them immersed in study. Sometimes you just gotta get out a bit, see the sights, and spend some time with your friends from university.

Kwik E Mart

So… we may not have a Kwik-E-Mart, or…

Moe's Tavern

Moe’s Tavern.

But we do have The Central Tavern, Springfield Lakes, and Orion; a whole shopping centre! Your move, Simpsons.

You have nothing? Checkmate.

We also have the campus facilities like the gym and the student commons, one of which is to keep you active and healthy, the other is to laze around in between lectures and chat with friends. The common room does have a pool and ping pong table though, which is great fun and can lead to some very intense rivalries.

We also have a new building popping up. And although you can’t go in there just yet, there is a super cool live video you can watch, on the left hand side of this link:

http://www.usq.edu.au/springfield/new-build

But seriously, it’s pretty impressive. Things are happening. The tavern is right next to the campus facilities, so it’s the best place to get a quick bite to eat in the middle of lectures (especially when you only have an hour break in the middle!)

Orion, the shopping centre, is also being expanded. It currently has 100 specialty shops and a food court, which is perfect to do some shopping after, before or between lectures, as well as a bite to eat. My personal favourite is Nandos, however, this may change once the expansion is completed.

I’ve heard that there are 750 more new specialty shops coming in, which includes an Events Cinema. Sounds to me like it’s just one more way to get out of a lecture!

Robelle Domain is a close stroll to the campus as well. It has its own Café (they do a fantastic Turkish Chicken sandwich), 11km of boardwalks, walking tracks, sport fields, barbecue areas and playgrounds, which includes a water play area!

I think one of the best things, personally, about going to university at the Springfield Campus is that so many new developments are occurring each and every year. It’s a flower that just won’t stop blossoming!

It really is quite exciting to be involved in all the activity in and around campus.

Share your go to spots at the Springfield campus! – Nick

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

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

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

1. The gap year that never ended.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

5. The degree that wasn’t quite you.

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

6. The midlife sea-change.

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

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

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

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

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

Future students contact details:

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

Find us on social media #usqedu #usqstudy #usqmidyear

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.

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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.)

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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!