The Facts and Myths about University Life!

Is it true that university lecturers don’t actually mind if you sleep through their lecture? Can university assignments really be handed in at midnight? Is it true that there are different clubs students can be involved in? Is there really such a thing as a 24 hour library? Are all university students poor? Do all first year students gain 15kgs? But most importantly, is university life fun?

All these questions and more will be answered in this mythbusting blog!

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Three years of study completed, one more semester to go and then I’m done and dusted! My occupation will no longer be classified as ‘Student’, but as ‘Registered Nurse’. What a roller-coaster ride my university experience has been…there have been lots of ups and downs.

I will start with the ‘downs’, these moments are just like falling from the Giant Drop at Dream World. The first 6 months of my study was completed at a university in Brisbane and I lived on-campus as a college student. It is true that I gained weight in the first 6 months of my degree (fresher spread they call it). I was experiencing ‘culture shock’- Brisbane is very different from Hervey Bay and I missed my family. I comforted myself with chocolate and I always gave in to the yummy desserts that the college’s chef cooked. I would advise all first year students to say NO to that chocolate bar, but YES to going for a run or bike ride! It is surprisingly true that people sleep through their lectures without their lecturer knowing. In large Brisbane universities there are up to 500 students in some lecture theatres. I suggest you find a friend that is studious and will pinch you on the arm if you start to drift off to sleep or daydream. I was studying a science degree and HATED it, so the best suggestion I can give to any uni student is to study something you enjoy! A great thing about studying in the city is that there are over 100 different social clubs to join…from the chess club to the athletics club.

Don’t let my first experience of uni life in Brisbane put you off…I just wasn’t ready to hit the big smoke!

The ‘ups’ to my uni life is just like the Superman ride at Movie World where you’d like to do it again and again. The last 2 ½ years of my study have been at USQ, studying nursing. Moving back to Hervey Bay to study nursing was the best decision I have ever made. USQ Fraser Coast Campus is such a great uni; you can get to know all your peers and your lecturers at a more personal level. The only down side is you can’t sleep through your lectures because the class sizes are a lot smaller and your teacher will hear you snoring. In reality the smaller class sizes are great; you are forced to stay awake and listen to exam content plus you can ask questions without 500 other eyes looking at you!

blog1Most assignments are to be submitted online by midnight (great for all those last minute assignment stress bunnies)! The student library at the Fraser Coast Campus this year underwent a huge refurbishment – it is now such a vibrant, fun place to study. Even better, the library is open to all USQ students 24 hours a day.

 

 

blog2Uni students aren’t always poor. We may not be the richest of people, but we learn to manage by applying for scholarships and bursaries. Part-time work is also an option and has been manageable for me personally. It’s always good to earn some extra spending money for those much needed shopping sprees!

 

 

blog2Uni isn’t always just about study. The Student Representative Committee (SRC) at the USQ Fraser Coast Campus in 2013 held many fun events. I attended their bowling night which was great fun to interact with new people and to win cool prizes! The SRC finished with a bang this year by holding a Gala Dinner with a 2 course meal, live entertainment and prizes to be won. Goes to show that uni doesn’t have to be about studying 24/7, but about having fun while you are doing it!

All in all, university is a lot better than what I thought it would be. I thought it would be really hard and scary! Thankfully it is nothing like that; with fun people, great job opportunities and more contact with lecturers means you can make friends of all ages. I have made friends for life! All of the staff want to see you do your very best and enjoy every moment…embrace it! I have loved being a university student and would do it again in the blink of an eye.

This blog has officially been busted! Keep an eye out for me in the future, I have thought about starting a new blog in 2014 as a graduate nurse. Thank you for reading my blogs this year, I have enjoyed writing them and sharing my knowledge.

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All the best,

Kara :)

Summer Holidays: Taking a break to reset yourself

I was listening to John Mayer’s song Wildfire recently and he says, rather succinctly: “‘Cause a little bit of summer makes a lot of history.” Summer, what an opportunity. When I think back to my childhood, my high school years and more recently the years of study, summer has been the source of some of my best memories. New friends, road trips and holidays with family are just a few of my fondest recollections of past summers.

This summer I have a plan. It is simple. Enjoy, relax and grow. Hakuna matata. No worries.

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There is only one thing that really bothers me over this break though. How do I actually make the most of it? It is a pretty easy thing to sit down and do very little over the course of the holidays, and whilst it might be fun at the time, it is doing things that makes memories.

Here’s a shortlist of summer activities to make memories and don’t cost too much $$ (the essential for any uni student).

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Photo credit: @jewelszee_ on instagram
1. The beach. There is no doubt that this is the place to be over the summer. Whether for a day trip or week long retreats, the sun, waves, salt air and sand never fail to refresh body and soul. The options are endless: sunbathing, swimming, walking, fishing or surfing. One way or another a day or week at the beach will never be a waste.

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Photo credit: australiangeographic.com.au
2. Road trips. Perhaps this is one of the best ways to create memories over summer. Bundle a bunch of friends into a car and take off, either to a known or unknown destination. This one is about enjoying the journey. Laugh, cry but most importantly have fun. Travel south to the snowy mountains for a few days trekking Kosciusko or biking Thredbo, dare to travel further and end up in Melbourne or travel north to Hervey Bay, North West to Longreach or a short trip East and enjoy a day in Brisbane or Burley Heads. Do it. Find those unknown destinations and make memories on a road trip.

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Photo credit: Gourmet Traveller
3. Throw together a good barbecue. Invite a heap of friends and tell them to bring meat, drinks or salad and let the fun begin. I particularly love a summer barbie because the sun sets so late and everyone is able to sit around, beer or cider in hand (maybe a glass of wine too) and enjoy each other’s company. Add in a cricket bat, tennis ball and a bin and there’ll be a game going in minutes with plenty of guys able to show off while the ladies (excuse the stereotype) sit back and talk about their finds at the Boxing Day sales.

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4. Finally, one of my personal favourites: Go and see some sports. There’s plenty to see, especially with the cricket this year featuring the T20 BigBash at the Gabba and also the One Day International Series. If you happen to be in a major city around the time of one of the Ashes Tests be sure to go and see a day, it is well worth the time, especially if you’re with good company. And if you’re not into cricket there is also the A-league Football running over summer.

So this summer, take a break. Kick back with something cool to drink, have fun and make memories.

Until next time,
Josh

Sucker for punishment!

Holidays? What are these “holidays” people speak of? No study, they say?

While some are celebrating the end of the university year, my fellow ‘sucker for punishment’ peers and I are oblivious to this occasion. Yep, we are the ones who chose to do Semester 3 subjects. Whilst pondering on my first university year once it was over, I calculated the months until next year’s classes commence, one… two… THREE MONTHS! Cha-ching! This was plenty of time, for me and many others, to work towards a big fat tick beside a small component of our degrees. Instead of merely doing ‘holiday stuff’ for the entire three months, on top of this, we will find ourselves sitting at the computer, watching lectures, completing assignments and absorbing content for exams. For some this may sound like an utterly mind-numbing way to spend some of the summer period, but the way I look at it is… studying is just another hobby to fulfil this time bracket. Yep, does it make me crazy if I say I enjoy it? Besides, we don’t have to spend the WHOLE time studying. If we did, that’s definitely CRAZE-AY!

The one subject I have chosen revolves around a big word in a teacher’s dictionary… assessment. It has been interesting to discover the different aspects on this topic and I can definitely see it becoming applicable later on in my career. The ways I have prepared and chosen to get through it (aside from consuming half of the Cadbury factory) include:

  • Adhering with the allocated study schedule – by gauging your learning around this, last minute panic when assessment is due is less likely to occur. There is nothing worse than last minute cramming for assignments and exams!
  • Setting a goal and sticking to it by creating a timetable – due to the lighter workload in Semester 3, there is opportunity to assign simply one whole day a week towards study, matching it to your study schedule. This will form a routine, which increases the likeliness of the work getting done. Plus the rest of the week off – score! If this isn’t possible, break it up over a few days, yet ensure to keep on track with this each week. Saying ‘I’ll do it later’ tends to fold, and later ends up being too late! (Not at all speaking from experience :P)
  • Allowing time for “fun stuff” – those who follow my blogs would know by now that I’m a strong believer in taking breaks and having time out for yourself. Make sure there are enjoyable events scribbled in your timetable. That way, we aren’t completely isolated from the holidayers! On top of this, we have something to look forward to and reward us. After all, Christmas is unbelievably just around the corner. Something like a whopping 5 weeks and 36 sleeps away (not even counting!).

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I’ve chosen to participate in these “holidays” too by having “fun stuff” planned within this period. In between studying and working in a clothes store, I will spend my time going to a couple of concerts, celebrating a birthday with my twin brother, and eating A LOT around Christmas time. For the rest of the time, I will go with the flow and see where the time takes me. After all, we can’t let studying this time of year get in the way of having a break!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and for those doing Semester 3 – Happy Studying!

Kristie :)

Deciding the Right Time for a Cupcake

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Leading up to the final weeks of university for Semester 2, I seem to be forever in procrastination mode. My question is: why do we procrastinate when we are aware that the time we have to complete our assignments is diminishing before our eyes? I constantly find myself in search of other things to do (nowhere near as important of course) like catching up on the Home and Away episodes I’ve missed, planning my holidays, online shopping… the list goes on. These breaks or ‘procrastinations’ are quite like the indulgence of cupcakes. The first few bites are liberating, right before the sudden guilty pleasure hits you. As you go to pick up another cupcake, you know you should be burning off the first one instead.

“To Glee or Not to Glee?”

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My cupcake feast in the past week involved going to see USQ’s “To Glee or Not to Glee?” performance at the Toowoomba Campus. On a Wednesday evening, the 17th of October, into a bag went a picnic blanket, snacks and drinks, then off we went to witness some of Toowoomba regions’ great talents. Students of Concordia College, Downlands College, Oakey State High School, Scots PGC (Warwick) and Toowoomba State High School (Mt Lofty), singers from the Toowoomba Junior Choral Society, and dancers from The GRID and USQ Creative Arts students all amazed us with their clever compilation of choreography and outstanding vocals. Themes on the night were The Healing of Time, Young Love, Suffering, Forgiveness and Friendship. The event was a true representation of the welcoming atmosphere our university exhibits and certainly made me proud to be a USQ student. Spoiling myself with this cupcake was definitely a worthwhile break away from study. Our Creative Arts Faculty and USQ as a whole are often producing these events for the community to enjoy so make sure you keep an eye on the USQ website and/or Facebook page for the next upcoming exhibition!

Exam Preparation

As exams are fast approaching, it is important to allow yourself time out for that cupcake. Avoid getting so stressed out and caught up in study that you only leave your desk for the bare essentials – this will only send you insane and is more likely to do you harm than good.

Tip #1: Apply a tab to the open page in your textbook, put down the pen and step away from your desk. Assign enough time to lick the icing and the sprinkles (maybe even the paper and your fingers for every last bit). However, if you plan on doing more study that day, restrict your cupcake treats to no longer than ten to fifteen minutes at a time, and don’t go back for an immediate second one as finding motivation following this will be a strain (trust me!).

Tip #2: It may not be preferable around exam time, but for other times of the year, take the time out to go to a social event once a week. Go to a USQ event, play a sport, have a hobby. Don’t restrict yourself to the four walls in your bedroom – this isn’t healthy. Just like a cupcake, these things are OK in moderation!

Some extra tips:

  • Make sure you get enough sleep each night as studying on a few hours sleep will only lead to brain-frazzle.
  • Eat properly and stay fully hydrated – it’s distracting hearing your stomach rumble over the sound of the computer keys or the pen touching the paper!
  • Avoid checking Facebook every five minutes (if only our News Feeds gave us the answers to our exams!)
  • Ensure you have a comfortable and roomy study space – nothing beats a big cosy chair, textbooks and notes spread out everywhere and not having to search through one big pile.
  • Create a personalised study timetable – even include everyday activities like breakfast, lunch, dinner, lectures, tutorials etc and plan around these. DO follow it to avoid last minute cramming (especially midnight before you exam)!

If you’ve done all of the above and still feel overwhelmed, approach the Student Services team at your campus who are supportive and can assist you in various ways with all kinds of stress. Remember: they are there to help, not to judge!

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Last but not least, avoid the face above by having confidence and always telling yourself “I CAN DO IT!”

All the best with your exams!

Kristie :)

The pre-exam lull

It’s easy enough to notice how quickly the semester has passed. For most of us (the engineering students at least), the bulk of the assignment work has passed and now is the time to refocus because of the looming exams. Before that is the “in-between”, the break, the calm before the storm. If you are an education student, however, I’d say you know the storm pretty well right now from floods of assignment work, so here’s a chance to just sit back and laugh in the face of exams you may never have to face (that’s what my friends do anyway…). For the rest of us, I thought it would be appropriate to ‘refresh’ our perspective on exams in this blog. Exciting huh.

The most common attitude to exams that I see, and one with which we are most familiar, is the constant dread. It reminds me of some of the shows I watched during my childhood. Early into the piece, the main character is introduced to the monster, usually coming out of the dark, maybe a trap door entrance to their lair. The unknown scares the character but he or she finds some sort of inner strength. Finally, despite the overwhelming fear, our champion would take the plunge into the pit, only to find that the “monster” was as scared as he was, worried by the threat of the incoming warrior. Before the end of the half hour, our two characters – the protagonist and the antagonist become friends.

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I think our fear of exams is much like the story, we fear them and dread them, worry over our results and sweat over the last couple of concepts that are impossible to pin down (although, to say we become friends would definitely be a stretch). However, at the end of the day we always pull through, semester after semester, year after year, we are still here.

Personally, I love this time of year, mostly for the reasons stated in the illustration above. I relish the opportunity to face the giant and come up against the trial. If you are competitive (I am, just in case you hadn’t realised), it is a great opportunity to better yourself. To challenge yourself to be better and finish stronger than ever before. I mean, we’ve only been preparing for 16 weeks.

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So, despite the apparent calm, now is the best time to be preparing. Going over past exams, notes, self-assessment questions and everything in between. This is a great opportunity to spend 3 weeks with heads down and to see great reward from the work that we are doing. So turn the cricket off (if you have been watching the Ryobi Cup like myself) and get a plan going for study. And if you need motivation, just think: holidays are just around the corner.

Until next time,
Josh

Surviving semester, one movie at a time

Have you ever wished life was more like movies? I most definitely have! As a lover of superhero and sci-fi movies, I am envious of the superpowers, magical items and abilities which are used to overcome adversity and save the day. With the semester well past the half-way point, assessments have begun to pile up and time seems to be running ever-shorter. In this week’s blog I’ll be sharing my top five abilities, qualities and materials from movies I’d wish for as a student to survive this semester.

A “pause button” for everyday life

In the movie Click, Adam Sandler buys a universal remote which (to his surprise) can pause time, fast forward and manipulate the universe around him. With many students juggling work, study and a social life, time is scarce. With a “pause button” for life, you’ll be able to get the most out of every moment – adequately prepare for lectures and complete assignments ahead of time whilst being able to go out and work solid hours. While I continue my search for a universal remote, the best thing for students is to become experts in juggling work with study – check out a recent post by USQ Blogger Georgina who shares her experience in finding the work/study balance (http://usqedu.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/to-work-or-not-to-work/).

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The ability to learn really quickly

I can safely say that EVERY student wants to be able to learn really quickly! In the movie Limitless, Bradley Cooper plays a character who discovers a supplement which allows him to understand and learn quickly with ease. Unfortunately, not everyone has a photographic memory and when it comes to exam study many students spend countless hours cramming. Once again, although this ability is wishful thinking to most, effectively juggling study through building timetables can be an effective way to learn course material in the lead up to exam block.

A cure for indecisiveness

When it comes to university study, many decision are to be made – What degree will I study? Will I study full-time or part-time? Recently a dilemma I’ve been facing is deciding between what electives I will choose for my final year of university. In the first Harry Potter film, students were grouped into houses when the sorting hat was placed on their heads. As an indecisive student, I would love to have something like the sorting hat to help make those tricky decisions.

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If, like me, you are having troubles deciding which of the variety of electives available you want to take, check out Georgina’s blogpost on electives within her Psychology Degree (http://usqedu.wordpress.com/2012/08/02/eclectic-electives-why-my-degree-resembles-an-ice-cream-3/).

Time travel

The ability to travel back to the past and see forward into the future has been the subject of many movies, such as the Back to the Future series. As a law student, I would love the ability to go back in time and experience some of the landmark events in Australia’s history – including federation in 1901, to witness the Mabo decision and the removal of the Whitlam government in 1975. On the same token, I would be so amazing to see what developments the future has in store – will Australia become a Republic? Will Australia adopt a Bill of Rights? Will Queensland ever get daylight savings?!?

A Money Tree

Whilst not directly from movies, the number one item on most students’ wish list is for money to grow on trees. Juggling full-time study and an internship quickly fills the calendar and leaves limited time free for work. Although the idea of a money tree is wishful thinking, scholarships are available to university students which can assist by providing financial support. Whether you are a current university student or planning on studying sometime in the future, scholarships are absolutely worth applying for! Check out one of my previous blogs about scholarships, covering how to apply and resolving the many myths associated with eligibility (http://usqedu.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/scholarship-gold-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow/).

Now that I’ve shared my movie-inspired wish list, what things would you wish for?

Jordan

I did not sign up for the circus…

In my last post about working I mentioned that I would write a bit more about managing costs and study load. It really is a juggling act…

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The other point I took from the study I mentioned last time (http://dro.deakin.edu.au/eserv/DU:30006689/Devlin-studyingandworkingjournalarticle.pdf) was that students aren’t merely working to ‘fund a lifestyle’ (i.e. most of us aren’t just after a bit of extra money so that we can party every weekend whilst wearing the latest ‘threads’ and drive a ‘pimped out’ car).  Apparently most of us have found that we need to work in order to provide for everyday needs. And what makes up the bulk of our costs? Rent, food and other household bills (anybody out there surprised?). So it looks like the bottom-line is that, like it or not, most students will need to work to some extent during their degree. If you’re one of the lucky (or talented) minority that have overly-generous parents or can budget like nobody’s business then you can stop right here – as the remainder of this post will be for those who bravely take on the dual role of student and worker. We’ll look at costs, and budgeting (*all sigh sadly*).

Know your expected costs beforehand

Most people know that it helps to have regular money coming in. But plenty of students (myself included) don’t have a full idea of where their moolah will be going out. “How dare you exchange yourself for two movies, a dinner outing and a new dress this week money?!” I will often ask. It is not uncommon for me to spend more than I’d intended because I haven’t properly thought out the best use for my hard-earned cash. So, know the basic (i.e. compulsory and boring) costs of being a student. USQ has a pretty handy clip for those considering/about to commence study that outlines most of these costs (and also suggests ways to manage them): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1Fs3apNdb4.

If you can stick to just earning enough to pay the bills (always leaving plenty of time to study), then well done – but you are probably not a real-life person. Of course we want to have the $ for a social life and a ‘savings’ account (do these accounts exist?). But really the question to ask ourselves is ‘what is important to me right now?’ Is it more valuable to: a) leave enough time to study properly, understand the course content and submit assignments you’re happy with (avoiding last-minute stress), or b) work lots of additional hours so you can either spend more or put a lot of money away right now?

Of course there is no correct answer, and most people go for a happy medium. For me though, as a full-time student, I had to realise that I have ‘student’ listed as my main occupation – and that this alone should indicate where the most of my time should be spent. So I had to understand my most crucial costs (which, as someone still living at home, aren’t as high as many students) and work from there. Now when I get paid I don’t think first of the possibilities, but the responsibilities, and the need for ‘uni time’ (gosh I am sounding like a parent/policewoman/fictional character rather than a twenty-one year-old here!). Usually these initial thoughts of proper spending/saving disappear once I’m invited on a road trip or dinner date though… I hope you will have more success than I…

Can anyone say ‘bargain’?! It pays to be a cheapskate…

I won’t go into too much depth here as for me ‘student’ is pretty much synonymous with ‘save every cent you can and do not pay one dollar more than you have to for anything’. If saving sixty dollars by sourcing ‘vintage’ clothing or packing your own lunches means that you can work a few hours less each week, then bring on the op-shopping, trips to the DFO, second-hand textbooks, home cooking, loyalty cards, discount books, clothes-swapping and two-for-one deals! There are so many great money-saving initiatives being dreamt up every day, and they’re there to be taken advantage of :)
I would highly recommend a read of Nick’s latest instalment (a hilarious and thrifty USQ blogger himself) which can be found at http://usqedu.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/take-a-study-break-for-10/. It lists ways you can enjoy yourself for under $10. I would also add to ‘trivia nights’ to Nick’s list. Many are free, most are very cheap, and lots are accompanied by prizes, food deals, and a few hours of laughter (plus you’re probably learning something…). The poster below is one example ($50 for a team of six with profits going to charity!) but there are plenty more trivia nights out there held regularly.

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So my friends, whilst my rambling has probably added to your confusion, just keep in mind that no one expects a student to be rich. And, if passing your course means missing a much-needed work shift, remember that water is free and that you can always buy a kilo of rice for $2.33 at Coles (and that’s not even on special).

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The budding Psychology student’s guide to USQ Open Day

So you’ve pined over the USQ Psychology Program and Course webpage, and now you’ve cleared you social calendar to attend one of the USQ Open Days in August.  Well done!  You are already better prepared than I was, when I first considered going to uni.  Although I graduated with my first degree earlier this year, it wasn’t all beer and skittles.  I had to learn things the hard way, I made mistakes with my enrolment pattern, and I had no idea about all the resources available to me.  So, armed with my knapsack of real-life experiences, below is a guide to USQ Open Day prepared especially for you, the budding Psychology student:

  1. A Bachelor of Science (Psychology) is just the tip of the iceberg to becoming a Registered Psychologist.  Applying to USQ is too easy and can be done from your smart phone, on a bus, at 4am in the morning, whether you are sober or not.  Courtesy of hindsight, I’d recommend that before jumping in and making any impulsive, long-term decisions about your future, that you talk it through with people who have experience in the field first.  When you decide to study psychology it is important you know what you are getting yourself into.  When I applied I was quitting smoking, going through a break-up, wasn’t happy at work, and thought  “I need a change, I should study Psychology, I’d like to help people.”  Had I investigated further than just the front page of the USQ website and had a broader knowledge of psychology than what I had seen on Dr. Phil, I would have discovered that psychology is more than just couches and inkblot tests.  There is a heavy focus on statistics, report writing, and time-wise it takes at least six years to become a registered Psychologist.  Of course all of this is openly discussed when you talk to faculty members in the Health sessions activities or at the info pods, and is illustrated delightfully below.
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  2.  A Bachelor of Science (Psychology) doesn’t have to be an exclusive relationship.  Imagine my surprise when, one year into studying my degree, I realised I could use my elective courses to complete a second major.  It was perfect, I was going to combine it with the Business HR major and become a psych-commerce-powerhouse.  Unfortunately, I had already wasted an elective on a unit I wasn’t even interested in (Intro to Law isn’t as upbeat as Legally Blonde would have you believe).  The moral of the story?  Because I didn’t have enough elective units left in my remaining two years to complete the second major, I missed out on an opportunity to maximise my employability.  So as tempting as it may be on Open Day to just focus on Psychology related sessions, take some time out to visit the info pods of other faculties and check out all the courses on offer.  You will have eight electives, use them wisely!
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  3. Acronym Overload: Know your TLCs, OACs and SROs.  I’m just going to say it; a Psychology degree will require you to be statistics-savvy.  If, like me, you’ve been out of school long enough to forget how to use a scientific calculator, you may be interested to know there are free workshops held by The Learning Centre (TLC) that help you with just that!  If you have been out of school for a really, really long time, you may not even know how to start your uni journey, thankfully the Open Access College (OAC) can point you in the right direction.  Of course, I had no idea about either of these resources until after I needed them, so consider yourself ahead of the game there.  One resource I did utilise was my Student Relationship Officer (SRO).  Uni can feel like a big place, but the “Ask USQ” button on the USQ website will get you in touch with your SRO whenever you need a hand, without the subscription fees of Ask Bongo or Ask Jerry.  But don’t just take my word for it, TLC, OAC, and SROs have info pods at the Open Days, so remember to meet these acronyms in person!
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Although the Acronym IQ isn’t a scientific construct, I think it should be.  Masters thesis maybe?  Finally, to give you a taste of being a student, here’s some further reading… you’ll see this a lot :-/

If you’ve got any Open Day advice of your own, for Psychology students or others, share it below!

Nick

The Knowhow of University Exams!

The semester is nearing the end and another 15 weeks has passed. ‘Where has this semester gone?’ I keep asking myself. It really is scary how time flies. They say time flies when you are having fun…I don’t know if you would call assignments, labs and tutorials fun though. Hmm…I guess all of us university students have things we need to get through to get to the interesting things, like nursing placements and graduating, so that we can become qualified in our field of work. So exams are in three weeks time. Even just saying the word ‘exam’ makes me feel sick in the stomach. I get very nervous for exams, because firstly I want to pass, and secondly because I want to achieve the very best result that I can. 

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This is a typical example of how a lot of uni students study for exams…NOT A GOOD IDEA! Cramming for exams is not only stressful, but it is physically impossible to remember 15 weeks’ worth of work in one night. 

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Or if you answer this mathematical question like this person did, I can guarantee you will FAIL…but you might make your teachers laugh!

The quote about multiple choice exams: ‘When in doubt; choose C’ is a MYTH!
Do not do this. Instead use a process of elimination: by ruling out the answers that are incorrect and then choosing the answer that you think is most accurate.

I don’t want you all failing your exams, so I cannot stress enough… do not do what some students have done in the above pictures. Now on a more serious note I will tell you all of the best study habits and study preparations that I have learnt that help me stay calm around exam time.

The most important strategy for studying for exams is to choose a suitable study environment. You may have a desk or office room in your home where you are able to study. Make sure that you remove all distractions that may prevent you from studying…and yes this does mean going a few days without Facebook (or at least limiting the amount of time you spend on Facebook around exams). Make sure you take a short break from study every 30 minutes. Go and get a drink of water or eat some chocolate to reward yourself for your hard work. I also find that going outside to get a breath of fresh air always refreshes my mind and helps energise me to get back into study mode.

Another effective approach to studying is listening to lectures a second time or re-writing your lectures and notes. My high-school maths teacher always told me that repetition will get you the results. My high-school teacher was right…repeating something or re-writing something over and over again is the best way to get information to ‘stick’ in your brain. It is painful at the time re-writing your notes…but it is all worth it in the end when you find out that you have passed your subjects for the semester!     

A fun way to study for exams is to study with friends. Find a group of friends and get together to go over the course objectives. It is great to study with friends because you can quiz each other and help explain confusing principles to one another.  Another fun way to remember information is to make up an acronym, rhyme or poem about a particular topic…it is a lot easier to remember something when you can sing it to yourself! I remember when I was little I used to say a poem to remember the planets in our solar system: Mars, Venus, Earth, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (My Very Energetic Ma Just Sat Up Near Pa). It is amazing how I can remember it still to this day…it just goes to show how fun rhymes or poems can help us remember important facts and information. 

The night before your exams it is a really good idea to double check what room your exam is in. Ensure that you have a decent sleep that night.  At least 7-8 hours of sleep is a good amount, so that you are able to function properly the next day and so that you aren’t found yawning in your exams. I always find that on the day of my exams I feel better when I have a quick look back over my notes to refresh my memory. Don’t forget to take into your exam your: student ID, stationary and a water bottle, so that you don’t get thirsty. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths before you start your exam – this always helps me to relax and stay calm in my exams! 

A great resource on the USQ online website is an entire web page dedicated to exam preparation and all the best exam tips. Here is the link for your convenience: http://www.usq.edu.au/learningcentre/alsonline/assessment/exam/examprep

I hope that all of my study tips will help all you awesome university students out there to pass your exams with flying colours. Most of all it is important that you try your absolute hardest and that you believe in yourself and your abilities!

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“Believe in yourself and there will come a day when others will have no choice but to believe with you.”

“Believing in yourself is the first secret of success.”

 

Happy studying and all the best of luck for your exams.  Stay positive, we can do this!!!

Kara

Holidays, where are you?

This is it. This is the last holidays I have to relax before I enter into my final year of uni – officially received my results and passed everything. YAY! While I love living on College, it feels so good to come home and not have to worry about uni work or being woken at 3am when someone comes home from the club. There are some days though where I don’t feel as though I’m on holidays. With work, my little brother graduating grade 12, trying to keep my boyfriend occupied and Christmas just around the corner, these holidays feel jam-packed– and it’s only just beginning!

My Parents, Alex, and his lovely grad partner, Kathrine, ready for graduation!

The day after I arrived in Townsville I began work as a Christmas Casual in Townsville’s newly renovated shopping centre; which seems to steal all my money. I traded in my study brain for a… working one? With the shopping centre already so packed a month away from Christmas, I have decided I should attempt to start my Christmas shopping early. Hopefully I can avoid the pre-Christmas freak-out and the dreaded car-park hunt.

With my parents living it up in New Zealand, I have been elected the official Christmas interior decorator while they’re away and I take this role very seriously. I love Christmas. I think my family is feeling the festive season early this year with Mum making an army of Christmas Snowmen and my brother’s also getting a jump on Christmas presents. It’s great to have everyone together to celebrate over a lunch filled with seafood and tropical fruits. I love receiving presents, and more importantly (cough cough) giving presents. I think there’s something about Christmas that brings peace of mind after several months of going crazy trying to find the perfect present.

Christmas shopping is going well and Mum’s little army of Snowmen gather around the Concannon Snowman, ready for a busy month ahead

So in-between helping my little brother organise himself for his graduation, working, Christmas shopping, watching the cricket and occasionally having a quiet day on my days off work,  I ventured out and went to watch a Crocs game. Unfortunately, this became their TENTH loss this season… out of 10 games! Being so busy, I have slowly gotten around to catching up with friends. With some friends still finishing exams and others working, it’s sometimes hard to find a time that suits everyone. Thankfully I’m home for three months.

When will the Crocs get their first win?!

Overall, being at home is a time to relax. It’s important to take time out to recharge before tackling the study workload again. Family are the most important thing and I think now that I live so far away that’s become more evident. It’s important to spend as much time as you can together because you never know when they’ll ditch you for New Zealand.

Merry Christmas!