USQ Springfield O-week!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) Be yourself.

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

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

But this isn’t a case at university!

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

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

2) Stay open-minded.

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

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

3) Pay a little attention.

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

4) Ask every question you can think of.

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

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

5) Smile, have fun!

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Eliza

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 :)

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

To Work or not to Work?

…that is the question. Well it’s one question anyway. Whilst perhaps not as potent as Hamlet’s Act 3, Scene 1 line that weighs up the meaningfulness of life, the question “will I ever cope working and studying?!” is an important question to ask oneself.

If you are looking for a clear answer within this blog then you will probably be thoroughly disappointed. I mean would Hamlet look for an answer to life questions in an online blog? No he would not. Ask me for an answer about who should win Masterchef 2013 (Rishi) or which Disney character you should be for a dress-up party (The Little Mermaid for girls or Aladdin for boys) and expect a straightforward answer. But, unfortunately, whether or not you should aim to simultaneously work and study, and how many hours of work is the ‘right amount’ are questions each man (or woman) must consider for himself.

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These things being said, my blog today would be a fairly lame one if I left it at that. What type of fourth-year student would I be if I didn’t impose upon you my own experience and opinions?! So, whilst I think that the take-home message should be that only you can determine what you can and can’t handle in regards to workload and life balance, below are several observations of my own…

In true psychology student style I will first present you with some statistics that someone else came up with after much thought and hard work. A 2008 study (see http://dro.deakin.edu.au/eserv/DU:30006689/Devlin-studyingandworkingjournalarticle.pdf) said that ‘the typical Australian student is a working student who spends substantial time in paid employment’. 72.3% of undergrads were found to be employed during the uni semester, and over 85% of those surveyed said they’d had a job in the last twelve months. On average, full-time undergraduate and postgraduate research students spent between 13 and 17 hours working every week (and 30-40 hours per week for the part-timers). But enough numbers. The gist is that – whether in part-time or full-time study – most students work, and they work a considerable amount. So we aren’t just talking about an hour of lawn-mowing for your parents or a three-hour shift once a week at your local supermarket here…

So, if you are one of the 72.3% that do need to work, my number one tip would be to realise that the most important person is you. Yes jobs are important and you should aim to be a hard-working, successful employee, but I have seen far too many students do backflips for uncompromising employers (in jobs that they will only be in for a year or two whilst finishing a degree). If any of the following is true for you then it’s time to consider whether you’re in the best working environment.

  1. You’re being made to feel guilty because you aren’t able to take last-minute shifts
  2. You are repeatedly rostered on for more hours than was agreed upon
  3. There is no compromise in shift times so that you can attend lectures
  4. Shifts are regularly cancelled when you have made the time to work them

It’s all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Though it may take a while to find a better job (and it’s probably best not to quit until you’ve got something else in line), there are always jobs out there! Don’t be afraid to try something new and improve your working situation. I for one know that I am a lot happier now than I was at the start of my casual employment journey…
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The very fancy diagram above also shows that at most times I had two part-time jobs. I was always looking for something a bit better; a bit more flexible or relevant to what I was studying. Having two jobs that both only required a shift or two each week also meant that there was less pressure than one intense job (I’m definitely not recommending two jobs however!). My position as a salesperson at Tree of Life recently ended and so I was really thankful to have my student ambassador position to rely on. In both of these roles I was (and am) able to put myself first. I easily get time off for study and exams, and I have a big say in how often I work – and I enjoy it. I have now even been able to take on a volunteer internship which directly relates to my future career – pretty good deal!

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Keep an eye out for my next blog that will appear in the next few days – there I’ll give my two-cents worth in regards to juggling the two seemingly opposing forces that are study and employment. Happy studying!

Assignments: The good, the bad and the ugly.

In contemplating this blog entry I spent some time trying to work out how to put assignments in a positive light. “Put assignments in a positive light, put assignments in a positive light…” Ahem, has it ever been done before? I’m pretty sure the only people who love assignments are lecturers, examiners and tutors. Fortunately I remembered the title:
Good – bad – ugly. Then I thought: “Hang on a minute, this is a great time to turn the title into an equation!” (as all good engineers think) and came up with this:

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So to sum that up, two thirds of this post is most likely going to be negative, due to the nature of assignment work itself, sorry!

Introduction aside, let me begin now with the ugly.

“Inhale, exhale, focus…” It’s the day that an assignment is due and you’ve just discovered that, to your dismay, the assignment is a lot bigger than you had first imagined. Oops.

I recently submitted an assignment that hit me like a tonne of bricks, in a very similar way to the description above and I found my self battling to scale the behemoth that the assignment became. This time I got a lucky break though, the majority of students were struggling alongside me and our lecturer extended the due date to the whole class *sigh of relief*. So what do you do to prevent assignment work from sneaking up on you? Here’s my list of quick tips for getting assignments done on time.

  1. Know what assignment work you have coming up. I use my Red Frogs calendar from the beginning of the year to “see” what my next couple of weeks looks like assignment wise. Put up details such as weightings alongside the note and put it in a place that you’ll see it easily.
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  2. Start early. Read over the assignment and make some notes in the couple of weeks before the assignment is due. There is strong research to suggest that the mind’s ability to process problems subconsciously greatly assists in conscious problem solving efforts.
  3. Set a date to begin the assignment, spend some time researching areas that need to be researched and start writing out a draft copy of the assignment.
  4. After finishing a draft, go back over it and read it though, also getting friends or family to have a look and iron out any mistakes you have made. Edit the errors and fill in the gaps before submitting right on time – or early hopefully!

The bad:

Long hours, late nights and minimal social activity. That’s the reality of the mid semester, the agony of assignments week after week and multiple assignments due on the same day. The reality is that assignment work takes WORK. Being at uni isn’t like, dare I say it, a council job. When push comes to shove, lecturers, tutors and the examiners expect a standard of work from each student and to meet the standard and we get to spend hours of time researching, cataloguing references, penning arguments, solving equations, troubleshooting computer codes, rehearsing musical pieces, etc. We’re all familiar with it. It hurts.

To avoid some of the pain, make sure you take the time for breaks and strategise with your time. It is a good thing to take breaks periodically to get refreshed and be inspired. Personally, if I have been working on lots of math and physics related work and equations I’ll play guitar or do some songwriting in my break to switch between the left side of the brain to the right. I find it helpful and I am more refreshed after regaining my focus.

Another bad part of assignment work is the time component. I recently spent over 20 hours on a 10% assignment – LEARN FROM ME! Don’t waste too much time on assignments that aren’t worth much. If you’re finding yourself having trouble, go to your lecturer of tutor and ask questions of jump on the forums. It helps ALOT, and you won’t neglect your other subjects.

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Finally, the good.

If anything good comes from assignment work it is these two things:

Firstly, the immense satisfaction of submitting the finished assignment. I love the moment that you see that the submission has gone through and then end knowing that you never have to work on that assignment again. Oh the joy!

Secondly, you actually learn something (most of the time). As much as is seems that the examiner is trying to torture you, the staff at university really want students so succeed, hence creating assignments that will challenge and grow us into students who are better equipped, more knowledgeable and perhaps even have a better work ethic at the end of our degrees than we did at the start. Think about how body builders build muscle: body builders strain and push against resistance, causing pain to themselves as the muscle fibres tear. Immediately after this resistance, the body begins to repair itself, “building” more muscle over the torn fibres and building strength. Assignments cause a similar process, resistance and growth.

Push forward into the resistance as the assignments continue this semester because despite the bad and the ugly, there will be good that comes from it.

Signing out, Josh.

The stepping stones to teaching…

“Oh you’re studying to become a teacher or something, right?” – This is what I’ve been asked frequently since beginning my Bachelor of Education majoring in Primary at the start of this year. To me, my ambition is to become more than a ‘teacher-or-something’ and to make a difference in children’s lives while continuously doing something I love – learning. I had a mainly positive schooling experience and this inspired my career choice. If you’re currently thinking ‘hmm, I’ve always wanted to do teaching and I can’t see myself doing anything else’ – this was me in my final months of Year 12. So, my two words of advice are DO IT! Allow me to point out a couple of things to convince you why…:

  • Teachers never stop learning, your brain is always ticking (great prevention for Alzheimer’s in old age :P) and sometimes even the kids might teach you something!
  • Having a teaching career doesn’t restrict you to your state or Australia – you can take it overseas!
  • Each day teachers get to work with children – our future generation – and have the opportunity to watch them grow and develop through their schooling years knowing you’ve been a part of this process.  After all, teachers help build the foundation of a child’s future – even doctors, surgeons and scientists are first taught by teachers!
  • Teachers get an AWESOME  (approx) 13 weeks of PAID holidays every year – although many teachers may call this “recovery time” :)

Even though I’m only in my second semester of study, I love every minute. The program USQ provides for the Education faculty is incredible. The teaching strategies we are taught have lead me to have A LOT of “AH-HA!” moments on a daily basis. These are handy and are implemented one day each week when I volunteer at a local all boys’ school to assist their teacher with classroom rotational activities. The students are hilarious and make the smallest things fun (who would have thought that reading ‘brain’ instead of ‘Brian’ would be so amusing!). I enjoy this so much every week that I can’t wait until I’m in a classroom with a class of my very own. If you’re an Education student and have an hour or two free a week, I strongly recommend you head down to a local school and put your name down to volunteer – not only will this be an asset to your final portfolio but it’s a rewarding and fulfilling way to gain experience.

One of the things you have to be mindful of as a teacher is the cheekiness of some students! These pictures below sure had me giggling as they brought me back to my childhood at school being the little rascal in the class thinking and saying these exact things.

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On September 2, I am returning home for two weeks to begin my first prac and although I am a little anxious, I can hardly wait. The principal is allowing me to have a taste of each grade in the Primary sector (Prep to Year 7) throughout this time so I can imagine I will receive an authentic experience! I’ll be sure to report back on how it goes (and whether or not it leads me to make any drastic career changes :P).

On a final note, for those of you who are tossing up which area of study is the right one, especially because of what you’ve heard from others, I believe that only YOU can make that choice. I say this because if I had listened to what was said to me before studying Education, I wouldn’t be in the current position I am of potentially becoming a ‘teacher-or-something’ and loving every moment!

I will leave you with some of my favourite teacher quotes. Enjoy and take care :)
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Start your engines! On your marks….Get set… GO!

With semester two now underway, the race has begun. Whilst some students are already off to a flying start with their study, others may feel like they haven’t even left the starting line.

With this semester marking only one year left to go with my university study, I’m shifting gears and speeding towards my final lap. Just like any successful race-car driver, at USQ I’ve had my very own ‘pit crew’ to help support me along the road towards graduation.  A pit crew is essential to the success of a racer – it could sometimes mean the difference between winning the race and not even making it to the finishing line! The support provided by the pit crew ensures a smooth journey, overcoming any road-blocks, flat tyres and difficulties encountered on the race-track.

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My USQ pit crew is made up of:

  1. The Learning Centre:  providing an opportunity to help develop academic numeracy and literacy skills, the Learning Centre is located on-campus at Toowoomba, Springfield and Fraser Coast. I wish I knew the benefits of this support services earlier on my academic-race as workshops are held throughout semester, both on-campus and online, and consultation sessions can take place with staff either face-to-face, via email or phone call.
  2. Student Services: a fleet of services comprise this division, including welfare and accommodation, disability resources, careers and employment, health and medical, and counselling services. Any students who feel they are close to breaking down during their academic-race can visit student services on each of the USQ campuses (visit this link for details about the services on available: http://www.usq.edu.au/current-students/services)
  3. Library: in navigating online databases and learning referencing styles, library staff are available to help students through consultation, workshops and providing ‘how to’ guides online.
  4. Lecturers: Learning from seasoned racers is helpful in knowing what is ahead on the track. In addition to delivering lectures, an open-door policy is held by the lecturers, making themselves available for consultation times to answer any student questions and concerns.
  5. Student Relationship Officers (SRO’s): when you’ve lost your way around the track and don’t know which way is toward graduation, the SRO’s are the ones to turn to. SRO’s are by your side from the start of the race all the way until you cross the finish line. The support provided by SRO’s involve helping with enrolments, planning out study programs, and much more. Students can contact their SRO either on-campus, via email or phone with any concern related to their studies.
  6. Study groups: just like in the Fast and the Furious, the most difficult challenges are best overcome with the collaboration and support of your crew. Forming study groups is a great way to revise course materials, brainstorm assessments, and form friendships amongst like-minded peers.

In addition to the support of the ‘pit crew’, being prepared is key to study success and can be helpful through completing extra readings, preparing for tutorial activities and revising modules weekly. Through knowing you’re supported and preparing adequately for classes, you’ll be as swift as Lightning McQueen throughout the semester. If difficulties appear at any time during the study-race it’s important to remember the USQ pit crew are on stand-by waiting for your signal.

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Taking a breather

Did anyone else feel like a switch was flicked as soon as their last assessment piece was submitted? I know I did. For me this assessment piece was an online quiz and the instant the ‘submit answers’ button was clicked, I could feel the smile emerge from one of my ears to the other. From that moment, I had transformed from a stressed and irritable university student to a contented and relieved ‘uni bum’. The best word I can think of to describe that feeling of having the bare minimum to do for a whole three weeks is bliss.

And that’s just about what I’ve done – nothing. Well not nothing, but the necessities blended with spending time with family and friends, some gradual spring (or winter, whichever you would prefer) cleaning, and some shopping (of course!). I have also been receiving my results progressively and the picture below that USQ shared with us all on Facebook describes my reaction to these perfectly. Can anybody relate?

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Being a residential college student, I am open to lots of activities and events. There are some stand-out moments from Semester 1 that I’d like to share.

Semi Formal

On the 24th of May Steele Rudd held their annual semi formal and this year’s theme was Disney. Once again the kitchen staff provided a delicious three course meal and our college committee organised an enjoyable night for everyone. I went as Snow White and below I am pictured with Sophia (AKA Pocahontas) who received “Best Dressed Female” on the night.

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 Res Shield

Thanks to the Residential Colleges’ sports coordinators, all three colleges compete in a range of sporting events throughout the year, known as Res Shield. Below is a picture of myself and others from Steele Rudd College at the soccer game. Rules were altered a little so that boys didn’t have a huge advantage over girls. Some say this was unfair (mainly the males) but I didn’t complain :P Although Steele Rudd ended up last on the night we all had a ball – both players and supporters!

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Now I plan to spend my last week of holidays at the beach and do what every person loves to do best – relax! Needless to say shopping will also be involved. Following this will be purchasing textbooks and having a look through Study Desk to see what lies ahead for me in Semester 2. One thing I learnt from last semester is that staying on top of things goes a long way, and by following the study schedules and keeping on track, you will be saved from a whole lot of stressing at the last minute (I learnt this the hard way).

The best advice I have received and can pass on to you during this time (although it’s nearly all over) is – unwind, reenergise and do what you love to do best when you have the chance to do it. Watch lots of movies, read your favourite book (a better substitution to textbooks), or maybe even go out and do something adventurous for the day. Mainly, just take advantage of this spare time that you usually don’t have. This will not only give you a boost but you will then walk into Semester 2 feeling refreshed and prepared.

Being the soccer fanatic I am, I relate this point of the year to halftime in a soccer match; you’ve finished the first half and now you have the chance to reflect on what went right, what went wrong, and how to improve on the setbacks you experienced. If you’re unhappy with how you went in the first part of the match, there’s always the second half to reach the results you desire, as long as you’re prepared to bring determination to the game!

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Hope you all enjoy the remainder of the holidays and all the best for Semester 2!

Kristie :)

Fresh and Ready for Semester Two

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Let the Relaxation Begin

The big question being answered in my blog this week is: “How to prepare for semester 2?” Does sleeping in, being a social butterfly and having no money after buying textbooks sound familiar to you?

The best way to prepare for semester 2 of uni is to rest and recuperate. So that is what I have been doing. The days that I haven’t been working early in the morning I have been sleeping in till 9am…aahhhh the life of a uni student. So, my tip to you is to get lots of sleep these holidays so you can start uni next semester feeling fresh and vibrant.

‘What else can you do to prepare for semester 2?’ you must be wondering. Well, I like to go for walks to the beach with my dog on sunny days and I also enjoy baking yummy food…the best part about baking is that you get to eat it afterwards and you can share it with your friends! I am sure you can all relate to the fact that we become hermit crabs during the semester. So take the opportunity these holidays and catch up with your friends, let your hair down and celebrate the completion of semester 1.

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Helpful hints to get ready for semester 2

To prepare for next semester you will obviously need to buy textbooks for your courses. New textbooks are super expensive to buy these days, which is why second-hand textbooks are a great idea. Have a look on the pin-boards around your uni or on university discussion forums for anybody selling the textbooks that you require…you will save so much $$$ if you buy textbooks second-hand. If second-hand textbooks aren’t an option then there are bookshops on campus at universities –you don’t even have to go out of your way to look for the books!

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Most importantly, develop a positive attitude when beginning your new semester! Keep reminding yourself that you do have the ability to get a degree and that you can do the work that is set before you. Set yourself some goals for the semester. Think you ‘can do’, rather than you ‘can’t’ and you will be in the best frame of mind for achieving your goals at uni this semester.

Good luck for semester 2, and enjoy the rest of your holidays.

Kara :)

Riding the University Rollercoaster

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Here we are, the end of Semester 2, where has the time gone, I don’t know! It feels like yesterday that I had to wave goodbye to my Mum and Dad as they departed Steele Rudd College – my home for the next little while. From the ups of college events, meeting new friends, lecture recess and volunteering encounters to the downs of panicking when submitting an assignment wondering if I’ve done it the right ‘University’ way and the large amount of study endured throughout lecture recess, it’s safe to say that the past ten weeks have been quite like riding a rollercoaster.

The Beginning of Rudd Life – O Week!

Undoubtedly, my college experience started out with a bang. Thanks to Steele Rudd’s Residential College Committee, there was an array of activities arranged for Orientation Week: Rock climbing, dance lessons, riding a mechanical bucking bull, picnic lunch and games at Picnic Point, water slides, inter-college toga trivia and many more.

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Inauguration Dinner

All USQ Residential College students were invited to attend the annual Inauguration Dinner for 2013. Awards were presented to returning students and new students received a warm welcome from our Residential Life Manager Katharine Bigby. This occasion allowed us to mingle with students from other colleges whilst enjoying a delectable meal. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the icecream! And Pavlova, cheesecake, éclairs… mmmm…

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For those of you like me, who had this awesome idea of a ‘holiday’ in mind, we were obviously dreaming. Although this period meant no lectures or tutorials, this didn’t exclude study and assignment work from our daily timetables – hence the term ‘Lecture Recess’.  In saying this, I found this time to be an excellent opportunity to catch up on any study I had got behind with and to take time out to relax with the fam bam and catch up with friends. Of course, I am still left completing assignments to the last minute (Note to self for the millionth time: Start assignments early!), however I managed to submit them on time!

 Youth Leadership Forum

A memorable and rewarding experience for me so far was volunteering for the Youth Leadership Forum. This was held on Friday the 19th of April and was organised by the Faculty of Education. Being an Education student, I considered this an excellent opportunity to meet new people and gain experience. Potential school student leaders from Years 9 to 12, from nine different schools around the district attended. The theme of the day was ‘Leading a Team, Leading a Project’ with a focus on the practical skills needed to lead a project team. Jean Madden, the founder of Street Swags for the homeless, was the guest speaker. To be able to listen to Jean’s speech was inspirational. Jean emphasised the importance in being determined to complete a project, instead of contemplating only trying to do the project. Her motto was ‘Don’t talk about giving it a red hot go, make that change and ensure it happens’. I spent the afternoon helping facilitate workshop activities with the students at McGregor College. I had a great group – they provided much comic value for my afternoon!  It was an amazing day and I would recommend it to anyone. I already have it on next year’s bucket list!

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Living on college and being an on-campus students adds the convenience of running across the road 10 minutes before your lecture/tutorial starts and not having to find a car park (instead, you get to listen to everyone in class whine about how they had to drive around for 30 minutes just to find a park!) J My tutors and lecturers are great and so helpful (at first I thought I was the biggest pain in my class by asking questions, but they love to assist any way they can!) I have already made lifelong friends who make this experience even more worthwhile.

Although riding the University rollercoaster has at times been challenging, I wouldn’t swap it for anything else.  It has already been a huge learning curve and to sum up what I have learnt this semester so far, I would suggest:

  • Don’t leave assignments to the last minute – start as early as you possibly can!
  • Focus on the one assignment you are doing, and stop thinking about the other four or five that also need to be done!
  • Follow the study schedules allocated – these keep you on track and save last minute cramming!
  • Always remember your lecturers and tutors are there to help, if you’re struggling with something, ask them!

I have come to the realisation – once you overcome the downhill sectors of the ride, along comes the uphill and enjoyable part!