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 :)

Advice for My Pre-exam Self!

Dear Kara McScardey-Cat,

You currently realised that assignment due dates are soon and exams are creeping up very fast. Panic mode sets in and you realise just how much hard work and study you have ahead of you…it already sounds tiring! But don’t stress, you only have 2 exams and a practical assessment this exam block…so think of yourself as lucky. And better yet, this is your last exam block for this degree!

30+++ pages of notes, that’s crazy you tell yourself. How are you going to remember it all? The simple answer is that you can’t. My tip to you is: remember the main points from each topic and focus on the exam preparation lectures (all the hints are in there). Writing and re-writing the main points from each lecture are the key to success…the info surprisingly sticks in your head this way.

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Try to switch your brain “off” at night. There’s no point going over everything in your head, you’re only going to be more tired in the morning. So right now go to sleep…and dream of high-distinctions! Remember your lecturers are there to help you…there is no such thing as a stupid question (they want you to pass)!

Facebook will be waiting for you…so logout and reconnect with your friends after your exams. Stop stressing. Everything is going to be okay. Relax and keep on studying, you WILL get through this exam block. Treat yourself to afternoon tea with your friends for a break from study (you deserve it).

I will be waiting for you on the other side of your exam block to help you celebrate. In the meantime, good luck for your last ever exam! :)

From Kara McSmartie-Pants

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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

So what do they call people who aren’t students?

I ask as I am about to put my studies on hold for the first time ever. EVER.

In less than a month’s time I will lose one of my defining features. No longer will I select ‘student’ as my primary occupation on the demographic section of surveys, or flash my ID card for discounts at the movies. My days spent studying/chatting/sleeping in the library are numbered and I may well have had my final picnic (for many months anyway) in the Toowoomba campus quad. The most astounding thing, which definitely hasn’t hit me yet, is the fact that I won’t constantly have assignment due dates in the back of my mind or exam study looming over me. My diary will be devoid of highlighted study reminders, my USB will lose its ‘Uni’ folder, and many trees will be saved from all the journal articles I won’t have to print.

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It’s a freaky feeling to be putting my tertiary education aside but, after much deliberation, I have decided that it is time for a break. I feel like I’m ending a relationship: ‘it’s not you, USQ, it’s me – and I need some space’. Twelve years of schooling followed immediately by a three years’ bachelor degree have taken their toll on my sanity and stress levels (especially as my bachelor’s degree included two doses of summer semester and thus no real Christmas breaks). And then they were followed by this year. Honours year, which is due to be finished in a month (…tell that to my two outstanding assignments and thesis – so close but yet so far it seems!). Sixteen years of being a non-stop student. And to think that at the start of this year I was planning on applying for the 2014 master’s program as well, which would have brought the count to 18 years!

I guess the dilemma which is faced by many goes along the lines of ‘well if I stop studying now to _____ (work full-time/travel/have a family/become a lion tamer and run off with the circus), then will I ever return to obtain the education and qualifications that I want?’ Coming out of high school I figured I’d just ‘knock over’ the six additional years of study taken to become a registered psychologist – better that than be interrupted and lose focus on the end goal. I was naïve and didn’t realise at the time that it would take some kind of super power (that I am yet to possess) to stay focused for so long without my brain making mad attempts to escape through my ears and never come back.

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I am someone who likes to be involved in lots of things and unfortunately the life of a successful student isn’t always compatible with that. So, after many hours deliberating over what to do next year I have come to the ‘take a break’ conclusion. Though I wouldn’t pinkie promise you on it, I do think that I will return to study at USQ sooner rather than later and that time off to relax, refresh, and reassess can only be a positive thing.

So then I had to think ‘wow, well if I’m not going to be a student then what will I be?!’ ‘Well,’ I thought, ‘what better to be than an adventurer?’ I need a real break next year, and whilst I also considered full-time work, in the end travel seemed like the best option, and something that I may not get the chance to do if I go down the career path now. Added to this is the fact that I was born in the UK, have British (as well as Australian) citizenship, and have 95% of my extended family living overseas. Aside from these things, wouldn’t you choose a traveling holiday over work?! So, not being one to mess around, my flights to the UK are booked for April next year (after graduation), and my British passport is in the process of being renewed. The tentative plan at this point is to gain some work in mental health whilst in the UK and then apply for Masters in 2015 when I return to Australia, but I’m also happy to just ‘go with the flow’. Farewell to the student and hello to the happy-go-lucky explorer! Oh wait, I’d better deal with those assignments and thesis first…

So, dear reader, I have a feeling that you may hear from me again before I depart, but if you don’t then all the best on your own study journey, and perhaps you will see another blog from me in a year or so!

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How-to tips for study problems most of us have but don’t want to admit

I love a good Google, and my favourite image search is usually “little yellow cars”.  I can’t explain why they make me laugh- they just do.  My other favourite search (especially this time of year) is “study tips”.  Not because I find them particularly helpful, I just find them funny too.  Funny because so many of these so-called tips are heavy on what to do, but light on how to do it.  Telling a first-time uni student to not panic, stay positive, set a routine, get organised, and manage your time, is like you telling me to change oil in a car (yellow, or otherwise).  If I had to change the oil in my car, I wouldn’t know where to start!  I probably wouldn’t even get as far as popping the hood before giving up in frustration, and returning the olive oil to the pantry.  To prevent you from giving up in frustration when it comes to revising for exams, I’ve got some how-to tips for study problems most of us have but don’t want to admit.  So let’s get started by first answering the following three questions honestly with a true or false:

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If you answered “true” to all three, congratulations, you’re completely normal and in touch with your own limitations.  By accepting these limitations, you can begin to work with them rather than fighting against them, leading to more effective studying and resulting in better grades.  Now because you’ve already identified yourself as easily distracted, I’d better get to the tips!

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There are many different flavours of procrastination.  Some people procrastinate by getting out and about and taking $10 study breaks, but lately I’ve been more of a procrastinator at the keyboard.  After all, just sitting down at the computer with the intent to study is half the battle, right?  And just when I thought I had read everything on the internet, I discovered the internet archive!  Want to see the USQ website circa 1997?  You can!  In fact, just for laughs, here’s a link http://goo.gl/o4R5Wr.  And that my friends, won me a gold medal in the Procrastination Olympics.  But procrastination gets dangerous when you’ve been scouring the internet archive for five hours, and that assignment is no closer to completion.

The solution?  I tried waking up earlier, scheduling my day, and rewarding myself, but all I ended up doing was snoozing my alarm, being late for appointments with myself, and eating chocolate for breakfast.  So in a moment of clarity, I removed temptation.  StayFocusd (http://goo.gl/Q35ly8) is a free extension for the Chrome browser that lets you only access certain websites at certain times.  And without the internet, what else is there to do but study, watch mid-morning TV, or go and exercise?! Needless to say, by comparison, study suddenly looked really appealing.

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The fact you’ve read this far has impressed me, because, to be honest, even I’m drifting in and out- and I wrote it!  That of course isn’t a reflection of the (incredibly insightful) content of this blog; it’s more a symptom of the fast paced world we live in- there’s always something that has to be done or something more interesting to do.  It’s one thing to master the fine art of blocking internet sites, but what do you do when you’ve been going at it hard for a good 11 minutes, and your mind starts to wander?

The solution?  A humble stopwatch, which, before it was an app, was actually a thing (http://goo.gl/9x9eav).  When studying, I quickly realised that when you’re not really in the mood, nothing sinks in, so I decided to tame my short attention span.  Here’s how I did it.  When I first sat down to start revising, I committed to a period of time I would spend studying that day- let’s say six hours.  As soon as I started studying I would start the stopwatch.  At the first sign of waned interest, or in one instance a burning desire to do the laundry, I’d stop the stopwatch, get up, and do something else for a little bit.  Then when the inevitable happened, and the new activity bored me too, I’d go back to studying and resume the stopwatch.  Rinse and repeat until that six-hour milestone was reached.  It will only take a few days of spending 14 hours to finish six hours of study to curb that tendency to take long intermissions, and just get it done!

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I’ve yet to find a single event that slows down time like waiting for the exam room doors to open.  In that time, you can feel every single nugget of knowledge you have studied for the entire semester slowly evaporating.  Then, in your traumatised state, you are given the impossible task of finding the correct desk to sit at, which even though they’re alphabetised, has in some courses been harder than the exam itself.  Finally, you are left waiting for the perusal time to start.  That was always the part that got me the most.  The sitting.  The clock.  The anticipation.  The Nerves!

The solution?  Many courses have their own bank of practice exams, so if you’re going to practice, you may as well PRACTICE! Why not simulate the whole experience?  Before you start your practice exam go and stand outside for ten minutes (bring your stopwatch!) and stare at the door.  As you stand there visualise how you will feel and what you will hear while you are waiting for your real exams to start.  No matter how bored or silly you are feeling now, it’ll only be amplified on the actual exam day- so you may as well get used to it now!  Then, without talking, go inside and sit at your desk for five minutes.  Just sit there, and again, visualise how you will feel sitting in the exam hall waiting to get started.  I like to stare at the clock, because that’s exactly what I do in a real exam.  After five minutes, give yourself some perusual time, and then start working through your practice exam.  I’m not sure if I’ve heard it somewhere before (or even if it’s true?) but I think professional sports teans use visualisation, and if it’s good enough for Dunedoo Swans and the Wee Waa Panthers, it’s good enough for me!

Got your own how-to study tips? Share them below.

GRAAAAAHHAHAAHAHAHAHAH! SEMESTER BREAK IS FINALLY HERE!!!!!!

This past (10 week!) term has been the most epic, marathon like event of my uni life. I haven’t studied continuously for such a long period of time since school… which reminds me – this past month brought up 4 years out of school for me. Wow, just wow. Where did that time go?! (Just in case anyone was wondering if I dropped out, no – I was born and raised in the glorious state of NSW, but that is a story for another time).

So, prelude aside, it is HOLIDAYS! Well, a holiday of sorts. We still have assignments piling up (some of us anyway) as we head toward the ‘pointy’ end of semester – THE EXAMS. But while it is here, we might as well linger a while in this honeymoonlike bliss that is the mid semester break and dream of the real break in just 6-7 short weeks (depending on your exam timetable). Where will you go? What will you do? The opportunities are endless. Roadtrip to Melbourne, fly to NZ, spend hours lazing around beautiful beaches to the south at the Gold Coast or the north at the Sunshine Coast. Nevertheless, summer breaks are ALWAYS a time for relaxing, having fun and making memories.

I was trying to think of one adventure for this post until I realised I couldn’t narrow down a lifetimes worth of holidays (admittedly only 22 years…) so here is the revised edition of all my holidays compiled into one big holiday. Hopefully it’ll inspire you to find an adventure of your own.

It all began with a roadtrip. Like most good adventures. Where are we going? Southward!The taste of excitement is lingering in the air as the car sets off. The first memory? Windows down along the highway. Hot air bursts into the car send forth an explosion of hair as the girl sitting next to me peers out the window. Of course, this trip is a family trip. We wait in eager expectation of our destination, asking regularly “are we there yet?” or laughing as the younger boy makes humourous observations about the family dynamic.

Destination 1: The bakery. OH MY! The delights! The smells! Apple turnovers, custard tarts, cream buns and jam doughnuts! Culinary sensations to tease the tastebuds and fill the tummy. The essential stop and destination in any roadtrip satisfies the hungry mouths and gives the adults some quiet as the back seat passengers take a nap…

Rocking rocking rocking. The boat rocks back and forth, but it isn’t harsh, if anything the rocking is gentle, enough to rock a baby to sleep. It is the Spirit of Tasmania. Land ahoy! After only hours we’re running into the fresh breeze around Dove Lake at Cradle Mountain. Take a moment to breathe it in. Glass-like reflections across the water, fresh mountain air, “crunch, crunch, crunch” goes the sandy gravel underfoot. In the blink of an eye you’re swimming in Wine Glass Bay. And before you know it you’re out. Way too cold.

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Jump to an airplane. The first overseas adventure. Burma. Orphanages, children, games and fun. The evening brings out all sorts of strange smells. Sounds to arouse curiosity. It’s the street vendors that sell their food for five to ten cents Australian. The guide shakes his head as you navigate the cracked and uneven footpath, it would NOT be advisable to purchase, despite the pangs of hunger. But alas, when no one is around the corn fritter-thing takes your fancy and…

… by some miracle it is delightful to both the senses and the stomach! 1 – 0 to the cast iron stomach.

Ahh CHOO! The dust from the road causes a sneeze to shake mountains and before you know it, it’s the lights of Singapore dot the horizon. What a beautiful city! Adventures to be had here there and everywhere. Chinatown market fun, Orchard road mischief and the Night Zoo! Monkeys scream at the approach of dusk and fire-twirling Islanders put on a fierce show, entrancing the mind as the rhythmic boom of the drums echo through the heart and mind, flashes of orange-red flames dart across the dark sky and ferocious war cries pierce the night.

A far cry from the streets of Burma, the stores of Singapore offer another enticement. Digital goods. Cha-ching! and the credit card is whipped out at the allure of a new camera. For what is a holiday without good photos?

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Finally, on the last leg of the journey, we enter the streets of downtown Kansas City. It’s cold back home but not here – a lovely 34 degrees. Singlet weather, definitely singlet weather. A monitor is on, advising residents of a “UV warning”. What the heck is that?! Try spending 5 minutes in the Aussie sun, then you’ll get some real UV exposure.

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Besides the lovely temperature, you take in the magnificent Spanish architecture and al fresco dining places highlighted by a faint orange glow as the sun begins to set.

Flying back to reality requires one final stop: San Francisco. Steep hills, COLD breeze and thick fog (you quickly discover the reason for the local saying “The coldest winter you’ll ever have is a summer in San Francisco”) and stunning character. Segway touring is a blast, rolling up hills, down hills and side to side slalom. One last snapshot: giant slices of SF’s best pizza and very sore feet, finally, you are satisfied. It is time to go home.

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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

On-the-job as a Student Nurse

“Nurses dispense comfort, compassion and caring without even a prescription,”
- Val Saintsbury.

Administering medications, giving injections, performing ECGs, caring for people of all ages…the list goes on. This is what I was doing for four weeks last month while I was on my nursing clinical placement at the Emerald Hospital.

I was nine hours away from home, staying in nursing quarters that were old (but free to stay in) and I thought to myself…’oh no what have I gotten myself into?’. However in saying that, my experience at the Emerald Hospital was the best that I have had so far. It was great to perform practical skills that I learnt at university on real patients rather than dummies. I was also given the opportunity to take on a patient load. This means that I develop a plan of care for the shift, write in care plans, write in each patient’s progress notes, administer medications, monitor patient’s vital signs and assist with personal care and mobility if need be. I was always under the supervision of a registered nurse which was great because I was able to ask questions and learn from that nurse all day.

While I was on my placement I was able to attend a careers expo and tell school students that nursing is a fantastic career choice. A picture of me and my clinical facilitator was taken when we were at the careers expo and featured in the region’s health services monthly newsletter.

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It was so great to work with such a lovely team of health care workers. I love caring for people and seeing their health improve. It is so rewarding to know that I can make a difference to people’s lives; whether it be at the start or end of someone’s life. After completing my rural clinical placement and being back at uni I have more motivation to try my hardest and achieve good results. I am so excited to graduate and start my career as a registered nurse in the coming year.

To anyone who is wondering if nursing is a good career to study for…my answer to you is YES! There are so many different places to work as a nurse: in doctor’s surgeries, in the hospital, at a blood bank, for the royal flying doctors service and in so many more settings. You do not have to be the smartest person out there, but you do have to enjoy caring for people and looking after others.

Kara :)

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