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

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!

O-Week: A week to remember.

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So it’s here, the return of Semester – and what a way to kick it off! O-Week, as always, saw the university come alive with energy and excitement. Thousands of students came on campus to experience university life (many for the first time). With information sessions, live music, movie nights, party nights and Phoenix Carnival, this was a jam-packed week for our students.

The week kicked off at Alison Dickson Lecture Theatre with the VC, Mrs Jan Thomas, giving an inspiring welcome speech. Students then broke into faculty sessions and had the opportunity to attend workshops such as time management, university services, library tours and many more. And of course, where would O-Week be without some live music, Red Froggers and Free Stuff?

Throughout the week students could take part in Bush Dances, a movie night, an under 18’s Café Crawl and of course – a themed Party Night at The Spotted Cow. The week ended with the first annual Phoenix Carnival – which included live music, market, food stalls and lots of games and activities.
However, I wasn’t sure if words could really re-create the vibe of this week, so I have created a video which showcases the O-Week Journey for our students and staff. Enjoy!

- Amanda

You Can Pass gO Week

It’s that time of year again. The holiday hangover is about to kick in and the stress of exams and assignments will begin. So, why not taken a whole week to settle into uni life, either for the first time or possibly the last? O Week, or as us Concannonites are calling it this year, gO Week, is all about easing back into study and settling into uni life in style. So this year, we have organised the week around a monopoly theme.

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At Concannon we devised a set of challenges and points system for the freshers (first years) to complete by the end of the week. The challenge of picking a flower for one of the returnees is proving a little more difficult for some. The challenges and riddles given to the freshers is just an easier and more fun way of getting to know everyone and easing them into the college atmosphere. There is also a special incentive. With an overall prize including an exercise ball, gift voucher and a few extra goodies, the competition is getting heated. 

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gO Week is jam-packed with uni events, including Market Day (better known as Freebie Day) and the upcoming Phoenix Carnival, as well as college events such as inter-college Toga Trivia and an Olympiad, just to name a few. In saying that, the planning of college O-Week events is not an easy task, I can tell you first hand.

As part of Concannon’s Residential Student Club (RSC) this year, I get to see the hard work and patience it takes to organise all the inter-college events or even just a movie night on college. So please, think of the hours put in to make all this possible for YOU and enjoy the week!

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This week will be a week of ‘firsts’ for many. Not only will it be the first week of uni life and possibly college life, but this week friendships will be made and careers kick-started. For some it may even be the first (and maybe last) time that they will ever do the Chicken Dance while riding a mechanical bull. Yes, that happened. 

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Pre-semester-lack-of-motivation-for-study-itis

Welcome!!  :)

Well, this is the first ever USQ blog…being written by the first ever USQ blogger. It also happens to be the first ever blog this blogger has ever written! My name is Amanda Smythe, and I am a student at USQ Toowoomba. I am a first year business student…. and a part-time waitress…and also, now, a blogger (my resume is looking good).

A new semester is dawning and it’s time to start buying new textbooks, collecting miscellaneous pens and waking up before 11am again – all things which had been lost and forgotten since the end of Semester 1. Coming up with the enthusiasm to do such tasks, however, is pretty hard. I have found my only bit of hope in the realisation that my textbooks stacked together would be an excellent footrest (and/or small table for resting drinks) and therefore will get me through another four courses of study this coming semester in comfort. I think I am not alone in experiencing pre-semester-lack-of-motivation-for-study-itis. In fact, I think it may be a common symptom of the holidays. I have pondered on this new concept, and decided that there is surely a cure for the terrible disease which seems to have infected students across the nation.

CURE = ISOLATION, QUARANTINE AND CHOCOLATE.

After testing aforementioned cure, I have concluded that the suggested regime to cure pre-semester-lack-of-motivation-for-study-itis does definitely not efficiently cure the disease. However, further testing may be required.

After failing to gain motivation during the quarantine and chocolate-eating process, I turned to other methods. I decided to go on-campus during Orientation Week in order to find some inspiration.

The first thing I saw was this sign. A clear indication from USQ that they are happy to see their students again!!! Yes, this little sign brought bright, yellow sunshine to my day (ps. it also happened to be raining this day). I continued my adventure through the campus buildings, only to find more inspiration….

Ohh how much the sight and smell of coffee in The Hub Café reminded me of studying in the USQ Hub. It has helped me through so many hours of assignments, so many lectures and tutorials, and so many days of not feeling like doing either. Once again, my motivation was rising and I started looking forward to those days again. I ventured into the Hub Café (possibly with the intention of purchasing coffee), and the building was buzzing with Orientation Week excitement!! There was live music (see below picture) and friendly faces at an information booth (see the picture below the below picture) – all bubbling with happiness and bright coloured hair. To me, a student diagnosed with pre-semester-lack-of-motivation-for-study-itis, this was very strange for me. Perhaps it was….USQ fever…

The final stop upon my journey was a group called ‘Community Building’ (see picture below). Until my journey this morning, I never even knew this group existed. However, as the brightly decorated sign caught my attention in the middle of The Hub, I had to find out more. I am so glad I did. This small voluntary group meets with people within the USQ community to make them feel more welcome, especially those with international backgrounds. One member said they aim to engage these fellow USQ students in “meaningful conversations to build the sense of community”. WOW!! If this group wasn’t enough to motivate me to return to my USQ Community and get stuck into my textbooks…then nothing would!!

So as I write this blog, and count down the days until classes begin, I can safely say that I am ready – and even excited – to begin study again. Have I now caught the ‘USQ fever’??…it’s possible. But most importantly I hope that I have shared with you a little bit of inspiration to cure you from a case of pre-semester-lack-of-motivation-for-study-itis.

Lastly, I would like to thank you for being part of the first blog, by the first blogger, of USQ. I would love for everyone to read, share, like, comment, re-blog, print, re-read, post the link, save the page…whatever you have to do to let everyone know about USQ’s new blog. Most importantly, I would love to hear…what you want to hear. Comment and let us know what you would like our bloggers to talk about!! We are all students, just like you. We are all at USQ, just like you. And together, WE ARE THE USQ COMMUNITY. Help us make it great.