Keeping Fit for Study!

Trying to figure out how your regular fitness routine is going to fit into your student life? Wanting to make a change and incorporate some exercise between study, work and personal life? Finding that you have completely slipped up and are no longer keeping up with regular exercise?

Let’s do something about our health and wellness. Let’s ensure that we do invest some valuable time into practicing some self-care! It can be easy to let things slip to the wayside, including looking after ourselves. Below are some of my favourite things to do!
Things I like to do:

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Seems fairly standard right? Maybe or maybe not! I don’t mind taking it slow on the bike or treadmill and reading some lecture notes even if they are just on my phone, I am still getting in a little bit of study and essentially killing two birds with one stone! It is really a win-win situation I’d say! As far as going for a long walk is concerned, this is a huge amount of time that I also find is just perfect for listening to the odd online lecture while you’re climbing that horrid hill.

I have a couple of mates who are also keen to stay as fit as possible so we often organise different regular activities for us to do together. One friend in particular I meet with straight after one of my uni lectures. Yes I do wear my gym clothes to uni sometimes, it is actually comfy and you should try it! There are all sorts of beautiful parklands and sports courts right near the uni that we take advantage of. I am a terrible tennis player, nonetheless I don a pair of tennis shoes and pull out the old racket for a hit on those occasions that I just want to have a little bit of fun and catch up with some friends.

If I am dead tired or strapped for time I like to negotiate with myself and park at the back of the car park. This might seem silly however I think that these couple of extra minutes spent walking to and from the car can add up and as the motto goes – something is better than nothing! I try and remember to take a bottle of water with me too, this way I can track my water consumption and stay nice and hydrated, which as we all know is very important.

When it is at the point that I am literally not even prepared to leave the house (for whatever reason), I have a few fitness apps that I use to guide me through short workouts. So, I have literally been able to work out in my pyjamas (this has reached new heights of laziness I know) and even with my toddler, which is super handy to have as an option. I also find that these apps are handy as little pocket references when I am searching for inspiration on what to do when I find myself lost in the weights room at the gym.

Kristen

But what did I do today? Well today I took to the stairs, listened to some of my favourite tunes and although I wasn’t able to stay out for too long, I still stretched out those legs and soaked up some sun! Student life is busy – when you throw in work, personal life and add some extra goals it can seem unachievable. I still think that it doesn’t hurt to set goals, even if they have to be longer-term I find that it is still something for me to work towards (for myself) within the time that I have spare. Remember to remain flexible, when I slip up, sleep in or simply decide to just catch a movie it would be easy to feel guilty, but I choose to just be kind to myself instead – tomorrow there will be another opportunity to park far, far away!

- Krisi

Your degree can take you anywhere: travelling and studying!

Summer Reading

When thinking of university study, most of us tend to picture students sitting in lecture theatres and listening to lecturers impart their knowledge. We might also visualise the tutorials that follow, perhaps study sessions in the campus library and then the almost obligatory meet-ups at the campus bar. But with USQ, it’s different. Sure, you can study in this more traditional mode if you want, but you’ve also got the choice of travelling the world and taking your study with you. Does it sound too good to be true? Maybe it does but you really can do it! USQ’s online programs allow students to study from anywhere in the world – be it Rome or Paris, the Maldives or Seychelles, Istanbul or Muscat… the list could go on. I am one of those students and yes, some of these are places that I’ve found myself enjoying while completing my degree!

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I am currently enrolled in the Graduate Diploma of Teaching and Learning and am based in Istanbul, Turkey. Although far from Australia, I have everything I need to be successful on this learning journey – computer and internet access and a good dose of motivation (though admittedly there have been times when I didn’t have all 3 at the same time!). Using my student ID and password, I have access to pre-recorded lectures which I listen to at any time of the day or night, online forums where I discuss course content (and sometimes a few other bits and bobs) with my peers and teaching staff, and online library access which links me with thousands of quality books and research journals. I am a bit too far from the USQ campus bar I must admit but there’s a pretty good one just down the road from my apartment which is almost the same!

During the first 6 weeks of this semester, I have taken my study with me on many travels which has seen me in the Netherlands, France and out and about in Turkey. I will soon be on my way to Australia where I look forward to completing some of the practical components of my particular degree. I truly am taking my degree everywhere!

Summer-Reading

For those of you who have been thinking about studying but worried about fitting everything in around work, kids, travel, Margarita Mondays or whatever else it is that fills your schedule, ponder no more. Studying online gives you the flexibility to go anywhere, any time. You can break up your weekly study into manageable chunks that fit in with your personal schedule, body clock or mental peaks. So what’s stopping you?! Get online and enrol today – you’ll be glad you did!

The how to guide: for supporting your studying child.

When your child first starts at university it can be scary and confronting – and that’s just the parents!  There is that niggling fear that your child cannot survive without you and you are also concerned that they cannot do things for themselves; they may starve, or not know how to wash clothes, or be on time for lectures and how will they cope financially? You will need to provide financial, moral and emotional support for your child and it is not as hard as you may think! Believe me, they won’t starve.  Here are my top 5 tips for supporting your studying child:

#1 – Be prepared to let them go!
When your child first starts at University they will call you every 5 minutes just for a chat or to ask the most simple of questions. Don’t worry, they have not made friends yet, just listen to them! After 2 weeks or so you will probably hardly ever hear from them because they would have made a group of friends so they will not need those long chats from you anymore. Don’t cling to them – ‘let them go and fly the coop’; it’s the best thing you can do for them. After all, this is the time in their lives that they will form lifelong friendships.

#2 – Be the stability in their lives!
Starting study can be an overwhelming time in your child’s life.  Make sure that you are the rock for them to cling to in their times of need. This emotional backup from the family is just what will make your child resilient to the uncertainties in their lives. Above all, remain calm in anxious moments.

#3 – Be interested!
Make sure that you remove their fear of failure by being interested in what they’re doing. Support their decisions, even if they choose to change courses a number of times while they are finding their feet. Leave the decision of what happens in their lives to them. This will teach them independence, but they’ll still know you’re always there for them.

#4 – Money! $$$$$$
Naturally this part of support is the part we all accept as parents, but it may come in many different facets. There are always the books; paying for each semester’s books is a great way to help your child financially, as these are quite often a very expensive part of studying. But there are small things that can help, like the occasional tank of petrol in their car, paying for their internet and student fees. If they don’t have a car pay for their bus passes. If they live away from home – I found taking frozen leftovers of last night’s casserole, roast or stir-fry really popular and helpful. Leftover desserts are particularly popular with Uni students, and taking them out for an occasional treat for dinner is a great break from their usual student cuisine.

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#5 – Encourage them!
This is a very basic part of supporting your child…… but important! Be sure to encourage them to stay focused on the end goal of their studies, because they will undoubtedly have moments where it seems so far away and unachievable. Encourage them to apply for available scholarships, make use of the support services available on the university campus such as the Learning Centre for help with problem areas of study, career counselling, and join on campus clubs such as sport and to seek support from their appointed Student Relationship Officer. Check out his link to some helpful tips on supporting a child in study.

Let me know if you have some other useful tips on supporting a studying child!

- Lisa

 

New to USQ? The A-Z of student emotions

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Whether you are new to student life or a seasoned third year psychology student like me, I think that we can all agree that studying at university is a holistic journey that emotions are no exception to! Some might liken it to a rollercoaster ride, riding a wave of emotions along the way.When I look back on my journey through uni, I realise that I have literally felt the whole kit and caboodle from elation to almost panic and everything in between.
Recently I asked a few of my friends at uni what their experience has been like and it seems that there is no avoiding the ever-changing nature of emotions including all the ups and downs of student life. It makes sense though right? Of course you are going to feel upset or even disappointment when you miss out on the grade you were hoping for – remember it’s a good thing because it means that we care! We are all studying at uni chasing our dreams, interests or future careers. I don’t know about you, but my dreams mean a lot to me, this is why we cry when we feel over-whelmed by the enormity of them and become excited as they inch closer and closer until you can almost touch them.

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Yes, that was actually me! So, there is no avoiding the experience of the whole spectrum of emotions, it seems that they are necessary to our growth but what helps manage them?

BALANCE & SUPPORT
I have found that balance and support play a huge part in my stress and anxiety levels at uni. It wasn’t until my second year of uni I started to realise that I REALLY needed more of the B-word. So I took a summer semester to lighten the course load for my third year. I am glad that I did because I feel more motivated than ever with only three courses that I have to focus on now (rather than four), also meaning less procrastination – Woohoo. I am also getting better at asking my friends and family for support, asking if they can help by cooking dinner tonight while I read a chapter of my text book. I have also always been a big fan of The Learning Centre at uni, when I was finding my statistics course really challenging I was able to receive maths support which was really helpful.
Everyone’s journey is unique, but I promise some days you will laugh and others you will feel a little lost. Remember you are not alone, we are all in this together (newbies and 3rd years alike)! The adjustment into self-directed learning, where there are no teachers hovering behind your back, only your conscience on either shoulder is sometimes difficult. The transition into freedom can be a double edged sword because with freedom comes responsibility. I think though if we can just remember to check in with ourselves regularly on the question of balance and support, we can manage our emotions and stress levels just that little bit better!

Let’s start a conversation, share your successes with me and your peers or tell us what your barriers or fears have been along the way!

- Krisi

Studying Technology – The tech savvy student’s guide to uni

In the current age of technology, it is no surprise that universities and students are
quickly becoming dependent on a wide range of technologies to change the way students
learn and interact with information. There is a problem though. Only 10 years ago the
iPhone and the iPad were non-existent; even laptop computers were only just beginning to
make their way onto the scene. The question is this: how do we, as students, make the most of available technologies for study? Well here it is, the tech savvy student’s guide to uni.

First item on the agenda: the tablet. Since the introduction of the iPad and subsequent
releases of both iOS and Android devices, the tablet has quickly become an essential part of life. On one device it is possible to interact with friends, update your instagram feed, catchup on the latest news and, with current apps, have all your education in one place.
A recent survey by the Pearson Foundation found that over 60% of university students
in the US believe that tablets will effectively replace textbooks in the next 5 years.
Furthermore, three of the main publishers, McGraw-Hill, Macmillan and Pearson, have
begun the transition to ebooks, with many of their textbook offerings available online and
often with physical textbook purchases as a companion.

There is definitely advantages and disadvantages to ebook purchases and usage. On the
advantages side of the equation is the flexibility of a tablet (factors such as weight and size), price (ebooks can be up to 40% cheaper than their physical counterparts) and accessibility (options such as brightness of the screen and text size can be adjusted). Of course, there are disadvantages. If you’re a person who likes the ‘feel’ of books in general (like myself) it can be difficult to adjust to ebooks. One further disadvantage is the loss of resale. If you like to sell your textbooks, then reading from a tablet is not the way to go.

Now on to apps. There’s just a couple of super useful apps that will help with
productivity, note taking and assignment writing.

1. Evernote. This is the all-in-one app for note taking. With syncing across iOS,
Android, Windows Phone, OS X and Windows, this app is for everyone. Evernote makes
researching and collating research easy, note taking in classes a breeze and accessing it across different platforms as simple as a walk in the park. Best of all, it’s free.

Evernote

2. Clear. This simple little list-keeping app will keep all your tasks in one place and
make keeping track of tasks that much better. It is available exclusively on iOS and Mac OS X, however, if you own these devices it is well worth the asking price of $5.99. Wonderlist is a good alternative if you don’t have the $$$ to fork out and is available on most platforms.

Clear

3. Dropbox. If you don’t have Dropbox, get it now. Dropbox is one of the easiest ways
to access files on all devices using the cloud and it is free. The simple interface will make it easy to access what you want, when you want it, and will save you carrying around those extra couple of usb drives.

Dropbox

After all that’s written above, there’s one thing that trumps it all when it comes to study.
You can have all the apps in the world and still procrastinate, all the devices and still fail to get work in on time. So, if it’s the technology that is distracting, stop using it as much as possible.

In preparing for this blog the one thing I found was that many students also find technology
very distracting. What’s the solution? It’s simple, take the time to recognise the apps or devices that are important to studying and keep those and make the most of them. All the rest can be put to the side for relaxation and entertainment times. Don’t worry, you’ve got this.

Until next time,

Josh

How my study is like a dinner party

So I feel as though I’m right in the middle of an extravagant dinner party right now and it’s been going on for about a few weeks. Why, you might ask? Well.

  •          I’m currently completing my 3rd year of my psychology (honours) degree. And,
  •          I am doing this full time – so I’m completing 4 subjects. And,
  •          Adding on top of this the 3 casual jobs that I am involved in. And!
  •          I am currently undergoing work placement at Lifeline as a phone crisis supporter (which is the new job name for a phone counsellor).

Pretty cool, right? However, you may ask: ‘Nick, how do you do it? How are you surviving?!’ Well.

It’s not actually all that bad. In fact, I feel as though I’m kind of at a dinner party. I’m really enjoying it all. I’m really enjoying all of the subjects that I am involved in (some of which are actually really, super-duper cool). I enjoy my casual jobs and work placement for lifeline is surreal.

It’s kind of like… I’m at the table, and there is so much awesome food there that I just am not sure how to approach it. A little bit of this, a little bit of that? Or do I grab a great big slab of that delicious looking mud cake? But what if I run out of time/room in my belly? Oh wait a second… maybe I do want to try that octopus over there… Surely it would taste good, right? I am a huge fan of calamari and a bit of an adventure-seeker. Or perhaps the mud cake first…

So there are kind of a lot of different foods to eat. A lot of new food that I haven’t experienced before. A lot of people around me who are interested in how I’m going and what I’m doing. So yeah, there’s a lot. I’m busy, but it’s a good busy. A happy busy.

On top of it all, I try to go to gym, stay healthy, and also maintain a dignified social life instead of becoming a reclusive hermit.

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No, the other type of hermit…

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Yes, that’s better.

And no. I can’t grow a beard that fabulous. Yet.

I get through it all though (at least I normally do) and I do it with quite a bit of aplomb.

The work placement at Lifeline is pretty much the main course for me right now. It’s the big juicy roast sitting right smack-bang in the middle of the table looking a million dollars. And it is the main reason I’m writing to all my fine readers today, actually. I’m sure some of you have gone through some sort of work placement in your lives, but for those who haven’t (or haven’t done it for uni), I thought I’d give you a run down on how it goes.

The university organised it all for me, which is spectacular. They got me into contact with Lifeline and started the whole process off. I basically walked into the door for the first day of training without having organised a thing. Pretty great.

I went through a few weeks of training (about two days a week) to gain a proper understanding of how to take calls, how to communicate with the callers, and how to relieve their distress. Throughout the training, I got to observe one of my supervisors taking real calls on the phone, which was a great learning experience.

I finished the training, and have now had 3 shifts on the phones talking to anyone who needs help. It’s been a valuable learning experience already and I’ve enjoyed it beyond my 32wildest expectations. Yes, it has been very difficult and challenging for me, but it’s been a good difficult and challenging.

I’ve taken calls about suicide, mental health issues, family and relationship issues and many other difficulties in people’s lives. It’s amazing to be in the human services work place environment – it’s a great experience for me and I know it will be an invaluable experience.

Until next time!

Studying by distance from another country: 6 tips for studying on the go!

keep_calm_and_study_on_unique_poster_print_design-rde9f2dd6cde6449a9e5d9316c17a5834_wv4_8byvr_512I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post that I live overseas so am studying by distance.  It’s not always easy, as I’m sure you can imagine, so I thought I’d put together some of my key tips for a successful semester of studying on the go.  While I’ve written them with special thought for those living abroad or who travel a lot like I do, I’m sure we can all benefit so have a read and let me know what you think by leaving a comment at the end!

 

#1 – Become paperless

Not only will you save the environment and money by not printing things out, you will be much more mobile, which means you can studying anywhere, anytime, as long as you take your laptop with you.  Better still, set yourself up with an online storage cloud.  You can set it up so that your work is synced to your cloud automatically, so you don’t even need to remember to do anything extra.  You’ll then be able to access all of your files from any computer across the globe as long as you have an internet connection (Note: USQ offers online storage space via UDrive though it won’t sync automatically like clouds do).

#2 – Know where to find resources before you need them

Don’t wait until the week before your assignment is due to find out where the task sheet is and how to search online for quality resources.  Check out the various USQ tutorials now and save yourself time and stress later on.  With international time differences it can be difficult to contact support staff (or other students) in real time for help, so it’s important to plan ahead.

#3 – Connect with other students

We all know that studying by distance can be an isolating experience, but it doesn’t have to be! Connect with others in your course through StudyDesk and set up informal study groups (using email or Skype, for example) for support.  While family and friends can be a great support, it’s always nice to connect with someone else who’s also up at 2am trying to get their assignment finished before exhaustion sets in and the rest of the household is awake!

#4 – Develop a routine – but be flexible

It’s easier to get your brain into gear when you’re working to a familiar schedule but as you know, life happens and we can’t always stick to the schedule so it’s important to be flexible.  If you find yourself with a spare half hour before you need to head out for Friday drinks, use it to your advantage.  You probably don’t want to start a task that will require deep thought and a lot of time, but you can do shorter tasks like preparing for tutorials or listening to shorter lectures.  You’ll be thankful that you already did it later in the week when your momentum is slowing.

#5 – Break tasks down into smaller chunks

There’s nothing more daunting than having a 10,000,000,000 word super long essay to write so break it up into more manageable pieces (e.g. read a relevant research article; write an essay plan, develop an introduction).  Don’t forget to celebrate your achievement at the end of each chunk – but leave the weekend long wine appreciation celebration until all of the task has been completed!

#6 – Stop procrastinating!

We all do it.  But for some of us (me included) it can eat up a lot of our time.  Be aware of this and avoid spending all of your time preparing to get your stuff done – start your stuff now.  As in right now – GO!

 

A day in the life of a uni student…

What does your typical uni day look like? To be direct, mine isn’t always eventful. Sometimes I feel like I’m on auto-pilot, doing the SAME thing every day. Nonetheless, does it make me geeky or cheesy to say that I am enjoying every single minute? No word of a lie, on a daily basis I find my uni experience more rewarding and the amount of ‘ah-ha’ moments I am experiencing is substantial. I’ll step you through the basics of a day in the life of Kristie with the hope that at least some of my uni student encounters match yours…

6:45AM: One eye opens, I roll over, frantically trying to find the snooze button ASAP to stop the noise that has just suddenly awoken my precious sleep, whilst questioning (every single morning) why I set my alarm so early, even if my first class starts in just over an hour.

7:00AM: This is when the constant battle between my head and my body takes place. My head is saying “GET UP KRISTIE, you’ll be running around like a moron trying to get ready in time for your first class”. My body objects “surely you can spare an extra five minutes of relaxation”. Who wins? That usually depends on how many hours sleep I have had. The class I have that morning perhaps could also be a factor, but shhh – that’s our secret!

8:00AM: The starting point to my uni day. This is usually experienced one of two ways – going to a lecture and having to face 3-4 flights of G Block stairs or switching on my laptop ready to chip away at one of my study schedules. I try and adhere to kicking off my day at this time on weekdays as I find that treating a uni day like a work day pays off with some free time you never thought you’d have.

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10:00AM/11AM: Around this time of the morning, my tummy is usually demanding my care. I also believe that breaks are so important if you have been in class and/or studying away for a couple of hours or more. Getting myself into the routine of stepping away from my computer/textbook usually avoids the aftermath of my brain simply telling me “no more” and my body shutting down. However, I attempt making this break a maximum of 20 minutes so I remain in study mode.

12PM/1PM: Another break and body fuel-up is in order, as well as catching up on other things that ‘need doing’ before getting back into the swing of things. Some may believe I am a perfect example of multiple procrastinators that are pictured below (you may need to zoom to read the blurbs). Either that or I experience a variety, if not all of the stages of procrastination, which can also be seen below.

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3PM: Yep, you guessed it! An additional break to revitalise and prevent mind-clog

5PM: Time to stop work. Living out of home comes with the responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, washing, the works – all the joys of adulthood. Once I have attended to my household duties, it’s time to wind down and think about the day to follow (Home and Away may also be included in this equation). By doing my work during the day, I can enjoy this time of the night and I believe that relaxing before bed is crucial for a good night’s sleep. However, if I’ve had a slack day or a full day at uni, I do utilise this time for some catch up on study and assignments!

Of course these time frames depend on my uni schedule but this is the rough idea. You’ve probably just read this and thought – “Is that all she does all day, every day – studies, eats and goes to uni?” Not quite. I also try and fit in exercise as a source of my motivation. After all, sitting down all day needs to be broken up one way or another, and somehow I think sitting and eating being the consumption of my day wouldn’t be very good for me. When I’m at uni, I usually go for a stroll around the campus at least once a week to see what’s happening, and I also like to treat my eccentric fascination with the USQ Bookshop! Additional to this, I may spend some of my day baking, kicking a soccerball around, and I’d be avoiding the truth if I didn’t include a scroll or two on Facebook and Instragram. On the weekends I ensure I spare the time to enjoy spending time with my loved ones.

USQ Print Express

Becoming a volunteer is something I’d like to do again in the very near future. USQ are in the process of starting up a program called BEAMS which involves being a mentor for school aged students to assist them with believing in their potential and aspiring to achieve. I’m really looking forward to participating in this experience and I think it’s a fantastic opportunity being an Education student. If you are interested in becoming involved and/or want more info, see: http://www.usq.edu.au/current-students/opportunities/beams Tell me about your day as a uni student! Is it very similar or very different to mine?

Kristie

Changing careers ……It’s a learning curve!

When I think long and hard about the career changes in my life I can count a total of twelve to date and I say to date because there will definitely be at least one more to come. That is when I finish my degree at the USQ and go out into the big wide world again and into my new chosen career. I have done everything from being a door to door salesperson to data cabling.

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And with each career change in life comes the usual range of emotions and thoughts ‘should I, shouldn’t I?’ and of course ‘What if? Or to put it another way: ‘To career change or not to career change, …………..is that the question?’ There is and always will be the lingering fear of failure. It is important to remember that changing careers is a learning curve because with each new career you learn new skills, some physical and some mental. These skills will help build the bank of knowledge and abilities that will eventually make up the whole you.

The important questions to ask are:

1. Is my current career like this?

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Flatlining?

2. Or is it more like this?

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Plummeting fast?Or would you like your career to look more like this?

3. Just a bit more exciting?

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If you answer yes to one of the above then you may need a change in your career.

Coming to uni is a positive step in making the ultimate decision, but it is by no means the final step, because then you will have to follow through into your chosen career path and onto success. There will be successes along the way and it’s important to focus on them, but also to learn from your mistakes.

  • You shouldn’t get hung up on the failures, after all as long as you learn from the failures you have gained a positive new skill.
  • It is important to stay positive and focused on what YOU want from your life. No one else will do it for you and would you really want someone else to make those decisions for you anyway? This feeling of empowerment is very seductive and really good for the ego; trust me I know from experience.
  • Above all be committed to your choice because this could be the first step to a brilliant and exciting career! Also remember that you will add to the bank knowledge and experience to make yourself a whole new multifaceted, dynamic and interesting person.

With each new career change, comes a sense of fulfilment and gratification and the trepidation and concern that you originally felt will ebb away like a receding tide. I have found that people very quickly forget failures but the successes that you achieve stay with you and are remembered sometimes much longer after you can recall them. This sometimes can be a bit creepy or bizarre really. I remember once walking into a room (at work) and having a complete stranger walking up to me and shaking my hand whilst he introduced himself and telling me that he was so pleased to meet me after having heard so much about me. It made me wonder what my boss had been saying about me, while I secretly hoped it was all true.

Here is a link to a clever you tube clip that may give you a laugh, I hope you enjoy it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9NeHYeNlEA

So when it comes to changing careers, remember that:

                                    The certainty of trying   =   the sum of succeeding!

- Lisa

Dear ‘nervous-final-year’ Jordan

With the return of semester one, I thought I’d take a similar approach to fellow USQ blogger Kara (see Kara’s blog “advice for my pre-exam self” http://usqedu.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/advice-for-my-pre-exam-self/).

Dear ‘nervous-final-year’ Jordan,

HAPPY ACADEMIC NEW YEAR! March came around so quickly and now it is time to get back into the swing of things.

At this point, it is important to set yourself up for success and turn over a new leaf with positive study habits. 2014 is a big year for you Jordan; Not only are you preparing for your final year of university, but you’re also going to have to juggle it alongside full-time work.  It’s not enough to just set your new year’s resolutions; you need to think how you will actually keep them.

Build a study time table. Keep up to date with readings. I know these have been your academic ‘new years’ resolutions’ for the past few years, but you need to now more than ever. Finishing assignments the night they’re due is no longer an option for you. Start early, plan ahead and you’ll have plenty of time to edit without the pressure. Every opportunity to study should be taken – like your train rides to and from work.

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After four years of full-time on-campus study I know that the idea of finishing university online can seem a tad daunting. Always remember, if you are ever concerned you have an amazing support network of family, friends and university staff you can call on. The lecturers have consultation times set aside for student questions and they’ll only be a phone call or email away. Speak to work about your studies and I’m sure they will be able to be flexible when it comes to exam time.

I know you’ll be missing the social side of university, but online study isn’t as lonely as you may think. You can be just as involved in social and discussion forums available on the course pages; if that isn’t enough, you can always set up study groups.

Finally, don’t forget to look after yourself! Not only will you have limited time for study during the week, but you’ll also have to make time for exercise, downtime and (most importantly) sleep! Take a deep breath. Stay focused. Eat well. Have fun. Set yourself goals for this year and work towards them.

Best wishes always and I cannot wait to see what adventures you’ll have this year!

Good luck!

From ‘optimistic-future’ Jordan