The slippery slope of mummy self-doubt

Making the decision to study at university was initially easy and very exciting, but then I came to realise that I may have less time to spend with my family because of the amount of time that was required to succeed at uni. Before long, it became apparent that there were many obstacles to overcome and by far the biggest of these were the ‘guilt’ and the ‘self-doubt’ hurdles. Like so many other uni students, I have been a mother 24/7 for many years. I have been busy taking my children to school, picking them up, taking them to after-school activities and, of course, the obligatory after-school sports that they love so much.

I don’t have any regrets about balancing study with family life, but I struggled with the feeling of guilt. Before I started studying, I wondered for months whether I should devote the next three years of my life to something that I want. What would happen to all those little things at home? You know, the everyday tasks that need to be completed, like the ironing, cleaning, washing (including the dog), paying the bills and, of course, the cooking.

slippery slope of mummy self doubtEven while the guilt raged inside me, deep down I knew that I did deserve to study because it has been my lifelong dream. I realised that all those house chores will still be there when I finish studying–it is not going anywhere–and in the grand scheme of things…It doesn’t matter! As for that lost family time… My family will always be family. They love and support me in my adventures and, in the long run, completing a degree will benefit my family. With these considerations in mind, I convinced myself that with a lot of careful time management skills I would be able to spend quality time with my family as well as studying.

The next step was to overcome the self-doubt that was eating me up inside. The questions I found myself asking included:

  • Can I do it (the hard work)
  • Will I be able to do it (for three years) and
  • Can I succeed?

I have found that the best way to deal with these questions is to find what motivates me. Over the last two years of studying my degree, my motivation has come in many forms:

  • My family
    I am doing this for them!  To give them something to aspire to and, as I said earlier, to benefit the family as a whole.
  • Myself!
    I want to study for my own piece of mind and to develop my self-confidence and self-esteem. I am constantly telling myself that I can do it, that I am able to do it and that I will succeed!
  • My friends
    My friends are a wealth of motivation with their: ‘you go girl’s and their ‘you can do it’s!
  • My peers
    My fellow students have provided me with massive doses of reassurance and support as we have travelled together down our separate study paths.
  • Release of results
    I find that regular boosts of motivation also come when my assignment and exam marks come back. Yippee!

welcome to motivation

As for those chores around the house… mid-semester breaks, mid-year break and end of year breaks sort all that out! It usually only takes a couple of days and I can see the floor at home again. A few days more and I can actually see over the ironing pile, and after only one day spent in the garden, I no longer have to fear my children may be eaten alive by possible tigers, hyenas and lions roaming in the wilderness otherwise known as my backyard. The semester breaks are also great for catching up with friends over a long hot coffee (love that coffee), shopping trips (any excuse really) and long lunches (we usually have so much to say). Uni breaks are also great for family catch-ups as well, although I find that with very careful time management I really don’t miss out on anything throughout the semester; it is all a matter of planning. Just sort out the important dates and activities and study around them!

So if there is any ‘self-doubt or guilt hurdles’ in your study plans, remember why you are doing it or why you want to do it. It is either for you or your family or both, and let me tell you from experience, they are both so worth it!

-Lisa

You vs. Your BFFL. Dealing with peer competition: how to maintain friendships when competing for jobs or grades.

Ever since we were little, we’ve been taught that we’re all in competition with each other. In primary school we were given awards for the best macaroni necklace and in high school biology we learned about survival of the fittest.

So naturally, we’re inclined to become jealous of one another if we feel that they’re in the way of what we want.

This is ESPECIALLY not cool if the person in your way is your mate.

The great thing about going to university is that you get to hang out with like-minded people who are working towards the same or similar goals as you. However, this also means you’ll probably be competing against them to get a high grade or, eventually, a job.

Now I know what you’re thinking:

‘Eliza,’ you’re saying. ‘You’re so self-confident and well adjusted, you’d never get jealous of your mates… would you?’

Well guys, this will come as a massive shock to you, but I too have, from time to time, become jealous of my uni mates.

For what it's worth, we're all crazy

No matter what you’re studying, you’re probably going to go through an assignment situation where you have to compete for roles: project manager, group leader etc… In the media program, we have to compete against each other for our desired role when making films.

While this is a fantastic exercise because it’s how job selection usually happens in ‘the real world’, it’s also pretty awful. In the media program, every student has to stand up in front of the class and explain why they’re better than their friends at performing a particular role.

Ouch.

After going through this a few times during my degree, I’ve developed a couple of ways to deal with competing against my mates.

First of all, try to keep the competition as professional as possible.

job-competition
Remember that your friend is probably feeling just as uncomfortable competing against you as you are competing against them. Try to leave the competing in the classroom or interview room; once you’re outside the situation, try to focus on more positive aspects of your friendship. Also, avoid making personal attacks about your mate and focus more on how well you can do the job.

Keep in mind that if your friend gets the job you wanted, you will have gained an awesome contact in your desired industry, which could come in handy in the future.

The second thing to remember is that you are unique. You are one of a kind and you have different talents and skills to your friends.

you are unique - use this to your advantageGoing back to our high school ‘survival of the fittest’ lessons, we were taught that animals are in constant competition in order to uh… avoid ‘going to the farm’. However, another survival tactic animals have is to adapt and find their niche in order to contribute to the world order in their own special way. You can do this too! You just need to find out what you’re special talent is and how you can contribute to the working world order.
A good way to find out where your talents lie are in your grades; while your mate might get distinctions in the communication subjects, you might be better at research and therefore do better in analysis subjects. This could lead to a career in research. Sometimes our talents surprise us, and if this is the case, you might not be sure how they will help your career.

I’m really bad at most sports and I’m not very academic (seriously, if someone can explain long division to me I’ll give you my first-born), BUT I can talk under wet cement and I love questioning everything. While my skills weren’t appreciated too much at school, once I started studying media and journalism at uni I WAS IN MY ELEMENT.
This was because I had found my niche, my groove.

Once you’ve found your groove you can use this as a selling point when you have to compete against your friends. When you’re in an interview or doing an assignment, focus on your unique skills instead of comparing yourself to your friends.

Competition is a fact of life, but when it comes to competing with your friends try not to take it personally. Remember that you’re all just trying to survive in this sometimes brutal world and in the end your mates will be there to support you and help you out when possible.

To quote that one girl from Mean Girls, ‘I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and we could all eat a piece and be happy’.

But that’s not how the world works unfortunately, so just focus on why you’re awesome and you’ll find that trying to get a job or a good grade won’t be as painful as Year 11 biology class.

The heat is on: stay cool and ace Semester 3 study!

For those of you living in Australasia or regions with similar climates, you’ll certainly have noticed the temperatures starting to soar. It’s not too bad but trouble is, it’s difficult to stay glued to your chair long enough to focus and get some serious study done. Add to that the extra pressure created by there being fewer weeks in Semester 3 and I certainly wouldn’t blame you if you started to second-guess your decision to take on study when everyone else is on holidays. But fret not, my dear reader, as I have a few tips to help you keep your cool (literally and figuratively!) to make sure you ace Semester 3 study this year!

keep calm and beat the heat

Location, location, location!
Let’s start by looking at the physical temperature. It’s hot, plain and simple. But before you drip sweat on your keyboard and watch the power board fry out, grab your study basics and head out somewhere with a breeze or air conditioning. If you have no trouble focusing with a bit of noise and movement around you, a café makes for a great spot to get your work done. Many cafés offer free Wi-Fi and of course you can get your coffee on at the same time to keep you awake! You can even throw in a generous slice of baked cheesecake (my all-time favourite) to reward yourself as you make progress (remember my previous post about the importance of rewards)!

cheesecake - study reward
If you’re easily distracted like me, you might prefer a quieter location such as the library (followed by a trip to a café for cheesecake once you’ve finished studying!). If you live near a uni campus you can always head there, but if you’re like me and are much too far away, you can go to the local public library to enjoy the cooler, quieter conditions. They will probably even have somewhere for you to plug in your laptop if needed.

Keeping up with the Jones’s
So now that we’ve got the environment sorted, let’s take a look at the shorter semester. There’s no denying that you’re going to need to be a bit more organised than usual if you want to keep your grades up while covering the same amount of material covered during longer semesters, especially when you consider the shorter mid-semester break with Christmas and New Year’s Eve right in the middle. It’s definitely achievable though, especially if you’re used to taking 3 or 4 subjects during a regular semester. Start by looking at your course’s study guide. Some course examiners will have already set out week to week ‘to do’ lists and goals for you. Keep to these targets (or better yet, exceed them) and you will do fine.

to do list

But what happens if you can’t keep up with the pace that has been set? You always have the option to drop out of the subject for now and take it again another semester. There’s certainly no shame in doing that, just be sure to check the official uni drop dates to ensure you don’t receive any unexpected financial or academic penalties for doing so (you usually have a couple of weeks grace period from when semester starts, within which you won’t be penalised for dropping a subject).

Semester 3 might not be the easiest semester with all that tends to be going on in our personal and work lives at this time of year but it can be a rewarding one. Class sizes are smaller which means you get to know your fellow students that bit more and, most importantly, you will be able to graduate sooner, or take fewer courses during Semesters 1 and 2). Studying during Semester 3 also means that you remain in the study zone and don’t develop unhelpful habits over the summer months. If you can make it work for you, I would definitely recommend making the most of this opportunity.

studying at uni - the heat is on

Happy learning and lots of success to everyone studying during semester 3!

How to make the most of your summer (while still having fun)!

Summer Loving Efficiency

SUmmer LOving, Grease - Sandy and DannyWhen you think about it, if Danny and Sandy spent less time over summer floundering on the beach and more time productively working towards their future, they probably wouldn’t have got caught up in all the gangs and drama they did.

I was one of the lucky students who never had to study over summer semester, so I was silly and did a Danny.  I spent my first summer off playing xBox and chilling with my ‘gang,’ but soon realised I hadn’t done myself any favours.  With hindsight in mind, here’s some options for you, so you don’t waste your four-month break.

1 – MAKE THAT PAPER
Going to university and the arduous study at home can really get in the way of consistent hours at work.  Having no money sucks, so don’t miss the opportunity to earn some hard dosh while you’ve got time during the week.

So much money! Spend wisely

Also, don’t be a giddy goat and spend everything you make.  Put some away and save towards a holiday, or just keep it as a back-up stash for next semester.

2 – GET OUT AND ABOUT
If you do happen to have money after Semester 2, get out and splash it (responsibly).  It doesn’t have to be as eccentric as going on a Contiki trip around the Greek Islands, but even a trip to Sydney or Melbourne can clear your head and serve as a reward for your hard work at uni.

Summer holidays - travel to ItalyYou might cause some jealousy among your friends with your Facebook photos, but you can always rectify that with some souvenirs.

3 – BE IMPRESSIVE
Summer is the perfect time to get ahead of your classmates and potentially impress a couple of industry professionals.  Get the feelers out early and butter someone up for a week’s work or even more at a company you want to work for.  Whether it’s an internship or volunteering, even if you don’t get paid, you’d be surprised how far making coffee for a week will take you in the long run.

Gandalf LOTR internships

Pro Tip: LinkedIn is the tinder of employment, get on that boat!

4 – DIY STUDY
Just because you aren’t enrolled in a subject over summer doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep up to scratch with your learning.  If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it, and by ‘it’ I mean the urge to study.  It’s hard to come back from four months off and it can be a real drag to get re-motivated.  The library is still open over summer, so maybe just schedule a few hours a week to hire a textbook and keep it fresh.

I have no idea what I'm doing

5 – HAVE FUN!
After grilling poor old Danny and Sandra D earlier, I do admit that you should flounder about on a beach every now and then.  You should also play a bit of xBox and spend time with friends.  The same as you would if you had uni, practice a good work/life balance and make time for everything.  If you are organised, you can fit all five of these things into four months easily, so if you haven’t already, GET ON LINKEDIN!!  You’ll thank me later.

LinkedIn is the new Tinder

Until next time,
Tom

Staying healthy when really busy

I present you all with the constant problem us uni students face each and every day…

chocolate vs apple - healthy study snack choicesOur busy selves glare at the chocolate when all of a sudden it transforms into Pitbull singing “I know you want me”. Yet, when we look over at the apple, its song lyrics go something like “stay with me, ‘cos I’m all you neeeeed”, Sam Smith style.

Or is this just me?

Nonetheless, because keeping healthy while really busy is challenging, I have put together 8 tips to help maintain healthy habits and wellbeing during a full-on schedule…

  1. Plan meals in advance.
    Take the time to plan what meals you will have during busy periods so that you can stock up your pantry and fridge with as many supplies possible. Not having to go grocery shopping and knowing what you are having each day helps prevent reverting to bad habits such as take-out because of time restrictions.
  1. Healthy snacks.
    While planning in advance, stock up with healthy snacks that you can take with you to uni/work or that can sit beside your computer while you study. We all find ourselves eating for no valid reason when busy, so it’s probably best we fuel ourselves with nutritious foods. The snacks on my list include yoghurt, pieces of fruit, nuts, dried fruit, muesli bars, crackers and low fat dip. This is the only way I have learnt to overcome the chocolate VS apple debate, otherwise it’s so easy to let the chocolate win you over for a sugar hit!

    P.S. I have found having no chocolate in the house helps!
    sugar cravings - resist the temptation!

  1. Stay hydrated.
    Being a uni student often means sitting at the computer for hours on end during busy periods. All of the important things, like drinking enough water throughout the day, are easily forgotten unless you are dying of thirst. I have now learnt to have a water bottle beside my computer at all times to avoid one of those “out of sight, out of mind” scenarios.
  1. View exercise as a priority, not an option.
    Talking from experience during busy times, exercise becomes something we “don’t have time” for. I have only recently begun to shake this bad habit after realising just how much better you feel after just 30 minutes of exercise a day. Whether it is a walk around the block, run on the treadmill while watching a lecture, Wii fit session, gym circuit or whatever else you would prefer, JUST DO IT!
  1. Get enough sleep.
    I am no expert on this tip. When it comes to getting enough sleep when life is hectic, I am as guilty as they come. For some reason, I become a night owl with the idea that staying up until ungodly hours of the night will induce productive work. The downside to this notion of mine is that sometimes the only outcome of this decision is the awesome greeting when opening your Word document that says “pick up where you left off 6 hours ago (3.30am)”. It is probably most wise to remember the advice of health professionals, particularly when life is crazy, and aim for between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night to recuperate and allow the brain to function!
  1. Prepare frozen meals.
    If you find yourself constantly busy, put aside some time on weekends to prepare meals that can be frozen. That way, during the week, it is just a matter of defrost, heat and eat! And the bonus is, it’s healthy!
  1. Bring your planned meals to uni/work.
    Don’t let all your hard work go to waste. It is so easy to become tempted when out of the house to grab something naughty from the close-by cafeteria. This is avoided by taking your meals with you. P.S. Don’t forget the cutlery (advice from she who has done so)!
  1. Say no to stress in your life.
    Try not to make extra work for yourself when life is busy. Although our world would be disadvantaged without “yes” people, sometimes we need to learn to say no. Don’t overload yourself and find time to relax! The last thing we want is to become sick at a time we can least afford to be!

    Have you got any tips about staying healthy during hectic busy periods for me? I would love to hear them!

Getting back into study? Tips for when you haven’t studied for a while

It’s a big step to make the decision to get back into study when you haven’t studied in a while… it can be overwhelming in fact. If you’re not careful, you can fall victim to the fears, trepidations and reservations that are in the back of your mind and this can cause you to panic. It can make you start to doubt yourself and question whether it’s all worthwhile, but I can assure you that it is. You may experience challenges and have some fears about studying again, but there are many ways to overcome them and yes, even beat them back into submission.

time management to reduce stress1. Time management
The first challenge that you may encounter will be the managing your time. Trying to sort out the ‘how am I going to fit everything in’, ‘when is everything due’, ‘where do I have to be and what is it that I have to do’? This can be a tough one to figure out when you haven’t studied for a while, but it is quite simple really.

Solution: have a diary, write everything in it and carry it with you everywhere or, when at home, draw up a study management timetable with all the important how, when, where and what info on it. I will be the first to admit that I can’t live without my study plan, because sometimes there is just not enough room in my head to remember everything. My study timetable is my best friend. It tells the how, where, when and what, a bit like having a good friend to guide you all day long and take the weight off your shoulders.

take the weight off your shoulders2. Not having any friends
Challenge number two is the ‘No friends’ challenge. This is the one where you think that nobody will talk to you and you will feel all alone in a large room full of people. I know that I could tell you that it’s all in your head, but you won’t believe me, so I won’t say it.

Solution: Develop a network, which is a small group of people you can talk to about your assignments and lectures and who you can swap notes with. If you take the time to look around a lecture theatre, you’ll notice that there are plenty of people in the room all probably thinking the same thing as you. Just talk to them casually and when you see them next time strike up a conversation about anything that you may have in common i.e.: classes. Before you know it, you will have a network. I have always been the oldest person in every class at uni, so naturally this challenge was a big concern for me when I first started. But when waiting outside for lectures to start, I just chatted to the other much younger students about the course or assignments (this is an easy one to get another student talking) and bingo! Now in the second year, I always have someone to talk to and have coffee with… I have a network!

3. Technology
Challenge number three is the ‘Technology’ challenge. If you haven’t studied in a while, you are more than likely scared out of your wits about this one. But fear not: it looks hard to understand but it is really very simple and you will need to be able to use it, because universities use computer technology extensively. I speak from experience when I say that it’s easier than it looks.

Solution: The USQ library has sessions at the beginning of each semester on how to use the library resources, including technology. This is an excellent place to start. But if you have some basic knowledge, don’t forget that trusty information source: Goggle. Type in what you want to know into the search bar, for example how to use features in Word, Excel or Powerpoint, and up it pops. I knew very little about computers when I first started at uni, so I decided to sit myself down one day before I started and I fiddled, fidgeted and clicked on every tab in these programs just to see what they did. Before I knew it, I had a fairly good grasp of how things worked and as for the rest, I just used a Google search or if I’m totally frustrated, I ask another student for help.

USQ learning centre4. Getting help
Challenge number four is the ‘Help’ challenge. This is the one where you have hit a snag in you studies or you have a few problems or difficulties handling things and aren’t sure where to turn for help or support.

Solution: If you’re hitting that brick wall, turn to USQ’s Learning Centre for course work-related questions, your lecturers for questions specific to your course, Student Services for those more personal problems and your Student Relationship Officer. Put plain and simple, there is always someone out there who can help… they may even be sitting next to you in a lecture. Just ask! You won’t be the first or last to need support. I have proudly used the Learning Centre for course difficulties, in particular… the dreaded statistics. They have sat with me many times and explained things in a way that I could understand. I don’t think I would have passed some of my courses if not for the assistance my lecturers have given me by setting up consultation meetings with them.

5. Expectations
Challenge number five is the ‘Expectations’ challenge. This is the challenge where you have very high expectations of yourself. You know the one, where you try to do a thousand things at once, expect perfect marks and never say ‘no’ to people and, when it doesn’t work out, you crash and burn.

Solution: Value your achievements! Don’t judge your progress solely on the marks you are given for assignments. Instead, value what you have learned during the process of your degree and certainly, under no circumstances, judge yourself on the results of other students. I personally am very guilty of this one when I spend every waking moment on course and assignments, all the while trying desperately to participate in everything that family and friends ask of me (it’s really hard to say no) and I have found that you have to find that special balance between the two.

The main goal of getting back into study after a long period of time is to learn and to add to your life experiences. So relish every moment, don’t panic and stay calm.

Work it! Applying yourself at work

So I was thinking.

Working can be seen as very similar to working out. A job and a workout have some nice similarities.

And I realised that, with semester soon to be finished, some of us might be working a little bit more, especially if we aren’t doing any subjects over Semester 3. So perhaps it would be a good idea to write a blog about how we can try and maintain that work-life balance and apply ourselves a bit more at our jobs.

Probably just like I could apply myself to working out a bit more than I have been.

For example, sometimes you don’t want to work out, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I actually haven’t been to my gym in months and this saddens me. Gym memberships aren’t cheap. And it appears as though I’m working to not work out. Ironic.

I find that work is all about balance. We don’t want to work all day, every day, with no light on the horizon such as a night out with friends or a romantic date with a special friend. Similarly, after a hectic day working on your legs, you don’t want to go back to gym early the next day. Instead, we’d prefer to have a sleep in. Relax a little. We never want to exhaust ourselves, whether at work or at the gym.

It's a balancing act

On the other hand, we do need to workout at least a little bit. We don’t want to finish the semester, with beach season on the horizon, and feel quite lacklustre about the whole thing. We need to make sure we work and have some money coming in so that we can afford the many social endeavours we have to look forward to once semester is over!

keep calm and party

For, you see, I feel as though it’s very difficult to have one without the other. I believe it is quite necessary to push ourselves at our job, so that we can go and enjoy ourselves afterwards. And we make that enjoyment all the sweeter due to the hard effort we put in earlier. That, of course, is not only true for work but for study as well.

But, sometimes it is hard to find that motivation to push ourselves at work, so I thought I’d share a few of the ways I’ve been able to do it in my own workplaces:

  • Stay happy! Everybody enjoys a fun workplace, and none of your co-workers will want to be around you if you constantly complain about your job or other things.
  • Be energetic and upbeat. I find being energetic at work makes me enjoy it more than if I’m being lacklustre.
  • Enjoy the little things. When there is something about your job that you do enjoy, make sure that you savour it and enjoy the moment.
  • Try to have a good relationship with your co-workers. Nothing is worse than working with people you can’t have a conversation with.

What are some of the ways you keep yourself motivated at work?

How to travel on a student budget

Hola amigos!

Bienvenidos to another installment from the travelling student. Are all of you as excited as me that we only have 1 month left of university this semester? How incredible is that… I just feel like dancing!

Ok, fine, I won’t dance…

Now is probably the time all of you intelligent and adventurous people are gearing up to travel on your summer breaks. When I talk about my life as a travelling student people often get confused and say ‘but students are poor, how could they possibly travel?’ Travelling doesn’t have to be as expensive as everyone thinks. Of course, you can pay the $4000+ premiums to get an all inclusive ‘Euro Trip’, but I don’t really consider that travelling. If you’re keen to do some real travelling on a student budget, then follow me!

Before a trip I break down my expenses into 3 categories to ensure I don’t go burning a hole in my bank account.

1. Flights
Flights are mostly standardised, but if you pick it right, spend time checking the dates and play the waiting game, you may be able to snag a $850 return ticket from BNE to CDG (Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris) like I did. However, this is very much a luck/timing/preparation thing. Also, don’t leave booking your tickets until you have only one week before your departure, as your flight could end up being double the standard price (depending on the distance you are travelling).

qantas

2. Accommodation
This depends a lot on when and where you are travelling to, but as a student you can find great rates for accommodation with youth hostels, couch surfing or even try your luck with a work away, where you do jobs in order to pay for bed and board. (Follow up story of mine in a Castle in South of France to come.)

workaway

3. Activities and living expenses (day-to-day)
Once again, if you are visiting a small town in western Ecuador you wont have much need for this, but if you are bopping about London town you will definitely need a larger wallet.

One way I have been able to slice my expenses down is by:

  1. Using my student card as much as possible (people understand what it’s like) and
  2. Cooking at home. This is a lot cheaper than going out to restaurants for every meal.
  3. By offering to wash dishes in a restaurant in exchange for cooking lessons or use of the kitchen, you can learn how to make a special delicacy from each place you visit. I have done this, and I now know how to make Pain au Chocolat, Baguette and marvelous patisserie products.

Win-win!

STA student travel
Finally, there is one service that really helped me on my journey as a student. I recently flew Paris to Brisbane for three quarters of the price on Emirates thanks to STA travel. www.statravel.com.au

statravel

Not only do they provide cheaper flights and great customer service, but you can get an ‘International Student Identity Card’ which has served as an ID for me all around the world.

Moreover, on a global scale it offers over 42,000 discounts in 125 countries and 40% off international airfares from their website. Locally, STA offers exclusive deals for their members, along with 20% off 2500 restaurants and cafes within Australia. With your STA discount, you can also get $11 movie tickets, discounts on software and a FREE ISIConnect travel sim card. The list goes on, but I’m sure we all have study to get back to…

I can already picture us sitting on the bouncy chair of an Emirates/Qantas flight to an exciting destination in a month’s time.

Adios for now, and happy studying!

We got this.

Juggling a career, family and study

First things first… tadaaa!

superstudy

There’s a superhero in each of us, albeit maybe not quite a latex-clad, dark, mysterious and cape-bearing kind! It’s no mean feat as a mum or dad to juggle school drop-offs, a job and university studies… it takes some awesome skills! We all need to start by giving ourselves a pat on the back. Whether you are a current studying parent, a parent, or maybe even working and just considering studying, I have some hints and tips on how I juggle it all.

Once you start your degree at university, it is important to know that you are not alone! There really are all kinds of university services that can help support you in achieving your dreams. In my time at USQ, I have personally have used The Learning Centre for some free advice on assignment writing etiquette, been to see Student Services and gained some career advice from the university’s career’s guidance officer. These services were particularly helpful in clearly establishing my career goals and were a great resource in my job hunting. I would encourage everyone to give them a go. I really can’t speak highly enough about the support I received.

krisi 2

When you are in the midst of juggling everything in your life, please don’t forget that your family can partake in this awesome journey that you are on (the kids included). By this I mean, from getting help with cooking dinner to making studying a fun experience, your kids can join in. As my son has grown older, he loves to ask me if I need my text book or if he can have a ‘read’ himself. This is very cute, so remember to take photos, as these are all special memories!

I find it really important to keep a diary. This way I can best manage my shifts at work, assignment due dates and special family occasions. It is just a really visual way of remaining as motivated as the day you started and keeping on track. The university sends out a super-large calendar at the beginning of each year. I pop this up on the wall for all of my family to see. I must admit that it has gotten me the odd dinner or two cooked curtsey of my family!

Occasionally I have taken a course off-campus and online. This meant that in the second year of my degree, I had some more free time during the week to get more work done. I really enjoyed listening to the lectures online, and I even downloaded some as audio files to listen to while on long trips in the car.

To sum it all up, I linked in with some support services at university, enjoyed getting my family involved, managed my time with ease by using a calendar and took the opportunity for flexible study options when needed. Everyone is different, but with the goals that I have kept in mind along the way, I found these methods to be key in my success along the way!

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What are some of the things that you put in place while juggling carer, family and study? I’d love to hear some really creative brainstorming!

Your A-Z Moving Away from Home to Study Guide

I don’t want to scare you or anything, but moving away from home to study is really daunting… if you aren’t organised. There are so many things to think about, do, plan, pack and organise. It’s definitely a ‘who said being a grown up was fun?’ moment, but trust me, it is all worth it in the end.

move out of homeBetween my experiences and having friends with similar experiences, I have put together the ultimate ‘A-Z Moving Away from Home to Study Guide’.

A: Application for study! There’s a reason this is first on the list. You need to get accepted into your course before you arrange anything else. Pour your heart and soul into achieving success in order to get there.

B: Books and stationery! Do some research on what textbooks you are going to need before starting uni as this will most likely require saving some $$$ before your big move.

C: Clothes! Packing my clothes is up there on my ‘hardest chore’ list. My wardrobe space at college didn’t compare to my wardrobe at home, so it’s important that you do this a couple of weeks in advance to prioritise the ‘I will wear this a lot’, over the ‘But I like this top!’

D: Desk for studying! If you aren’t planning on going to college, buying or moving a desk with heaps of space is essential. A large dining table also comes in handy in times of need, just ask my housemates who deal with my assignment mess around due dates (they may advise you otherwise)!

E: Entertainment! At times throughout the uni semester, it may seem as though you have no time for reading your favourite book or catching up on your favourite TV show, but do make sure you have something on-hand to use as a ‘I need to walk away from this assignment to be inspired when I come back’ tool.

F: Family time! Your life becomes very busy after relocating and starting study, so spend as much time with your loved ones as you can before you go.

G: Government funding! Moving away from home can certainly come at a cost but there are options for some students relocating for study purposes, so make sure you check these out to see if you are eligible.

H: Home reminders! I won’t lie to you, you WILL get homesick, so make your new place feel like home to lessen the pangs. My favourite reminder of home is a crotchet tea towel from my grandmother!

I: Internet! Your best friend as a uni student. Make sure there’s a will and a way to have it when studying.

J: Job! If you know you are going to need a job after working out your uni student budget, try to prepare a resume before moving.

K: Knowledge and advice! Although you may not always agree with them, consider the advice your parents give you and let them support you in your new journey.

L: Laptop! You will depend on this every single day so make sure you have essential software installed that you’ll need for study.

M: Money! Saving doesn’t seem very enticing before you go but you will thank yourself later!

N: Necessities! If this is your first move, pack only the things you will use every day, so that the unpacking process is far less painful.

O: Orientation Day and/or Open Day! Arrange your moving plans so that you can attend one of these days to meet new people while familiarising yourself with the uni and its facilities.

P: Photos! Sometimes having a little snapshot to make you smile will be what gets you through stressful and/or homesick times.

Q: Quality down time! There’s nothing worse than starting uni feeling stressed from moving – make sure you take time for yourself, to refresh before you start study.

R: Rent or a place to live! If you know you want to go live on-campus at college, apply as soon as you can so you don’t miss out on an awesome opportunity. If you want to rent, keep an eye on real estate procedures so you are prepared for the largest process of moving away from home!

S: Scholarships! USQ offer many different subsidies to help make your uni transition so much easier. Have a look at what scholarships you might be eligible for at http://www.usq.edu.au/scholarships.

T: Transport! If you don’t own a car or have a license, research public transport so it’s not a massive problem when you move.

U: Utilities! If you plan on renting, there are connections that need to be made before you move in, particularly electricity, phone and/or gas… unless you want to eat by candlelight and have cold showers!

V: Van or truck to move your belongings!

W: Weekend bag! Pack a medium-sized bag that will fit all the essentials you need if you decide to go home or away for the weekend.

X: X-tras! AKA Extras. Pack a couple of the little things that hold sentimental value to you and you know you won’t be able to go long periods of time without.

Y: Your very own office chair! Ok, so maybe this option is a little on the lavish side, but I absolutely love mine, and a comfy chair is essential for long days of study.

Z: Zen! Meditate, relax, have positive thoughts and most of all, enjoy this huge new journey of your life!

Have you got anything to add?