New semester plans

Alright everyone, I’m sure we have all now taken the time to reflect on last semester- the procrasti-partying (if you’ve read my previous blogs, you’ll know that this is my specialty), the three cans of Red Bull a day, the late-night dinners consisting of raw two-minute-noodles and half a Snickers bar you found in the back of the fridge (yes, we have all been there), the constant concern you don’t have enough time in the day to get everything done, and of course that horrible feeling you experience when you’re rushing to get an assignment done in time. We’ve also seen the effects this lifestyle has had on our bodies – I find myself looking more and more like the girl from The Grudge – and our minds. If there was ever a time that I could have been cast as an extra in The Walking Dead, it was between 26 March and 18 June.

What's the plan? Planning for success

I think it’s pretty clear that something has to change this semester…

So here are my new semester plans!

Firstly, I really want to find that work/study/life balance people have been raving about. Now, considering I lack balance at the best of times, this could be quite a challenge. Finding this balance is a problem that I know a lot of uni students face; you may need to pay for rent, or maybe you have a family to support. This makes it hard to put your university studies as the number one priority.

For me, I have a problem with saying no. So if my boss asks me to work an extra shift or two a week, I find it really difficult to pass up on the extra hours. It’s not like I think the fate of the sales representative world couldn’t possibly go on without me (it turns out the world doesn’t actually revolve around me) and therefore I’m sure my boss could find someone else to fill my shift. I struggle to say no because I feel as if I’m letting my boss down, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way when they choose their studies over work.

But here’s the thing: the job you have now is probably not going to become your future career, whereas the opportunities given to you by studying at university will lead you to your dream job. I always think of uni as training for my future job, and everyone knows that unless you’re trained properly, you can’t do the job. So why skip training? Plus, you’re paying to go to university. I will admit that I don’t enjoy wasting my money; whenever I go shopping I am straight to the sales rack before I look at anything else, and the same goes with my university fees. I’m sure everyone wants to get the best value for money, and the best way to do that when studying at uni is to put one hundred per cent into your degree- don’t waste a minute!

Planning your career: from Plan A  to Plan B

Secondly, because this is probably my last semester as an on-campus, stereotypical ‘uni student’, I want to make the most of it. I want to go to the end of year ball, play laser tag and maybe even do a fun run. Not only do all of these events include free food, but they’re an awesome way for students to feel like they’re part of the uni community and provide an opportunity to network with other students. Connecting with other students can really help if you’re looking for some assurance that you’re not the only one stressing out about final exams.

Following on from that, I want to get myself ‘out there in the world’ this semester. I’ll never get over how quickly my degree has gone by. Seriously guys, I feel like it was just yesterday I was looking up formal dresses with my school friends in the back of class instead of listening to the teacher, because who REALLY needs to know how to figure out the volume of a triangular prism? Although I have tried getting myself out there throughout my degree (work experience with ABC Western Queensland in Longreach, covering media events for USQ and Ipswich), I feel as if my resume doesn’t have quite enough for me to feel one hundred per cent ready for the big, wide world that I’ll be exploring in the next few years.

No matter what degree you’re studying, gaining practical experience and making contacts is super, SUPER important!

No guys, seriously.

Career and life planning: what direction?

Because let’s say you’re studying astrophysics: you may know all of the theory about how to dismantle and rebuild a rocket ship from the inside out. You may know exactly what every part of the rocket ship’s engine is called and what makes it work, but actually pulling apart a massive rocket ship, with your boss watching you and reminding you that this needs to be done within the next three hours, is very stressful!

My fourth and final plan for this semester is to ask more questions. This semester, I want to be a gross, bathroom mat. And by that I mean that I want to soak up all things possible (in case you were wondering where I was going with that). As this is probably going to be my last semester studying applied media, I want to obtain as much knowledge about film, television and radio as humanly possible.

So these are my four semester plans. There aren’t many as I’m not really the planning type. I plan on enjoying my studies this semester and spend time reminding myself how fortunate I am to be able to study at such an awesome university.

Keeping plans simple to ensure success

I hope we all can take on this next semester with a more positive outlook… and ditch the Red Bull!

Kick-start the brain with some healthy study snacks!

On these cold winter days, it is easy to snack on all the wrong foods while you’re buried in study books. I know I do. But there are lots of options for us to choose that we don’t have to feel guilty about afterwards.  Here are some of my favourite snacks that are healthy and tasty too.

Banana, Honey & Hazelnut Smoothie

Banana, Honey & Hazelnut smoothie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blend 1 peeled, sliced banana with 250ml soya milk, 1 teaspoon of honey and a little grated nutmeg until smooth. Pour into two large glasses and top with 2 tsps of toasted, chopped hazelnuts to serve.

Pepperoni Pizza Bread

Pepperoni Pizza Bread

Halve a small loaf of Italian bread horizontally and toast under the grill. Brush with olive oil, top with tomato sauce, grated low fat mozzarella, parmesan and sliced pepperoni (or your favourite topping). Toast until bubbling. Sprinkle with dried oregano.

Feta dip

Feta Dip

Blend 1/2 cup low fat Greek yoghurt, 1/2 cup reduced fat mayonnaise, 1/4 cup crumbled feta, 2 tsps chopped fresh dill (or 1 tsp. dried dill), 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp white or black pepper and an optional dash of hot sauce.

Cut up veggies like carrots, celery, capsicum and cucumbers and use them to dip.

Banana Chips

Banana Chips

Slice a banana into thin slices and lay on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 950C/2000 F until golden for 2 to 3 hours. Let harden at room temperature.

Crunchy Chickpeas

Crunchy Chickpeas

Cook a 440g can of drained chickpeas in an ovenproof dish with 2 tbs olive oil and 1 tsp each of cumin and smoked paprika for 2 minutes. Season with salt, and then bake for 20 minutes at 2200C/4250F.

Bagel with Ricotta and Strawberries

Bagel with Ricotta and Strawberries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spread ½ toasted whole-grain “flat” bagel with 2 tbs fresh ricotta. Top with ⅓ cup sliced strawberries. Drizzle with 1 tsp honey.

Dark Chocolate and Nut Clusters

Dark Chocolate and Nut Clusters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix together ¼ cup unsalted roasted nuts and 30grams melted dark chocolate (70 to 80 percent cocoa). Drop onto wax paper; refrigerate until set.

I hope you all enjoy these mouth-watering snacks as much as I do. So when you reach for all those unhealthy treats we all love, but we know are not good for us, remember that there are some tremendous healthy, scrumptious and inexpensive snacking alternatives. Share your own snack recipes with us all, we would love to hear from you!

- 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

Driving all the way from School to University!

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It was not truly that long ago that I graduated from high school, only 2011. I am now going into my third year of my psychology degree; however I still remember some differences between high school life and university life which I would have found useful to know at the time! I learned the hard way – through trial and error.

That development for me almost felt like a rite of passage; I had to find out the wrong and right way of going through university. I found it similar to learning how to drive. Not too much on the accelerator, not enough on the clutch; not enough on the accelerator, too much on the clutch. It was a trial and error before finding that balance. Now, by my third year, I’ve had a few stalls, I’ve had a few (accidental) tyre spins, and I’ve definitely had a few heart wrenching moments of ‘oh no, I didn’t see that car there and now I have one week before its due and this isn’t going to be good!’.

But, of course, there is sometimes that perfect, smooth, rolling start that made me feel like a Craig Lowndes ripping it down Conrod Straight during the Bathurst 1000 and this was similar to some facets of my start of university. I had my ups and downs; however the ups were definitely more prevalent than the downs!

Probably the main pearl of wisdom that I can give any school-leaver is to become knowledgeable in the USQ StudyDesk. Realistically, it has everything you need to pass the courses you are studying. There will be the lecture slides, the tutorial information, the study and introductory book, messages from the lecture and many other bits and pieces that you will find necessary to survive your first semester of university!

Have a decent understanding of the StudyDesk and all of its ins and outs, so that you can have a fair go at finding information throughout semester. You don’t want to finally understand how it all works by the end of semester, especially not after that 50% assignment is due, which had all the information on StudyDesk, but you weren’t able to find it because you had no idea where to look…

During school, I presume your school email wasn’t as important as your email for university will be. A great amount of the information you need for your learning will be sent through email.  Regularly checking your email is a great way to stay up-to-date with all your study requirements and find out what’s happening.

A surprising aspect of uni is the laid-back, easy nature of many of my lecturers: first name basis, happy to have chats during the breaks, and all round nice genuine people! I know, shocking. I even had a lecturer buy me pizza once (long story). So, just remember, lecturers are friends, not food.

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Finding Nemo reference, come on! Surely you get it!?

The last thing that I want to mention is the importance of the lecture slides that you will be using each week. Many students find it useful to go over them before the lecture, so they have a grasp at what they will be learning that day, or to print them off and highlight and elaborate on the dot points that are already on the slides. This is a perfect way to learn and retain the information that is received during a lecture.

I hope these hints have enlightened and helped you understand the bits and pieces that are different, and yet similar between high school and university study and life!

Flashbacks and a Fresh Beginning

The most exciting yet gut-wrenching time for ‘freshers’ (perhaps continuers too) arrived at the start of this week. You guessed it – O’Week! From a quick glance, the phoenix energy has definitely been circulating the Toowoomba campus this week with the scrumptious aromas of sausages sizzling, smiling faces at stands providing abundances of information, friendly tours of the library and university grounds, and long queues for your very own student ID cards. And let me assure you – it doesn’t end here. Work and other commitments don’t allow me to fully participate in O’Week this year, so I have decided to share with you all a few highlights of my very first O’Week, last year.

Toga Trivia Night
This night saw us college students pulling out our favourite Roman inspired bed sheets and some safety pins, searching and following “how to make a toga” on Youtube, followed by coming altogether at McGregor College to answer many questions unbeknown to some, yet familiar to others. Either way, you were bound to have fun – those who didn’t know the answer would humorously answer with a random  and arbitrary answer for the crowd to enjoy, and the others who had correct answers were that step closer to winning. It was so exciting to see USQ’s efforts on making this activity a university-wide event this year and I’m sure those who attended returned home with a belly sore from laughter and a head full of interesting facts, just like I did!

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Steele Rudd’s Big Day Out
On the agenda for Steele Rudd’s BDO was rock climbing, Latin dancing and a stop at Bon Amici’s café, all in Toowoomba’s CBD. These activities created a smooth transition to college life and it was a speedy alternative to meeting everyone and making new friends. The typical O-Week challenges of being yourself and having confidence were particularly tested on this day, thanks to the high demands of team work. Rock climbing was definitely a stand-out for me, having to trust someone you just met to hold your harness, while you climbed (and vice versa) was daunting, but definitely an experience I won’t forget!

Market Day
Held at the start of O-Week last year was Market Day, AKA Freebie Day. Did someone just say free stuff? Yep, awesome right? My favourite freebie was the large collections of pens I had accumulated by the end. These weren’t your average pens that would last you one or two uses. I can vouch that the majority are still working for me today! With freebies aside, having the opportunity to gain more information about USQ’s services and social clubs, as well as local Toowoomba organisations was very beneficial and was a head start to helping me feel at home after having to relocate for uni.

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As O-Week draws to a close and Semester commences, it’s time for us to knuckle down and get prepared for Semester 1. These are the tips I found handy being a new student last year:

  • Make sure you have your timetable on hand at all times, with your room numbers clear (I may or may not have gone to the wrong class in my first week of uni – luckily it was a class I was enrolled in anyway and the class I was supposed to be in happened to be scheduled again for that afternoon)
  • Create a study timetable including all other personal commitments (work, dinner, sport/hobby, and so on) – I cannot emphasis this enough, you will amaze yourself how much easier it is to fit everything in and get things done on time!
  • Sit next to people in class that you don’t know. You may be screaming at the computer screen saying to me “you’re crazy, right!?!” But chances are, your peers are just as nervous to approach you as you are them and they will be so thankful to have someone who can break the ice and to share ideas with!
  • Get enough sleep every night – I probably sound like your mum who nags about eating your vegetables, but it helps a great deal to be feeling awake and ready to learn/study. I would be lying if I said I have never woken up using my laptop as my pillow, feeling woeful!
  • Lastly, yet most importantly, have fun and embrace uni life, ask for help when you need it and have confidence in doing well!

If you need further tips on making friends or conversation starters, I stumbled across this clip where Jordan takes us around Toowoomba campus showing us just how it’s done! Check it out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NP5WWmQRm9U&list=UUp0ShvPUKqiKvfj40bexawg&feature=c4-overview

Feel free to share your O-Week experiences and your starting Semester 1 clues or blues below!

All the best!
Kristie

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

From Learning to Earning

With the semester three exam block now underway, I thought I’d take a bit of a side-step and follow on from my previous post. On the last instalment, I shared with you my experiences on summer placement and how it was beneficial in making connections between what I’d learned in university and experiencing it in a practical context.

Besides being able to experience the chosen industry in a practical setting, work experience also provides a great platform for professional development and an opportunity to make some connections with people in the industry. Overall, a big part of work experience, and perhaps the main reason, is having a greater chance of securing employment as a result of the practical experience.

Following a much needed rest and relax over the December holidays, I was lucky enough to be offered a full-time position as a result of completing the work experience program! It has been an extremely exciting time adjusting to the new job; a valuable learning experience and has had its fair share of nerve-wrecking moments.

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With two weeks now passing since I started, I thought I’d focus this blog on the main similarities and differences I’ve found between full-time study and full time work.

  1. Meeting Deadlines – just like managing upcoming assignments, work has its deadlines for when tasks are to fall due.
  2. Working independently – just like university studies, this work is self-paced and working independently of others. Luckily, at USQ students have the benefit of supportive lecturers, student relationship officers and student services for extra guidance and support.
  3. Finding the balance – a struggle every student faces once in a while is striking the right balance between study and life. Work is no different and with full-time hours I’ve found there is even less personal time in each day. Needless to say, this factor will be one I’ll need to work on the most once semester one begins!
  4. Hours of work – although on-campus study may involve up to 12 hours per week of face-to-face classes, the time spent on independent study is not necessarily confined to the traditional nine-to-five working hours.
  5. Money – perhaps the most obvious difference between the two, you are paid to work, whereas you pay to study. While many students (myself included) often grow accustomed to living on a shoe-string budget, university study is a long-term investment and can be the key to scoring that full-time position.

With all this said, I wish all the students in summer semester exams the very best and now the countdown has begun until the start of semester one!

The Study Playlist

Music is an integral part of many of our lives. I know for myself that few days pass by
without one, or many, of the albums I own resonating through the house. Music enriches our experience in a manner that no other external stimuli seems to be able to replicate. It evokes passion, joy, focus, spontaneity, melancholy, reflection, memories and many other responses.

In the light of our response to music, the music that you choose to play as you study will
impact your ability to study.

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Photo credit: 8tracks.com book.wyrm

The question is, what makes a great study playlist? Here’s a few things I’ve found
helpful.

1. Choose instrumentals. As a general rule, depending on your personality of course,
lyrics act as a distraction. Whether it’s John Mayer, Taylor Swift (any questions regarding
the validity of this inclusion can be directed at All Too Well from Swift’s record RED,
lyrical brilliance), Coldplay or Bob Dylan, lyrics have the capacity to engage and tell a
story and oftentimes capture our attention.

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Photo credit: Pinterest
(PS: Five points to whoever comments with the artist and song this lyric is from)

2. Choose something outside of your normal listening. There’s two reasons for this
one. Firstly, if you’re anything like me, you might be inclined toward analysing the music,
anywhere from chord progressions (I – IV – V anyone?) to the tone of the electric guitar
and the quality of the recording. I’ve found that straying from my usual genre’s of
listening helps to break the analysis and focus on the task at hand. Secondly, listening to
new music breaks the familiarity of tracks previously listened to and allows us to create
new patterns of thinking around the new music. Have you ever been listening to a track
that was a staple at a particular time of life and noticed how it evokes similar emotional
and physiological reactions to that time you first listened to it? This is an example of the
thought patterns we create when listening to certain pieces of music.

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Photo credit: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/

It would be remiss of me to not actually have some recommendations in this blog as to
what you should be listening to as you study. There is many studies that place classical music at the top of the list for productivity, creativity and focus and this (http://med.stanford.edu/news_releases/2007/july/music.html) piece by the Stanford School of Medicine highlights some potential benefits to listening to classical music while studying. Another well researched (and somewhat conflicted) line of thought is “The Mozart Effect”, that, when initially studied, showed an improvement in spacial reasoning among subjects. Many studies since the original have found both correlating data and incongruent data regarding the matter. In short, the verdict is still out.

My recommendation, however, would still be to listen to Classical Music when studying.
Composers such as Chopin, Bach and Mozart never fail to set a beautiful atmosphere and
block out external sounds which may otherwise act as a distraction. Pachelbel’s Canon in D is still highly regarded as one of the most relaxing pieces of all time and features on many Study Playlists. For some great, pre made playlists, check out Spotify and Youtube. These tried and tested playlists have helped many students get through hours of study and there’s always plenty of comments to help you find your way.

Here’s (https://play.spotify.com/user/127564522/playlist/0CwzkFXVbEK6VJO3Rzo7lX) the link to my favourite Spotify study playlist.

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Photo credit: http://dailydoseofstuf.tumblr.com

After all this, more important than anything when your studying is to create an
environment where you can relax and focus. If you find that it’s ADTR that helps most in
that endeavour, listen to that, if it’s the Top 100 Billboard then listen to the Top 100 Billboard and if it’s Smooth Jazz, listen to that. For me, silence is as good as anything and I’ll put on some classical if I find myself distracted by other sounds. Find what suits you.

Until next time,
Josh

The Facts and Myths about University Life!

Is it true that university lecturers don’t actually mind if you sleep through their lecture? Can university assignments really be handed in at midnight? Is it true that there are different clubs students can be involved in? Is there really such a thing as a 24 hour library? Are all university students poor? Do all first year students gain 15kgs? But most importantly, is university life fun?

All these questions and more will be answered in this mythbusting blog!

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Three years of study completed, one more semester to go and then I’m done and dusted! My occupation will no longer be classified as ‘Student’, but as ‘Registered Nurse’. What a roller-coaster ride my university experience has been…there have been lots of ups and downs.

I will start with the ‘downs’, these moments are just like falling from the Giant Drop at Dream World. The first 6 months of my study was completed at a university in Brisbane and I lived on-campus as a college student. It is true that I gained weight in the first 6 months of my degree (fresher spread they call it). I was experiencing ‘culture shock’- Brisbane is very different from Hervey Bay and I missed my family. I comforted myself with chocolate and I always gave in to the yummy desserts that the college’s chef cooked. I would advise all first year students to say NO to that chocolate bar, but YES to going for a run or bike ride! It is surprisingly true that people sleep through their lectures without their lecturer knowing. In large Brisbane universities there are up to 500 students in some lecture theatres. I suggest you find a friend that is studious and will pinch you on the arm if you start to drift off to sleep or daydream. I was studying a science degree and HATED it, so the best suggestion I can give to any uni student is to study something you enjoy! A great thing about studying in the city is that there are over 100 different social clubs to join…from the chess club to the athletics club.

Don’t let my first experience of uni life in Brisbane put you off…I just wasn’t ready to hit the big smoke!

The ‘ups’ to my uni life is just like the Superman ride at Movie World where you’d like to do it again and again. The last 2 ½ years of my study have been at USQ, studying nursing. Moving back to Hervey Bay to study nursing was the best decision I have ever made. USQ Fraser Coast Campus is such a great uni; you can get to know all your peers and your lecturers at a more personal level. The only down side is you can’t sleep through your lectures because the class sizes are a lot smaller and your teacher will hear you snoring. In reality the smaller class sizes are great; you are forced to stay awake and listen to exam content plus you can ask questions without 500 other eyes looking at you!

blog1Most assignments are to be submitted online by midnight (great for all those last minute assignment stress bunnies)! The student library at the Fraser Coast Campus this year underwent a huge refurbishment – it is now such a vibrant, fun place to study. Even better, the library is open to all USQ students 24 hours a day.

 

 

blog2Uni students aren’t always poor. We may not be the richest of people, but we learn to manage by applying for scholarships and bursaries. Part-time work is also an option and has been manageable for me personally. It’s always good to earn some extra spending money for those much needed shopping sprees!

 

 

blog2Uni isn’t always just about study. The Student Representative Committee (SRC) at the USQ Fraser Coast Campus in 2013 held many fun events. I attended their bowling night which was great fun to interact with new people and to win cool prizes! The SRC finished with a bang this year by holding a Gala Dinner with a 2 course meal, live entertainment and prizes to be won. Goes to show that uni doesn’t have to be about studying 24/7, but about having fun while you are doing it!

All in all, university is a lot better than what I thought it would be. I thought it would be really hard and scary! Thankfully it is nothing like that; with fun people, great job opportunities and more contact with lecturers means you can make friends of all ages. I have made friends for life! All of the staff want to see you do your very best and enjoy every moment…embrace it! I have loved being a university student and would do it again in the blink of an eye.

This blog has officially been busted! Keep an eye out for me in the future, I have thought about starting a new blog in 2014 as a graduate nurse. Thank you for reading my blogs this year, I have enjoyed writing them and sharing my knowledge.

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All the best,

Kara :)

Summer Holidays: Taking a break to reset yourself

I was listening to John Mayer’s song Wildfire recently and he says, rather succinctly: “‘Cause a little bit of summer makes a lot of history.” Summer, what an opportunity. When I think back to my childhood, my high school years and more recently the years of study, summer has been the source of some of my best memories. New friends, road trips and holidays with family are just a few of my fondest recollections of past summers.

This summer I have a plan. It is simple. Enjoy, relax and grow. Hakuna matata. No worries.

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There is only one thing that really bothers me over this break though. How do I actually make the most of it? It is a pretty easy thing to sit down and do very little over the course of the holidays, and whilst it might be fun at the time, it is doing things that makes memories.

Here’s a shortlist of summer activities to make memories and don’t cost too much $$ (the essential for any uni student).

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Photo credit: @jewelszee_ on instagram
1. The beach. There is no doubt that this is the place to be over the summer. Whether for a day trip or week long retreats, the sun, waves, salt air and sand never fail to refresh body and soul. The options are endless: sunbathing, swimming, walking, fishing or surfing. One way or another a day or week at the beach will never be a waste.

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Photo credit: australiangeographic.com.au
2. Road trips. Perhaps this is one of the best ways to create memories over summer. Bundle a bunch of friends into a car and take off, either to a known or unknown destination. This one is about enjoying the journey. Laugh, cry but most importantly have fun. Travel south to the snowy mountains for a few days trekking Kosciusko or biking Thredbo, dare to travel further and end up in Melbourne or travel north to Hervey Bay, North West to Longreach or a short trip East and enjoy a day in Brisbane or Burley Heads. Do it. Find those unknown destinations and make memories on a road trip.

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Photo credit: Gourmet Traveller
3. Throw together a good barbecue. Invite a heap of friends and tell them to bring meat, drinks or salad and let the fun begin. I particularly love a summer barbie because the sun sets so late and everyone is able to sit around, beer or cider in hand (maybe a glass of wine too) and enjoy each other’s company. Add in a cricket bat, tennis ball and a bin and there’ll be a game going in minutes with plenty of guys able to show off while the ladies (excuse the stereotype) sit back and talk about their finds at the Boxing Day sales.

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4. Finally, one of my personal favourites: Go and see some sports. There’s plenty to see, especially with the cricket this year featuring the T20 BigBash at the Gabba and also the One Day International Series. If you happen to be in a major city around the time of one of the Ashes Tests be sure to go and see a day, it is well worth the time, especially if you’re with good company. And if you’re not into cricket there is also the A-league Football running over summer.

So this summer, take a break. Kick back with something cool to drink, have fun and make memories.

Until next time,
Josh