Going the Distance

18 months ago, I packed my bags to set off on a new chapter of my life – attending university away from home. This meant a couple of things: One – I wouldn’t be seeing my family every day, and Two – I would need to become increasingly self-sufficient.  So here’s what I have found on my journey so far…

Technology is AWESOME
Nowadays with Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, SMS and phone calls, it is a lot easier to keep in touch with your loved ones at home without missing them like crazy. Generally, I call mum and dad most days to catch up on what’s going on in our worlds, just like we would at home. Sometimes I think that they don’t even realise I’ve left!

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Make time for visits
There comes a time when all forms of technology just don’t cut it and you start to have family-time withdrawals. I have found that treating weekdays like business hours and studying as much as possible in this time frame helps free up some time every now and then on weekends. Lucky enough for me, home is only an approximate 2 hour car trip away, so when I can, I try to go home for a weekend or my family comes to me. Sometimes we make an occasion out of it and go somewhere for dinner, or even have a nice dinner at home. After all, they say it’s the simple things in life that count!

Go out and make friends
Moving away from home is particularly daunting when you do so on your own and leave your family and friends behind. It isn’t very hard to get caught up feeling lonely and of course this is when the home-sick bug hits you for six. Making friends is the perfect solution to this. For me, I felt that living on college for the first year out of home was a wise choice as you are always surrounded by others and there’s no time to feel lonely. It was a great foundation for new friendships, getting to know the area, and to merely adjust to a new life away from family and home.

There are many other ways to build friendships including joining a sporting club or other hobby organisations. Funny enough, finding a job can also be beneficial for your social life as you mix with other people you may have never had the chance to.

Be organised
In the adult world of living away from family, all of a sudden there’s cooking, washing and cleaning all to be done with no help from your family. It really is a juggling act finding a balance between study and maintaining a house. For me, this is probably one of my biggest downfalls. Sometimes the ‘maintaining a house’ side of things outweighs the ‘study’ as I am professional at finding ways to procrastinate. “I need food to live, right? Cooking myself a three course meal is totally essential and study can wait” – yep, these are some of my famous words since moving out of home. Something tells me that a THREE course daily meal probably isn’t essential and there comes a time where study CANNOT wait any longer.  My biggest attempt at organisation includes preparing foods that can be frozen and used as needed after long days of study or uni, and that way I have no reason for house-procrastination!

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Although living away from family certainly has its challenges, there are many ways you can make this process easier. Simply, distract yourself by keeping busy and surround yourself with people who make you laugh and are purely good company.  When I have days where I really miss my family, it’s the simple things like picking up the phone that make a world of difference. Other times, it’s important not to let study take over, and remember that it’s OK to take some time out to travel to visit family. After all, they are the ones who have supported me to get here in the first place.

Until next time,

Kristie

Uni-style: What to wear to uni

“My closet is full of clothes but I have nothing to wear!”

Sound familiar? I am a huge suspect for this. The night before is spent studying till late and the last thing in mind is what to wear to uni the next day. The time comes to get changed and there is a fast approaching freak-out on clothing for that day. Here are 5 handy hints about uni-style apparel that works well for all USQ students.

  1. Your uni wardrobe doesn’t need to cost a fortune.

If you are wanting to add to your already overflowing wardrobe, but feel the $$$ won’t allow for it, head down to your local op shop. I’m yet to do so myself, but many of my friends pick up goodies for next to nothing and strongly recommend it!

  1. It’s nearly winter; comfort dominates style.

With winter just under a week away, it’s time to pull out the comfy attire in exchange for shorts and singlets, that will no longer suffice the cooler weather, especially in Toowoomba. For us girls, waving goodbye to pretty dresses to avoid disturbed concentration from shivering away in a class, is probably one of our biggest fashion dilemmas. I admire those who are completely opposite to me – brave and don’t feel the cold! (Sometimes I believe I was a frog in another life). Comfort becomes my number one priority; however it doesn’t have to be completely daggy. Another advantage to this is that there’s no need to change into “house clothes” to get comfy when you get home from uni and need to study!  Here are type of items I go for (no one at uni has laughed at me yet!)

  • Warm and cozy jumpers

Girls and guys, whether it be a hoodie, jumper or sweater, this is a winter must-have. My favourite at the moment is the knit look because it doesn’t just look comfy, it IS comfy!

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  • Dressy t-shirts

Sometimes a jumper is too heavy for the classroom and a nice t-shirt is able to alleviate this. And again, we have comfort!

  • Denim

One of my beloved winter items is a pair or two of good old jeans. I usually have at least a blue and a black pair in my wardrobe. I find they are the perfect match for any top and are handy to have on those mornings when your uni outfit is a last minute decision!

  • Dresses and leggings/stockings

We love our dresses and it’s such a pity to have to store them away in winter. Depending on the dress itself, sometimes a pair of leggings or stockings can solve this problem. I have also seen many girls in pretty knit dresses and leggings which really pulls off the comfortable winter look.

  • A cover-up coat, cardigan or jacket

My closet currently consists of a few different types: leather, cotton/poly-cotton and a long trench coat. These are great when you want to wear a summer top yet need a little extra warmth. One of these is always packed in my uni bag in winter!

  1. Uni goers are adventurous shoe wearers.

There’s one thing that has stood out to me when considering Toowoomba campus students’ fashion and that is the diversity of footwear. This ranges from Havaianas, to sandals, to ballet flats, to sneakers, and then to a more wintery boot. Perhaps it’s safe to say that there almost isn’t a uni-style as far as shoes go, although it’s probably preferred that they are in one piece and of reasonable standard!

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  1. Don’t be afraid to accessorise.

After putting on jeans and a plain shirt, sometimes you may feel as though your outfit needs an extra element. A scarf may be all it takes to fix this problem and it helps keep warm in winter, a win-win situation really. For the girls, a long necklace or chunky bracelet is also seen as a common accessory around campus. All of us also like a pair of sunnies when walking to and from classes, and these are a great addition to any uni outfit!

  1. Dress to suit you.

All of the above are just suggestions and aren’t exactly the “uni dress code”. Dress accordingly to your interests, as long as you look like a respectable member of the USQ community and your clothing choice isn’t completely outrageous. After all, it’s all about comfort! Life would be boring if we were all the same!

I’d love to hear about everyone’s uni attire. Perhaps I could add some of your suggestions to my uni wardrobe wishlist!
- Kristie :)

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.

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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

Tackling Semester 3

The half-time whistle was blown a couple of weeks ago now, and this soccer match is nearly at a close. It is unbelievable to think that the end of Semester 3 is nearly in sight. At the half-time kick-off, we welcomed a New Year, twenty-fourteen, two-zero-one-four. Some may see this as a new start. Others may feel no different – so much so that they are still writing 2013 as the date instead of 2014. Whether you are one or the other, I hope for everyone that this year is a remarkable one.

As far as New Year’s Resolutions go – I’m not very good at keeping them. So what I’ve decided to do this year is set smaller targets, more achievable ones.  At half-time, I thought back to the first half of the game and it was clear to me what I had to improve on to reach my desired result at the end of the match, and for future matches. I think saying “I’m going to have all my assignments done two weeks before they are due, instead of staying up to midnight the night they’re due” is a bit far-fetched for someone like me. Two weeks before the due date? Unlikely! So, rather than leaving it to the last minute, my 2014 goal is to at least make a start on my assignments as soon as I feel I have covered enough content and know all the requirements to begin. That way, I am less likely to wind up in a panic the night it’s due.

I kept this in mind for my second assessment item for Semester 3. Just like playing differently to how you had intended to in a soccer game or receiving an unexpected injury, study plans can also change and other things may interfere. I have found that the best thing you can do is to keep your head up and work harder throughout the rest of the game. Catch up as soon as you can catch your breath and your chances of getting the ball into the back of the net are still looking good. Keeping this in mind is how I plan to stick to my main New Year study resolution.

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Having a drink break

Now for a quick summary on the past events of my holidays. So far they have played out like I had planned in my previous blog with a couple of extras: a birthday surrounded by family and friends, both X-Factor Live Tour and Taylor Swift concerts, work, playing in a representative soccer team as well as a casual five-a-side game every week, consuming A LOT of food at Christmas time in addition to getting WAY too spoilt, a little retail therapy here and there… the list goes on. Yep, just in case you’re confused, this is still a Semester 3 student speaking!

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Working in a clothing store over the holidays has been a great experience – something different to what I’ve ever done before. We also stock the school uniforms for our community. Becoming a teacher and having the opportunity to see the little Preppies come in to try on their first school uniforms ever is such a treat!

While studying this time of year can very much be challenging, it is important that we take time out to simply even take in the word ‘holidays’. Even the greatest soccer players in the world can’t play their best for a whole 90 minute match without having a break between substitutions during the game and/or at half time. Maybe this is easier for me to say compared to my Semester 3 peers as I have decided to only tackle one subject this time round, yet I believe that USQ allows enough flexibility for us to do so. With Semester 3 conveniently only being offered through an online mode and study materials usually accessible at any time required, I have found that we are able to run at our own pace and time.  It’s important that we stop for that drink break when we are tired. It is OK that we rest for a minute, just like the others have, as long as we can find the motivation to run back on again. Hearing “are you coming out tonight?” or “I’m just off to the beach for a week” from your friends as a Semester 3 student is sometimes a bit hard to swallow around due date periods but I’m sure it will pay off in the end!

Coming head-to-head with Exams

Although studying isn’t a team situation for the majority, around exam time it can be! With exams coming up, just like team members come together to a training session for a match, so can a group of friends for study. Sections can be broken up so that each person in the group can bring something to the field and everything will come together. Not only is this less work for everyone but there’s also a chance that someone might know something you don’t. And there’s where you score a goal. Score line – Self: 1, Confused-self: 0.

Without guidance from the coach, players are less likely to perform at their best ability. Ask your lecturers questions, and always listen to the advice they give. They love to help and the weight off your shoulders is enormous when you do. After all, they only want you to succeed and are well-informed of the rules of the game. Plus, the referee will only abide by these when it’s time to umpire!

Another few important things to remember: eat well, keep hydrated, get plenty of sleep, study hard with a balance of regular breaks, and most importantly – DON’T STRESS OUT! Believe that you can do it and everything will fall into place. Don’t forget to reward yourself; they say that a new year brings new things. Being the soapie fanatic I am, I know I can’t wait for the new season of Home and Away (although some may find this sad) to enjoy once I submit my last assignment for Semester 3. There’s also teaching prac, rep soccer and many more things to look forward to this year that will get me through the rest of the semester and remind me that studying, even when others aren’t, IS worth it.

What are you looking forward to this year?

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For those who have exams and/or assignments to complete, all the best and I hope the full-time whistle brings you all you desire. To the others, enjoy the rest of your holidays!

Kristie

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 :)

Sucker for punishment!

Holidays? What are these “holidays” people speak of? No study, they say?

While some are celebrating the end of the university year, my fellow ‘sucker for punishment’ peers and I are oblivious to this occasion. Yep, we are the ones who chose to do Semester 3 subjects. Whilst pondering on my first university year once it was over, I calculated the months until next year’s classes commence, one… two… THREE MONTHS! Cha-ching! This was plenty of time, for me and many others, to work towards a big fat tick beside a small component of our degrees. Instead of merely doing ‘holiday stuff’ for the entire three months, on top of this, we will find ourselves sitting at the computer, watching lectures, completing assignments and absorbing content for exams. For some this may sound like an utterly mind-numbing way to spend some of the summer period, but the way I look at it is… studying is just another hobby to fulfil this time bracket. Yep, does it make me crazy if I say I enjoy it? Besides, we don’t have to spend the WHOLE time studying. If we did, that’s definitely CRAZE-AY!

The one subject I have chosen revolves around a big word in a teacher’s dictionary… assessment. It has been interesting to discover the different aspects on this topic and I can definitely see it becoming applicable later on in my career. The ways I have prepared and chosen to get through it (aside from consuming half of the Cadbury factory) include:

  • Adhering with the allocated study schedule – by gauging your learning around this, last minute panic when assessment is due is less likely to occur. There is nothing worse than last minute cramming for assignments and exams!
  • Setting a goal and sticking to it by creating a timetable – due to the lighter workload in Semester 3, there is opportunity to assign simply one whole day a week towards study, matching it to your study schedule. This will form a routine, which increases the likeliness of the work getting done. Plus the rest of the week off – score! If this isn’t possible, break it up over a few days, yet ensure to keep on track with this each week. Saying ‘I’ll do it later’ tends to fold, and later ends up being too late! (Not at all speaking from experience :P)
  • Allowing time for “fun stuff” – those who follow my blogs would know by now that I’m a strong believer in taking breaks and having time out for yourself. Make sure there are enjoyable events scribbled in your timetable. That way, we aren’t completely isolated from the holidayers! On top of this, we have something to look forward to and reward us. After all, Christmas is unbelievably just around the corner. Something like a whopping 5 weeks and 36 sleeps away (not even counting!).

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I’ve chosen to participate in these “holidays” too by having “fun stuff” planned within this period. In between studying and working in a clothes store, I will spend my time going to a couple of concerts, celebrating a birthday with my twin brother, and eating A LOT around Christmas time. For the rest of the time, I will go with the flow and see where the time takes me. After all, we can’t let studying this time of year get in the way of having a break!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and for those doing Semester 3 – Happy Studying!

Kristie :)

Hello Holidays!

What time is it? It’s holiday time!!!

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With the semester two exam season now at a close, the sighs of relief can be heard echoing from students across Toowoomba, Springfield and Hervey Bay.

After completing the usual post-exam ritual of returning library books, cleaning my desk, and packing away textbooks, I found myself at a loose end – there wasn’t any more study to be done, no exams to prepare for. With all the time I now had, I worked out that in the last 256 days of the academic year, I successfully completed 8 courses towards my double degree, which involved attending approximately 104 classes (lectures and tutorials), writing 25 assignments and sitting 5 end-of-semester exams!

Although 2013 seemed to speed by so quickly, I also managed to squeeze in time for a law internship, attended networking events and also had the opportunity to travel to Sydney to represent USQ at on a national’s level. With all the major academic hurdles now behind me, I am able to kick back and enjoy the holidays.

I know many people have exciting and adventurous plans for the summer, but after a busy year of study I’m just looking forward to relaxing and enjoying some well-earned peace and quiet.

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This summer, I’m looking forward to the little things like visiting grandparents and extended family, catching up on a mountain of TV shows and movies I missed out on during the year and playing the next Call of Duty game.

This summer will also involve celebrating two significant milestones in my life – the completion of my business degree (one down, one more to go!) as well as my 21st birthday. After spending the past two consecutive summers studying, this summer break has been a long time coming and it’ll be nice to have some time off to rest up before my final year of study at USQ!

What are you looking forward to this summer?

Advice for My Pre-exam Self!

Dear Kara McScardey-Cat,

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

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

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

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

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

From Kara McSmartie-Pants

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Deciding the Right Time for a Cupcake

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Leading up to the final weeks of university for Semester 2, I seem to be forever in procrastination mode. My question is: why do we procrastinate when we are aware that the time we have to complete our assignments is diminishing before our eyes? I constantly find myself in search of other things to do (nowhere near as important of course) like catching up on the Home and Away episodes I’ve missed, planning my holidays, online shopping… the list goes on. These breaks or ‘procrastinations’ are quite like the indulgence of cupcakes. The first few bites are liberating, right before the sudden guilty pleasure hits you. As you go to pick up another cupcake, you know you should be burning off the first one instead.

“To Glee or Not to Glee?”

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My cupcake feast in the past week involved going to see USQ’s “To Glee or Not to Glee?” performance at the Toowoomba Campus. On a Wednesday evening, the 17th of October, into a bag went a picnic blanket, snacks and drinks, then off we went to witness some of Toowoomba regions’ great talents. Students of Concordia College, Downlands College, Oakey State High School, Scots PGC (Warwick) and Toowoomba State High School (Mt Lofty), singers from the Toowoomba Junior Choral Society, and dancers from The GRID and USQ Creative Arts students all amazed us with their clever compilation of choreography and outstanding vocals. Themes on the night were The Healing of Time, Young Love, Suffering, Forgiveness and Friendship. The event was a true representation of the welcoming atmosphere our university exhibits and certainly made me proud to be a USQ student. Spoiling myself with this cupcake was definitely a worthwhile break away from study. Our Creative Arts Faculty and USQ as a whole are often producing these events for the community to enjoy so make sure you keep an eye on the USQ website and/or Facebook page for the next upcoming exhibition!

Exam Preparation

As exams are fast approaching, it is important to allow yourself time out for that cupcake. Avoid getting so stressed out and caught up in study that you only leave your desk for the bare essentials – this will only send you insane and is more likely to do you harm than good.

Tip #1: Apply a tab to the open page in your textbook, put down the pen and step away from your desk. Assign enough time to lick the icing and the sprinkles (maybe even the paper and your fingers for every last bit). However, if you plan on doing more study that day, restrict your cupcake treats to no longer than ten to fifteen minutes at a time, and don’t go back for an immediate second one as finding motivation following this will be a strain (trust me!).

Tip #2: It may not be preferable around exam time, but for other times of the year, take the time out to go to a social event once a week. Go to a USQ event, play a sport, have a hobby. Don’t restrict yourself to the four walls in your bedroom – this isn’t healthy. Just like a cupcake, these things are OK in moderation!

Some extra tips:

  • Make sure you get enough sleep each night as studying on a few hours sleep will only lead to brain-frazzle.
  • Eat properly and stay fully hydrated – it’s distracting hearing your stomach rumble over the sound of the computer keys or the pen touching the paper!
  • Avoid checking Facebook every five minutes (if only our News Feeds gave us the answers to our exams!)
  • Ensure you have a comfortable and roomy study space – nothing beats a big cosy chair, textbooks and notes spread out everywhere and not having to search through one big pile.
  • Create a personalised study timetable – even include everyday activities like breakfast, lunch, dinner, lectures, tutorials etc and plan around these. DO follow it to avoid last minute cramming (especially midnight before you exam)!

If you’ve done all of the above and still feel overwhelmed, approach the Student Services team at your campus who are supportive and can assist you in various ways with all kinds of stress. Remember: they are there to help, not to judge!

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Last but not least, avoid the face above by having confidence and always telling yourself “I CAN DO IT!”

All the best with your exams!

Kristie :)