The honeymoon is over: preparing for a splendid semester!

So, it’s that time of year again: the start of semester. It only comes around three times a year and only two times for some. It’s a time filled with (for myself, at least) equal parts of trepidation and excitement.

New classes. New subjects. New assessment.

This is how we feel most of the time at the beginning of semester:

Harry Potter #Igotthis

‘I’m ready for the classes, the subjects and most importantly, the assessment. I got this.’

For some of us, this is approximately three weeks in:

Hermione - I know the answer!

‘Yes, I know the answer to that. I’m keeping up with all of the assessment and study! Wooo! Go me!’

Midway through semester:

The mid semester blues

‘I kind of just want it to be over. Is it holidays yet? I should be studying, but I really don’t have the motivation’.

End of semester:

End of semester stress

‘Ergh’.

Needless to say, assignments and study can take their toll, so it is best to start early to gain some momentum for those last few weeks of study before the final exams!

It can be hard to get motivated at the beginning of semester when exams and assessment pieces seem so far away… So here are some tips to stay motivated at the start of semester that I’ve picked up during my three years of study.

Normally, I will try and write all the assessment due dates on the first pages of my note books for each particular subject. This way, they are easily accessible and I will know exactly how much I need to get done and when. Due to this, these assessment pieces are never far from my mind.

I also enjoy having a thorough understanding of each subject’s content by the end of week 1. I don’t mean knowing all of the content, I mean knowing what the content is. This means that I have a very good idea of how much study I need to complete during semester, as well as how long the assessment pieces are likely to take me. Some assessment pieces will take a bit longer than others, of course, so these are normally started a tiny bit earlier if they are due at the same time as others.

It’s also about peace of mind as well. I don’t ever have any assignments pop out of nowhere with three days to go before they are due, or 25 psychology articles on DiReCt (the course readings) that I haven’t had a chance to look at with only two days before the end of semester exam…

Writing down a general idea of your responsibilities and other activities throughout the semester is a good idea (I personally love the massive calendar we get mailed at the start of every year).

These may include things such as sporting commitments, work or… music festivals!

splendour in the grass musical festivalI was lucky enough to go to this particular festival last weekend!

Because I knew I would be away for the first week of classes, I utilised my organisation skills and adjusted my schedule so that I could fit in these amazing three days full of music, friends and food and still feel confident about the semester ahead!

Hopefully these tips will help you feel equally as confident about tackling the new semester!

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!

Jet-set your way to study success!

For regular readers of my blogs posts, I’m sure that my wanderlust comes as no surprise.  Everything I do can usually be related to the adventure, excitement and cultural experiences of international travel and my university study is no different.  Traveling has, in fact, set me up to be a successful student.

tokyo skyline

Let me explain…

When I travel, I often find myself immersed in cultures that I’m unfamiliar with.  I’m also often surrounded by people speaking a language that I have limited or no knowledge of.  Needless to say, the experience can be both exciting and daunting at the same time.  It’s kind of the way you feel as a student sometimes.  You know, you’re so excited at the beginning of semester as you log into StudyDesk, only to find lectures and readings that don’t make immediate sense to you.  They’re loaded with technical and discipline-specific words that you’re unfamiliar with and you feel a little out of your depth.  For all intents and purposes, the readings and course notes could be written in a foreign language with the amount of sense that they make to you on that first day.  But just as I find in the foreign countries I travel within, it slowly becomes clearer and you learn more and more each day.  In the end, you’re left wondering how it could have ever felt foreign to you because you now speak in that ‘foreign’ language yourself and it all feels like second nature.

Signpost

So now you know what I mean about travel setting me up for study success, right?  Those skills I’ve learned from years of travel are highly relevant and have prepared me to be the best student I can be.  The similarities between study success and travel don’t end there though.  My international jaunts have also taught me how to fight through my tiredness and pull an ‘all-nighter’ when I have to.  You know, you arrive in another country that’s many hours behind the time zone you just came from, meaning that you won’t get sleep until nightfall in your new location – many hours later than what it is in the time zone your body clock is working on.  That ‘all-nighter’ (or more typically, ‘half-nighter’) is a skill I’ve had to utilise a few times when fighting the clock to smash out assignment amazingness.

Uni student thinking

I’ve met a lot of different people in my many years as a travel junkie and I think it would be safe to say that no two people have been exactly the same.  Whether or not an individual appears to be better or worse off than me, the constant is that I can learn something from each and every one of them.  It’s our uniqueness that sets us apart and that same uniqueness that provides an opportunity for learning.  I’ve found the exact same with my study.  Each and every student I’ve ‘met’ and studied with (all online) has helped me to learn and progress in my study.  The collaborative effort and encouragement has been invaluable and set me up for the success that I’ve achieved thus far.

So you see, being a successful student doesn’t mean you have to sit behind your computer, buried behind a wall of textbooks day in, day out.  You can get out there and travel the world knowing that your experiences will set you up to be an awesome student too.  Happy travels!

University isn’t just White Fellas business, but Black Fellas too.

It has now come time to choose your path, do you go to university or do you do something else with your life?

Elders, Uncle and Aunty, Sista and Brotha, a university education is available to us and within our reach. Our mob and our country, need more of us to go to University so that our history and our ways won’t be lost and buried in White Man history. Time for us to stand proud and strong and support each other to go to university and become something our country and community will be proud of.

University isn’t just for those with white skin, but for us all.  Some people within our own community, our own mob, will tell you education is a waste of time and will lead nothing but heartache. I am here to say they are all wrong.

I am now onto my second degree at university, this time at USQ. When I completed my first degree, I did not know what I wanted to do, the field that I chose was competitive and work was hard to come by, but because I had my degree in my hands, another door opened up for me.

I landed a job overseas in Japan, teaching English to Japanese middle school children. I was paid to do something that came naturally to me, English. I spent over 3 years living in another country, learning about a different culture to the one that I grew up in. But without that degree, I would have never have had the opportunity to go and work overseas.

Now why did I choose USQ this time around? Quite simply:

  1. I wanted a university that would work for me and with me
  2. To study a degree that would lead to a career
  3. I wanted a uni that has won awards
  4. And has an excellent reputation both here in Australia and overseas.

I trawled through the various university websites, checked out courses and sent numerous emails to lecturers and admissions people with questions about the courses that were offered, I visited the Toowoomba campus numerous times for their Open Days and checked out the various schools and faculties before submitting my application.

USQ was my only choice; it has a great online component, fantastic on-campus lessons and teaching staff. But not only that, I met fellow Indigenous students who were working towards their degree in many different areas. There is even an Indigenous Centre to help you network, make friends and succeed in your studies.  Murri Meet-Up is a deadly program to learn from other students and at the Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies, the tutors are around to help and there’s a chill out areas in the court yard or common room to have a yarn with other students. USQ ticked all the boxes for me. I am now doing a course that I love, have met wonderful USQ people from the USQ Team who make university life meaningful and got to learn more about our country. I have found many Sistas and Brothas here, too.

The old saying of being seen and not heard is long gone here at university, if you have something to say, then say it and debate it. Like many people about the place there is ignorance as they haven’t heard the truth about Indigenous culture, but at USQ they’re making an active attempt to do the right thing for Indigenous Australians and our future children.

Education is for all and is not just limited to those with an OP score. If you didn’t have an OP score when you finished school, USQ has an alternative entry program that can help you gain entry into the course you want to pursue, Indigenous Higher Education Pathways Program or IHEPP. This is a one year program that will help you get into university and get you into your future career. Check it out http://www.usq.edu.au/study/degrees/indigenous-higher-education-pathways-program

USQ fly our flags high and continue to share the importance of our Elders, the importance of helping our mob and to watch us succeed in becoming Deadly graduates when the time comes. Not many universities can hold their head up high and say that they are trying to make Indigenous students feel included in all aspects of university life.

So what is stopping you from going after your dream?

I am unstoppable

Meet up with the USQ mob here at campus and follow your dreams to a rewarding future.

Whether you want to be a teacher or a doctor or nurse, there is a degree here waiting for you. Your USQ mob will help you every step of the way and when it comes time to graduate, you know that your mob here at USQ and at home are standing up there on the stage with you.

Have questions about joining the USQ student mob? Ask me!

- Julie

A Simpson-Free Springfield

So, I thought for this blog instalment I’d write a blog to you all about the go to places near and around Springfield Campus! Only the most avid student will ever believe that their whole time spent on campus will have them immersed in study. Sometimes you just gotta get out a bit, see the sights, and spend some time with your friends from university.

Kwik E Mart

So… we may not have a Kwik-E-Mart, or…

Moe's Tavern

Moe’s Tavern.

But we do have The Central Tavern, Springfield Lakes, and Orion; a whole shopping centre! Your move, Simpsons.

You have nothing? Checkmate.

We also have the campus facilities like the gym and the student commons, one of which is to keep you active and healthy, the other is to laze around in between lectures and chat with friends. The common room does have a pool and ping pong table though, which is great fun and can lead to some very intense rivalries.

We also have a new building popping up. And although you can’t go in there just yet, there is a super cool live video you can watch, on the left hand side of this link:

http://www.usq.edu.au/springfield/new-build

But seriously, it’s pretty impressive. Things are happening. The tavern is right next to the campus facilities, so it’s the best place to get a quick bite to eat in the middle of lectures (especially when you only have an hour break in the middle!)

Orion, the shopping centre, is also being expanded. It currently has 100 specialty shops and a food court, which is perfect to do some shopping after, before or between lectures, as well as a bite to eat. My personal favourite is Nandos, however, this may change once the expansion is completed.

I’ve heard that there are 750 more new specialty shops coming in, which includes an Events Cinema. Sounds to me like it’s just one more way to get out of a lecture!

Robelle Domain is a close stroll to the campus as well. It has its own Café (they do a fantastic Turkish Chicken sandwich), 11km of boardwalks, walking tracks, sport fields, barbecue areas and playgrounds, which includes a water play area!

I think one of the best things, personally, about going to university at the Springfield Campus is that so many new developments are occurring each and every year. It’s a flower that just won’t stop blossoming!

It really is quite exciting to be involved in all the activity in and around campus.

Share your go to spots at the Springfield campus! – Nick

Midyear study – it’s not too late to start!

Here are the 6 types of midyear students. Are you one of them?

1. The gap year that never ended.

Deciding to take a gap year after high school to do some soul-searching and learn more about yourself seemed like a good idea, but then bills, lifestyle and family commitments made regular paychecks a necessity. Work doesn’t have to be a let-down. Studying your passion can fit in with your travel and busy lifestyle.

You can study online, part-time or full-time. There are so many options to make the most of your time, without having to sacrifice your job or stamps on your passport.

2. The new years’ resolution that is taking longer to achieve than expected.

We all make resolutions that seem easy to keep when we are wearing party hats and counting down to the New Year. Losing weight, learning how to cook, giving up chocolate or finally getting a pet are excellent resolutions, but investing in your future is a resolution worth keeping.

It’s never too late to achieve your career goals, no matter how long ago you made the resolution, and starting your uni degree is the first step to help you get there. At USQ, we believe it is all about the journey and no matter how long it takes you to get there studying part-time, we’ll be here to celebrate when you cross the stage.

3. You got the promotion and now need more skills to go with it.

Have you recently got a promotion at work and you’re worried you don’t know what you’re doing? Where’s your positivity? Your boss believes in you and so do we. Now is the perfect time to boost your confidence at work as you put your studies into action.


If you’re not ready to commit to a full degree, we have over 700 single professional development courses from various disciplines from our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. By completing a professional development course, you’ll walk into your workplace with your head held high and know you deserve your promotion. You’ll be climbing the ladder in no time!

4. The realisation that your job isn’t what you expected.

If you struggle to get out of bed on Mondays (and not just because you had a busy weekend!), cry over your morning coffee before forcing yourself to get into your car to go to work, it’s time to start thinking about your options. Don’t spend any more time in a job you hate or don’t feel valued in! It’s time to reevaluate your career goals and be proactive about taking steps to achieve them. For most career changes, this means going back to uni to learn the knowledge and skills necessary to break into a different industry or get the qualifications you need to get ahead in the workplace. There is no time like the present!

5. The degree that wasn’t quite you.

Have you already started studying or completed a university degree a while ago and decided it just wasn’t for you? You finished high school and uni seemed like the next logical step. Jumping into study without being sure of your future can leave you feeling discouraged.
Never fear, midyear entry at USQ gives you the opportunity to apply for a different degree, and perhaps you may gain credit for a previously completed course. Choosing the wrong course isn’t the end of the world, it can actually be a good thing! You now know what you want to achieve and how a degree will help you get there, there will be no end to your passion, interest and engagement, and this will be reflected in your grades.

6. The midlife sea-change.

Have you recently packed the kids off on their own university adventures, been made redundant, or woken up one day with the realisation that it’s time to follow your own career dreams.

Spend some time thinking about what your passions, interests and hobbies are. Do you want to study to gain industry knowledge and develop a career, or are you studying for interest’s sake? What are you most passionate about? This is your ‘me’ time and there is no right or wrong answer to these questions; only you can decide what you want for your future.

Whatever reason you have for wanting to start study, the best thing about starting your degree midyear is that you will be further ahead of the game than if you wait another six months and start Semester 1 next year. Many USQ degrees even run classes during a third semester over the Christmas holidays, so you can catch up with your peers.

Feel like you’re in way over your head and need some help working out the difference between minors and majors? Check out this YouTube clip!

If you want to find our more about your options, talk to us!

Future students contact details:

Phone: +61 7 4631 5315
Freecall: 1800 269 500
Email: study@usq.edu.au

Find us on social media #usqedu #usqstudy #usqmidyear

Getting through exam block- in 8 simple steps

Today everybody, I would like to talk to you about a serious problem I once suffered from. I know there are many out there who too suffer from this problem, and I would like to take this time to tell you my story about an addiction I had to a serious substance:

procrastination

But I don’t just want to tell you my story; I want to help all of my fellow procrastinators out there who struggle with this affliction, too. And so I have put together the eight steps of over-coming procrastination, and getting through exam block.

But first, my story.

It usually started with a thought process similar to this:

“Ok. Here we go. Exam block is here. And this time it’s going to be different! I’m going to be organized, prepared and disciplined! There will be order and feng shui coming out the ying-yang, and everything will be colour coded, EVERYTHING!! I will NOT get distracted this time! I am in control! I shall turn off my wifi and open my text book…right after I finish this episode of Ghost Whisperer.”

Aaaaaand so exam block begins for another semester. Now, I know what you’re all thinking; how could someone as wise, as studious, and as perfect as me succumb to the enticing grip of procrastination? Surely by my third year of university study I would have become a professional exam-blocker and would be able to resist such peasantry temptations.

If anything, over time I became a professional procrastinator.

I once procrastinated so hard that I ended up singing karaoke with my mates at an empty tavern instead of doing my assignments.

It was about the time I reached the second verse of Don’t Stop Believing that I realized I had a problem. And while I looked out at my mates, belting that final “wooaaaooOOHHHHHH!!!” instead of typing up my self-evaluation essay, I knew it was time for a change.

Procrastination is difficult, and overcoming it was hard, but looking back I could see how much better and brighter my future is without it in my life.

And so here are my eight steps to over come procrastination, and to get though exam block.

Step one: Admitting you have a problem.

Although it may not take a wild night of karaoke to come to this realization, everyone has to take the leap and admit that their exams really ARE close, and that procrastination has taken over.

If you find yourself cleaning every corner of your house, or baking every kind of cake you can possible imagine, or have suddenly decided that THIS week is the week to start learning how to be a rodeo clown- then yes, you probably have a problem with procrastination, and it’s time to move on to step two.

Step two: Looking at the bigger picture.

What you want to do is try to re-ignite your passion for study. Just like a relationship that’s going a little stale, you need to zap your attitude towards study in the passion microwave and re-freshen your love for your degree. (And yes, I did paraphrase from a “re-kindle your love life” book for that one.)

Remember that very first moment when you found out that you’d made it into your degree? How awesome did that feel!?!?! The butterflies in the stomach just before the QTAC page FINALLY loaded, and then the squeals of celebration after reading the first line. (Don’t even try to deny that you reacted that way because I know you all did!!)

Remember thinking that your whole future had just started? Those fantasies that ran through your mind of how this degree had brought you one step closer to owning your own company, or building your own buildings, or directing your own films.

Remember that day? That was a great day.
And although today, as you stress-eat your way through an entire packet of Tim-Tams and click over to the next episode of One Tree Hill, mightn’t be as great- remember what you’re aiming for.

Step three: Making the decision to dedicate the next few weeks to study.

Funniest_Memes_one-does-not-simply-study-at-home-without_9966

What you need to do at this point is get into full-on hibernation mode. That means making no new social plans until all of your exams are over and your assignments are in, and trying to cut back on other work, too.

Another thing you could do is turn off your internet for 30 minutes at a time, study hard-out for that half an hour and then have a break for social media time, because we all know how important it is to catch up on how our mates are coping with exam block, to compare their stress to yours, and to read up on some funny exam/study memes.

Step four: Telling people you have a problem.

When it comes to getting through exams and dealing with procrastination, the more people you tell, the more they’ll understand and be able to get you through it.

It may seem unbelievable, but you don’t have to go through exams alone. You can either get together with other students and study together, or get a family member to help you out, or anyone willing to help out. For example, one of my friends studies in trimesters so we always have exams on at different times. So what we do to help each other out is supervise each other’s studying. Whenever one of us gets distracted, the other one creeps up and yells out “KEEP STUDYING!!” and we have no choice but to get back to it.

Step five: Taking things slow and steady.

Studying for exams is more like a marathon than a sprint…I think…to be honest I was never very good at sport. Anyway, I know from experience that it’s better to pace yourself rather than cram.

Step six: Adjusting your lifestyle (for the next few weeks).

Let’s be honest right now, during exam block, you’re not out to look good- you’re not even aiming to look human. Because you’re not socializing, you’re not working as much, and you’re only really leaving your room to get food. So as I list off the perfect food and exercise régime for exam block, keep in mind that you should only stick to this during exams- not forever. Let me show you why:

When it comes exam block food, you want stuff that’s easily accessible and simple to make. This includes Oreos, two-minute noodles, baked beans, any form of potato chips- pretty much anything that comes in a packet, box or can. However if you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous, you could even smash out a frozen meal- but be warned, the point of sticking to easy-to-make foods is to avoid any possible procrastination sneaking back into your routine. You may say to yourself “I’ll just cook a simple steak and veggies” and the next thing you know you’ve bought your own cow, slaughtered and prepared it, and have now started your own butchers business- simply so you don’t have to study for your Social Communications exam.

Also, you want to be as comfortable as possible; if you can attach pillows to your entire body- do it. As I said, exam time is not a beauty contest (and in my opinion, if you’ve ever listened to a lot of what the people who enter beauty contests actually say, then you’d understand why a person should prioritize studying over spending time trying to look as good as possible.)

study-noun

Step seven: Getting creative.

One of the reasons why people procrastinate (in my experience-so, according to…me) is due to the fear of facing the dreaded flash-cards and boring textbooks. Now, first of all textbooks and flash-cards can be fun…for some people. But if that’s not really your thing, then you could try sticking colourful post-it notes with study notes on them on the outside of a glass shower, or the back of your toilet door. That way you’ll be looking at your notes at least three times a day.

You could also send your friends your study notes, and get them to randomly text you with pop quizzes. Annoying? Yes. Helpful? Mostly.

Step eight: Sticking to it.

This is the hardest step, because in the end it’s really up to you. Kicking the procrastination habit is tough, but once you’ve done it, and you’ve got yourself into the exam-hibernation mode with your pillow suit and your Oreos, you might as well go all the way and study hard!

481535

Studying is not always easy, but I promise you that it’s always worth it in the end. Now stop reading my blog and get to it!

The A-Z of surviving a teaching prac

 Blog 1

So it’s your first teaching prac and you want to ace it but not quite sure how to pull it off?  Never fear because with these simple yet effective tips you’ll be cartwheeling all the way to the classroom!

Do your homework!

Make sure you know how to get to your new school, what time to arrive, where to park and what to wear.  You don’t want to be stressing over these things an hour before you’re expected in the classroom.

Be excited (but nurture that scaredy cat inside of you too!)

Enthusiasm will have you off to a great start – you’ll energise your students and they will think you’ve been teaching for years.  A few nerves are normal so don’t worry about those – they’ll keep you on your toes!

Be ready to learn and open to new ideas

You might feel out of your depth at times but that’s perfectly normal – you’re there to learn.  So don’t beat yourself up or think you’re doomed if your first (second and third!) lesson doesn’t go to plan.  That happens to the most experienced teachers as well and it’s a great learning opportunity.

Raise your hand

Ask for help or advice if you need it.  You aren’t expected to know everything so don’t be afraid to seek guidance and feedback from your mentor and other teachers at your prac school.  They are there to help us succeed and will most likely be thrilled that you’re open to learning from their wealth of experience.

Blog 3

Clear your in-tray

Chances are you’ll be exhausted after your first days of prac so try to have your assignments and other important things completed beforehand.  That way you’ll be able to devote whatever energy you have left each evening to preparing for the following day of prac.

Reflect, reflect, reflect!

We hear that word all the time but there’s good reason for that – reflection is a fantastic learning tool so it’s a good habit to get into.  Written reflections will also provide evidence of your personal learning journey which will not only be satisfying for you to read at a later time but also relevant to future employers.

And finally, give yourself a well-deserved high five!!

Juggling the demands of prac, uni and personal life all at once certainly isn’t easy so don’t forget to reward yourself along the way.  It could be as simple as grabbing a (large!) mocha on your way to school in the morning or spending a few hours at the beach.  Whatever works for you.

blog 2

Until next time,

Jodie

Scoring that dream job… one question at a time

Another blog, another list. This time, I’m tackling the do’s and don’ts of job interviews. Having gone for a ridiculous amount myself over the last few months, this is generally consistent over almost all of the interrogations interviews I have had.

Firstly, you had to know this was coming…

Yeah, don’t do this.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

This might help with the Pan/Pam situation. Know the job you are going for inside out. Know your potential future boss, managers, and supervisors. Most importantly, you have to know the company/business you work for.

I know for a fact that the ABC tests your knowledge on the different station locations in Queensland, so don’t look like a chump in front of the boss.

CHOOSE YOUR REFERENCES CAREFULLY

Think of your references the same way your employer thinks about you. They are the people who represent you, so it’s important when you come to choosing, you pick the right ones. Previous employers are the obvious choice, given you are still on good terms. Other options include teachers/lecturers, trustworthy co-workers, but try to avoid friends. Sure they might be happy to talk you up, but a lack of professionalism could be the difference between employment and a decline.

HONESTY

Employers will sometimes know the answer before they ask the question, so there’s really no point lying. Whether it’s thanks to social media, background checks, or those poor reference choices, you can bet your potential future salary they will have done their research on you.

SMILE, RELAX, BREATHE

It’s a job interview, not the end of the world. Remember you are there to present yourself as the best applicant, so set a good example. Go get something to eat and relax before going to any interviews.

Also, being cool and mysterious may work for attracting attention on-campus, but employers aren’t going to be fooled. Sure, natural charisma is a great asset, but don’t push the point. Employers want to see who they will be working with, so don’t fake it or you’ll have to keep that facade up if you get the job.

THINK BEFORE ANSWERING!

Word vomit – it’s a thing.

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It doesn’t take much to make a good impression, so be sure to take every opportunity possible.

Til next time

Tom

My overseas study space and routine

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Study study study! That’s all my day seems to entail sometimes. As a full-time student it would be unreasonable not to expect these type of days (or weeks!), but that doesn’t mean that you can’t mix a little sunshine in as well. The trick is to study smarter, not harder. I’m sure you’ve heard that line a million times by now, but perhaps you’re not too sure what everyone is on about. Well for me, it means you need to know yourself and how and when you learn best and slot the study in to suit.

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I’m usually the most focused in the morning, as soon as I get out of bed, so I plan to use that time for reading study modules or textbook chapters, which require me to stay in one place, sit still, read, and absorb the learning. I have a comfy chair by the living room window that catches the morning sun which works well for this purpose. I stumble out of bed, make a cup (or usually pot) of tea, and prop myself up in the chair by the window. I can’t potter about doing anything else first as it throws my routine and I miss my mind’s ‘zone’ for study. It’s pretty much a case of ‘Do not pass go, do not collect $200’!

I usually need to stretch my legs after this and I’m a bit hungry so I get dressed for the day and then go into the kitchen and throw together something for brekky. Most mornings I eat breakfast while checking my emails and study forums – this works well for me as my mind gets a break and I can catch up on what has been happening since shutting down the computer the night before. It also helps to direct the days study if a lecturer has posted some extra info on an assignment etc.

Next it’s time to listen to lecture modules or get assignments done. I make sure my desk is clear and put only what will be needed on it – I do my best to avoid distractions! If the weather is good and I don’t need a lot of materials for whatever it is that I’m doing, I like to take my work outside. There’s a lovely rooftop terrace and shady garden in my apartment building that inspire me, so that’s where you’ll usually find me before lunch.

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Unfortunately by lunch time my attention span has dwindled and I have trouble focusing on anything important so that’s usually when I take my longest break. I will watch something on tv, or do some house chores if I have the energy. It’s then time for a little more study (but nothing requiring me to be too switched on) before preparing dinner. Most evening I do some assignment work before bed too as my mind switches back on again at this time and I make good progress.

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All of that said though, not every day will be the same. It will depend if I’m on a trip overseas and have other things I’d like to do during the day or if I’ve just returned from a trip and am jetlagged – I’ll switch things up to match my most alert times. Remember, it’s all about working smarter, not harder. Sequence your work to match your individual style. If it’s fresh air and sunshine that pick you up and get the study brain whirling, take your materials outside and study away. You’ll achieve more in less time and who wouldn’t want that!