New year, new resolutions?!

I have to keep reminding myself that it’s already 2015 and that Semester 1 has arrived. If all goes to plan, I’ll be graduating from my teaching degree at the end of this semester, so I have been pretty focused this week on planning for success.

I’ve decided to keep myself on track by making resolutions focused on areas such as study, health, family and travel. As all areas of my life affect my study in some way, it made sense that I would need resolutions (or ‘goals for improvement’ as I prefer to call them) in multiple areas for maximum effect. I hope that this blog post will help you to join me in making resolutions that will make a genuine difference.

Read the full article here: http://social.usq.edu.au/study-tips/2015/02/jodie-new-year-resolutions

Doc, we’ve got to go back!

As I’m sure some of you are aware, 2015 is the year that Marty McFly arrives in Hill Valley. Not only am I eagerly excited about his entry, I am also excited for the fashion that we are expected to be wearing in October this year.

Okay… so yeah, not great. However, if we get rid of the man-bun, how many of us will really be disappointed?

Read the full article here: http://social.usq.edu.au/study-tips/2015/03/nick-we-have-to-go-back

My final blog: student travel and uni holidays

Hello guys! It’s Jose again, reporting to you live from a little island off of our beautiful home country. That’s right, I snuck out to do a little more travelling. Oops. Oh well, let’s hope you guys are too.

I have one final blog post to write, so will make the most of this opportunity to share some quick final tips to help enjoy your final weeks of university holidays.

jose1

LUGGAGE SPACE
Do NOT bring too many of your study books on your holidays. It is good to bring some, however, I have lost quite a few and they are not cheap to replace.

GETTING YOUR UNI BOOKS
If you decide to extend your holiday, ensure you find a safe avenue to get your books shipped out to you. Orchestrating and tracking international shipping is hard at the best of times. Try and find a friend or relative to bring them over. Or, get in touch with your SRO or the USQ library to discuss ways you can access your course materials from overseas.

MONKEY WAITERS
Do not be afraid to dive in and experience local restaurants. As long as you don’t see your food fall on the floor and you’re not being served by a monkey, you will be perfectly fine. Side note: I have been served by a monkey before. Not as fun as it sounds. If your waiter is a monkey, smile, wave and whatever you do, do not eat the food.

TRAVEL & TECHNOLOGY
Allow technology to help you, but be careful not to allow it to consume your holiday. Don’t be one of those travellers who are more focused on photographing the perfect Facebook display picture than enjoying the view.

However, there is an app that I recently discovered that I would highly suggest downloading before you venture out to explore new lands. It is called AroundAbout (@aroundaboutapp).

This travel app solves a problem that has troubled travellers for generations: too much to see and not enough time, by economising your time and showing you a plethora of options available in your area.

jose2

Not sure where to eat? AroundAbout It! Need a new activity? AroundAbout it! Fancy a cocktail or good cup of coffee? AroundAbout it!

It is so simple that anyone, even a monkey waiter, could use it to SEE and DO MORE on their holidays when time is limited. If there is one thing that I have learned in 10 years on the road, it is that TIME is the most valuable of commodities.

DO IT
Travel for as long as you can. Travel has been and always will be the greatest of motivators to show you what you truly want. It also inspires you to see things differently and you will learn a lot, and then you’ll be able to bring this new found knowledge to your university studies!

With that my friends, I bid you farewell and for your own sake, go, enjoy your time and do NOT waste a second of it.

Au Revoir

José R. Bishop
(ON STRANGER SHORES http://www.onstrangershores.com)

Connect with AroundAbout
http://www.aroundaboutapp.com
http://www.facebook.com/aroundaboutapp
http://www.twitter.com/aroundaboutapp
http://www.instagram.com/aroundaboutapp

How to network your way into a job

graduation goals - networking towards a careerAnybody else looking forward to this moment?

A big part of studying at university is networking. We don’t only want the piece of paper once we finish our degrees, do we? We also want to have developed networks within our chosen field by the end of our degree, because this might make it a tad easier to actually get a job at the end of the day. I don’t know about you, but I definitely want a job at the end of my degree!

There are a number of ways to use networking as a tool to help you gain employment, but these are the some of the ways I’ve used networking to further my career.

Your peers at uni
Creating and using the contacts you make while at university is important. This doesn’t only apply to your university lecturers, who obviously are within your field of study, but also your university peers, who you may just bump into a number of times after uni is finished. Having a relationship with your peers can be beneficial if they find a job in the same organisation or field you are trying to break into. A good word from someone already on the inside can be the foot in the door you need, and we’ve all heard the expression, ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’.

Work experience
It’s also important to try and work in a related field while studying. For myself, I am working at an Outside School Care as an Educator, looking after children from a range of backgrounds, ages and developmental abilities. This suits me, as I’m hoping to get a job at Kids Helpline next year and, along with my work with Lifeline, this is a perfect stepping stone towards my chosen career path. I have met many like-minded individuals through work, including a number of peers who are studying psychology (like me), education and child services.

Volunteering
If you’re unable to gain a paid job in a related field to the degree you’re studying, volunteering is always an option that will enable you to gain work experience that will help you attain paid employment in future.

digital networking

Technology
A good way to create and maintain the contacts you make during your degree, work experience or by volunteering is via the social media site LinkedIn. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically the professional version of Facebook. People can visit your page and find out your career aspirations and desires and your tertiary qualifications. If you haven’t checked it out, do it now!

After all, we are in the technology age, and I don’t think it would surprise anyone if I say that technology is likely to have a massive impact on nearly every profession in the following years. As a psychology student who volunteers as a Telephone Crisis Supporter for Lifeline, I see evidence of this every week. Similarly, some psychology therapy sessions actually happen over webcam or the phone, due to people living in rural areas of the country.

So, being up-to-date with technology is definitely a necessity for networking with peers.

Connecting with peers during your degree and making industry contacts via work experience, volunteering and by using technology are all valuable ways of networking that will help you get job at the end of your degree.  I know they’ve definitely helped me!

My graduation goals

Wow. I can’t believe it’s that time of year again when students from all around have either just finished their studies, are bracing themselves for summer semester or those lucky ones who have found themselves at the conclusion of their journey. Congratulations, one and all! You made it, however far you have made it along your journey, you are at least part of the way. Studying at university can really take you places that at times feel out of this world.

krisi graduation journey

Which one of these kinds of students am I, do you ask? I am the kicking-on kind. I have just reached the end of a 3-year bachelor degree and I am launching straight into honours. Now that I am moving into a whole new era of study, I have been considering what my goals are for the future.

The challenge I have accepted is further study. The goal I have set myself is to achieve honours of the first class and, consequently, a better chance of being accepted into postgraduate study. Wait, let me actually seriously consider that for a moment. That is a lot of 7s. Before I blast-off at the beginning of the year continuing on as a full-time student, I am really going to have to consider how much rocket fuel I have at this point in my studying career. After all, I don’t want to let my personal needs nor, dare I say it, grades fall victim to outer space!

krisi - victim of outer space

The ultimate question then, is to study full-time or to study part-time. Achieving the best GPA that I have ever dreamed of setting my sights on is going to be no mean feat. It is certainly going to require a lot of my attention to stay on-course to achieve that first class honours. Should I take the longer route that gives me the most time to navigate the asteroids or should I start the count down from 10, shut my eyes and prepare to blast-off along the most direct path?

Lucky for me, I have a bit of time on my hands to think about this before I decide which trip I will take. There is always going to be something great about being a full-time student, studying the maximum course load in order to get to that number one goal of a dream career faster. At the same time, there is a-whole-‘nother world out there that I haven’t even experienced yet. The idea of studying part-time, giving me extra time to study for each course, achieve academic success and have the opportunity to  start crossing off some of my other goals, like traveling, is incredibly tempting.

I am interested to know, what were the goals you set yourself after you finished your bachelor degree? Did you choose to complete further study or decide on another course of action? Who knows, maybe you even experienced the same dilemma as me. I would love to hear about your experiences after graduating!

The slippery slope of mummy self-doubt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

welcome to motivation

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

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

-Lisa

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

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

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

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

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

Now I know what you’re thinking:

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

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

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

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

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

Ouch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

keep calm and beat the heat

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

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

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

to do list

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

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

studying at uni - the heat is on

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

The do’s and don’ts of student adventure time!

Guess what… university is out for the year! We made it! Guys and girls… we did it! Can you believe it? We now have months to relax and enjoy whatever we want to do. We are as free as a bird!

Now, I can imagine quite a few of you adventurous and fun-loving students are going to be heading out of here now that your tertiary education journey for the year is over. Let the travel and self-discovery journey begin!

adventure time - student travel

Do

  • Mention you are a student as often as possible! People often love to help out students when they’re travelling, because they know what it’s like trying to see the world on a student budget.
  • Keep a notepad with you and take it everywhere so you can write down things you like or things you want to know more about.
  • Try to book everything in advance. Once you’re in Europe, a good last-minute travel option is idbus.com!
  • Keep your student ID on you at all times. It will serve you as well as your passport.
  • Prepare some fun university stories to tell your hosts or the local barista. By sharing your experiences you’re likely to make new friends and maybe even get shouted a coffee!
  • Take lots of photos 

Don’t

  • Take your textbooks everywhere you go unless you have to.
  • Book your flights last-minute as there may be hidden fees.
  • Get lured into buying cheap ‘local products’ you think you’ll be able to resell. Do some research and use your head. You are a university student after all! When you get home, customs may not clear those great bamboo chairs you bought for $20 that the seller promised you’d be able to resell for $200.
  • Be so attached to your tour guidebook that you miss experiencing the places you travel to for yourself. You are a student, so explore and learn everything you can about the places you visit based on your own experiences.

The most important thing I have learned about travelling the world as a student is that there are a lot of incredible people out there and most of them are kind-hearted. Many of them WANT to help us struggling students, especially in places like Germany where higher education is FREE. Use your head, be smart and think before you do anything, but it can be OK to trust the people you meet.

When you get home after travelling, remember to share your adventures with others so that you inspire them to go on their own. My mission in life is to be able to tell my stories to my grandchildren and to tell them that my adventures helped others to go on their own.

clock  - uni student travel

If you don’t want to make the commitment of starting your own travel blog or website, there is a website dedicated to helping people share their lives, adventures and stories from stranger shores (www.onstrangershores.com).

With that, I think I can leave you brilliant people. I wish you the best of luck with your travels and will hopefully see you next year for the next round of study. Who knows, by then you guys might have a few travel tips to teach me!

We only have a limited amount of time on this earth, so let’s make it as amazing, magnificent, magical and awesome as it can be.

Live it. Write it. Inspire – José R. Bishop.

#Internlife

As you probably all know, I am about to graduate from studying a Bachelor of Applied Media. One major part of this degree has been gaining valuable work experienced in a relevant industry to my studies.

I was lucky enough to score my current internship with 612 ABC Brisbane after one of the presenters from the ABC came into USQ  with his producer to talk to us media students about his job. After his talk, he said that if there were any students who were interested in doing an internship with himself and his team, to email his producer.

I went out of my way to put up my hand, send the email and, a few months later, I was getting out of bed at 2AM and heading into 612’s office.

The timing of my original internship was perfect because I would work at the ABC from 4AM to 11AM, then head into uni or work. Now that I’ve been shifted to weekends, my uni schedule is less affected. This shows that it is possible to incorporate an internship into your study schedule.

Eliza at ABC - banana

Being able to spend time within the industry has been an amazing and eye-opening experience for me. I have gain so much from learning on-the-job as well as everything I’ve learned from going to university.

I have learned how to act within a workplace, how to use the equipment and software used by the ABC and, because I have been treated as an employee of the ABC, I have learned what it’s really like to work in the media industry… I just can’t wait to be there full time!

I have also made some great contacts and have been given a chance to showcase my passion and perseverance.

Eliza at ABC

So, for those of you transitioning from uni to the work force, I would recommend going out of your way to do some work experience or an internship because, in my opinion, actually getting out there and getting a first-hand experience of an industry is the only way to see what it’s really like.

Good luck!