Flashbacks and a Fresh Beginning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

All the best!

USQ Springfield O-week!

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For those of you more experienced students who are going to o-week for the second, third of even forth time- I do not blame you!

How could you not want to go?? Gaining a connection with people of similar interests to your own, learning about your own important role in the growth of our campus, and tonnes of free stuff: food, stickers, rulers, booklets, food, pens, lollies, great information and oh yeah, food.

Honestly it’s a student’s dream come true.

But for those of you who have never been before, fear not.

I too, was once a first-year student and here was what I thought the “O” in O-week stood for:

  • OMG, what do I wear on my first day? (You’d think this one only applies to the ladies, but you’d be surprised…)
  • Over-estimated my ability to socialise, didn’t I?
  • Only I could get lost on a campus that has one building.

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As it turned out, the “O” in O-week stood for:

  • Other students are just as excited and nervous about being here as I am.
  • “Of course I can help you find out which room you’re in.”
  • Oh wow, I’ve learned so much, and university hasn’t even started yet!

Try to think of O-week as a fun transition to university life after such a long break (possibly including a wild schoolies which required three months of recovery).

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Here is some advice I give to all of you who are attending O-Week for the first time:

1) Be yourself.

Cliché- I know, but it really does apply to this situation.
Throughout your life so far, you’ve probably never been given the chance to truly be yourself once you stepped out your front door. Although school taught us a lot about discovering who we are as individuals, we were all made to conform on some level- either by wearing a uniform, sitting in class until the bell rang, or shoving your entire vegemite sandwich in your mouth at once because you weren’t allowed to eat it in the biology labs.

Even in the playground, there was always at least a slight pressure put on us to be or act a certain way so that more people would like us, or let us cut into the tuck-shop line.

But this isn’t a case at university!

First of all, there are no uniforms at university. So if you want to wear a pink, sparkly unicorn t-shirt to university (despite the fact you’re old enough to vote) YOU CAN!

Secondly, there will be others at O-week wearing shirts as bright as yours. So not only can you one-hundred per cent be yourself, but your individuality will be praised, and people will love you for it.

2) Stay open-minded.

One of the best ways your brain can develop is by taking healthy risks. This includes stepping out of your comfort zone. At O-Week, you’ll be getting involved in some pretty different and challenging activities.

When I went to O-Week, I found myself standing in front of total strangers talking about the worst gift I have ever been given, holding random people’s hands and lying on the floor of the auditorium whilst looking at the ceiling and learning how to breathe properly.
Although these activities may seem embarrassing at the time, there is a reason for doing them. So when the lecturer asks you to do an interpretive dance of your dream career- just go with it!

3) Pay a little attention.

Look, I get it. It’s super exciting the first time you’re able to use your phone in class without getting in trouble, but I guarantee your un-opened Snapchats will still be there after the psychology lecturer has helped you figure out your best learning strategy. Try to remember, those lecturers are there to give you a heads up about your future university adventure. So at least write down the main points on your note pad. And even if you’re just doodling little cartoon drawings with your free pen NEXT to the important notes after you’re done writing them, nod your head occasionally to remind the lecturer that you are definitely listening.

4) Ask every question you can think of.

One of my biggest challenges at O-Week was finding the balance between being too shy to ask any questions (resulting in confusion) and sounding like an attendee of a Southern Baptist Church- lots of loud “mmm’s” whenever I agreed with the speaker. To save you this awkward struggle, I would recommend writing down any questions you have and be the first to raise your hand as soon as the lecturer says “Any questions?”

Don’t feel embarrassed to ask. Chances are the room will be full of other people wanting to know the same thing as you. So be the hero who puts their hand in the air like they just don’t care (about looking silly in front of people they just met).

5) Smile, have fun!

Look at O-week this way, it’s probably the last time you’ll ever experience USQ for the first time. So make sure you have a GOOD time!

According to the totally credible website Wikipedia, smiling is contagious. This means that your smile may make someone else smile, even if they’re just as nervous about being at o-week as you are.

Having fun is also really important at o-week. I’ll be honest with you right now, university is not easy; Yes- USQ is always there to help you and yes-there are always people who care about you. But in saying that, going to university is a massive step to take in your life. So the best way to being your university experience is to go in laughing, with a huge smile on your face.

So if you take heed to at least some of my tips, and try to embrace every moment of the week, (even if it takes whispering YOLO under your breath to do it).

Your life until now has been about finding yourself- but university is about BEING yourself and putting your awesome, unique skills in to action!

This journey begins today! So have fun and collect tonnes of free stuff!!


Taking a breather

Did anyone else feel like a switch was flicked as soon as their last assessment piece was submitted? I know I did. For me this assessment piece was an online quiz and the instant the ‘submit answers’ button was clicked, I could feel the smile emerge from one of my ears to the other. From that moment, I had transformed from a stressed and irritable university student to a contented and relieved ‘uni bum’. The best word I can think of to describe that feeling of having the bare minimum to do for a whole three weeks is bliss.

And that’s just about what I’ve done – nothing. Well not nothing, but the necessities blended with spending time with family and friends, some gradual spring (or winter, whichever you would prefer) cleaning, and some shopping (of course!). I have also been receiving my results progressively and the picture below that USQ shared with us all on Facebook describes my reaction to these perfectly. Can anybody relate?


Being a residential college student, I am open to lots of activities and events. There are some stand-out moments from Semester 1 that I’d like to share.

Semi Formal

On the 24th of May Steele Rudd held their annual semi formal and this year’s theme was Disney. Once again the kitchen staff provided a delicious three course meal and our college committee organised an enjoyable night for everyone. I went as Snow White and below I am pictured with Sophia (AKA Pocahontas) who received “Best Dressed Female” on the night.


 Res Shield

Thanks to the Residential Colleges’ sports coordinators, all three colleges compete in a range of sporting events throughout the year, known as Res Shield. Below is a picture of myself and others from Steele Rudd College at the soccer game. Rules were altered a little so that boys didn’t have a huge advantage over girls. Some say this was unfair (mainly the males) but I didn’t complain :P Although Steele Rudd ended up last on the night we all had a ball – both players and supporters!


Now I plan to spend my last week of holidays at the beach and do what every person loves to do best – relax! Needless to say shopping will also be involved. Following this will be purchasing textbooks and having a look through Study Desk to see what lies ahead for me in Semester 2. One thing I learnt from last semester is that staying on top of things goes a long way, and by following the study schedules and keeping on track, you will be saved from a whole lot of stressing at the last minute (I learnt this the hard way).

The best advice I have received and can pass on to you during this time (although it’s nearly all over) is – unwind, reenergise and do what you love to do best when you have the chance to do it. Watch lots of movies, read your favourite book (a better substitution to textbooks), or maybe even go out and do something adventurous for the day. Mainly, just take advantage of this spare time that you usually don’t have. This will not only give you a boost but you will then walk into Semester 2 feeling refreshed and prepared.

Being the soccer fanatic I am, I relate this point of the year to halftime in a soccer match; you’ve finished the first half and now you have the chance to reflect on what went right, what went wrong, and how to improve on the setbacks you experienced. If you’re unhappy with how you went in the first part of the match, there’s always the second half to reach the results you desire, as long as you’re prepared to bring determination to the game!


Hope you all enjoy the remainder of the holidays and all the best for Semester 2!

Kristie :)

O-Week: A week to remember.


So it’s here, the return of Semester – and what a way to kick it off! O-Week, as always, saw the university come alive with energy and excitement. Thousands of students came on campus to experience university life (many for the first time). With information sessions, live music, movie nights, party nights and Phoenix Carnival, this was a jam-packed week for our students.

The week kicked off at Alison Dickson Lecture Theatre with the VC, Mrs Jan Thomas, giving an inspiring welcome speech. Students then broke into faculty sessions and had the opportunity to attend workshops such as time management, university services, library tours and many more. And of course, where would O-Week be without some live music, Red Froggers and Free Stuff?

Throughout the week students could take part in Bush Dances, a movie night, an under 18’s Café Crawl and of course – a themed Party Night at The Spotted Cow. The week ended with the first annual Phoenix Carnival – which included live music, market, food stalls and lots of games and activities.
However, I wasn’t sure if words could really re-create the vibe of this week, so I have created a video which showcases the O-Week Journey for our students and staff. Enjoy!

– Amanda


Welcome!!  :)

Well, this is the first ever USQ blog…being written by the first ever USQ blogger. It also happens to be the first ever blog this blogger has ever written! My name is Amanda Smythe, and I am a student at USQ Toowoomba. I am a first year business student…. and a part-time waitress…and also, now, a blogger (my resume is looking good).

A new semester is dawning and it’s time to start buying new textbooks, collecting miscellaneous pens and waking up before 11am again – all things which had been lost and forgotten since the end of Semester 1. Coming up with the enthusiasm to do such tasks, however, is pretty hard. I have found my only bit of hope in the realisation that my textbooks stacked together would be an excellent footrest (and/or small table for resting drinks) and therefore will get me through another four courses of study this coming semester in comfort. I think I am not alone in experiencing pre-semester-lack-of-motivation-for-study-itis. In fact, I think it may be a common symptom of the holidays. I have pondered on this new concept, and decided that there is surely a cure for the terrible disease which seems to have infected students across the nation.


After testing aforementioned cure, I have concluded that the suggested regime to cure pre-semester-lack-of-motivation-for-study-itis does definitely not efficiently cure the disease. However, further testing may be required.

After failing to gain motivation during the quarantine and chocolate-eating process, I turned to other methods. I decided to go on-campus during Orientation Week in order to find some inspiration.

The first thing I saw was this sign. A clear indication from USQ that they are happy to see their students again!!! Yes, this little sign brought bright, yellow sunshine to my day (ps. it also happened to be raining this day). I continued my adventure through the campus buildings, only to find more inspiration….

Ohh how much the sight and smell of coffee in The Hub Café reminded me of studying in the USQ Hub. It has helped me through so many hours of assignments, so many lectures and tutorials, and so many days of not feeling like doing either. Once again, my motivation was rising and I started looking forward to those days again. I ventured into the Hub Café (possibly with the intention of purchasing coffee), and the building was buzzing with Orientation Week excitement!! There was live music (see below picture) and friendly faces at an information booth (see the picture below the below picture) – all bubbling with happiness and bright coloured hair. To me, a student diagnosed with pre-semester-lack-of-motivation-for-study-itis, this was very strange for me. Perhaps it was….USQ fever…

The final stop upon my journey was a group called ‘Community Building’ (see picture below). Until my journey this morning, I never even knew this group existed. However, as the brightly decorated sign caught my attention in the middle of The Hub, I had to find out more. I am so glad I did. This small voluntary group meets with people within the USQ community to make them feel more welcome, especially those with international backgrounds. One member said they aim to engage these fellow USQ students in “meaningful conversations to build the sense of community”. WOW!! If this group wasn’t enough to motivate me to return to my USQ Community and get stuck into my textbooks…then nothing would!!

So as I write this blog, and count down the days until classes begin, I can safely say that I am ready – and even excited – to begin study again. Have I now caught the ‘USQ fever’??…it’s possible. But most importantly I hope that I have shared with you a little bit of inspiration to cure you from a case of pre-semester-lack-of-motivation-for-study-itis.

Lastly, I would like to thank you for being part of the first blog, by the first blogger, of USQ. I would love for everyone to read, share, like, comment, re-blog, print, re-read, post the link, save the page…whatever you have to do to let everyone know about USQ’s new blog. Most importantly, I would love to hear…what you want to hear. Comment and let us know what you would like our bloggers to talk about!! We are all students, just like you. We are all at USQ, just like you. And together, WE ARE THE USQ COMMUNITY. Help us make it great.