Give back, and that’s that

Pic 1You are given two lemons, but are asked to make orange juice – how does that even work? A Good Samaritan gives you two oranges instead. Numerous things in a person’s life influence who they are and what they will become. Everyone has different things going on that affect them, just as much as the next person and just like the Good Samaritan, there are always people there willing to give you a lending hand. The Samaritan volunteered the two oranges so the orange juice could be made. So many things happen in life and for me, I have found that volunteering is the best way I can give back.

This year I had the honour of being elected the President of the USQ Charity Committee. The USQ Charity Committee originally started out as a group of students from USQ Residential Colleges who worked together to raise funds for charities through facilitating events for students. Just last year, the group was opened up to all USQ students to take part in when it became a USQ Club. The response to the endeavours of the club have been amazing.

Annually, the USQ Charity Committee holds a Gala Event, the biggest fundraiser of the year, for a chosen charity – this year, it was the Pancare Foundation. The Pancare Foundation raises much needed funds for those suffering from pancreatic, liver, biliary, oesophageal and stomach cancers. This organisation was agreed upon by all members of the committee and we all worked together to make the best event possible, to get the best results for the charity.

This year’s theme to raise money for the Pancare Foundation was White Party. All guests were required to wear white (but we didn’t turn away anyone that didn’t) and participate in different events throughout the night. Our biggest fundraiser of the evening was the auction. Numerous items were auctioned, from paintings to gift packs, all with a favourable response by guests. Along with the auction, we had coin tosses and the most popular event of the evening was the toilet paper competition. Guests were required to form groups and appoint one person to be the model; the group then proceeded to decorate the model in toilet paper and the best dressed model won a prize. There were lots of laughs and it was an enjoyable night for all.

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I have been a member of the USQ Charity Committee since I started at USQ and it has been one of my most rewarding experiences. Not only am I able to meet people and attend and participate in great events, I am able to give back to charities and people by raising much needed funds. Volunteering helps gain professional experience, brings people together and allows for personal growth and self-esteem. It is a truly rewarding experience and I recommend, if you aren’t already, to join an organisation you are passionate about – something close to your heart – and volunteer. It is your chance to give back. It is your chance to make a difference.

And with that, I’m officially done!

Every year the Residential Colleges host a Valedictory Dinner for graduating residents and their families. On Saturday the 24th of October, it was my turn to attend the dinner as a soon-to-be USQ graduate- Yes, the perfect excuse to buy a new dress! At the dinner I had the privilege of delivering the speech on behalf of the Steele Rudd graduates, and while I did get nervous, I got through it and managed to get a few laughs from the audience. #winning #success

New dress- ready for the valedictory dinner

I love an excuse to buy a new dress

Making the Speech

Despite the nerves, I made it through my speech

At the dinner we all shared memories, received advice for the future and were thanked for our contributions to the Residential Colleges community. We laughed and danced late in to the night, continuing to make memories and forge friendships at our final college event before moving into the ‘big wide world’.

Celebrating the evening with friends

Celebrating the evening with friends

I first moved to Steele Rudd College in February 2011 as a very shy and innocent 17 year old who had never been away from home for more than 10 days at a time. Looking back, I can remember I was extremely uncertain about what the next few years of my life would hold. I remember thinking things like, ‘What if I don’t make friends?’, ‘What if I don’t fit in?’, ‘What if I get homesick?’, ‘What if I fail?’ and ‘What if I don’t like what I am studying?’ It took me a little while to settle in, but I discovered that lots of ‘freshers’ felt exactly the same as me.

It didn’t take long for me to make friends in fact, the friends I made in my first few days at college are still my friends today. I discovered everyone is welcome and no one is left out, everyone fits it. I learnt it’s perfectly natural to get homesick and that it’s not something to be ashamed of. My friends stuck by me and helped me through when I was feeling really homesick. I made trips home to visit my family and friends whenever I could. I even spoke with my family on the phone every night, and still do.

First Year

Friends in my first year (2011). Myself, Sophie, Dimity, Cassie and Ash


This year (2015) Ash, Myself, Sophie and Cassie at Dimity’s wedding.

‘What if I fail?’ While I’ve never failed a course, I did fail an exam in my first semester. While I was disappointed I’d failed the exam, I chose to learn from the experience. The next semester I was more dedicated to my study and started preparing for my exams much earlier. I’ve always told myself that I would only truly fail if I gave up, and I never ever give up.

In high school, two of my best subjects were business and legal studies, which is why I decided to study a double degree in business and law at uni. At the end of my first year I realised law wasn’t for me. I contacted my Student Relationship Officer (SRO) who helped me change from the double degree into a single business degree and apply for credits for the courses I had already completed.

I often hear people say high school is the best time of their life, but for me uni and living on college have been the best experiences of my life! The friendships I’ve forged and the memories I’ve made will stick with me forever.

Friends and memories collage

The friendships I’ve forged and the memories I’ve made will stick with me forever

Five years since I was first handed my key, I have grown as a person and have learnt heaps, and I don’t just mean academically. I’ve learnt how to be a good person, how to budget, how to manage my time and how to overcome the challenges life throws at me.

With the click of a button and nine minutes and 34 seconds to spare, I submitted my last assessment piece for my Master’s on Friday the 30th of October, I was officially done! :)

Last assignmnent finised

The last assessment piece of my degree submitted.

If you’ve never studied, are only just starting to study, are half way through, or have completed your studies, never give up! Embrace the opportunities life throws at you because, as Mark Twain once said:

Explore. Dream. Discover. Quote

For those of you who are still studying, good luck with your remaining assessments and courses. To all of you who are now finished your degrees, I wish you all the very best of luck for whatever your future holds, I hope all of your dreams come true.

Outwitting the Thief of Time

Chances are – if your great grandma was Australian – she spent the formative years of education carefully copying out ‘Procrastination is the Thief of Time’ in her best cursive. These days, we have motor cars, computers and YouTube which all threaten to still away our precious time.

Here are some ideas to harness time to your advantage

1. Procrastination be gone!

Watch one of the good, helpful YouTube video on why you procrastinate (the task seems all too big and overwhelming?) and then ask yourself what you can achieve in the next 5 minutes. Then start. Right now. For five minutes.

The key here is to not procrastinate by attacking procrastination head on.

2. ‘You eat an elephant, one bite at a time’

It all adds up. Spend 10 minutes a day summarising the main points you have learnt, for one of your subjects, this week. Chipping away at the Mount Everest in front of you, is not as daunting as breaking out the mental TNT, and it all adds up…

3. ‘Stop Nesting, Start Studying’

This beautiful concept, nestled amongst the pro-tips included in the link below, can be good to remember, if you find yourself unable to start anything until you have all of your coloured highlighters in rainbow order, on your desk. While a tidy, efficient workspace is a great way to lift your mood and cue your mind to focus…there comes a time when fluffing the pillows needs to be tossed aside…

4. Live at the Library…

Great for avoiding the urge to redecorate your room, and great for avoiding social gatherings you would rather attend. I use a little suitcase with wheels, to transport loads of library books. Socially awkward, yes…but pretty sure both great-grandma and the average chiropractor, would approve.

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5. Smell the roses… while you are jogging past…

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Daily exercise really is an investment in better sleep, reduced stress, and more mental alertness. Aim for 30 minutes. Not a huge part of your day. If you can manage a walk in the morning sunlight, so much the better. Consider a brisk walk around the tranquil Japanese Gardens. Connecting with Nature, and getting your blood circulating is a great way to multi-task.

6. Multi-task and Multi-media

Look for sensible, productive ways to do two things at once. Download lectures and listen on bus trips. Walk on the treadmill while listening to lectures or watching relevant documentaries. Break out the coloured pens and butcher’s paper, and affix the main points to your wall, with stick figure cartoons – for fun *and* study, simultaneously.

7. Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

Having a daily timetable and diary seems really basic…yet, used to maximum advantage, stops that time slip-sliding away, never to return…

8. Real World in Real Time

Challenge the soothing sense of connectedness offered by Facebook, and meet up with your friends in real life – maybe even have Study Gatherings together. If you live at College, make maximum use of Study Hall. Keep each other honest and focused, and motivated. Encourage. Empathise.

Seek out friends and family with Real World features such as cuddly kittens, and build these little purring stress reducers into your busy week.

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9. The Ol’ Cost-Benefit Analysis

Remember why you are at uni. Where do you want to be in 5 years? What will you be able to do (have a great career, afford to buy rather than rent your dream home?) in the years ahead?

Do a quick search of literacy rates globally, and reflect that – even though sometimes it seems never-ending and laborious – education is a privilege. Try to recapture the enjoyment you felt in learning, as a child. Do your best to work hard, in gratitude for your life opportunities.

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If this doesn’t help…think of all the chocolate you will be able to purchase, when you use your degree to be gainfully employed.

Do you have any never-fail time management and motivation strategies which work for you? Please let me know, below!

To Gap Year or Not to Gap Year

If you had asked me at the end of Year 12 what it was I hoped to achieve from taking a Gap Year, I, like many students in my position would have shared with you my vision to take a break from study and gain a job in order to support myself at university.  Little did I know I would gain so much more from one single year, out there in the ‘real world’!  As the Year 12 QTAC offers edge closer, I would like to share with you the top three life lessons I gained from taking a Gap Year!

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  1. Gaining a job often isn’t as easy as it sounds

It is so easy to want a job.  At the beginning of my Gap Year, I did not have a job.  Many kids at school had one, so I thought, ‘surely it can’t be that hard to land one myself’!  I was an extremely studious student with the grades to match, participated in many extra-curricular activities and was a proud leader of my school…who wouldn’t want to hire me!  At the beginning of my Gap Year, I was among many unemployed people.  This was magnified by the 2013 Bundaberg flood, the largest in the town’s history since January 1890.  One of the main shopping centres, Hinkler Central, was flooded, forcing many people into the job market around town.  I very quickly learnt not only how to improve my resume in order to make myself look more appealing on paper, but also that it was very much a case of the old saying ‘it’s who you know, not what you know’.  Although all of my wonderful results and extra-curricular activities looked good on paper, it wasn’t until I put myself out there and started following up employers (yes, lots of them don’t send out a rejection letter…they just keep you hanging) and being more proactive in my hunt for employment that I started to receive any response and subsequently land myself a job.

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  1. Maintaining friendships becomes more difficult

Until you leave school, you are unaware of how fortunate you are to be able to see your closest friends every day of the school week!  Life outside of school can become very lonely.  Everyone begins to go their separate ways – working, travelling, moving out of home, going to university and just generally starting a life away from school.  There will be some friends who you lose touch with as the common thread that you had with them, school, is no longer a part of either of your lives.  Your friendship group will reduce, however those friendships that do last are extremely precious and many will last a lifetime.  You may only catch up once a year due to various commitments, but if it feels like your last catch up was only yesterday, you know you are a part of a true friendship.

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  1. A Gap Year gives you headspace

During Year 12, I was so caught up in all of my academic pursuits and extra-curricular activities within the school that when I left school, I felt extremely lost as to who I really was.  My Gap Year provided me with the headspace I required in order to truly find out who I was, what my real pursuits for the rest of my life were and where I wanted to take my life.  It was no longer a case of ‘oh yeah…that sounds pretty good – I could give that a go’ type of attitude, but rather ‘This is reality.  What do I want to do with it and how can I make a difference?’ This led me to make some life changing decisions, such as changing my degree, my university, my college…basically uprooting all of my plans that I thought I wanted, to suit what the more mature and developed, real-world aware Alice wanted to do with herself.  Obviously not everyone can expect to go through such a large life epiphany in their Gap Year, but personally, it was the best decision I possibly could have made for that point in my life.

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Of course, the life lessons I have outlined in this blog are certainly not all-inclusive and will be different for everyone. The point I am trying to make here is that if you are considering a Gap Year, it could very well be the best decision you ever make.  Everyone needs and gets different things out of the year, but I believe it can truly change who we are as people and our outlooks on the rest of our lives.  Please feel free to share your Gap Year experiences in the comments below!

P.S.  As this is my last blog for the year, I would just like to send a great big thank you to everyone who has supported me in this endeavour throughout the year.  I hope you have found my blogs informative and interesting and wish you all the best for what lies ahead.

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2015: A College Odyssey

This past year has certainly been an adventure, full of changes, exciting moments and late nights of study. I would like to dedicate this blog to this past year and all the amazing people who I have shared it with.

O-Week:Pic 1

This year at Concannon we used O-Week to conquer (pun intended) all the parties, all the activities, and most importantly meet everyone. My personal highlights of 2015 O-Week include; Steele Rudd’s Rodeo, Concannon’s Beach party and the Concannon Wedding, always a highlight. Special mention to all the incredible Concannon freshers who spent O-Week looking fly in their sun safe hats.



Concannon’s 30th Birthday party, was an amazing time, costumes that all started with ‘C’, and birthday cake, what more could I have asked for? Also the amazing semi-formals that Steele Rudd (Famous People) and McGregor (Superheroes and Villains) hosted, I was lucky enough to be able to wear the same costume to all the semi-formals, the best way to justify the purchase of an expensive costume.

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Concannon Parties:

Who doesn’t love a themed party? Life is too short to spend your time with people who don’t like dressing up for a themed party. Some of Concannon’s themed parties from this year included; St. Patricks Day party, Hero Day (to celebrate our graduates) and Golf Day (since we are such incredible athletes).

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Formal, what would a year on college be without formal? Concannon’s Casino night
involved a little panic (setting up) and a lot of fun. And in classic Concannon fashion we made sure there was lots of laughing, lots of dancing and excellent food. Thank you to the RSC for organising the formal and getting everything done, to the Block representatives for all their support and to all the residents who attended and made sure it was an incredible night.


To all the college residents of 2015, thank you for making 2015 an amazing year, and of course, make 2016 an amazing year as well.  Have an incredible rest of the year and best of luck to everyone during these final weeks of university and during exam block!

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The formalities of McGregor College

It’s the day! You have the perfect dress. You know exactly how you are going to have your hair. You know exactly when you are doing everything. You are ready for one of the best nights of your life! Being a college resident gives you the best opportunities to spend time with your friends, especially at the semi-formal and formal. But, it’s not what you think.

During the first semester we enjoy the semi-formal. This year the theme for our semi-formal was Superheros and Villains. The costumes ranged from witches to avengers and from ninja turtles to Steve Irwin – it was quite the sight to see. Throughout the night, a number of proceedings took place ranging from residents getting silly awards to the photo booth being used. Not only do you have photographic evidence of what exactly happened that night but you get the best three-course meal you will ever have in your time at college. Not only do you create some of the best memories, you get to do it with all your friends.

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I bet you are thinking that formal is exactly like your school formal; that you have to be dolled up to the nines and have to wear your ball gowns. It is nothing like your school formal – it is much more relaxed. Yes, you have to wear a formal dress but it can be any type of formal dress. Men, however, you will be required to have your yearly shower around this date because you have to at least smell nice. Both last year, the year before and again this year, I have worn the same formal dress – started at Year 12 and now we are here. Moral of the story – wear what you have. Again, you get one of the best meals of your college experience – chicken or steak, anyone? Not only do you get to dress up and sit at a table with all your friends, it is the chance to honour those who are graduating, welcome the new RSC and congratulate outstanding residents. It is honestly one of the most fun nights, I have experienced and was better than my school formal.

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So, you are thinking about coming to college? DO IT! You get to experience so many events throughout the year, semi-formal and formal included, that allow you to enjoy time with friends and enjoy a great night organised by fantastic people. Hopefully, I will see you at the next ones.

Discovering the Culture of Toowoomba

When considering university choices, location can play a significant role for many prospective students. It can be hard to make a decision if you have never been to the city yourself, let alone know where it is! When I told some of my friends I was moving to Toowoomba, many asked, ‘how many hours north of here is that?’ No, no, about 6 hours south guys, but anyway! Today, I am here to highlight to you the very best features of the beautiful Garden City that is Toowoomba.

  1. Eateries

Pic 1If you are looking for great food, you have come to the right town! Toowoomba has many quality cafes and restaurants which provide top quality food and beverages. Some of my personal favourites include the Park House Café, the Engine Room Café, Picnic Point, Raw Energy, Angelo’s House Restaurant and Qi’Lin, just to name a few. Each of these places has its unique features, making for an extra special dining experience. The Park House Café offers specially flavoured hot beverages, such as their Cherry Ripe Hot Chocolate. The Engine Room Café’s new owners create delicious items like panna cotta for the tastebuds to enjoy. Picnic Point has very high quality meals and sweet treats, topped with a glorious view over the Toowoomba range. Raw Energy is the place to go for all of your delicious healthy and clean eating options. Angelo’s House Restaurant brings top quality Italian food to the table in a wonderful homely style that cannot be found elsewhere. And Qi’Lin provides top quality Chinese food in a welcoming, Chinese-decorated surrounding and have this week been crowned the best Chinese restaurant in Queensland for the fourth year running.

  1. Markets

Pic 2Toowoomba is a hive of activity on the weekends, with a market occurring every weekend, showcasing the best fresh produce and homemade crafts that Toowoomba has to offer! The PCYC Markets are held every Sunday at the Toowoomba PCYC on James Street. The Margaret Street Markets are held on the first Sunday of each month down the Gelatissimo block end of Margaret Street. There are also the Global Care Markets, held on the second Saturday of each month at Citilife Church.  We also have the Queens Park Markets, held on the third Sunday of the month in the lovely Queens Park. Recently, we were also treated to The Handmade Expo visit at the Clive Berghofer centre across from USQ, which will be returning this year on Sunday November 30th, just in time to purchase something special for Christmas!

  1. Shopping

If you are looking for fabulous shopping options, Toowoomba has you covered! We have many smaller shopping centres around town, including the Kmart Plaza, The Ridge Shopping Centre, Westridge Shopping Centre and the Uni Plaza, near the university, all offering at least one major supermarket each as well as many specialty stores. The town’s largest shopping provider is Grand Central Shopping Centre, or as we all call it on college, Grandy. Grandy is currently undergoing renovations, as they are extending the centre to add more shops, including a David Jones, due to be completed by 2017. Currently, Grand Central has over 200 stores, including the only Myer store in the region, the Body Shop, Target, Coles, Birch Carrol & Coyle Cinema, over 50 fashion stores and 140 specialty stores! Whatever you are after to fulfil your retail desires, Toowoomba has the store for you (unless it is Forever New, but we are hopeful that the Grand Central extension will fulfil that dream for us all)!

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  1. Entertainment

Pic 4We are very lucky in Toowoomba to have many local and world-renowned acts visit to perform for our audiences. The best venues for viewing these acts include the USQ Artsworx Theatre and the Empire Theatre. The USQ Artsworx Theatre, provides an intimate entertainment experience, usually at a very reasonable price (perfect for those uni budgets!). The Empire Theatre is the main theatre in town, which includes a balcony viewing level, and old-world décor, creating an ambience that is hard to find elsewhere. This is a top quality theatre for top quality performances. Whenever the Empire is involved, a good time is bound to be had!

  1. Gardens

Pic 5Toowoomba is not called the Garden City for nothing! Here in Toowoomba, we have a plethora of beautiful gardens for you to enjoy.  From the relaxing Japanese Gardens, right next to USQ with its many quacky inhabitants always keen for a feed, to the Spring Bluff Railway Station on the other side of town, which is maintained to this day after it was first tended in 1914 when Queensland Railways launched a garden competition. There are also the main features of the well-known Toowoomba Carnival of flowers, Queens Park and Laurel Bank which are beautiful at any given time of the year, however particularly in spring when they are bought to life with various overhead patterns and images according to the theme of the carnival. It makes for a truly spectacular display! Also throughout this festival of spring, many proud Toowoomba gardeners dress their gardens and permit the public to view their hard work through the Chronicle’s annual garden competition.

If you haven’t any plans for your school holidays this September, don’t just take my word for it! Come for a visit to Toowoomba to see the Garden City at its best during the annual Carnival of Flowers! For more information about the events occurring throughout the carnival, please visit the following link!

All the World’s a Stage: the Pros and Cons of College Life

Living at a Residential College can be a unique and incomparable experience; one you will carry with you for life. As with many aspects of existence, of course, there are pros and cons in the mix.

Location, location- Pro

Living in such a tight-knit community is often brilliant. Giving your all at a Residential Shield Event, clad in College colours. Enjoying a hilarious conversation over dinner. All the conveniences of living actually at the university, having one bill to pay, the internet on, and food ready and waiting for you, without fuss. You don’t even have to clean the toilet!

Finding Your Tribe- Pro

There is almost always someone keen for a chat or happy to share your chocolate. You are surrounded by people who know exactly what it’s like to be a student, in all its challenge and glory. Activities help you locate and befriend the people who resonate with you, and meet new friends from all over the world.


All the World’s a Stage- Both Pro and Con

People talk. This is great when you know half the smiling students on USQ advertisements. There’s no place like home!

Living in a fishbowl can also be initially somewhat daunting, particularly if you are a private or shy person. Having survived high school though, odds are you will adapt to College living A-OK. The intensity of community life is a blessing, but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. Seeing happy couples when you are single or seeing the person your own promising love story didn’t work out with every day can become too much.

The wise resident knows when to escape college, or at least find a quiet corner in the library or gardens, for a few hours to reset perspective and press the social ‘refresh’ button. Your RAs are bound by expectations of confidentiality, and your College Community Advisor, Mel, is a great ally if you ever just need to get something personal or vexing off your chest, knowing it won’t be going any further.

Missing your furry friends- Con

One of the most obvious down sides to Res College life is the absence of fluffy pets. Manically sharing cute kitten videos can only do so much to alleviate times of intense longing for those little furry friends so many of us love. Mobbing the cute quacky ducks and adorable lambs at USQ petting zoo events is a common side effect of Res College life.

The late night noise- Con

Student life is traditionally alive with late-night assignment binges, and occasional night club frivolities and merriment oft-enhanced by a quiet ale or three. If you like to go to bed early, you are a light sleeper, or you are not always a fan of sharing an enthusiastic neighbour’s choice of music, you may wish to invest in some earplugs, so you can sleep like a baby. That is, the baby which isn’t crying and waving its fists in frustration.

 I don’t feel like chicken tonight…- Con

Living in Catered splendor has its challenges: launching out of bed in time for breakfast, late night snack attacks when dinner finished at 7pm. You may not always be in the mood for the evening’s menu, until you see the diabolically delicious dessert… There is a self-catered option for those who prefer to cook their own food.

 Lifelong friends and memories- Pro

Every cloud has a silver lining, but living in a lively, supportive, buzzing Residential College Community, with people who will become lifelong friends truly is pure gold.

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Organisation 101

University has been one of the best experiences of my young life, and one of the reasons is the social aspect is so much fun! But in between all the fun, you are meant to study. Luckily, I have found a few tricks to help with being organised to make sure I never forget when an assignment is due, when a Res Shield event is or when the next social event is. Here are my five tips for being organised.

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  1. Make a list

I know this might seem like a very obvious thing, but my list is more detailed; at the beginning of each semester I make a list of all the assessments I have for each class, including the assignment type (Quiz, Oral, Assignment, etc.), when the assignment is due, and the percentage it is worth for the class. Additionally when I receive a result back I note what percentage I got to keep track of how I am doing in the class.

  1. Colour Code Everything

I highlight everything. My big yearlong calendar has so much writing and highlighting on it, and it makes such a difference;

  • Res Shield events; purple
  • Assessment; blue
  • Birthdays; yellow
  • Res College Social events; green
  • Parties and Social events; pink.

Trust me, it makes events a lot easier to find.

Additionally with colour coding, if you have individual books and folders, get ones in matching colours, that way you always know the book and folder belong together.

  1. Desk Organisation

Make the most of your space at college. The best way I have found is having desk organisation/storage.  I can actually see my stuff and am more motivated to study. It is so much easier during exam block to know where everything is; pens, sticky notes, notebooks, highlighters, all within reach and easy to see.

  1. Closet OrganisationPic 2

Now I understand some people like to bring a lot of clothing and such to college, so it is important to make the most of your closet space. Hanging storage has been such a space saver for me. I have a hanging section, shelving for bags/shoes/jumpers (depending on time of year), and hanging organisers, it has saved me so much space, honestly.

  1. Under the bed

My biggest asset for hiding all of my mess is giant storage boxes under my bed (labelled so I know where everything is). Additionally I keep a shoe rack under there, and for anyone who plays sports or just generally owns far too many shoes I would recommend this as a must!

I hope these tips were useful for you. Let me know if you have any other organisation tips in the comments below.

The highs and lows of being a Resident Advisor

This year I am a Resident Advisor (RA) at Steele Rudd College, one of the three Residential Colleges at USQ’s Toowoomba Campus and have often been asked what it is like to be an RA. An RA is a resident and student who is trained to help other residents with academic, social and welfare issues they may be having while living on college. There is always an RA ‘on duty’ outside of business hours at each of the three colleges who assists residents with things such as lock-outs, safety or security and maintenance issues, first aid and the hiring of vacuum cleaners. Being an RA is both a rewarding and challenging experience.

2015 USQ Resident Advisors celebrating the end of training

2015 USQ Resident Advisors celebrating the end of training with cupcakes

For me, being an RA is rewarding because I get to help people, something I have always enjoyed doing. I have seen first year students grow from being shy and unsure in the college environment, to being an essential vibrant member of the college community. I get to smile with and celebrate the big and small achievements of college residents as they move through their university journey. And it always brings a smile to my face (and makes me feel like a bit of a superhero) when a resident comes up to me with a simple ‘thank you for your support’ or ‘thank you for being there for me when no one else was’.


As an RA I even get to plan events for the residents of my block to help foster friendships and create some fun and stress relief in to the chaos that is uni. #winning! I love organising events! Movie nights and block BBQs are always popular events (who doesn’t love free food?)!

Being an RA can also be challenging. Sometimes, other residents think of me as the ‘fun police’ for asking them to turn the music down during quiet hours when other residents are trying to study or sleep. And occasionally my friends shake their heads at me for asking ‘are you sure that is a good idea?’ when they talk about their plans to prank another friend.


Some nights the phone rings for a lock-out or noise complaint at 3am when I have been up until 1am trying to complete assessment I know I shouldn’t have left to the last minute. And very rarely, it feels like I don’t get any sleep at all.


Occasionally I will be helping residents through stressful times at uni while also stressing out myself. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Being an RA has been one of the best experiences of my life. The skills I have learnt along the way outweigh the occasional night of sleep deprivation by a mile. I have had the opportunity to make friends with people I never thought I would make friends with. Seeing residents overcome the hurdles they face and succeeding on their path to fulfilling their dreams is possibly the best thing I have ever witnessed.

If you have ever thought about applying to be an RA, my advice would be to go for it. There’s no real way you can know what it is like to be an RA until you actually are one, but I’ve never regretted my decision to apply.