Studying Externally

This is one of the huge choices to make when you come to University, as the allure of the Uni lifestyle is heavily influenced by the fact that, legend says, there is no punishment for not attending classes, and some courses can even be taken without classes, or, as the educated refer to it: Externally. I personally fell victim to the consideration that I could, in fact, do a class online, and never have to attend a class for that subject again!

Admittedly, my first year proved this impossible, as, in a theatre degree, roughly one in 27 classes is offered externally, and those that are, are rather different courses than their on-campus counterparts. Nonetheless, I had attempted to find a course that I could do externally to “lessen my workload” and this is something that I feel many students fall victim to early in their university careers.


I myself experienced the naivety of my own thinking when I, needing to do an elective and not wanting to do it while in second semester of third year, the busiest time in a Theatre Kids’ degree, decided to take Foundation Psychology A. Several of my fellow 3rd year Theatre kids also attempted this course, and did so with the same naivety that I had come to hold dear. Our first clue that this course would be difficult should have been made plain in the name, of the course of study- Psychology. Psychology, after all, is a science, and we failed to recognize that this would mean that we would be undertaking a particularly difficult subject.

Nonetheless, we soldiered on, enrolled, and prepared ourselves for the first assessment. It was hard, much harder than we had expected, but we managed. Next, was the second assignment. It was hard, harder than the first, but not so hard that we couldn’t manage it. Then came the third assignment. The third assignment was hardest, and managing was no longer an option. It was at this moment that the fear set in. The realization that I needed a solid grade on the exam to pass the course instilled a horror so deep within my soul that I realized my genuine mistake. I had failed to account for the difficulty of this course, and, while experiencing the weird blend of holiday and work mode, was having a very hard time getting the appropriate amount of work done.

Now came the period of study, the most study, in fact, that I’d ever managed to do for an exam. This was primarily because I had, in fact, failed to perform any of the course study up until this point, and was hoping to manage a pass based on a grueling weekend of hardcore study. Fortunately for me, but unfortunately for them, my study buddies had similarly failed to prepare themselves for the exam, and this meant that the lot of us crowded together to study. The moral for this is kind of all the same: Study and Learning is easier with people around you, be that in the form of your friends who are equally incompetent at time management, or the fellow people around you in the lecture hall. Know what you’re getting yourself into, plan ahead, manage your time.

 

And remember kids, Psychology is a science.

10 Handy Things You Should Know About College at USQ

They say all good things must come to an end.  After two years at McGregor College and one year at Steele Rudd College, I think I’m going to miss it.

Here’s a few bits and pieces I learnt about college along the way for Freshers and Returners alike:

  1. If you take one car load to college, it’s easy to forget that you need to go home at some point.  Make sure you don’t accumulate too much stuff over the course of the year – I’m so guilty of this.
  2. When taking lunches, assemble sandwich material on to a plate so you can build a non-soggy sandwich when you’re ready to eat it.
  3. Take bulk dollar coins before you leave in readiness for weekly washing loads.
  4. Bar fridges are optional and will fit inside your rooms.
  5. Head over to the Quad to eat your lunch on Wednesdays, there’s always something fun going on in common hour.
  6. You don’t need to use your cellular data when within the university – make sure you get your wireless sorted. You can always ask I.T. at the hub to help you out!
  7. Pillow toppers are great to put on your mattress at college if you like a soft bed. They are pretty cheap and make sleep much more comfortable!
  8. A college wide optional game of ‘assassins’ is often played at some point during the year. Feel free to pack extra water bombs in readiness.
  9. Make use of the fruit trees! There are orange, mulberry, white mulberry, mango, lime, apple, pecan and many more fruit trees scattered around the colleges, plus the vegetable garden outside the back of the Steele Rudd kitchens.
  10. Bring posters/photos and blutack to make your room a little home away from home.

All the best for 2015!

To the USA and back

You would have seen my blog previously talking about preparing and fund raising for a weeklong trip to Florida, USA to attend a showcase. Well… I’m home again and all I can say is that it was absolutely AMAZING!

To be honest, it took a long, long time to actually feel excited. Here’s why. I had never been out of the country before, hadn’t flown many times in my life before and was more scared of something epically stupid to happen. There was always the chance that I would forget something really important, remember something and then leave it behind in an airport or plane, my luggage could of gone missing or I could of made it all the way to Florida and my credit card could fail and I would be stuck helpless 8000 miles from home. As it turns out, I had to run through most of the airports to get to my planes in right time for boarding and only lost a bottle of body wash because it was too big. I felt like I was on a role and everything was running fairly smooth and then I rocked up to Orlando Airport and my guitar didn’t come through the oversize baggage chute. I had to run to the service desk and have a word with them. They assured me not to worry, BUT my guitar was on its way to Chicago.

Kent Singing

So I managed to book into the Marriott and my credit card worked, but I was without my guitar. Not only that, I actually didn’t feel excitement because it was so overwhelming. I had never been in such a big hotel. I had never seen such a big pool. I couldn’t get my head around the side of the road they drive on.

Kent Modelling

Anyway… I thankfully had everything I needed in good time and was healthy and ready for the sections in which I was entered. I got the biggest surprise when I came out of a seminar I was in and people started smiling at me differently and saying “you might want to check out the notice board”. This took the hype out of it a bit, but I managed to get into the top 10 vocalists out of everyone. This meant that I got to sing in the showcase show. I ended up winning 2nd place overall! Not only that, but I got 5 callbacks!!!

Unfortunately I didn’t get any recording deals or modelling contracts straight away but I did get some really great advice from some top professionals in the industry. I now have contacts for agents in New York and LA and have a list of things to now save up for and work on before I move to New York to pursue a career. (This will be in a few years, don’t say your goodbyes just yet).

I honestly can’t thank you all enough for your support and kind words.

I now need to go and make a boatload of money to make things happen.

Blessings,

Kent

 

5 More Cool Places around USQ You Might Not Know Exist

Here’s 5 more cool places you can check out without leaving your desk.

1.  O1:  Renovated from an indoor basketball court, O1 is the home of the USQ Social Media team.  This office is a hub of alternative interior design, home of the infamous gorilla statue and complete with the original basketball score LED display.

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2.  Y Block TV Studio Editing Room:  Where all the TV magic happens.  Did you know there is a full TV studio at USQ?

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3.  C Block Tunnel:  A storage area for the science department.  It runs all the way underneath the full length of C Block.

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4.  Japanese Garden Gym Exercise Equipment:  The amazing view in fast forward when hanging on to the spin apparatus.  Let’s be honest, you probably already knew about this one.

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5.  Z Block Roof:  A beautiful view and the spot for surveying students to learn about geodetic measurement methods, or measuring long distances and correcting for the curvature of the earth.  Thanks again to Simon Merange for coming along to take some photos.

Getting the most out of your time on college

I’ve reached the end of my 3 year college journey. This is a sad realization, but in part, it is also a joyful one. Accordingly, I’ve decided to write a blog about getting the most out of your time at college.

 

There was a time where I had chosen to bury myself in my studies and my room, engaging in the world of my course and little beyond. Fortunately for me (and less fortunately for my studies), I grew out this thinking by midway through O-week in first year. I soon found that the best times I could have were times spent with my friends and colleagues. These times ranged from parties, to after parties, to the occasional dinner conversation that went somewhere weird, and are a massive contributor to my life on college.

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My encouragement to getting the most out of your time on college is to utilize opportunities. Opportunities to party, to go bowling, to hang out at dinner until 9pm talking about the intricate details of engineering. If something’s happening, then get amongst it. I was fortunate enough to be part of a group of people who, in part, forced me to be socially active, to hang out and spend time talking about random stuff. This group of people, strangely enough, were known colloquially as the theatre kids, and their input allowed me to branch out and spend my 3 years at college having fun, when study wasn’t being jeopardized.

 

My best memories at college have been the times when I’ve gone out on a limb, gone to something that I didn’t expect to enjoy, and had a corker of a time, these times, and pub crawl.

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The social avenues that college affords only last so long, so getting amongst them while it’s still an easy option is the greatest thing that I’ve ever done. Play assassins, get involved with the O-week activities, go to formal, and semi, have fun, do what you want, and do it with the people you want to do with.

Because if college isn’t the time for it, then when is?

To Blog, or not to Blog  

September: the air is cold with that recognizable Toowoomba wind is rolling in over the hills, many students are taking their mid-semester breaks, but one group of students can be seen. These students trudge into the dining hall at 7:14, eat their late meals wearing their uniform of all black, and bemoan the day’s torments amongst cold meals and instant coffees. You may know who these students are based on these simple descriptors. USQ’s Third Year Actors. The reason for their struggle? USQ Artsworx Shakespeare in the Park Festival. For us, yes, I too am a member of this ancient family, the entirety of our three years of training comes to fruition in this single week of production. For Toowoomba, the event is an opportunity to experience culture on a scale not otherwise accessible. The opportunity to sit in a park, with a dinner and some drinks, enjoying some quality performance by trained actors, with beautiful set, costume, props and lighting, is something that the public of Toowoomba repeatedly show up to support and enjoy. Having defined the cultural landscape of Toowoomba for many years, the festival is also a unique opportunity of learning for the Actors, which, for us, is pretty dang swell. We battle against the elements to bring a quality piece of theatre using some of the most difficult theatrical texts in the English Language, again, awesome opportunity.

Shakespeare in the Park Article Image- Students

This year, we were lucky enough to perform Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing, A play that basically spends 5 acts partying. The show was massively energetic, with bright colours and badass characters, acting like fools as much as possible. In this regard, for an ensemble of young people, and an audience of college residents, it was the perfect choice. We had all kinds of fun with this show, and the audience enjoyed it immensely too. It was an energetic, crazy, action-packed and hilarious project to be a part of, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. The end result was strange, zany, sexy, awesome, hilarious and colourful. Truly an awesome experience for us, and the audiences.

Shakespeare in the Park Article Image

Now to move from making you feel bad about the experience that you might not have gotten to be a part of this year, Shakespeare in the Park will be on AGAIN next year!

 

Whattt!??

 

2015 3rd Years will be performing King Lear a fascinating and beautiful tragedy, with an awesome darkly comic undertone. The show’s on in March, from the 19th to the 23rd. You can already buy tickets, at the following link for what is sure to be a freaking awesome show.

 

http://artsworx.com.au/events/king-lear/

Why live on college?

There are literally so many reasons why living on college is a good thing. In fact there are so many that if you actually asked the question “why live on college?” and then read this entire article, you would probably find yourself packing your things and moving there right away.

Firstly, the most obvious benefit of living on campus is the convenience of it. Even if you have a dreaded 8am class, you can still afford to sleep longer than you would in a house because you just have to get dressed and walk to your buffet breakfast where you can eat what you like amongst the company of your friends who are also up at that time. When you finish with your plate, the amazing friendly kitchen staffs wash it up for you and you walk your way across the road to your class. Speaking of convenience, all your bills are also put together into a single bill so that you don’t have to waste your time paying a million separate things. You have Internet in you room as well as WIFI around the common rooms and surrounding areas. Oh and did I mention there’s a gym just next door that gives us sweet deals because we’re students? It’s seriously so convenient that we almost become lazy. However it does allow for us to focus on the study.

Block party #redfoo #nurses #degree #stereotypes #swag #yolo

A photo posted by Kent Tonscheck (@kenttonscheck) on

Secondly, college is fun. We have a big contest each year between all colleges called Residential Shield, or “Res-shield” as we all call it, that basically consists of lots of different sporting and cultural events throughout the year. There’s no reason for you to ever get bored if you’re one of those people that study something that allows you free time. It’s so important that you get involved in these types of events because they help you to take your mind off study and reduce stress while keeping your body and mind healthy. Other fun aspects of college are things such as block films for Semi-Formal and Formal. Lots of times we make them so bad that they’re good and really focus on making something funny. As you can imagine, after the formal is finished, everyone is in fits of laughter and makes for good stories for weeks to come.

Lastly, college is supportive. While on college I made friends with so many people and they’re contacts I will have forever. Everyone looks out for each other and when you need a friend to talk to, there is always someone just down the hall. If there’s not, there is always someone in the next block. You literally have friends living a small walk from your bedroom door. If you need support with your studies or want to see a councillor, there are support teams just across the road or an email away. If you’re like me and come from a family farm struggling through tough weather, you can find financial support and scholarships specifically for you.

My degree was three years in duration and I lived there from start to finish. I wouldn’t change a thing! I learnt a lot, completed my course and will have friends for life thanks to college.

P.S. I’d totally love it if you could check out and buy my debut EP just released

https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/life-love-tales-ep/id939931395

Packing for the year

 

10am is the deadline. All of your stuff in your car is the aim. Fear is the emotion. The clock strikes 9, your room is still a mess, time is running out, you’re sweating, you need to vacuum, but the vacuum’s in the office. The cleaners have started knocking on your door to ask if you’re out yet. The clock strikes 9:30, which I know doesn’t make sense, but hey, you’re panicking. Your car is very close to being full of the random collection of stuff that you’ve managed to accumulate, and, through your tears of frustration and pain, you promise yourself that you will never let this happen again. You’ll throw out that poster your friend gave you, leave your collected works of Charles Dickens at home, only bring the clothes you need.

 

This is the panic of the college resident who, upon discovering the 4th set of shoes they didn’t wear all year failing to fit into their hatchback, realizes something. That they need to, somehow, learn to pack smart before they inflict this entire process upon themselves again next year.

 

Packing for the year can be one of the hardest things to do. It’s hard to balance what you will need, what you might need, and what you definitely won’t need but how awesome would it be to have it right there. For me, these categories sound a little more like these: Textbooks and Living Material, Musical Instruments, and posters of wolves. Considering I had 7 musical instruments in my room at the end of last year, as well as a poster of a wolf, one can guess that I didn’t do that well at packing for the year. If I were to throw out advice for new and returning evidence, it’d be the following:

 

Prioritize what you need. If your ‘rents are happy to look after the remainder of your stuff, then leave it with them. If they do mind, then it might be time to give away those Jammies you haven’t worn since primary school, throw out the costume you wore for that 21st that one time, and sell the textbooks for the first year course you didn’t ever even want to do. At the end of my first year I had the pleasure of helping an overly stressed hoarder vacate her room. She had a hard time getting everything out, and the tension in the air was palpable. She had, however, learnt her lesson, and managed to go the entirety of the next year without her mini-muffin-oven.

 

Mildly irrelevant anecdotes aside, many people have trouble managing with the amount of stuff that they can fit in their comparatively small college rooms.

 

But when I see people with entire, and very large, sets of drawers in their rooms, I can’t help but consider how much trouble they’ll have when they set out at the end of the year, all because they didn’t prioritize…

I ain’t sayin she’s a gold digger…

That’s right, I enjoyed my holidays to the fullest by going metal detecting.

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Despite looking like I was holding a large selfie stick, I braved a few hours of detecting at the beach in Hervey Bay.  I had unrealistically high hopes of finding a piece of the international space station.  Despite my cheer, my dreams were soon crushed when I realised every child with two arms and two legs also had  Christmas metal detectors.  I left the beach with a meagre 3 bottle caps and a pipe which was probably long enough to make a real, hipster selfie stick.

My metal detecting journey of self discovery took a turn for the better when I began to detect around the backyard.  As the house was built in 1870, the land had some farming and settler heritage.  Here’s some of the cool stuff I managed to find amoungst the 83 nails that I also dug up.

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The metal detecting team.  The Red Heeler also digs it.

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As we live right across from the railway line we found many rail line pegs and a large metal plate used for keeping the tracks in place from when the original line was built.

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An old sign for ‘Hosburghs’ a popular Maryborough hardware/general store which was open from 1863-1983, in operation for 120 years.  The original shop is pictured below:

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Some bulky equipment buried deep:  From left to right, I found a Cobbler’s Last used for shoe making, various woodworking equipment in the middle for shaping and wedging/splitting, and on the far right a broken axle from a horse drawn cart.

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West Riding Regiment Button:  Likely from a WW1 Army uniform from the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment.

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Studebaker Car Sign:  Reads “Notice: Persons riding in this car do so at their own risk”.  Likely from a Studebaker President Eight  or Erskine model manufactured in the 1920’s-1930’s.

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Old Coins:  Found 3 pennies (1960’s era), three pence (1942) and a shilling (1952).  Also found quite a few one and two cent coins.

All this and I’ve only been through about half the back yard.  Really makes me wish I had a chance to do some history electives!  Hope you all had awesome holidays too, and have a great 2015!

Midnight snack? Why not an extravagant midnight meal?

Living on college has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have made lots of friends, studied in a really supportive environment and been involved in some really cool things.

Before I moved to college I had no idea what to expect, I was just a shy teenager from Mitchell (a small country town in South West Queensland) who had never spent much time in the ‘big smoke’. I didn’t know anyone in Toowoomba, didn’t know what university was going to be like and wasn’t sure what to expect of college. Needless to say, I was one of those people who asked lots of ridiculous questions. For me though, one of my biggest concerns was food.

I love food and I love cooking and baking and I can be fussy about what I eat. I remember always helping my Mum and Nana in the kitchen when I was little. By the time I was 10 years old, I was driving my mum insane, offering to cook spaghetti bolognaise and jam drop bikkies for dinner every night.

20140916_201342 Biscuits

When my friends from school found out that I was going to be living on college, they started asking me lots of questions, the most common being the ones about food, ‘What’s the food like?’ ‘But what if you don’t want to eat dinner between 6 and 7pm?’ and so on.

My answers to these questions were quite simple… I live in the self-catered block at Steele Rudd College. What that means is that I cook for myself and get to eat what I want, when I want but I still get the same benefits as all of the other residents. I can make my own dinner and take it to the dining hall to eat with my friends from other blocks or if I don’t feel like cooking, I can purchase meal vouchers from the office and eat the same food as everyone else in the dining hall.

I love the flexibility of self-catered, I don’t have to cook if I don’t feel like it but I can also make extravagant meals at midnight if I so desire. Some nights, depending on my budget and enthusiasm to hit the supermarket, I am quite content eating some two minute noodles.

Other nights, I have the choice to listen to my stomach and make almost anything and it’s like I work in a bakery or gourmet restaurant. I make things like cakes and biscuits or salmon with prawns and scallops in a creamy garlic white wine sauce, with asparagus and garlic and rosemary potatoes or a beef, mushroom and red wine pie with mashed potato, carrots, beans and gravy. Mmmm, thinking about food is making me hungry again!

Salmon Pie

As much as I love to cook for myself, I enjoy the nights that my block is invited to things like inauguration dinner, the semi-formal and formal dinners, residential shield dinner and themed food nights. These are always great nights and who doesn’t love getting dressed up!

Semi-Formal Inauguration Dinner

Most of all, we just love to have fun. Sometimes we do this by having our own little dinner parties where we get together and all contribute something awesome.

Dinner Party

So whether you are like me and love to cook or just want to have a bit more freedom around the times that you eat, give self-catering a go and if you don’t like it, you can always move to one of the other blocks and have all of your meals cooked for you.

Which do you prefer, cooking for yourself or having others cook for you?