About Meg - USQ Student Blogger

Hi, my name is Meg or Megan if you really want to get my attention. I am now halfway through my degree as a full-time on-campus residential student at USQ Toowoomba. When I say full-time, I mean I live on college as well. I have been studying a Bachelor of Communication, majoring in journalism and public relations. This degree allows me to study something I love – talking, and explore possible career opportunities, which is great because I’m still figuring out what I want to do. Last year I hopped on a plane from sunny Townsville, escaping my two annoying brothers, for breezy Toowoomba. Moving to a new town where I didn’t know anyone, living on-campus was the obvious choice, and it was the best decision I could have made. While juggling the social-expectations and academics demands of uni and college life can sometimes be a handful, I wouldn’t trade it for anything! It’s easy for me to spend time with my friends while living on-campus. There are always fun activities to partake in such as the Residential Shield competitions between colleges or dress-up themes at the uni club. During these activities you can usually find me behind a camera snapping away. In-between telling the B Block boys to turn their music down and baking cupcakes, I love watching crime shows, especially ones with hunky main characters! I do however, need to exercise to make sure the cupcakes don’t make a lasting impression – thank goodness for friends to exercise with. While I am passionate about music, being woken up at 3am by someone’s bass does test my love. I’m sure as the semester goes on you’ll learn more about who I am and the crazy adventures that take place both at uni and on college. I hope you enjoy! Meg

Holiday Envy

Although I didn’t go on the New Zealand Ski Trip, I did have the pleasure, or displeasure, depending on how you consider sitting in an office looking through hours of fun holiday footage.

Holiday envy to say the least.

So, I thought I would share this little video compiling all the fun that the group had and get you in the mood for the upcoming holidays.

Behind the scenes of college life

Being this year’s Residential College’s Digital Intern has definately had its perks. I’ve been priviledged enough to be part of some of the awesome behind the scenes projects aimed at showing you what living on college is really like. Check out the video below which was put together by some of the residents which lets you take a peek around our three colleges and meet some of the people living on campus.

An Enchanted Evening

What happens when you put a group of college students in charge of organising a formal?

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This year’s formal was a combination of beautiful decorations, amazing performances, painful video-editing and last minute details. This combination, while could have been a recipe for disaster was instead, a complete success. The night turned out better than anyone could have imagined given some of the hiccups that went on behind the scenes.

One of the major hiccups was the graduate video corrupting at 11pm the night before formal. Don’t stress, the nerd glasses came out and the video was saved and molded into one smooth and quite funny dedication to this year’s graduates, which happens to include myself.

This year was my last ever college formal. So I thought I would take a moment to reflect. Three years and three separate formals, it seems that the major consistency  throughout this time has been the friends and support that has been shared at college. I guess the fact that Concannon formal has always looked the best is also a consistency… or “tradition”, if you will.

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This year at Concannon, we decided our theme would be “an enchanted evening”. A way to set the mood for a delicate evening and an excuse to use fairylights because let’s face it – who doesn’t love fairylights? While the 24hour lead up always feels the busiest, we were well prepared and decided to set-up the night before, attempting to iron everything out. The night couldn’t have looked any better. Huge congratulations to our Social Co-ordinator, Gabe.

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We hit up our after-party and somehow only a handful of us were left to slowly make our way to meet our friends downtown. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on which side of the stage you stood, we found ourselves singing karaoke at a pub. While this part of the night was completely unexpected, I can now tick it off my bucket list.

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As this year draws to a close almost too quickly, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the time I’ve had at Concannon and the friends who now feel like family. Formal is the one night per year where we all dress up and reflect and celebrate the time that has passed. I think that needs to happen more often. Like high-school graduations, many of us are leaving. However, those who are staying at college or who have considered Concannon to be home at some stage, we are the smallest college but we have the biggest heart and that’s something that carries on long past the days of college life.

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Concannon Loud. Concannon Proud.

The Final Countdown

The countdown begins. Only one month until college formals begin, two and a half months until mid-semester break and then four months until I finish my degree. Then it will all be over. No more uni. No more college.

A lot has changed since I made the big leap to move out of home to a different town in order to create something of my own. And you know what? It paid off. I have spent the last three years living with some of the best, and sometimes the worst people I have met. In the process I have learnt a lot about myself as well. I think it’s only fitting that I share some of the major experiences I have had since living on college and some things you should probably know before taking this massive step.

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Experience #1

Working two jobs while studying full-time and living on college is difficult, yes, but not impossible.

Having been fortunate enough to get a transfer with my Christmas casual job and stay on as a casual retail person, I was also lucky enough to land a role as the first digital intern for Residential Colleges – a role exclusive to college kids. Yay! Not only will this job look awesome on my resume but also made me learn a few things about what I want to do with my future career. It’s a massive opportunity to develop myself and learn what I really want.

In saying this, it’s not always easy. There are those nights when it feels like the whole college is out having fun except for me. Just remember, you will feel better off the next day at work and you will also save your money. But do remember to have a break sometime, or you will probably crash at the worst time.

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Experience #2

Do not eat ice cream out of a cone at the dinner table, or sit next to someone eating an ice cream cone.

There is such thing as ‘coning’. It’s not fun when it happens to you because BAM! There goes your ice cream. It’s also not fun when it happens to the person next to you because BAM! There goes your clean shirt. If you want to eat at the table I suggest getting a bowl or even styrofoam cup. Otherwise take the ice cream cone and leg it! Bowls and cups also allow you to add toppings.

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Experience #3

You may have close friends at other colleges but as soon as Res Shield starts, it’s war.

As soon as you put on your red, green or blue, it’s game on. You’re fighting for the shield and you’re either with your college or against it. When you’re standing on the field or on the stage ready to perform, there’s no right or wrong so long as you give it everything you have and you’re not fraternising with the enemy.

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While everyone will have their own experience of college, I hope these tips and tricks will inspire you to share your own story.

You Can Pass gO Week

It’s that time of year again. The holiday hangover is about to kick in and the stress of exams and assignments will begin. So, why not taken a whole week to settle into uni life, either for the first time or possibly the last? O Week, or as us Concannonites are calling it this year, gO Week, is all about easing back into study and settling into uni life in style. So this year, we have organised the week around a monopoly theme.

gO Week

At Concannon we devised a set of challenges and points system for the freshers (first years) to complete by the end of the week. The challenge of picking a flower for one of the returnees is proving a little more difficult for some. The challenges and riddles given to the freshers is just an easier and more fun way of getting to know everyone and easing them into the college atmosphere. There is also a special incentive. With an overall prize including an exercise ball, gift voucher and a few extra goodies, the competition is getting heated.

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gO Week is jam-packed with uni events, including Market Day (better known as Freebie Day) and the upcoming Phoenix Carnival, as well as college events such as inter-college Toga Trivia and an Olympiad, just to name a few. In saying that, the planning of college O-Week events is not an easy task, I can tell you first hand.

As part of Concannon’s Residential Student Club (RSC) this year, I get to see the hard work and patience it takes to organise all the inter-college events or even just a movie night on college. So please, think of the hours put in to make all this possible for YOU and enjoy the week!

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This week will be a week of ‘firsts’ for many. Not only will it be the first week of uni life and possibly college life, but this week friendships will be made and careers kick-started. For some it may even be the first (and maybe last) time that they will ever do the Chicken Dance while riding a mechanical bull. Yes, that happened.

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Holidays, where are you?

This is it. This is the last holidays I have to relax before I enter into my final year of uni – officially received my results and passed everything. YAY! While I love living on College, it feels so good to come home and not have to worry about uni work or being woken at 3am when someone comes home from the club. There are some days though where I don’t feel as though I’m on holidays. With work, my little brother graduating grade 12, trying to keep my boyfriend occupied and Christmas just around the corner, these holidays feel jam-packed– and it’s only just beginning!

My Parents, Alex, and his lovely grad partner, Kathrine, ready for graduation!

The day after I arrived in Townsville I began work as a Christmas Casual in Townsville’s newly renovated shopping centre; which seems to steal all my money. I traded in my study brain for a… working one? With the shopping centre already so packed a month away from Christmas, I have decided I should attempt to start my Christmas shopping early.Hopefully I can avoid the pre-Christmas freak-out and the dreaded car-park hunt.

With my parents living it up in New Zealand, I have been elected the official Christmas interior decorator while they’re away and I take this role very seriously. I love Christmas. I think my family is feeling the festive season early this year with Mum making an army of Christmas Snowmen and my brother’s also getting a jump on Christmas presents. It’s great to have everyone together to celebrate over a lunch filled with seafood and tropical fruits. I love receiving presents, and more importantly (cough cough) giving presents. I think there’s something about Christmas that brings peace of mind after several months of going crazy trying to find the perfect present.

Christmas shopping is going well and Mum’s little army of Snowmen gather around the Concannon Snowman, ready for a busy month ahead

So in-between helping my little brother organise himself for his graduation, working, Christmas shopping, watching the cricket and occasionally having a quiet day on my days off work,  I ventured out and went to watch a Crocs game. Unfortunately, this became their TENTH loss this season… out of 10 games! Being so busy, I have slowly gotten around to catching up with friends. With some friends still finishing exams and others working, it’s sometimes hard to find a time that suits everyone. Thankfully I’m home for three months.

When will the Crocs get their first win?!

Overall, being at home is a time to relax. It’s important to take time out to recharge before tackling the study workload again. Family are the most important thing and I think now that I live so far away that’s become more evident. It’s important to spend as much time as you can together because you never know when they’ll ditch you for New Zealand.

A Formal Distraction

I think I can safely say on behalf of everyone around the world who is studying, we all need a long holiday to revitalise our minds. Even though we’re only into the third week of this short term, I have already completed 2 assignments with another 3 due this week. With 7 due this term, I’m sure I’m not the only one who will celebrate when it’s all over. I cannot wait for the holidays, a time where I do not have to think about how to manage a crisis or which grab to use from an interview.

Thankfully, living on college has its perks. Concannon is full of distractions for those moments when my brain is too fried to string together a logical sentence. So instead of thinking about stressful things such as assignments and exams, I am going to take you to a land not so far away where Golf Day and Formal are an annual distraction from the lead up to those pesky exams.

The first Thursday back at Concannon, groups of 4 crowded around Clifton Golf Course in crazy costumes armed with cans of Red Bull to give us wings – or at least our golf balls. As can be expected from a group of girls in the hot sun and uncomfortable costumes, we completed the first two holes before having a well-deserved break which lasted the entire afternoon. A BBQ lunch and a few drinks later, the day ended with a bus ride home full of rowdy singing boys.

The hype of Golf Day did not last long with preparations for Formal becoming stressful leading up to the event. With a few things going horribly wrong (lights smoking) there was stress that the decorations wouldn’t be what everyone was hoping for. To the relief of our social co-ordinator, Rianna, the night went off without a hitch. The girls were ready several hours before-hand, while the boys were running a little bit late, particularly my boyfriend, Dean, who was putting his tie on 2 minutes before the group photo. Formal is the time of year that everyone anticipates. It reminds us of high-school graduation, except this time most of us can drink.

 

While it is very important to get assignments completed and handed in on time, it’s just as important to remember to relax and let go every now and then. By organising time for Concannon events into my study schedule, I can revitalise my mind to string those simple-but-complex-sounding sentences together and hopefully get better grades.

Now, I guess I should get back to studying.

Concannon College and the Chamber of Studies

I think Professor Dumbledore said it best, “I will only truly have left this place when none here are loyal to me… Help will always be given at college to those who ask for it.” Or something to that effect.

Like many students who attended Hogwarts, I moved far away from home not knowing a single thing about my awaiting destination or the people there. I received a letter in the mail saying I had been accepted into the USQ family at Toowoomba. At just 17 years of age, I packed my 3 suitcases (which did not impress my dad or my two brothers who had to help carry them) and set out on a nerve-racking voyage from Townsville. I have since learnt that packing my snow jacket was definitely a good idea this winter!

Before moving to Toowoomba, I had to decide between 3 Colleges – Concannon (the fearless crocodiles), McGregor (the fiery devils) and Steel Rudd (the soaring seagulls). My decision was made and I just needed to wait for the ‘Sorting Hat’ to have the final say. Lucky for me, I got my preference and Concannon was, and still is, my home. With countless college activities, uni club dress-up parties and intercollege events (10 points for Concannon!) it didn’t take long to settle in. While I sometimes struggle out of bed a few minutes before class begins the 2 minute walk to uni assures me I’ll make it in time. And after a long, hard day of studying I know there will always be someone waiting at college when the day is over. Even though I moved so far away from my family, Concannon has become a home away from home.

Living on college gives me the opportunity to meet people studying a range of different degrees from (defence against the dark) arts degrees such as theatre to science degrees like chemistry (potions classes).  If I need a distraction or help I can just open my door or window and I’m sure to see a familiar face. Or sometimes I just bang on the wall to get Hermione’s attention next door. She loves it when I do that.

Residential Shield competitions between the three colleges are obviously a highlight for most. With an event roughly once a week, members from all colleges come out in college colours like a pack of wizards gathering for a quidditch game. With events ranging from soccer and afl to trivia and idol there is something to cater for all (10 more points to Concannon!). The points are then tallied after each event and totalled at the end of the year where the overall winner is announced over a delicious feast. While these events often end in a group celebration or a group commiseration, it is always a group effort.

Even as Harry Potter fought against the difficulties thrust upon him throughout life, he knew he could rely on his family at Hogwarts to battle with him. I know if I ever come across He Who Must Not Be Named that my fellow Concannonites would join forces with the other colleges and stand behind me, Mrs Weasley style.

I think the message to take from Harry Potter is no matter where you are and the troubles you face, you will never be alone. Whether you’re struggling with study or an outfit choice, college life provides more than a place to sleep. Just like Harry Potter and those who attended Hogwarts, I have found a home away from home. So if you’re unsure about studying and living on college consider these words from some wise old man: “it does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”