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!

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.


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


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

.  tunn

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.


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.

I ain’t sayin she’s a gold digger…

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


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.


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!

7 Cool Places around USQ You Might Not Know Exist

So you study at USQ, but how well do you know USQ?  We tend to stick to our respective departments and don’t often go and have a look at what’s around.  It’s okay though, because that’s what I’ve done for you!

1.  The new research labs:  Where myself and a few others have been undertaking our Honours year.  These great new facilities were officially opened by the Chief Scientist himself, Prof. Ian Chubb.


2.  The Arts Theatre:  If you haven’t been in there to check out a performance yourself, I highly recommend it!  A great performance that’s on this week is “Love Me Tinder”.  Can personally recommend, 10/10 performance!  Check it out here: http://bit.ly/1tWSAfF.  Last performances are this weekend on the 14th and 15th of November, get keen!


3.  Voice Editing Studio in Y Block:  Thanks to Jason Myatt for the tour!  Acting student Joe Treloar was recording his glorious voice in the below .gif.


4.  A Block Courtyard: A secluded, sunny place to have lunch and meet some arts students.


5.  The Vice Chancellor’s Board Room:  Notice the newly acquired artwork titled ‘The impact of colonisation’ by Jennifer Wright recognising indigenous culture.


6.  The S Block Level 5 Council Chambers:  For the Toowoomba G20 (just kidding).


7. C Block Resarch Office:  Where all the ‘work’ gets done.


Tune in next time for more potentially undiscovered USQ!

And the winner is… Steele Rudd!

And there was much clapping, standing, fist pumping, high fiving and celebration.  The bards will sing about the glories of this win to many freshers to come.  The news is out, Steele Rudd has won the Residential Shield cup.  What a year – All three colleges consistently impressed me with their skill and commitment in all events.  Short film is one of the more light-hearted competitions between the colleges, and you can re-live the action below.  All videos had to contain items like a Shakespeare poster, Big Brother, Nutella, the Game of Thrones theme, Billy Jean and many others.  Enjoy!

Steele Rudd College:

Concannon College:

McGregor College:

Thanks to Simon Merange for the usage of his YouTube channel!

College Upcycling 101

Have you heard the one about the recycling bin that said ‘Empty Water Bottles Here’? Soon it was filled to the brim with water.

USQ Colleges are known for fun times, shenanigans and attractive residents (but we all know the real studs live at Steele Rudd). What you may not know, however, is that the USQ colleges are at the forefront of interdisciplinary collaborative frugal upcycling. We combine feats of engineering, science and creative arts to synthesise ways to save money and the planet at the same time. What’s not to love?   See below for some classic college examples which may or may not improve your life.

Bedside Table: Can’t waste that quality cardboard box.

Beer Carton Bedside Table

Bedside Table: Stackable Milk Crates

Milk Crate Bed Side Table

Stool: I never get tyred of this

Tyre Stool

Cardboard Shelves: Stay Classy

Cardboard Shelves

Record Bowls: Just pour boiling water on the record and bend into your preferred shape

Record Bowls

Anti-Procrastination Hats: Just Kidding, these were the biggest procrastination ever

Cardboard Box Hats

But seriously though, the USQ Environment Society and the Lily pad (next to Subway at the Toowoomba Campus) are the go-to for recycling, local working bees, bush walks and environmental projects.

Did you know that if you take the sustainability pledge you could earn yourself a Keep Cup? Pledge here: http://www.usq.edu.au/about-usq/about-us/environment-sustainability/pledge

The USQ Environment Society would also love to have you as a member. USQES does some fantastic work on the Steele Rudd community gardens and run monthly bushwalks. Check out their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/USQES

Have a great week! And remember…

The Power is Yours

White Powder Specialists – Ski Trip 2014

Ski Trip 1Ski Trip 2

Photo Credit to Luke Diezmann

“…Do you wanna build a snowman?”


Operation Ski Trip successful. Don’t tell anyone, but I recently escaped my honours project for a week to go to Queenstown for some fully hectic extreme skiing.

Just kidding. My version of skiing for the first few days was less upright and more like horizontal stationary skiing. Following in the footsteps of Jon Snow, I knew nothing.

In fact, my third trip on the chairlift at Coronet Peak was a bit of a whoopsie. To set the scene: Skiing involves strapping two long, flat sticks to your feet and using them to slide down a snow-covered mountain. Early skiing pioneers realised that climbing up the mountain was lame, so they devised the chairlift. To embark from the modern chairlift, a conveyor belt slides you into position so the chairlift does not have to stop to pick you up. This is where my troubles began. I did not get on the conveyor belt fast enough. Now imagine, in slow motion, the following events playing out. Myself and a fellow USQ student Tayla are on the conveyor belt. Our troubles began when we realised we were a few meters behind the rest of the team. A local New Zealander notices, and quippes “I wunder what’s guing to happn nuxt”. The chair swings around the bend and knocks me over. I knock Tayla over. I get sucked under the chairlift, skiis flying all over the place. The long line of onlookers waiting for the chairlift admire the spectacle, wishing they had their gopro’s turned on. The staff member in charge of the chairlift realises that we aren’t going to recover without his assistance, and he reluctantly turns off the chairlift, and begins to pull us out from underneath the chair. We awkwardly get up, put our skiis back on under the heavy stares. #embarrassing #sillysausage

It wasn’t all bad times on the chairlift, though. A few days into the trip I’m back on the chairlift striking up a conversation with a fellow traveller.

“So where are you from?” I begin the conversation with.


“Me too! I’m from Toowoomba”

“…Me too, I study at USQ”

“No way, I study Biomedicine” I hesitantly responded. Damn, I thought I had escaped Toowoomba.

“I study Nursing… Hey wait a minute. Take off your Ski goggles for a sec.” Well, this conversation is either going to take an interesting or a creepy turn, I thought. My inner voice said YOLO. I took off the goggles.

“Yeah I remember you from an O-week orientation session. It was Steph, right?” And he was right. Small world.

Other than Skiing adventures, we also had plenty of time to explore the glorious Queenstown.

Ski Trip 3

For those who might be keen to come along on a future ski trip, it included the following at a student-friendly group price:

  • Return Airfares from Brisbane Airport to Queenstown (direct), including 23kg luggage & air taxes
  • Chartered coach for all Brisbane International Airport transfers to and from USQ Residential Colleges, Toowoomba Campus
  • 7 nights accommodation @ Base Backpackers, in the heart of Queenstown
  • Breakfast daily
  • 4 dinners at various famous restaurants and eateries around Queenstown
  • 4 Day ski pass (2x days @ Coronet Peak, 2 x days @ Remarkables)
  • 4 day bus mountain transfers
  • 1 Day Activity Pass (includes the shot over jet boat ride, Skyline Gondola, hot buffet lunch & 1 Luge Ride)
  • 4 days of Ski, boots & poles/or snow board & boots hire
  • 4 Days of jacket and pants hire
  • Ski Trip merchandise – personalised ski jacket to use on the trip!

Let me know if you have any questions about Ski trip!

No fear honours year!

“Can you explain your honours project again?”

“I know it sounds like I’m building a death ray, but my project is looking at developing a vaccine against the bacteria that causes Strep throat”

This year I’ve decided to jump right back into study through an Honours year.  Not because my goal is to become a professional student, but rather to make myself more employable through practical skills.  Are you thinking about undertaking Honours?  It’s a yearlong project you can do through the help of a supervisor.  Some tips from my year thus far:

  • Pick the project you hate the least
  • Apparently your title does not become ‘The honourable’ when you graduate. You also don’t become a doctor. You do, however, become more knowledgeable. Knowledge is power, power is money and money is more Nutella.
  • Wear long pants and leather shoes to comply with Lab workplace health and safety regulations. Not leather pants and long shoes.
  • You are allocated a study space depending upon your project and supervisor. This is my sweet corner of studiousness in Q Block:

Q Block Study Space

  • Depending upon your project, field trips could be a compulsory fun part of your research. Here’s a picture of a koala taken by the adventurous Lucy Galea and Jemima Wixted while out on a sample hunt.

Field Trip Koala

  • They test the safety showers once a week


  • Horsing around is a good idea.

Horsing Around

  • Ignoring your project is a bad idea.

  • Back up everything. Everyday. Fifty times.

  • Reading takes up more time than I expected. A great way to get through bulk text fast is to chuck it into a website called Spreeder <http://www.spreeder.com/>
  • It helps you read faster by taking away the task of moving your eye across the page. It also makes me want to fall asleep less because it just shoots words at your face.
  • Long hours staring at a computer can be draining. F.lux <https://justgetflux.com/> is a sweet program to reduce the brightness levels of your screen depending on what time of the day it is. For late night work, it’s like hot chocolate, but for your eyes.   All the Steele Rudd kids are doing it, why aren’t you?

Most of all, don’t forget to give yourself breaks and have some fun!

At Steele Rudd, B Blockers are no strangers to fun.  In fact, when too much fun is present in high concentrations, it is known to break physics. Here is a documentary about this effect:

Feel free to have a chat with me in the below comments if you want to know some of the details about the honours year!  All the best with exams, and stay awesome!

Boot Camp

“But isn’t O-week a total waste of time? That’s what my friend at work told me.”
“Your friend at work must be great at parties.” I responded.
This year, I begin my studying journey with my mother. While I’m doing an honours project on Group A Strep vaccination research, she’s taking the plunge and studying business. This is a rare point in our relationship where I become the mother and she becomes the fresher noob.
“O-week is a pretty much a party except while you’re having fun and making friends, you’re also learning everything you need to know to get stuck into your study.”
I’m living on Steele Rudd College this year, and damn, O-week was a party. A well organised, well executed party that required two weeks of training beforehand by Residential Advisors and Residential Student Club members.
It began with leadership camp, which should be more accurately re-named “Camp of ultimate punishment and toilet lacking doom”.

Boot Camp 1
Here’s how things went:

11.00AM: We arrive at Murphy’s Creek. Are told to discard things like ‘spare underwear’, ‘hygienic items’ and ‘dignity’.

12.00PM: Get given instructions: “Follow compass bearing 340° until you reach the road”. Nek minnit, or should I say, nek two hours of hiking through pathless death terrain of pointy trees.
Boot Camp 2

2.00PM: Arrived at the road. It felt nice to have branches not high fiving us in the face. We were then told that some water jerries were injured and we needed to get them to another destination of unknown length and ridiculousness.

2.30PM: We arrived at the abseiling activity point (fear not, the water jerries lived) and abseiled 30 meters to our next activity point. It wasn’t really abseiling though, it was more overhang freefall without a parachute after the first 2m of rock.
Boot Camp 3

3.30PM: We then embarked on a cliff walk. I’m fairly certain the song “Don’t push me, cause I’m close to the edge” was inspired by this activity.
Boot Camp 4

5.00-7.30PM: After detaching ourselves from the rock face, we dined on lukewarm space stew. Smuggling coffee in was the best popularity-gaining strategy I’ve ever made. Katharine Bigby, our boss, off-handedly mentions that she was planning to go to Dreamworld for Leadership camp instead of Murphy’s Creek. That was the worst popularity-gaining strategy she’s ever made.
Boot Camp 5

7.30-12.00AM: We then embarked on what we thought was a brief, final hike to our campsite. However, we were faced by an unexpected obstacle after the first twenty minutes – Peter, our camp leader (aka, punishment overlord mature Channing Tatum lookalike) with his Nissan Navara. “Looks like my ute has broken down. You will need to get it to camp along with these injured water jerries.” By the time we were ready to re-embark, we had set up the ultimate vehicle moving team. We put our abseiling harnesses back on, and set up a husky dog style pulling system tied on from the front bull bar in conjunction with people pushing from the back as well as two teams of eight water jerry paramedics. We made it to our camp after 6 kilometers, 5 hours and a 100% gradient terrain hike of intensity.
Nissan Navara

12.00-2.00AM: We ended the hike with a memorable quote from Peter. “You’ve all done very well today, but today is now tomorrow and we begin tomorrow.” Peter is a man of his word, and we continued activities with the 60km/ph flying fox of crotch pain. At this point in time, we were all very tired and found out that we all do very funny things when we’ve reached the wall. My puns were getting steadily worse, Lachlan was snoring on a rock and Josh was telling his infinite punchline-less joke (ask him about it, I dare you).

2.00-6.00AM: Sweet, glorious sleep. It didn’t matter that we hadn’t showered (sunscreen bath counts, doesn’t it?) or that we were sleeping on nothing but the ground. Sleep was sleep.

The next day was a blur of leadership and team building activities, but the mid-ropes course stood out in particular. Peter gave us a preliminary safety briefing, concluding with “Don’t worry everyone, I’ve only had to rescue two people in the park’s history.” Needless to say, he rescued five of us that day. We were on the log avoiding section of the course, and without warning, the steel cable we were balancing on broke off from the tree and we all fell into the hanging position of crotch pain. We all made good use of the opportunity though, and performed an accurate rendition of ‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus while we were waiting to be rescued.
Boot Camp 6

Although there was just as much pain after the weekend as during the weekend, it was worth it. I got to know my new Steele Rudd College team better, and in the words of Jack Black, “You’re not hard core unless you live hard core.”


2013 in Snapchats


This gallery contains 49 photos.

Twenty thirteen went as fast as library bean bags during exam block. We were lucky enough to be visited by the USQ Toowoomba refurbishment fairy, who gave us a new refectory and science labs. The past year has also brought … Continue reading