Valedictory Dinner

Valedictory Dinner is an evening where the graduating residents from each of the colleges come together and enjoy a dinner in honour of their time on college. Mine, I’m sad to admit, occurred in October this year. I’m sad about it because it means that my time on college is finally coming to an end, a very sad realization indeed. Regardless, this was an opportunity for us to come together and celebrate the ups and downs of our journey, which, for most of us, has been many years. Between the good food and powerpoints, there was, of course, an important reminder of the significance of this moment.

Valedictory-39

There were four speakers, the valedictorians from each of the colleges, and our guest speaker, to deliver the valedictory address. The three valedictorians were Alex Darton from McGregor, Steph Piper from Steele Rudd, and Lachlan Withnall from Concannon. Steph had spent her first two years on McGregor, so had some horribly embarrassing photos of all of the McGregor residents, myself included. We remembered strange haircuts, unusual activities, and peculiar goings on. Lachlan reminded us of the general superiority of Concannon College, and Alex brought us home with a reflection on the beauty of finding time for yourself amongst the crazy college environment.

 

The Valedictory speaker took the time to remind us of the merits of being kind, of knowing what you need to help you through the university environment. We were regaled with tales of cats, kindness, and University life. For me, there was a moment of learning not touched on by our speakers, and it occurred as I watched all of the graduates receive the beautiful photo frame given to us by the colleges. It was a reminder of the significance of community and comradeship. As someone who holds a strong need to maintain close relationships with people, I had the opportunity to see many of my closest friends as the people they’d grown to become, which was frankly a magnificent experience.

 

Valedictory dinner, beyond the memories and reminders of the friendships developed, was a wonderful evening full of great conversation, excellent food (and wine) and fantastic opportunities to reflect upon the magnificent years that had preceded it.

Valedictory-132 Valedictory-126

Graduation from College Life? Here I come!

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.

stephGif1

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!

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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.

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

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

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

Sblock

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

Officeresearch

Tune in next time for more potentially undiscovered USQ!

Music Parodies, Friends and Fun- Just some of the perks of living on College

Living on College really is a lot of fun. Whether it’s playing a game of pool in the Rec Hall, participating in Res Shield events, chilling out with your friends or watching a movie in the Common Room, there is plenty of fun to be had.

Sometimes we forget how easy things are when we live on College. Internet and utilities are provided as part of our rent, we get lots of support and help with our study, our friends live right next door and unless we live in self-catered, we don’t have to cook.

Some of our residents recently put together a parody of A1’s Caught in the Middle and called it I Wanna Go Back Now to highlight how great College really is.

Whether you are currently living on College, or thinking about joining us next year, we can’t wait to see you!

Will we be seeing you in 2015?

Top 10 uni student ‘life hacks’

When you start studying at uni it is fair to assume that you will have a tight budget, but there will still be things you just can’t go without.

Now that I am at the end of my fourth year living on college, I thought that I would share with you some of the most important college ‘life hacks’ I wish someone had told me in my first year.

1. Use shower curtain rings on coat hangers to hang your scarves and belts

Shower Curtain Rings on Coat Hangers

2. Use can pull tabs to create extra hanging space in your wardrobe

Can pull tabs to create extra hanging space in your wardrobe

3. Push your leftovers away from the center of the plate for even re-heating

Reheating leftovers

4. Put a small hook near your door to hang your keys so you always know where they are

Key hook

5. Turn your laptop bag into a back pack (to distribute the weight and prevent muscle injury)

Laptop bag into back pack

6. Fix your thongs with a bread clip and super glue

Fix thongs with bread clip and super glue

7. Use a toilet roll and plastic cups as a speaker for your phone

Toilet roll and plastic cups as phone speaker

8. Use bulldog clips to hold your chargers in place

Bulldog clips to hold chargers

9. Hang a damp towel in front of your window on hot days to cool down your room

Damp towel over window on hot day

10. Post-it notes are great for cleaning dust from your computer keyboard

Clean keyboard with post-it notes

Do you have any life hacks that aren’t on the list? Let me know in the comments below!

Until Next Time,

Kim

Professorial Lecture

Every year, the University hosts an event called the “Residential Colleges Professorial Lecture”. The lecture is a night in which the Residential College students come together in the Allison Dickson Theatre to hear a lecture given by a high-profile member of University Faculty. For many college students, this is an opportunity to come together as a group, excitedly dress in “Harry Potter” robes, and have a few wines and cheeses on the university’s dime.

harry_potter_and_the_chamber_of_secrets_019

For those questioning how legitimate the alleged excitement over the “Harry Potter” robes is, it is worth noting that many if not most students choose to spend the afternoon preceding the event finding sticks from gardens around the university to use as make-shift wands for the evening, only to insist that indeed:

“The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Lyons”

Further, the most overheard phrase of the entire evening 3 years running goes to:

“It’s Wingardium Levi-O-sa, not Levi-o-SAHHHHH”

College Student Shenanigans aside, these lectures tend to have a much stronger impact on the students than we sometimes appreciate. This year, the lecture was presented by Dr. Ken Udas, on the topic of Liberalizing the Corporate University. Purely based on the title, I expected something akin to that one chapter of the History Textbook, which no one managed to finish in High School, much to the dismay of the year nine Social Sciences Teacher. However, despite the use of big words like “Liberalizing”, “Corporate” and “the”, even I, a Creative Arts Student with an unfortunate migraine as a result of the flu, which I was battling at the time, managed to be gripped by the content of Dr. Udas’ lecture.

The long and the short of the lecture is, that Dr. Udas, who has lectured and worked at many universities all over the world, has a lot to say about the purpose to which we run our Universities. He discusses that the purpose of the University, which should be the pursuit of truth beyond all other things, has become a desperate desire to better ourselves in the tangible statistics, employment rates, guaranteed pay for our graduates and similar.

As an aspiring actor, who will have a harder time finding employment than a tortoise that can do a backflip (which would be awesome, by the way), remembering to not always see the world in this light is really important. As young people, we’re often told things like “It’s about the Journey, not the destination”, only to realize that we can, in fact, pass a 3rd year University course by doing the assignments the night before and cramming the week of the exam. Our world, as it would seem, is about the destination. We measure our success by the tangible, the job that we will get, the money we will make and the grades that we got. What Dr. Udas took great pains to remind us is that University is about the pursuit of truth, and that first things first, we need to remember what we’re here to do, Learn.

Seeing the Finish Line

You know your course is approaching the end when you are so busy that you actually look forward to a day where you can just do whatever you want instead of following your strict timetable to ensure that you actually complete everything. Another sign is telling your teacher you won’t be at class this week, not because you’re sick, but because you are actually working on your BCA project in the studio. It’s hard to be in two places at once. You find that 3 subjects now seem to take about the time and a half of 4 subjects from previous years and you realize that you haven’t even considered answering yes to “are you coming out this Thursday night?”

Finish Line Ahead

It’s not all as bad as it sounds. After all, you learn so much about why you studied some of those “pointless” courses from first year. Let me explain. For me in Creative Arts, I have to complete a BCA project throughout my last year. Basically the BCA project is the start of you setting yourself up to be able to finish university as a business on your own and have something to show employers. I have realized though that a little bit of everything I’ve learnt throughout the 3 years has all played a part in my final project. What am I saying? Basically, you know you’re approaching the finish line when all of your courses from previous years are actually proving their purpose, you have absolutely no say in what you have to do in the day, you find you have to say no a lot more, but the best of all, you see the meaning in your efforts and progress.

My BCA project was to write and record an EP. By the way, I will have that out soon. Watch my Facebook page for details: www.facebook.com/kenttonscheckofficial

It’s seeing the results of study and projects like this that make all the busy days worth while. The biggest reward for me is seeing people appreciate my efforts and enjoying the art I’ve made. That’s the greatest upside to seeing the finish line.

Friends Help You Cross The Finish Line

Living on college has a huge benefit when trying to complete your final year. As I’ve mentioned, your last year gets really hectic and sometimes it’s hard to stay enthusiastic about doing assignments. Our minds need a balance of study and social life in order to function efficiently, however, being so busy that you can’t even attend all your classes, there’s obviously no time left in the day to be a social bird. Seeing your friends and classmates around you (also in their last year of study) working through their assessment and making it out alive, it’s actually really encouraging and you feel more positive and motivated to go complete your work.

Also you can all whinge about the same problems, with people who relate directly, around the dinner table – the only time away from the books and instruments… well… books… Us music students will sometimes eat with our instruments at the table. What can I say? It’s a part of our passion.

All in all, seeing the finish line is a time of

  • Excitement
  • Revelation of some early courses
  • Challenge
  • Finding new ways to balance your mind
  • Achievement

Unitl next time,

Kent

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

Time Management (From a Creative Artist’s Perspective)

Yes I know, there are millions of these “Time management” things on the web and probably several scattered throughout this very website. But how many are specifically focused from a Creative Artist’s point of view? We all have our unique methods of dealing with time management and I’m going to share with you some of my particular struggles and solutions.

Time Management

Uni is a lot different to high school, as we aren’t forced by the threat of punishment for wagging a class. Some lecturers mark an attendance role in certain classes just to ensure that people aren’t missing out on important information, however, for the majority of the classes, it’s entirely up to you to attend class and get your work done. The difference I guess is that you are studying one course that you are interested in unlike high school where there could be 5 other subjects that you are doing purely because they’re compulsory. Thus you become self-motivated to attend classes. Thankfully, you can log onto study desk and get a weekly refreshed timetable of the classes for that week. This helps a lot for planning and is a very good place to start.

Now, if you’re in creative arts, here’s where things get tricky. Be it Music, Theater, Creative Media or Visual Arts, there is always rehearsal or work to do outside of the timetabled classes. I study Music major with a minor in Creative Media so I’m specifically speaking from my experiences with these. I am involved with several ensemble groups with music and within creative media I have had to spend many late hours forfeiting sleep to get projects done.

Somewhere in there I need to do my own personal practice, actually get some sleep (I’m not invincible) get outside-of-class work done, do gigs, live the social side of college life by getting involved in the Res Shield events and simply live life.

My SOLUTION! Here’s what I have found to be the most effective method. You need to get your hands on a massive wall calendar, whether it’s a Redfrogs or a USQ one, get yourself a calendar. When I’m emailed about events to play at or workshops to prepare for, when there are important events to attend, when assignment due dates are released, WRITE THEM ON THE CALENDAR. The lie people always tell themselves is “I don’t need to make a note of that. I’ll remember it.” Seriously the calendar will help you remember and plan.

Redfrogs Uni Planner

This leads me to my next method. Get yourself a little “Things To Do” whiteboard. There is nothing more satisfying than wiping off reminders as you finish tasks. Your trusty calendar will show general big reminders but your whiteboard will help you remember the specifics for each day.

Things to do planner

With the possession of these two items, you are bound to be more productive and remember a lot more important dates. You’ll find this really helpful and important when doing assignments and being seen as a professional and turning up to rehearsals.

How do you manage your time?

WINTER IS COMING – Toowoomba Winter – Tips for Surviving It!

So you want to know how to stay warm in this bitterly cold winter weather? The short answer is, DON’T GET OUT OF BED! Those real life teddy bears have it right hibernating all the winter. It’s as if they just time-travel from the playful, falling autumn leaves to the fresh blooming flowers and butterflies of spring. We all know that uni work and… well… life doesn’t allow us to just snooze away winter under our warm blankets.

These are just my suggestions. If you have better methods that work specifically for you then disregard what I’m about to say. However, if you don’t know Toowoomba that well, and don’t enjoy getting sick, then make use of my experience.

Firstly, the cold snaps can sneak up on you with a surprise, so be prepared early. Usually it’s because a southerly wind picks up and carries the cold temperatures from the snow down south. So, what I suggest is that you purchase, or bring with you to college, a few jackets and trackies that you can wear while you sip tea or hot milo. Also, don’t forget a warm doona for your bed.

Lots of Sweaters

If we look at the positives here, there are no mosquitoes in winter and the best thing is that we get to wear cool accessories such as scarfs and knitted sweaters. Hmm… this makes me want to go play in snow. The movies make it look so fun. (I’ve never seen snow). In Toowoomba sadly we don’t get snow but you will experience frost. Just warning you. When you go to breakfast, don’t be fooled by the temperature inside your bedroom. It’s usually about 5 times colder outside.

Just because the sun is up and out, you shouldn’t go removing your jacket too soon in the day. Most classrooms will still be cold in the day and if they have heaters on, you’ll be hit with the cold as you leave class. Look at me… I sound like a mother. Just don’t say you weren’t warned. Toowoomba can be mysteriously deceptive. But that’s why its fun to live here.

Warm Clothes

If you’re a person who completely hates winter and can’t be convinced that there are positives then let me just say, you will be surprised with warmer days here and there but they usually don’t last. Lucky the rooms at college have heaters in them.

Now, my number one tip for using the heater – Because I am a singer, I have learned the importance of keeping the air from getting too dry (which heaters will do). You could go buy yourself a humidifier for $70… ew… OR buy a $2 spray bottle and just spray one squirt of mist into the air every now and again while the heater is going. And may I suggest, don’t sleep with it turned on.

In summary:
– Have warm bedding (bring a doona)
– Have warm clothes (don’t be afraid to accessorise – scarf, mittens)
– Hot beverages
– Use your heater (but stay hydrated and keep a bit of humidity in the air)
It’s quite simple really. I’ve only learned these things from experience though so I hope you can learn from my experiences also and enjoy winter with good health. And trust me, the other side (spring time) is amazing in Toowoomba – The Garden City. But that’s another story.

Peace out!
– Kent

Party vs Study

Study or Party? This is a dilemma that has plagued many university students throughout the years and no doubt will continue to be a problem for students in the future. It’s a topic that no one person can provide an exact answer for, factors such as time, competence and situation dramatically impacting the answer. This should make you question the main fundamental goal of a university student which is to achieve an academic education however we can’t help but consider that guilty pleaser. No one understood this more so than Tom Petty who quotes

“You have four years to be irresponsible here. Relax. Work is for people with jobs. You’ll never remember class time, but you’ll remember time you wasted hanging out with your friends”.

As a recent university graduated who wouldn’t classify himself as a party animal I still can’t help but agree to an extent with both sides however, you be the judge on this topic.

For you to properly judge the choice between the life of a social butterfly in and the life of a uni student who places study before anything else this blog will look at two things:

  1. The physiological reason why we choose party over academic
  2. And look at procrastination which fundamentally the core of party or Study.

The Why

We look at the decisions we make between a short term and a long term reward based on the perceived reward value associated with each possible action. Before I continue I’d like to acknowledge these concepts are based off an article (One Candy Bar or Two? Party or Study? Procrastination Decisions) written by Ira Hyman who uses a clever example to explain why some times party comes before party.

The article cleverly uses an example of a child who was given a choice on a Monday morning whether he/she would prefer their candy bars be distributed either one on Thursday and the other Friday, or to receive two on Friday. Results showed that while the child chose two candy bars on the Friday valuing that as the better option, as the days passed and Thursday came the child’s valuing suddenly changed to preferring the candy bar Thursday and Friday. The idea of receiving the reward at the present outweighed an intangible reward later the next day. Anyway for those who are wondering just what I’m talking about here’s a diagram to explain.

Working Towards the Reward

Let the blue line be the reward on Thursday and Friday and the yellow line be the big reward on Friday.

This can be related back to university students, say there’s a test Friday and their going to party after it finishes on the Friday afternoon, they know there will be another party on the Thursday. Does he/she study through Thursday feel more confident about the test and go all out on the Friday night party or do they go for the second party as well and spend money and study time that perhaps hinders Friday a bit? The choice is yours?

If you would like to check out this article yourself, feel free:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-mishaps/201010/one-candy-bar-or-two-party-or-study-procrastination-decisions

Procrastination

Now, the boring section about procrastination, where I talk about ‘strategies to realistically manage the distractions that are bound to arise in a busy person’s schedule.’

I could give example such as:

  • close the door
  • turn off the mobile phone
  • prepare a schedule for your study session with beginning and ending times
  • take strategic study breaks so you can still pay bills, go to the gym, pick children up from school and make important phone calls
  • keep a blank ‘procrastination pad’ on the desk for jotting to remind you to think more about non-study things later, after your study period.

However I found an interesting video that will explain it better than I ever could:

To save this blog from getting too serious I’ve also added this video, Enjoy!:

And there you have it. I hope this at the very least has given you a better understanding of the age old battle of study vs party. It makes you wonder whether it all comes to this:

college-you-only-can-choose-two

So the question that all university students must ask themselves:

What are you going to choose? Part or Study?