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.

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…

http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-7-dumbest-things-students-do-when-cramming-exams/

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!

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.

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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.

 

Semi-Formal:

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.

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.

McG RAs

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.

mcG girls

 

 

Formally a good time

Once a year a magical time rolls around at college, a time when the boys are all pressured into getting haircuts and showering to a higher quality, and the ladies all have a valid reason to buy a new pair of shoes, its formal season. Now when I first came to college I was unsure what to expect, high school formal all over again (not even close), a who wore it best situation, or something else.

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Step One: The Outfit

Lads, this means making sure your suit actually still fits. I have known many guys to just trust that it will fit, and they were WRONG. Additionally when you are trying on your suit, make sure it is clean and iron it if you need to.

Now ladies, this again means checking your dress fits, is clean, and although we are all on a budget, buying a new dress if you absolutely need to. You could also change up a dress with new shoes or accessories, and speaking from personal experience you always needs more shoes and accessories.

Step Two: Picking Your Table

My recommendation would be sit with the people you are going to have the best time with, people that you can be certain will switch a meal with you of needed, giggle with you at one of those classic college jokes, and people that will be ready to take a million and one selfies with you. Additionally get in early for saving a table, otherwise you and your friends may not get to sit together.

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Step Three: Ensure everything is ready EARLY

Formal comes in two parts; the formal and the after party. Most people require an outfit change between the two, so it is important to have everything planned out ahead of time. For the ladies this might include doing makeup that is suitable for both outfits, and picking shoes that will be comfortable. For the boys it might including having a clean outfit to change into and having your ID and cash ready. No matter who you are, it might also be a good idea to remember to reapply deodorant as often after parties are quite hot and you could get sweaty.11802178_10205150296657751_559615435_n

Ladies and Gentlemen, remember, formal isn’t just an opportunity to dress fancy and have a special meal, it is a chance to celebrate your college graduates, to welcome the incoming RSC executive and to enjoy one last night of simple celebration before the struggle of exam block.

The Social Coordinator from your college has the massive challenge of organising your formal, and would love help. So, be sure to sign up for your college formal committee!

 

 

 

Bush to City- the transition of a lifetime

Roma – 45°C heat, oil and gas industry, schools, churches, Darren Lockyer, largest saleyards in Australia

Toowoomba – 39°C heat, The Garden City, Empire Theatre, Carnival of Flowers, University of Southern Queensland

I grew up in Roma, a rural town 350 kilometres west of Toowoomba with my family. At the end of Year 12, I made the decision to move away to study at university. I was moving away from a town that only just recently got its first roundabout and set of traffic lights, away from the place where I was born and all my family and friends were. It is a big change that has taken a lot of getting used to. I was leaving my comfort zone and moving into the big world to achieve my goals.Inaug Group Photo

So, I had decided to move but didn’t know where I was going to go – share house, Student Village or USQ Residential Colleges. I didn’t know anyone in Toowoomba so I didn’t want to move into a house with a group of people that I had no relationship with – that just didn’t seem like it would work for me. I did some research – prices, facilities, how close it was to the university, if there would be a chance to meet new people, were there sports and events I was able to go to and many more. USQ Residential Colleges checked the boxes for all my criteria and that is how I ended up here!

USQ Residential Colleges are just across the road from the university, I got to have my own bathroom or the option of sharing one, it works out to be cheaper to stay there than renting a house, it provides an option to socialise and meet new people through different events. By attending USQ Residential Colleges I have made lifelong friendships and experienced so many things that have made me the person I am today.

So, if you need to move away from your home to achieve your aspirations, here are some tips!

  • Give it time – everything takes time. Don’t expect everything to happen in the first week
  • Plan ahead – assess every option, make a “pro-con” list to choose the right option for you
  • Meet people at O-Week – attend O-Week! Attend every activity! You will meet people who will become your new ‘family’.
  • Keep in touch with old friends – you have a phone, use it! It’s not as if you will never see each other again, it just won’t be every day at school like you were used to.
  • Talk to someone – talk to a friend, family member, counsellor, RA or someone you trust and are willing to confide in.
  • Attend everything (even breakfast) – Every sport, every event, every meeting, every opportunity. Attend them, even if your friends don’t want to! By attending you will meet new people.
  • Visit each College – pick the one that is right for you. Don’t just go off the pictures, actually go and see the one that you think will suit you.

Semi Group PhotoThere will be times when you feel like it’s the end of the world and being away from home will make it even tougher. Everything happens with your family that you don’t see. You may feel like you don’t fit in and just want to go back to your comfort zone, back home. You may feel like you just want to curl up in a ball and cry and have your mum or dad give you a hug. You may feel like it’s the end of the world. MASSIVE TIP – don’t quit! You are adjusting and getting used to the new place. If you quit and try and come back at another time, it will be harder – stick it out and you will be rewarded.

If it doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world. College isn’t the place for everyone, but it can be if you let it!

Do I need everything except the kitchen sink or will I need that too?

Packing to move to Residential Colleges can be a very daunting experience. The stress of moving away from your family and friends, possibly for the first time is often compounded by the stress of remembering everything that you need to pack.

When I was packing for my first year, I was worried that I wasn’t pack the right things and that I would leave important things behind. Now, there is no reason for you to have the same worries.

This piece below is a great way to remember what you need to pack and help take some of the stress out of moving, I wish I had this information in my first year.

http://social.usq.edu.au/uni-lifestyle/2015/07/pack-res-college

Let me know if this piece has been helpful for you in the comments below!

Happy packing!

Kim 🙂

Living on College- a Mature Aged perspective

Life’ said John Lennon, ‘is what happens while you are busy making other plans.’ Apparently, so the saying goes, ‘Life’ also ‘begins at 40’.

You’re never too ‘Mature aged’ to start embracing the selfie trend!You're never too mature aged to start embracing the selfie trend!

That’s the unexpected thing about our existence. According to our culture, most of us probably began the adulthood journey with a concept of our life’s trajectory. Free spirits with a love of flying solo and seeing the world…happy homebodies perhaps with a significant other installed in our cosy cottage, along with a cute kiddie in designer clothing, and a fluffy pet or three. Oh, and window-boxes augment this charming, country scene. But, as Robbie Burns reminds us in his Scottish dialect Ode to a field Mouse whose home he destroyed with a plough, life is unexpected:

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Fortunately, the various life ploughs which ail us humans – including the sobering realities of divorce, death and dashed dreams – are no great match for the community spirit and life-affirming oasis which Res College life offers the mature aged student!  It’s like living in a warm, buzzing beehive, really. Rather than lurking anonymously in the suburbs. Where you ‘always’ have friends over for dinner.

Where else can you find a ready-made group of friends (both young and mature age) to offer study support, hugs, enjoy a DVD or board game with, or join in a quick game of touch footy, soccer kick-around or basketball bounce, before dinner?

Fun and Frivolity old-school style!

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Few can boast a team of chefs creating soups, mains, salad, fruit, dessert, with endless ‘cuppas’…where you don’t have to do the washing up! You can even choose the self-catering option, if you prefer to scoff your own gourmet DIY cuisine and still enjoy the support and company of the College Community.

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Not only do you have the opportunity to embrace an instant, structured social life, but there is also the convenience of simplifying your financial outlay. It can be soothing to pay just the one bill which covers a range of things – Wi-Fi, heating, water, and parking, did I mention food? Oh, and the transport to classes is easy, simply walk! – and when the juggling act of life begins to toss in flaming torches, there is even an approachable, confidential no-cost Res College Psychologist you can chat too. Can’t ask for much more than that!

Extreme camping, for the young and young at heartPic 5

Pitching in moral support at the cricket
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It’s a relief to have a team of approachable managers and administrators, cleaning and kitchen and maintenance staff, and the university’s gardeners, all working together, for your ultimate benefit. A sports complex – Gym! Yoga classes! – And a friendly university library; even a tranquil, tourist attraction, the Japanese Garden, is right in your backyard!

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Honestly, yes. There will come a day when Gough Whitlam or Wayne Goss pass away, and you weep openly into your cereal, when fresh faced friends innocently make enquiries such as ‘Who is Gough?’ mature age residency at College is a bit like Democracy really – never going to be perfection, but we’re parked as close to that bay as we can manage…

Cosy and colourful for a happy homePic 8tend to the Community Garden, or build your own, if that’s more your stylePic 10

So, if life really does begin at 40 (or 30 or 50 years old) for some of us, in cheerful defiance of The Plough…a Res College can be a very promising place to start, you won’t be the only ‘mature aged’ resident there.

New kid on the block

Hi there!  My name is Alice Galea, originating from Bundaberg with a passion for crafts and baking and am currently studying my second year of my Bachelor of Education, Secondary.  Since completing high school in 2012, I have undertaken a Gap Year, during which I changed my mind from going to the big smoke of Brisbane to the smaller, much more personable environment offered by the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba.  Since then, many good times were had throughout my first year.

After moving from my home of 18 years in Bundaberg and knowing absolutely no one other than my sister on college, let alone in Toowoomba, I was required to overcome my shy nature, epic homesickness and remain true to myself as a person, in order to make new friends and survive my first year of uni.  I also withstood the new challenges which presented themselves when I studied some third semester subjects back at home!

Some of my favourite events from my first year included a bush dance in o-week, which has thus far been a highlight for my second year.  As well as the fun that was had, the added bonus of this event was its assistance to help to adjust to the cold Toowoomba weather for a few hours (for a cold frog, this was great…but then winter came…)!  The red frogs’ café crawl soon after was also a highlight in order to get to know a some more college faces, as well as few of the fabulous coffee shops around town, of which the Park House is still a favourite (after all…who can resist their cherry ripe hot chocolates…that’s right people…CHERRY RIPE!!!!!!)!  For any first years who are reading this, hopefully they will hold one soon and it is DEFINITELY worth going! 😀

coffee friends

Back on college, the social events of Semi-Formal and Formal were definitely the highlights for me for the year.  Seeing the creativity of outfits and the preparation which went into everyone looking their best for each of the nights was lovely to see. 🙂

semi formal

Thus far, 2015 has been off to a good start on Concannon.  I look forward to keeping you up to date with all of the goings on here and hope that my blogs are insightful.  Catch you next time!