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.

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.

When InSaNity takes over

As Hannah Montana once sang, “Everybody has those days … Everybody knows what I’m talking about … Everybody gets that way.” You’re on point Hannah, especially when it comes to uni!Pic 1

We all have those days where we just want to crawl up into foetal position in the corner of the room and rock back and forth. No? If you don’t, you seriously need to share with me how you keep a uni/work/life balance. I, for one, admit that I am a stress head – I stress about the smallest things to the biggest things and it all takes its toll, often at the worst times. It has taken me years to finally realise how to unwind and have some ‘me’ time, to minimise the effects that uni and study have.

It’s good to have stress in your life, it’s inevitable and sometimes a useful motivator. Some stresses can assist you in studying and some stresses can prevent you from studying. Imagine you are swimming in the ocean with waves. Assistive stressors are at the point where you are comfortable swimming, you are able to tread water and float over waves. Preventative stressors feel like you have gone too far into the water and a wave is crashing down on you and you are struggling for air. Hint: you don’t want to reach this point.

Here are some of the tips I use when I can see that wave of stress coming and don’t want it to come crashing down on me.

  • EXERCISE: I’m the type of person that doesn’t run unless they are being chased by a serial killer or see a snake. I personally despise exercise but incorporate it into my daily life (well, try too anyway). I find that when I am stressed, if I go to the gym for an hour I feel rejuvenated and ready to get back into study.
  • CALL MY FAMILY or FRIENDS: My mum is my go to person and I call her pretty much every night (I know, a mummy’s girl). She listens to my worries and gives me advice on how to deal with them. If she’s at work or I need a hug in-person, I go to the friends I feel comfortable with who are always willing to help me out (need those people in your life).

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  • DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY: Sport, painting, crafts or binge watching your favourite or new addictive TV Show. Everyone is different and enjoys different things. I personally like crawling into bed and watching my favourite TV Show (Friends or Grey’s Anatomy) for an hour or five.

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  • GO HOME: Living away from home takes its toll and sometimes all I want to do is be at home in my own bed surrounded by my family. Plan to go home to see your family and friends – it will be exactly what you need (because who doesn’t love a good home cooked meal).

Pic 6To minimise the effects of stress be organised and create a weekly planner of exactly what you need to have done and when you need to have it done by (INCREDIBLY HELPFUL WHEN ASSESSMENT IS DUE). By finding what relaxes you and how to handle and minimise stress, you will live a happy and healthy life!

Remember: Stressed spelt backwards is desserts – eat a bunch of desserts!

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!

Ahead of the pack

High school – the place where all the decisions that need to be made regarding your future are supposed to be made and an action plan to follow through on them is created. Everyone’s path to university is different. Mine started when I was in Year 12 of high school and undertook the Head Start program.

Process from school to uni to career

I completed the Head Start Program offered by USQ to high achieving high school students who are motivated to commence their university studies. The program provides guaranteed entry into your USQ program upon completion of a course successfully, credit points towards your degree, points towards your QCE and the first course is free!

Some USQ Student Ambassadors visited my school and shared their experiences on how they came to study at USQ. I liked USQ because it was close to home (four hours), small classes, I was able to study my degree of choicQuotee full-time and on-campus, and USQ is the number one university in Queensland for graduates entering full-time work. I decided that I wanted to attend USQ. One Student Ambassador spoke about her experience with the Head Start program and I realised that it would give me the ultimate advantage. It gave me a glimpse into what the university experience would be like and what would be expected when I would study full-time, minimising the scare-factor of university (a little). I studied a core business course, externally – Accounting for Decision Making. Going that extra mile, compared to fellow peers provided me with the certainty that I wanted to pursue Accounting as a career.

I would recommend to all high school students to look into undertaking the Head Start program. However, there are certain things to consider:

  • School – your school studies needs to come first. Remember, you are still a high-school student and that is your main priority (there will be plenty of time for uni later).
  • Your Life – you might have dancing, band, sports training that should play apart in your decision. Don’t sacrifice everything in the ‘now’ for the ‘future’ – you still need to enjoy your life to the fullest!
  • Ask your parents/guardians – they know you and their opinions do matter
  • Ask your school teachers/career counsellors – they can are able to help you organise your application
  • USQ – USQ is there to support you 100% throughout the course and are there to answer all your queries and provide information.

The Head Start program has been the best thing I have done for my future career and I would do it again, in a heartbeat! It was a wonderful experience, where you have a graduation evening!