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!

4 tips to prevent your social life taking over

It’s Friday afternoon and you have an assignment due Monday. You’ve kind of looked at it but haven’t made any real progress. You’ve decided to dedicate your entire weekend to writing the assignment that you really should have started weeks ago.

You sit down, read the assignment task and begin to do your research.

‘Buzz buzz’. You didn’t turn your phone off and your friends have text you wondering if you are still keen to catch up tonight. You reply that you have an assignment to do so you can’t make it and you will catch up with them next weekend.

‘buzz buzz buzz’ your phone rings and you reluctantly answer. You know what’s coming. All of your friends have been conferenced into the call.

‘It’s just a couple of hours tonight’, one friend says.

‘You promised you would make it this weekend’, another insists.

‘But we already made the plans, you can’t back out now’, another cries.

‘I really need to do this assignment, I’ve already received an extension’, you explain to them.

‘It’s already late’, your best mate jokes. ‘What’s one extra day going to matter?’

The cursor on your computer blinks at you. You have lots of work to do. You’re already pushing the deadline and are unsure if you can get the assignment finished on time.

Not all of your friends are students and they have trouble understanding why your assignment is so important. You really want to do well at uni, after all, your degree could potentially set you up for the rest of your life. But, you don’t want to disappoint your friends. What do you do? How do you say no to your friends and other social pressures and work hard to still meet your study deadlines?

The above scenario is one that many of us are familiar with and some of us handle the situation better than others. Some of us can say no while some of us give in, meet up with our friends and submit the assignment late, incomplete or work that is of a poor standard. These four tips will help you say no to your friends once in a while and help you balance your study and social lives.

1. Explain to your friends that you have study to do:

Tell them why study is so important to you. You want to use your nursing skills to help people, your teaching skills to educate people, your engineering skills to build cool things, your business skills to start that business you have always dreamed of, or your music skills to start an awesome band and make great music.

2. Make a compromise:

Explain to your friends that if you get this assignment in and feel like you did a good job, you’ll be able to catch up for longer next weekend. Talk about how awesome the party will be when you can celebrate your graduation.

3. Ask your friends for their support:

Make your friends feel involved. By asking them for support, it lets them feel like they are part of your study experience too. They can offer you the support that you need to get through those long nights of study and the stress of exams. Not to mention the late-night coffee and snack runs!

4. Don’t forget to have fun:

You don’t always have to say no. You don’t want to burn yourself out by sitting in front of the computer screen for too long. Have fun and remember that it is OK to spend time on things that make you happy. A quick study break might be just what you need.

Ultimately, you are at uni to get your degree and get to where you want in life. It’s important to have a balance between your study and social life, but remember that study is only a part of your life for a short period of time. You will have the time to catch up with your friends during uni holidays and after you finish your degree. Keep focused on the reason you are studying and surround yourself with supportive people.

What are you going to do this weekend?

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?

My advice about dealing with stress

Hey Guys, I finished my last course in university late last year and I wish I could explain to you how awesome it feels. It has been a long journey but it was worth it and hopefully I can find something beginning this week. Anyway I’ve still got a few more blogs to fill, so this one going to be about stress but more importantly how you can deal with it (these are my methods however feel free to make them your own.) Let face it if you want to start and finish a university degree stress is going to happen. The secret is to moderate yourself with work and play, have study breaks when your require them but moderate them, there is no right or wrong answer for time but you need to be truthful to yourself.

Method one –Exercise!

Exercise! Is one of best ways to de-stress, not only does a dose of adrenaline give you that feel good kick but you’ll find it a lot easier to relax or focus after a good workout. Now again this is not a routine you need to copy however this give you an idea of what I do. I do roughly an 8Km run. I don’t like to run just on a flat ground so I mix it up with a hill run combined in to it. In my run I encounter one hill 170 meters in that has a slow incline and another hill roughly 80 meters after with a very steep incline. Keep in mind, hill running you use your body weight as a resistance to push against, which in turn makes it harder to run.

Hill training offers the follow benefits:

  • Improved lactate tolerance
  • Improved muscle elastic
  • Developed stride frequency
  • Developed speed
  • Developed exhausted control

Guy running up sand mountain

This guys a boss

Method two – Light reading

Check it out: The Art of Manliness

Exercise is great however sometimes you need a break that’s not going to take up too much time. Light reading is great for that and if you can find something interesting to read it becomes easier to let go of stress. I refer to a site called “the art of manliness” if you’re like me and you find that Men’s Health magazine content continually going downhill and you’re wanting something a little more than sex and six packs then this is the website.

Basically the Art of manliness is articles helping men be men, looking at the past to find an example of manliness in action. Analyzing things like:

  • Dress and grooming
  • Health and sport
  • Manly skills
  • Money and career
  • Relationship and family

The Art of Manliness

 

Give it a read Guys… or Girls though its kind of more guys orientated sorry female reader! Lol!

Dim and Dash Comic

Funny clip I read on this website, Dim cracks me up.

Method three – Games!!

Ok, this one is for when you’re finally finished your exam/ assignment and the last thing you want to do is anything study related. Game time!!! Lol! I have a few but one that’s really got my interest at the moment is Marvel Heroes. It’s an awesome game that really hits my interest. Remember, and this is for people who have read my earlier blogs, I have an interest in Marvel Characters and they mad a diablo game it is the bomb!

This game has features like:

  • Battle as your favorite Marvel Heroes
  • Team up with friends
  • Explore the Marvel universe
  • Customise your heroes
  • And play online with your mates

Marvel Heroes

Love it!!!

Check out the trailer for the Marvel Heroes below:

Until next time,

Joseph

 

Group Assignments

 You know them.
You love to hate them,
And no university blog is complete without them.

They creep from the shadows into courses you’d least expect, and force you to do things you wouldn’t normally do, associate with people you would normally have never spoken too. They destroy friendships and make our hair go grey.

Group Assignments…
Group assignment

For some unknown reason, teachers think it’s a good idea to group people who have never met and give them a task that involves working together and give them all marks based on the overall presentation…

The only positive about that scenario is that you don’t know anyone so you’re free to love or hate him or her as you desire. If you’re already friends with someone in the group, then things tend to get awkward when they don’t do any work and you have to whip them into shape.

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However, there are methods to make sure people do what they are supposed to. The particular method that I favour is called a ‘Team Contract’. Basically, everyone writes their name and their allotted task then they sign underneath a couple of sentences that state that “if you don’t do your task then you don’t get any marks” – or something to that effect. A copy is posted on the forum so that everyone, including the teacher can see what you’re meant to be doing and if you’re actually doing it. It doesn’t guarantee that the work people do will be in any way good, but at least they do something.

I heartedly recommend Team Contract’s to anyone about to go into a group assignment. It makes the whole thing a bit more business-like. Plus then you can threaten to stick a lawyer on anyone who doesn’t pull his or her weight.

While not all nursing courses have big group assignments, most do have teamwork. For anyone who has done, or will do, an OSCE (which is the term used to refer to our exam where we dress up and give dummies medications, wound dressings, respiratory assessments or something along those lines) is probably the most hated thing in nursing.

Doesn’t matter if you’ve done the stuff a thousand times. When you’re asked to do a certain number of things in 20, 30 or 50minutes, with someone staring over your shoulder and coughing when you might not be doing something wrong – your brain shuts down and starts wailing like a three-year-old.

The first few OSCE’s that I had to do were done alone, and I confess that after my second one I had a bit of a cry because I couldn’t remember a single thing I was meant to do. But that has nothing to do with teamwork. In later OSCE’s, one requires a partner. This can be both a blessing and a curse – depending on the person. If you get a partner who is fairly confident and doesn’t let their nerves get to them, then the experience isn’t too bad. If you get one who is a nervous wreck then you become a nervous wreck and both of you do terribly. Not fun – let me tell you.

My motto with teamwork and group assignments is to expect the best and prepare for the worst. In OSCE’s for example, if you have to fake a bit of confidence then your partner thinks that you’re confident and that may calm them which will in turn calm you.

In group assignments, if you’re like me and worry that a certain person won’t do their part and be ready on the day then have a fail-safe in place. Don’t do their work for them though, because then that teaches someone they can get away with doing nothing. Before the talk, tell the teacher that so-and-so hasn’t fulfilled their requirements – show the team contract, and let the teacher mark the team based on who pulled their weight. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks, usually not everyone in the team is terrible.

That’s about all I have to say for now.

Here’s a funny picture for your enjoyment.
hokey pokey
Bye for now, Laura.