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?

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.

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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.

Concannon College and the Chamber of Studies

I think Professor Dumbledore said it best, “I will only truly have left this place when none here are loyal to me… Help will always be given at college to those who ask for it.” Or something to that effect.

Like many students who attended Hogwarts, I moved far away from home not knowing a single thing about my awaiting destination or the people there. I received a letter in the mail saying I had been accepted into the USQ family at Toowoomba. At just 17 years of age, I packed my 3 suitcases (which did not impress my dad or my two brothers who had to help carry them) and set out on a nerve-racking voyage from Townsville. I have since learnt that packing my snow jacket was definitely a good idea this winter!

Before moving to Toowoomba, I had to decide between 3 Colleges – Concannon (the fearless crocodiles), McGregor (the fiery devils) and Steel Rudd (the soaring seagulls). My decision was made and I just needed to wait for the ‘Sorting Hat’ to have the final say. Lucky for me, I got my preference and Concannon was, and still is, my home. With countless college activities, uni club dress-up parties and intercollege events (10 points for Concannon!) it didn’t take long to settle in. While I sometimes struggle out of bed a few minutes before class begins the 2 minute walk to uni assures me I’ll make it in time. And after a long, hard day of studying I know there will always be someone waiting at college when the day is over. Even though I moved so far away from my family, Concannon has become a home away from home.

Living on college gives me the opportunity to meet people studying a range of different degrees from (defence against the dark) arts degrees such as theatre to science degrees like chemistry (potions classes).  If I need a distraction or help I can just open my door or window and I’m sure to see a familiar face. Or sometimes I just bang on the wall to get Hermione’s attention next door. She loves it when I do that.

Residential Shield competitions between the three colleges are obviously a highlight for most. With an event roughly once a week, members from all colleges come out in college colours like a pack of wizards gathering for a quidditch game. With events ranging from soccer and afl to trivia and idol there is something to cater for all (10 more points to Concannon!). The points are then tallied after each event and totalled at the end of the year where the overall winner is announced over a delicious feast. While these events often end in a group celebration or a group commiseration, it is always a group effort.

Even as Harry Potter fought against the difficulties thrust upon him throughout life, he knew he could rely on his family at Hogwarts to battle with him. I know if I ever come across He Who Must Not Be Named that my fellow Concannonites would join forces with the other colleges and stand behind me, Mrs Weasley style.

I think the message to take from Harry Potter is no matter where you are and the troubles you face, you will never be alone. Whether you’re struggling with study or an outfit choice, college life provides more than a place to sleep. Just like Harry Potter and those who attended Hogwarts, I have found a home away from home. So if you’re unsure about studying and living on college consider these words from some wise old man: “it does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”