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!

The highs and lows of being a Resident Advisor

This year I am a Resident Advisor (RA) at Steele Rudd College, one of the three Residential Colleges at USQ’s Toowoomba Campus and have often been asked what it is like to be an RA. An RA is a resident and student who is trained to help other residents with academic, social and welfare issues they may be having while living on college. There is always an RA ‘on duty’ outside of business hours at each of the three colleges who assists residents with things such as lock-outs, safety or security and maintenance issues, first aid and the hiring of vacuum cleaners. Being an RA is both a rewarding and challenging experience.

2015 USQ Resident Advisors celebrating the end of training

2015 USQ Resident Advisors celebrating the end of training with cupcakes

For me, being an RA is rewarding because I get to help people, something I have always enjoyed doing. I have seen first year students grow from being shy and unsure in the college environment, to being an essential vibrant member of the college community. I get to smile with and celebrate the big and small achievements of college residents as they move through their university journey. And it always brings a smile to my face (and makes me feel like a bit of a superhero) when a resident comes up to me with a simple ‘thank you for your support’ or ‘thank you for being there for me when no one else was’.

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As an RA I even get to plan events for the residents of my block to help foster friendships and create some fun and stress relief in to the chaos that is uni. #winning! I love organising events! Movie nights and block BBQs are always popular events (who doesn’t love free food?)!

Being an RA can also be challenging. Sometimes, other residents think of me as the ‘fun police’ for asking them to turn the music down during quiet hours when other residents are trying to study or sleep. And occasionally my friends shake their heads at me for asking ‘are you sure that is a good idea?’ when they talk about their plans to prank another friend.

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Some nights the phone rings for a lock-out or noise complaint at 3am when I have been up until 1am trying to complete assessment I know I shouldn’t have left to the last minute. And very rarely, it feels like I don’t get any sleep at all.

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Occasionally I will be helping residents through stressful times at uni while also stressing out myself. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Being an RA has been one of the best experiences of my life. The skills I have learnt along the way outweigh the occasional night of sleep deprivation by a mile. I have had the opportunity to make friends with people I never thought I would make friends with. Seeing residents overcome the hurdles they face and succeeding on their path to fulfilling their dreams is possibly the best thing I have ever witnessed.

If you have ever thought about applying to be an RA, my advice would be to go for it. There’s no real way you can know what it is like to be an RA until you actually are one, but I’ve never regretted my decision to apply.

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!

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 🙂

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?

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

R U OK? Day

R U OK? These three simple words could potentially save a life. When was the last time someone asked you, “R U OK?”, When did you last ask someone that same question?

Thursday the 11th of September is R U OK day, an Australian suicide prevention initiative that encourages people to ask their family and friends if they are OK. Suicide is a very real issue, often linked to depression, and it is a sad reality that many people know of someone who has lost their battle with it.

Depression and suicide can affect anyone, young or old, rich or poor, male or female, famous or not. It is a difficult issue that no one really wants to talk about, even though the conversation could save a life. Having that conversation can be quite difficult so the R U OK foundation have developed four steps to make that conversation a little easier.

R U OK day

The steps to asking if a person is OK are to Ask, Listen, Encourage and Follow up. Check out how to start the conversation and ask someone if they are OK at https://www.ruok.org.au/how-to-ask

In Australia, we consider ourselves to be quite tough and so we don’t really let on to others how we are feeling. Remember that it is always OK to ask for help if you are feeling down or having a difficult time. If someone asks you if you are OK, tell them the truth, maybe talking things through will make you feel better, and if not, your friend or family member might be able to tell you where you can get some help.

So, on Thursday the 11th of September, turn to the person next to you and ask those three simple words, “R U OK?” Always remember to look out for those closest to you, sometimes knowing that there is someone there for you really makes a difference.

If you would like more information about the initiative, I encourage you to check out the website https://www.ruok.org.au/

R U OK?

Until Next Time,

Kim

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

 

The Final Countdown

The countdown begins. Only one month until college formals begin, two and a half months until mid-semester break and then four months until I finish my degree. Then it will all be over. No more uni. No more college.

A lot has changed since I made the big leap to move out of home to a different town in order to create something of my own. And you know what? It paid off. I have spent the last three years living with some of the best, and sometimes the worst people I have met. In the process I have learnt a lot about myself as well. I think it’s only fitting that I share some of the major experiences I have had since living on college and some things you should probably know before taking this massive step.

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Experience #1

Working two jobs while studying full-time and living on college is difficult, yes, but not impossible.

Having been fortunate enough to get a transfer with my Christmas casual job and stay on as a casual retail person, I was also lucky enough to land a role as the first digital intern for Residential Colleges – a role exclusive to college kids. Yay! Not only will this job look awesome on my resume but also made me learn a few things about what I want to do with my future career. It’s a massive opportunity to develop myself and learn what I really want.

In saying this, it’s not always easy. There are those nights when it feels like the whole college is out having fun except for me. Just remember, you will feel better off the next day at work and you will also save your money. But do remember to have a break sometime, or you will probably crash at the worst time.

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Experience #2

Do not eat ice cream out of a cone at the dinner table, or sit next to someone eating an ice cream cone.

There is such thing as ‘coning’. It’s not fun when it happens to you because BAM! There goes your ice cream. It’s also not fun when it happens to the person next to you because BAM! There goes your clean shirt. If you want to eat at the table I suggest getting a bowl or even styrofoam cup. Otherwise take the ice cream cone and leg it! Bowls and cups also allow you to add toppings.

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Experience #3

You may have close friends at other colleges but as soon as Res Shield starts, it’s war.

As soon as you put on your red, green or blue, it’s game on. You’re fighting for the shield and you’re either with your college or against it. When you’re standing on the field or on the stage ready to perform, there’s no right or wrong so long as you give it everything you have and you’re not fraternising with the enemy.

Concannon

While everyone will have their own experience of college, I hope these tips and tricks will inspire you to share your own story.

A Formal Distraction

I think I can safely say on behalf of everyone around the world who is studying, we all need a long holiday to revitalise our minds. Even though we’re only into the third week of this short term, I have already completed 2 assignments with another 3 due this week. With 7 due this term, I’m sure I’m not the only one who will celebrate when it’s all over. I cannot wait for the holidays, a time where I do not have to think about how to manage a crisis or which grab to use from an interview.

Thankfully, living on college has its perks. Concannon is full of distractions for those moments when my brain is too fried to string together a logical sentence. So instead of thinking about stressful things such as assignments and exams, I am going to take you to a land not so far away where Golf Day and Formal are an annual distraction from the lead up to those pesky exams.

The first Thursday back at Concannon, groups of 4 crowded around Clifton Golf Course in crazy costumes armed with cans of Red Bull to give us wings – or at least our golf balls. As can be expected from a group of girls in the hot sun and uncomfortable costumes, we completed the first two holes before having a well-deserved break which lasted the entire afternoon. A BBQ lunch and a few drinks later, the day ended with a bus ride home full of rowdy singing boys.

The hype of Golf Day did not last long with preparations for Formal becoming stressful leading up to the event. With a few things going horribly wrong (lights smoking) there was stress that the decorations wouldn’t be what everyone was hoping for. To the relief of our social co-ordinator, Rianna, the night went off without a hitch. The girls were ready several hours before-hand, while the boys were running a little bit late, particularly my boyfriend, Dean, who was putting his tie on 2 minutes before the group photo. Formal is the time of year that everyone anticipates. It reminds us of high-school graduation, except this time most of us can drink.

 

While it is very important to get assignments completed and handed in on time, it’s just as important to remember to relax and let go every now and then. By organising time for Concannon events into my study schedule, I can revitalise my mind to string those simple-but-complex-sounding sentences together and hopefully get better grades.

Now, I guess I should get back to studying.