Bella’s 10 Helpful Tips to Success: Sitting an Exam with Less Stress!

Bellas FaceAfter over seven years of sitting exams, I thought I’d share my experience through little tips and tricks you may find useful!

1. Study. It may sound simple, and I can hear you thinking “duhhhh” but the best way to be the least stressed before an exam is to prepare correctly! My tips: Continue reading Bella’s 10 Helpful Tips to Success: Sitting an Exam with Less Stress!

What is Higher Degree Research Even?

I am a fourth year biomedical science student therefore this means I am completing honours at FedUni this year.

But what is honours and a PhD?

Honours is a fourth year that has a research focus. It is generally completed by students who did very well in their undergrad and are interested in getting to the research field after graduation. Some degrees have honours embedded in them, such as Engineering, and therefore must be completed to be awarded your degree. It can also be undertaken to improve a student’s employability or experience.

A PhD is a 3-4 year long research position at the university. When this is completed, you are awarded with the Doctor of Philosophy (hence PhD) in your area of research, such as science, information technology, business, etc. Most lecturers and course coordinators have a PhD showing that they have extensive knowledge in their field.

After graduation, I couldn’t decide what to do or be, so I thought I’d give research a try. I have always been told two things to consider when undertaking a research project. These are: only take on honours or a PhD if you like the project and like the supervisor.

Good project + good supervisor = good research year

This seemed straightforward, so this is exactly what I did when signing up to honours. I love my project, especially its potential to contribute to lowering lung cancer mortality. I also really like my supervisor. His approach to research is very optimistic yet calculated. This matched with his passion for making positive change is infectious. With this perfect pair what could go wrong?

Well something must have been missing from this equation, because I have struggled more this year than I did in all of my undergrad. This is not unheard of, as honours is a tough year, which is why they only let high-achieving students take it on. But I found my biggest problem has been finding motivation to continue. This was a surprise, as finding motivation has never been a struggle of mine. I love learning from studying at uni, like learning about the diseases that affect the human body, or learning new skills like downhill skiing (super fun but tricky without lessons).

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For a while I was confused why I was having such trouble, considering I still loved my project and supervisor. What I never considered was that there was a third factor to the equation: you have to like research itself to enjoy honours. This, of course, is hard to learn going into honours, so if you get a chance do to a research project in your undergrad or some work experience in research, do it and let it help you make the decision to continue with research or not. I have created the ‘should I do honours’ pyramid (below) for your convenience and would like to put it forward for you to consider before signing yourself up to honours or PhD.

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What I have learnt about honours this year is that it is hard work but can be very rewarding. If you are interested in adding knowledge to your field and improving today’s technology to bring us into the future, research might be the way to go. But please consider the ‘should I do honours’ pyramid.

I have stuck to it and am very proud of my dedication to my goals and persistence to see this year through. This year has definitely tested me but also definitely allowed me to grow my personal skills. Looking back, I do not regret doing honours and if I could change my decision to undertake it, I wouldn’t. It’s experience like this that allows me to learn what I want to do and how I want to contribute to society. I will never wonder what it would be like to do research because I have learnt and know it’s not for me right now.

I wish you the best of luck with all these kinds of decisions!

– Bella

(AKA one of the cheery faces at the Mt Helen ASK desk 2016).

 

 

Images from:

http://www.clipartpanda.com/categories/swirl-clipart

http://www.istockphoto.com/au/illustrations/frontal-lobe?sort=best&excludenudity=true&mediatype=illustration&phrase=frontal%20lobe

https://au.pinterest.com/pin/83387030572764925/

Asking Questions in a Lecture

HaydenFirst of all, let me set the scene. You have arrived at university for your degree and are sitting in a lecture on your very first day. Your books have never been opened and your pens require you to frantically scribble to get the ink going, or maybe the shake of the wrist, etc. Whatever your preferred way of getting the damn pen working is. But that’s not the main issue, so I will move on.

In the lecture you are confronted with a ‘doctor’ or ‘double-doctor’ or an expert in their field and before you know it you might be half way through the lecture and the dots just aren’t adding up and you would like some clarification on some aspects of the lecture. That is when the nerves come flying in and the self-doubt, because what if you ask a question and you are the only one who doesn’t understand?

After the millions of self-doubt thoughts are in your head, you need to realise that you are not alone. The chances are that most people in the lecturer are feeling the same way as you and are in the same boat and don’t want to ask the question either. So as you are paying for your degree, you really need to take charge and ask the questions, because if it helps you understand the topic then it is helping you get your degree.

From my experience, most lecturers love being asked questions for a few reasons. It shows the lecturer that you are paying attention and are not on Facebook or Google. It also shows that you care about your studies and want to really understand the content being delivered. These two aspects of paying attention and caring are really good qualities to have and could come in handy if something happens and you need an extension and the lecturer knows you have these qualities.

I personally ask questions in all my lectures and I find that this either confirms that I am on the right track or bumps me back on the right track if my thinking was a little off. Lecturers are people too and they want to give you the information you need to be able to do well in the class, and if this is not the case then ask the questions that need to be asked. But always be mindful of when a lecturer is short on time and says please hold all questions to the end.

So get out there, ask questions and even challenge lecturers, as this is the way we all learn and you will benefit from the experience.

– Hayden

The Struggle is Real: How to Have Enough Time to Study and Play Video Games

angel photoIt’s the start of semester and assessment tasks are flooding in. There are chapters to read, quizzes to do, reflections to write…the list of study related things that need to get done seems endless! During these times at uni I often find myself asking the really important questions, such as when will I have enough time to play my favourite video games? The answer to this all-too-real struggle is seemingly simple, yet difficult: time management.

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I know no one wants to hear these words, and we all know the theory behind needing to be organised and manage our time, but the practicality of it is a little more elusive. Yet time management is so vital for making time for the most important things in life, gaining that extra level on that all-too-intense video game that you play with your friends, finding that hidden treasure after tracking through the forests battling monsters, whilst undertaking random quests.

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On the other hand, how do you do these things and still end up doing your required study? The struggle is a real problem for some of us. We all know it’s important to have a timetable for your classes, and that you have to stick to it. Well, why not schedule your required study time in the same manner? Why not go that extra step and schedule in your beloved gaming time? I know it sounds crazy but it can work rather well! We all talk about the importance of study, but maintaining an appropriate work-life balance is also of vital importance if you want to succeed at University.

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Trying to stay motivated to get on top of your homework, assessment tasks and exam study can be an extremely difficult task. Attempting to do all these things, stay in contact with friends and family, and still have that all important “me time” is something that we frequently forget to focus on in our attempt to succeed at university, but it is these things that often assist us in pressing on to achieve our study goals. Why not consider having a reward system in place?

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For every two hours of solid study you complete, play an hour of video games. If playing video games isn’t your thing then make it a reward that works for you. Go read the new Harry Potter book for an hour, go hang out with one of your friends, even go attempt to catch that all-too-elusive Pokémon. Whatever works!

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– Angel

Finding a Job

ScottLife as a student isn’t cheap. There are heaps of things to pay for: food, living on res or rent (and the bills) or for some, maybe a mortgage. And while the trusty student card may get you a discount on some things, it’s not common currency everywhere.

Sure, for those who qualify for Youth Allowance or Austudy, this is a nice start but is likely not enough to cover all of your expenditures. A simple equation shows that if expenditure is greater than income there is a loss. How do you solve this? You could try scrounging money from your parents, otherwise a part time job might be the answer.

You could try visiting some local businesses to see if there are any vacancies. There is also a job board located at both Gippsland and Mt Helen where local jobs are posted. It is near the door to Student Connect at the Gippsland Campus or outside the careers office on the first floor of the U Building at the Mt Helen Campus. FedUni also has an online job board called CareerHub which can you can get to by clicking this link:

https://federation.edu.au/current-students/assistance-support-and-services/student-career-hub

We are currently recruiting for PASS leaders for next year. Applications for these are open now and you can apply for these by following the link below.

 

PASS Leader:

www.federation.edu.au/PASS

Applications for these jobs close soon! PASS Leader applications are open until 9am Monday 3rd October 2016. If you want to know more about what is involved with these positions, you can contact Student Futures by emailing studentfutures@federation.edu.au or by phoning 1300 333 864.

Another job on campus that is flexible depending on your schedule is the position of a Student Ambassador. This job is tax free as you are paid with gift cards. Applications for this are different for both campuses. For Gippsland you can fill out an application form and for Mt Helen you’ll need to email Hayley Brennan.

Gippsland: http://bit.ly/AmbassadorApplication

Mt Helen: h.brennan@federation.edu.au

With these jobs mentioned above, other than being a Student Ambassador, you’ll have to pay tax, unless they’re paying you cash on the side, of course. The Army Reserve offers flexible work and is legally tax free. They also give you free accommodation and food when on courses and activities. More information about the Army Reserve can be found by clicking on the link below:

http://www.defencejobs.gov.au/army/about-the-army/army-reserve/

– Scott

Spring

Eric.2In this post I’m going to talk about Spring, because it started last week.

Or did it?

In Australia, as I’m sure you’re all aware, the Bureau of Meteorology has decided that the seasons will start on the 1st of the month (Spring in September, Summer in December, etc.).

But what if I told you that the 1st of the month is just a random day they picked just to make record-keeping easier? Who can live in that sort of random anarchistic society? I know I’m struggling.

Spring this year actually starts on the 23rd of September, at 12:21am.

How can I get it down to the minute, you ask?

Well, that’s because Spring starts after the Vernal Equinox. The Vernal Equinox is the point at which the Southern Hemisphere gets more sunlight than the Northern Hemisphere. It’s all very scientific, which is how these things should be determined. It depends on the tilt of the Earth, which is what causes the seasons in the first place.

Now here’s the bit that seems to cause all sorts of confusion for the people at the Bureau: it changes every year. That’s because the orbit of the Earth around the Sun doesn’t happen in exactly 365 days (the same reason we have leap years) and there’s a couple of other things that don’t happen in nice round numbers. It’s always going to be around the 21st of the month, but it’ll vary by a day or two either side.

And it’s not just Spring. There’s also an Autumnal Equinox. And a Summer and Winter Solstice. The Summer Solstice is the point at which the Sun is highest in the sky, and the Winter Solstice, the lowest. And they’re all around the 21st of the month.

But here’s what I don’t get: Easter varies every year. It depends on the cycle of the moon. People seem to handle that fine. And it varies by weeks from year to year. Why can’t they handle the start of the seasons that change by only a day or two?

I’m thinking about starting a movement. Maybe even get a petition going. Let’s stop the madness! Who’s with me?

Ok, that’s the end of my rant. Thanks to all of you who stuck it out this long. And Happy First Day of Spring! On the 23rd, not last week.

– Eric

The Dreadful 24 Hour Deadline

This post is what it feels like to leave an assignment to the last minute. If you currently have 24 hours until the assignment, don’t read any further and get to work. Trust me, get it over and done with. DO NOT repeat this 24 hour timeline below.

If you are planning on leaving an assignment until the last minute, read below. This is a timeline of what happens when you leave your assignment until the last minute.

24 hours until submission

Realise that you have an assignment due in exactly 24 hours.

This is when you will say to yourself the famous old saying “due tomorrow, do tomorrow.” You will slip off to bed to watch six hours on Netflix. Even though you won’t really enjoy Netflix, as you will feel guilty the entire time.

18 hours until submission

You decide that you will give your assignment a good crack. You think to yourself “if I write my introduction, and first two paragraphs, I can watch episode 12 of Gossip Girl season 4”.

So you give it a crack, and you make solid progress. You get to the stage where you have decided on the heading, format and have done three lines of an introduction.

17 hours 48 minutes until submission

You decide to reward yourself, as you should. You did some great ground-breaking work. You assure yourself that, next study session, you will easily smash out paragraph one, two and three. You run off to bed to watch more Gossip Girl.

13 hours until submission

You just finished the season of Gossip Girl, and decide to give your assignment another crack. You sit down at your computer, look at the time and think “its dinner time, I’ll start after dinner”.

12 hours until submission

You sit down at your desk, feeling full of energy after your solid two packets of Mi Goreng, and feel pumped to destroy your assignment.

You spend the next 30 days of your life working on this masterpiece of an assignment, and get to the conclusion.

10 hours until submission

You look at the time and realise that that what felt like 30 days was less than two hours, but you don’t mind as you have almost finished your assignment. You decide to take a break and see what your housemates/family are doing.

8 hours until submission

You realise that you just wasted two hours of your life fighting with your housemates about whether the tomato sauce belongs in the fridge or in the pantry. (The correct answer is the pantry. WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU WANT COLD TOMATO SAUCE ON HOT ITEMS OF FOOD!?)

You sit down, look at the time, and realise that tonight is going to be a late one.

4 hours until submission

You are now a walking zombie. You have stayed up until 5am to finish off this assignment. You can’t even think straight but you are happy that you have completed the assignment. You go to bed feeling like you have just conquered Mount Everest.

1 hour until submission

Your alarm goes off. You hate that you’ve done this to yourself yet again. You promise yourself that you will never ever ever ever EVER do this again, as it is too draining on yourself. You get up and drag yourself into the shower.

30 minutes until submission

You wake freezing cold. You realise that you have been in the shower so long that the water has turned to ice. You get out and get ready. You run out the door without grabbing any food as you’re running late.

5 minutes until submission

You arrive at uni and start heading to the submission office. You see your lecturer walking towards the box to collect your assignment. You start sprinting, run into 4 chairs and fall over twice. But you manage to overtake your lecturer. You’re in the clear!

2 minutes until submission

You hand in your assignment! WOOO! You can now go home and sleep. You’re really excited as you plan on sleeping for 20 hours straight.

Then you realise that you can’t do that. You have classes from 9:30 until 5:30. And then another assignment due tomorrow afternoon.

You then cry.

*Writers note

This experience may differ from person to person; however, I guarantee you will say to yourself once you have finished that you will never do this again. If you need any help with time management, the Learning Skills Advisors (LSAs) that the uni provides free of charge are an awesome asset and will do wonders for you. They can also help you with your assignment if you are organised so it’s a win/win! If you’re about to face that dreadful 24 hours, best of luck! And remember, you can do it.

– Aaron

Being on the Student Senate

Flying MaryDuring August last year, the University’s Student Senate began advertising for positions on the new Senate to be formed for the following year. As a third year student who had not yet been on the Senate, I was very drawn to the idea of a leadership position that would allow me to help make positive changes within the University and increase the enjoyment of the student experience. I filled out the paperwork with my ideas and what I stood for and a couple of weeks later I was luckily elected into the Sports Representative position for all campuses. As an International Studies student, it was not vital that I was a PE student but my role within the Ultimate Frisbee team and continued participation in UniGames events gave me enough background information to make my position easier.

Continue reading Being on the Student Senate

10 Things I Miss About Living on Res

Flying MaryI moved 430kms away from home in order to study the course I wanted to at FedUni. I only knew three other people in Ballarat and one of those was my sister. I obviously chose to live on campus as I had no friends and didn’t really know what Uni was all about. I am extremely glad I decided to live on Res, as it well and truly prepared me and continued to support me through my University life. I loved Res so much in my first year that I applied for a job as a Residential Advisor and continued to live on Res for the following two years. I honestly think that, without Res, I would not have enjoyed Uni anywhere near as much as I have. After living it up on Res for three years, I finally moved off this year to life in a house, but these are the main things I miss about living on Res: Continue reading 10 Things I Miss About Living on Res