Never Work with Children

So after hours of organising I have finally got the children to sit down in front of the TV to watch their favourite show on Netflix. They have snacks, drinks and their favourite teddy bears. I should be able to get at least an hour out of them to finish working on my assignment that’s due at the end of the week, right…? WRONG! No sooner than I sit down and turn the computer on, I hear the dreaded “Muumm, Nate’s hitting me!” (insert frustrated face). I go down and sit them on separate sides of the couch and promise that if I can have just an hour to do some work, I will take them outside to play afterwards.

I know it’s not ideal, but bribery is one of the only ways I can get some time to work. Having 3 children ranging from 2 to 7 years old they are not at the point where they understand deadlines and “mummy has an assignment due”.  So in an attempt to get a little time to myself, I resort to bribing them with TV, food, drinks and some play time afterwards. I know — bad parenting moment — but as a student, mother, wife, housekeeper and taxi (just to name a few of my roles) there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get what I need to get done.

Anyway, back to trying to steal an hour to do some homework. Did this end well? Did I get any work done? Did the children sit down and watch TV as planned? The answer to all of these is: NO! In between the dirty nappy, the spilt drink, the fighting and the crying, I achieved nothing. NOTHING!

So here’s my advice on trying to study with children: try and plan your week so that you get as much study done when you’re not home. Then when you are at home you can focus on being mummy and the many other roles you play. It is ok to say that this is important to me and I need some time without the kids to get it done. Ask your partner, your family and friends and, if finances permit, get a babysitter or try the kids in day care. In an effort to keep these two role separate on the days I am at Uni, I stay later and get my husband to do the school/day care pick up. This allows me time after my classes to get my study done. Then when I get home the kids can have my complete attention as I am not distracted with what homework I have to do. During the busy times when assessments are due I may even come out to the Uni on the weekends for a few hours and I achieve a lot more in a couple of hours than I would all day at home trying to bribe the kids.

If you do find yourself in the position of having to study while you’re at home with the kids I have found that the kids are happier to allow me a few minutes to myself if I break it into smaller intervals. Start by asking them to do an activity or watch a show for 20 minutes while you work and then you will come and play with them. If you continue this cycle you will at least reduce the stress on yourself.

Remember that it is ok to put yourself first sometimes, and don’t allow the parental guilt to creep in. You are important and what you are trying to achieve is important as well. Think of the positive role modelling you are doing at times when you feel you have been away from the children too much. Remember: it is the quality, not the quantity, of time you spend with the kids.

– Bonnie

To New Students, Welcome! And to Old Students, Welcome Back!

The start of semester is now here, for some of you this is a brand new exciting adventure, for others it is a slightly agonising process of dragging yourself back into university mode after the lovely, yet lengthy summer holidays.  Whichever group you belong to, the university is going to be a bit hectic, especially during the first few weeks.

New students will be running around trying to find their feet, struggling to find classes, teachers and where to get a decent coffee. Old students will most likely be trying to avoid the busyness, and groaning at the excessive amount of time it has taken them to find a car park, leaving them precious minutes to dash to their lecture.

Both groups will possibly be feeling quite overwhelmed, and a little stressed out. It is important at the start of the semester to get a little organised — make a game plan for your studies, and how that is going to work in with your social and work life. You need to know what the important things to be aware of are, and who to talk to if you are starting to struggle.

The most important thing to remember is if you are struggling, or have any queries, or concerns: ask. It doesn’t matter if you are a new student, or a returning student. The best thing to do if you don’t know something, are unsure, or just need to discuss something is to ask, and talk to someone about things.

No one ever really jumps for joy when they hear the phrase ‘time management’, but it is an important part of succeeding at university, and not only university but life in general. It doesn’t have to be the horrendous task that it is made out to be — you can start out small, buy a diary and write down when all your assessments are due, and block out deliberate time to work on that task. Unfortunately, assessments don’t write themselves. Remember that time is the currency of life, so spend it wisely!

Another important thing to keep in mind at university is the need to maintain a social life. Being a university student should also be a social experience. You can meet new people and form friendships with individuals who have similar interests to you. Don’t be afraid to get involved! Become part of the university community, and I guarantee it will make your whole university experience that much more enjoyable!

This leads me to my final piece of advice: be aware of yourself. Self-care is vital. Know your limits, and make sure that you take care of yourself. If you start to struggle with this at any point, we have numerous services available to assist you. That is what they are here for so don’t feel bad for accessing them — everyone needs assistance from time to time.

 

There are these services and more:

  • PASS: Peer Assisted Study Sessions, these sessions are offered for 1st year classes that have been deemed difficult, to offer students extra assistance. These sessions are ran by students who completed the subject to a high academic standard, and wish to assist other students do the same.
  • ASK service: This is staffed by your Student Academic Leaders. This is where you go to ask any university related question, and if the question doesn’t fall within our area of expertise we will know exactly where to refer you to, to ensure that you get the best assistance possible.
  • Learning Skills Advisors: Here to assist you with improving your academic skills, whether that be polishing up your writing style, getting used to university language, or all those tricky referencing and formatting queries.
  • Writing Space: A designated study area within the library in which Learning Skills Advisors, or Student Academic Leaders sit, and are available to assist you whilst you study.
  • YourTutor/Checkmate: Online assistance, where you can ask questions, and submit essays asking for specific assistance with things such as grammar, flow and similar queries.
  • Counselling Services: You can book appointments with skilled counsellors to listen and assist you with stressors that you may be struggling with.
  • Disability Liaison Unit: Here to help people who may be suffering from a physical or mental health concern. This may be for long and short term assistance. If you need help with planning around your anxiety, or have done a sporting injury that hinders your ability to perform at university these guys are here to help you.
  • Health Centres: Because who doesn’t like conveniently located nurses to assist with your medical concerns, when you’re a busy uni student?

Whatever your concerns, we are here to help you! Don’t be afraid to ask. I promise we don’t bite, and are quite friendly and eager to assist you in achieving your university goals!

Good luck in your studies!

Angel

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

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

Census Day

Eric.2Alright folks, this is a public service announcement from your friendly neighbourhood SAL, Eric.

August 31st is Census Day.

What’s that you say?

“All the commercials on the tv say that the census is on August 9th

Well, yes, that’s true too.  But it’s a different census.

Continue reading Census Day

Planning Life and Juggling Commitments

SamAs Uni students, we can often feel like we are trying to juggle hundreds of commitments at once. For example: finding the time to go to lectures, tutes, study, do assignments, keep healthy, work, family, friends, partners, getting drunk every now and then — the usual stuff! If you leave everything up in the air and unorganised it tends to get very easy to miss things and you end up having that dreaded feeling of regret when you know you should have done something but decided to take a quick nap instead.

I know you would have heard it all before: plan out this, plan out that, blah blah blah. But coming from somebody who never used to plan out anything, it really does pay off to spend a little bit of time to plan out different things in your life.

Continue reading Planning Life and Juggling Commitments

Uni HACKED (Study Tricks and Tips)

BethSo it’s 2016. You’re starting classes for the first time or again  You want it to be the best semester ever, whether that’s get lots of friends and party hard, or get good grades and ace this course. Whatever your goal is, you gotta study smart.

Study Smart. That’s right, not hard or well, but efficient. Every lecturer has told you “to get good grades you have to put in the time”, and then they’ll give you tips on what they did back in their day. Most of the time it’s setting time aside and reading their literature – but nobody got time for that.


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Continue reading Uni HACKED (Study Tricks and Tips)

Revision Tactics for Exams

LilyHello friends! Now it is the end of the semester, and final exams are coming! Are you excited? Well, I am, because this is my last semester at uni! I have successfully survived five semesters of exams, and only need one more semester to unlock the “Graduation” achievement.

Retrieved from http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/35xsry
Retrieved from http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/35xsry

Continue reading Revision Tactics for Exams

Working While Studying

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Going to university is much like going to high school or having a job of its own — except, at this job, your work doesn’t finish when your contact hours end for the day. So, as most students know, there is usually little to no free time left when you factor in your lectures, tutorials and practicals (your contact hours) along with study, social time, any hobbies, commuting to the university and a little bit of rest and relaxation. Try fitting in a part-time job in there somewhere and, well…you almost have a recipe for madness! Continue reading Working While Studying

Amelia’s Weekly Study Tip 3: Daily Planning (Part 2 + Bonus Tip)

DSC_0142Hey guys, today I’m going to share with you two important tips for staying organised and feeling on top of things. I know that when I’m not organised or feeling in control, I lose motivation, but these things really help prevent that snowball effect.

  1. First of all, I want to talk about to-do lists. They come in all sorts of forms to suit your preferences. A Typo store just opened up where I live (heaven for you stationery lovers out there) and I have to say it is worth a visit. From my lovely Instagram photo below you will see A5 sized lists which I use on a daily basis, and A4 ones which I use as a general list to put all those extra things I can think of (e.g. pick up the dry cleaning, submit that form you’ve been meaning to, emails you need to send, etc.). You can also get large weekly planners in notepad form or as whiteboards. It’s amazing the kind of things you can get these days to help with daily planning. I’m obsessed with pretty stationery. I find that an aesthetically pleasing to-do list with tick boxes on it makes me so much more enthusiastic about life (don’t judge me). I also like to write out my to-do list the night before. It makes me feel so much more organised for the day.

Continue reading Amelia’s Weekly Study Tip 3: Daily Planning (Part 2 + Bonus Tip)