As a Student Academic Leader, I like to think that I am a reasonably hardworking, disciplined, and organised student. But there are occasional situations I find myself in that challenge this perception. Case in point: I pulled a late night during week 9 to get an assignment done. It was a 2500 word law assignment due on the Friday night, which I started on the Thursday night. I stayed up until 5am, got a few hours sleep, then continued working on it until I submitted it minutes before the deadline.
As 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.
Like, really freaking hard.
Also? It sucks.
I have been attempting to write a post like this for the last seven months. I have written, and re-written, and scrapped countless drafts — all in my head, of course. As you can see, none of that practice has helped me to become particularly eloquent!
I have depression. In case you weren’t sure. In my case, it also currently comes with a (not-so) healthy side dose of anxiety.
Here are some facts about depression and anxiety in Australia:
- Approximately 1 in 6 people will experience depression at some stage throughout their lifetime
- About 1 in 4 will experience anxiety
- Anxiety is the most common mental condition in the country
- It’s estimated that 45 per cent of the nation will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.
(Information courtesy of Beyond Blue: http://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts)
I am part of that 45 per cent. Have been since I was about sixteen. I didn’t realise it at the time; I thought I was just being a stroppy teenager with glandular fever. Retrospectively, however, I can see that it was much more than just your average teenage angst.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to be all ‘woe is me’ here, nor am I trying to be an attention seeker. Studying (living) with depression and/or anxiety is hard, and for those of you who also struggle with these demons, I’m just trying to say ‘Hey, you’re not alone.’ That’s all.
Everyone experiences these things differently. For me, it comes in bouts and stages. Like I said, it started when I was about sixteen, but it hasn’t been constant. It comes and goes, along with the stressors and triggers in my life. This latest bout has hit me pretty badly, and has seriously affected my studies. It’s also the first time I’ve had anxiety along with the depression, so that’s been another learning curve for me.
Lucky for me (and everyone studying at FedUni) the lecturers and support teams we have here are invaluable, and have helped me struggle though last semester, and begin limping into this one. I’ve had help from my schools undergraduate coordinator, the Student Advisory Service, and the Disability Liaison team, to name a few. All of them have been fantastic, and understanding, and they have put things in place that did help, and will continue to help me throughout my time studying here.
I think I’ll leave this post here for now, as I’m not really sure where I’m going with all this rambling. All going well, I’m hoping to write a few posts on my exploits with depression (or MEWD. Because that sounds like a cute noise a little kitty would make), just to give people some sort of insight into what depression can be like. Or something like that.
My initial reaction is DON’T DO IT! But in saying that, I have juggled all these balls and more and survived to tell the tale.
My best tip of all is to get organised! “Not again with the organised bit!” I hear you say. Sorry, but it’s the only way I survived. The Library has resources and planners that can assist you in planning your week, month and semester. Take a few minutes to throw yourself into this rewarding task. Yes, I’m serious! It is rewarding when you allocate time and end up not being totally wasted from anxiety and stress.
It’s important to make sure that, when you slot in lectures, tutorials and assignment writing time, that you give yourself time to chillax. Otherwise, the wheels will fall off and you will be totally smashed.
So if I have inspired you to give organising a try then my job is done! Good luck in your studies. If I can do it, you certainly can!
Editor’s Note: I somehow managed to miss this in my email, so I’ve managed to post it after the event. Nonetheless, mental health is an important issue and one that we can all benefit from discussing year-round, not just for one week, so I’ve gone ahead and posted it anyway (although some of the events may unfortunately no longer apply).
Nearly half of all adults will, at some stage throughout their lives, be affected by mental illness. That’s a heck of a lot of people. And yet discussion around mental health can still be surprisingly taboo. That’s one of the reasons Mental Health Awareness Week was introduced in 1990, to educate people and increase awareness of mental illness.
Mental Health Awareness Week is held annually, and is the first full week in October. This year it’s the 5th – 11th of October. That’s right, it’s right now! As part of this week, FedUni is holding various activities across campuses on Wednesday 8th October (that’s tomorrow!) to engage students and get us thinking about mental health.
Mt Helen: Live acoustic music outside the hub from 11.30 – 2.00, and free blue slushies are going to be handed out by the Fed Uni Gaming Society (FUG). The blue slushies are part of the promotion for the ‘Blue Tie Ball’ (http://federation.edu.au/staff/business-and-communication/public-relations/blue-tie-ball) being held on campus on Saturday 18th October, and to raise awareness for the Beyond Blue Foundation (http://www.beyondblue.org.au/).
Gippsland: Creative mind Pop up Art from 10.30 – 2.00, help create a mural in the Knuckle. At 12.30 join with others for a walk around the campus, starting from the Knuckle and going until around 1.00. Between 5.10 and 6.10 head to the Hexagon for a free Zumba session And if you have any free time, check out the mini art exhibition (displayed in the Knuckle) from artists in the community experiencing mental health issues.
SMB: Mental Health Week lunch at Fed College
Horsham Campus: Mental Health Week lunch in the cafeteria
World Mental Health Week also encompasses World Mental Health Day (WMHD) on the 10th October. WMHD this year has three objectives:
1. Encourage help seeking behaviour
2. Reduce the stigma associated with mental illness
3. Foster connectivity throughout communities
People are being encouraged to take personal ownership of their own mental health and wellbeing, hence the slogan of the campaign ‘Mental Health begins with me’. Check out the website (https://1010.org.au/) and make a mental health promise to yourself – it’s about taking the time to look after yourself.
Do you ever stop and ask yourself, ‘am I exercising enough?’ or ‘am I eating the right foods?’ You probably have. Probably with extreme guilt. But I’m here to tell you that there’s an easy way to start responding to those questions while studying.
University is jam-packed with what seems like a never-ending amount of essays to write, exams to study for and tutorials to attend, and sometimes it can feel as though, before you know it, you’ve been consumed by university life and have forgotten about the importance of maintaining a healthy balance. Exercise can not only make you feel good by releasing endorphins, but it can also help improve concentration levels, which can be great for study . By exercising for only 30 minutes a day you can reduce your risk of many potential health problems.
In our world full of technology and smartphones, what better way to include both study and exercise? If you have a smartphone, there are a variety of apps that can help with your studies that are course specific. They usually have practice exam questions plus loads of other cool study stuff. For the exercise component there are a wide range of fitness apps to get your heart rate up, increase your endurance and all over physical activity. I have taken the initiative and done some app browsing and testing to find an app that seems very promising!
It’s called couch to five km (c25k) and is available on iOS and Android. This app only takes half an hour of your day and can turn you from being a ‘couch potato’ to a marathon runner! Well, maybe not a marathon runner, but I’m pretty sure there’ll be an app for that too. Anyway, this app slowly takes you through, step by step, week by week, the stages of being able to run a continuous 5 km. It takes 8 weeks to complete and, like I said before, only takes up half an hour of your day! That’s like 2% of your day (Okay, it’s 2.08%, but I rounded down).
I understand that not everyone will be able to do this activity whilst others may find it completely boring, pointless or have absolutely no interest in being able to run 5km. It is important to find an activity to do that you find enjoyable. You might want to join a local yoga class to ease your mind while exercising at the same time. Or maybe join a boxing class to get your frustrations out in a controlled and fun way. Perhaps you’re more into exercising alone, so taking a brisk walk or light jog can be a great way to start including exercise into your daily regime.
As long as you’re doing something, your mind and body will thank you 🙂
Just last week, I learned for the first time that wearing the same outfit two days in a row is, apparently, a huge faux pas, and I still can’t really wrap my head around it. I don’t know how I managed to remain ignorant of this social taboo, but it somehow escaped my notice, and so I made it to the age of 24 still wearing the same outfit two days in a row.
Before you freak out, I change any and all undergarments and socks. I’m not that disgusting. Yeesh. And if it had been a hot or strenuous day, or if I spilt something, then that outfit wouldn’t make it into the esteemed (and apparently rebellious) ‘second day’. But if the shirt was still perfectly crisp and clean, then I’d wear it again. Those other shirts can wait their turn.
This all made perfect sense to me. It was a logical pattern. Why, after all, would I not wear the same shirt again if it was still clean? If I forfeited it for another shirt, then I’d have to do something with shirt no. 1. I can’t put it away with all the unworn stuff, but it would be a waste of a wash. Being the lazy (and generally poorly organised) person that I am, there was no way I was going to try and juggle a bunch of outfits and remember which ones I’d partly worn. So instead I’d wear an outfit for two days, throw it all in the washing pile, and move on to the next one.
So it’s fair to say that my world was thoroughly rocked when I discovered that this isn’t cool. Apparently I’d been doing it wrong for the past 24 years. I’d have to rethink my system and make some sort of futile attempt to keep track of a bunch of half-worn outfits.
Except I don’t really want to, because I still don’t get the ‘why’. So most people change outfits, alright. I can deal with that. If you all want to be pedantic that’s fine by me. But why do they do it? And why do they want me to do it as well? Especially when, as a student, I don’t exactly have the luxury of owning a thousand outfits. I’m pretty much limited to four. So people are going to see a repeat somewhere.
Is it borne from some sort of attempted affluence? Are we meant to all pretend that we own so many outfits we simply throw out a top after wearing it once? As if we all own butlers and wardrobes the size of a house and take our groomed poodles for walks in expensive handbags.
Where does this come from? And why do people perpetuate it?
On another note, if they don’t burn these things how on earth do these ‘single-wear-only’ people store their once-worn outfits? Am I meant to be washing everything after wearing it once? Or do these magical people have an extra ‘outfits I don’t want people to see me in again for three days at least’ wardrobe?
So, mostly because I’m poor and lazy, but partly because I still don’t get it, I’m going to keep going with my system. I might try and convince myself it’s some rebellious action, but it’s really the ‘poor and lazy’ thing.
What do you think? Should I stop this filthy habit immediately or carry on? Do you wear the same outfit twice in a row? If not, why not? Let me know in the comments.
The mayday goes out and I hear the helicopter go into a tailspin. We’ve been hit, and god knows by what. The sounds of a crash engulf me, and for a moment I’m left with little more than a ringing in my ears. There’s no word from the pilot. They’re all dead. I’m the only survivor. My radio crackles to life. A man identifies himself as Sam. He can see my position from his tower in the town of Abel. If I can reach them, I’ll be safe. His voice is cut off by his own gasp. There’s a mob of shadows moving on my position. Zombies. They heard the crash. He screams at me to run, and I don’t waste a second.
This is Zombies, Run!, a running app designed around making fitness fun. Before I go on, let me say that I’m not a runner. At all. The thought of exercise makes me so depressed that I end up curled on the couch with a block of chocolate. But this app made me want to try it. And boy was it worth it.
Each time you go on a run, you select a ‘mission’. Each mission serves as a chapter in a longer story, while having some particular task for that run. The plot is well-developed and entertaining, and the developers proudly state that they have over 100 missions. Simply select the mission you’re up to, the songs you want, and head off.
At heart, Zombies, Run! is an interval trainer. You receive snippets of story, with your own music woven throughout. Every five minutes or so, you’ll be told that a mob of zombies is closing on you, and you’ll have to increase your speed for one minute to escape them. Beware: these chases are brutal. I expected that, if I was doing a light jog, I may have to briskly jog. Nope. Not even. These are zombies, for christ sake, and you have to run!
The advantage of this, though, is that it caters for all fitness levels. If you’re not confident in your ability you can walk during the story portions and only jog during the chases. If you find that too easy, maybe increase your pace.
Now if a detailed story and being chased by zombies isn’t enough to get you out there, this app offers even more. On each run you’ll collect items. When you finish the run, you can then use these items to develop the township of Abel, with a full town map. It’s a strategic town management game with resources reliant on your runs.
There are a bunch more features, including a detailed online component, but if I listed every feature this app had you’d be reading an essay, and it’s way too early in the semester for essays. Whether you want to get running but need extra motivation or you’re a regular runner looking for some extra entertainment, this app will do it. I’d recommend this to just about anyone. Really, the fact that it got me out there — and more than once — should be testament to just how engaging this is.
You can purchase Zombies, Run! for iOS on the App Store for $4.49, for Android on Google Play for $4.49 or for Windows Phone for $10.00
Uni life equals lectures, tutes, assignments, tests, exams, partying (generally with copious amounts of alcohol), sleeping and eating. This is all great! It really is! However, the large levels of inactivity with the junk we students eat because it’s cheap and easy, mixed with the high calorie alcohol that slows fat burning, is a recipe for disaster.
We always say I’ll go to the gym or I’ll go for a run and we never do because there is so much more to do in our days (generally sleeping or eating). However, exercise has been linked to increased brain activity (ie. you will be smarter), better health (you won’t really get hangovers) and better mood (you won’t be half as crabby due to endorphins).
I personally prefer to engage in crossfit sessions where there is some cardio and some resistance training so it’s not as daunting. Just remember, when you feel like you can’t do anymore and you want to give up, do one extra. It all helps! You will never regret doing a workout, but you will regret not doing a workout or not doing your best. It’s only like 20 or 30 minutes out of your life, which you would probably have spent procrastinating anyway.
I have put up four 30 day challenges for you to attempt. You don’t even need a gym or really any equipment for this. You could do it in your house, driveway or maybe the uni oval or a park. So get your gear on and get moving!
We all love food! It is just delightful! Plus it is always there when you are happy, sad, stressed or pretty much any emotion on the spectrum. However, summer is coming up and we all want that rocken summer bod.
Summer is the time for salads, wraps, smoothies and frozen fruit juice. As the weather warms up we can move out of that stodgey winter comfort food and into freshness! I can feel some of you cringing already at the thought of eating greens but fear not I have some killer recipes.
Protein and omega 3 salad
- Roast pumpkin cubes
- Caramelised red onion
- Fresh salad leaves (not lettuce!)
- Balsamic vinegar
- Olive oil
- Cook ¼ cup quinoa following packet directions
- Cut up ¼ of a medium sized pumpkin into cubes and spray lightly with oil, cook until softened
- Dice 1/3 of large red onion, lightly spray with oil and cook in oven until browning
- Lay salad leaves onto plate
- Lay Quinoa on top of salad
- Slice tomato and beetroot and put on salad
- Sprinkle pumpkin, fetta and walnuts on top
- Mix balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a bowl and drizzle over top sparingly (making sure it hits some quinoa)
Depending if you want to make bulk or just one serve depends on how much fruit you will use at one time. Easy to make bulk and put in a container in a fridge to last 2 days.
- Honey dew
- And whatever other fruit you want to put in your fruit salad.
- Chop fruit into different shapes
- Mix together
- Serve with greek yoghurt sprinkled with rolled oates with honey drizzled in top
Banana and strawberry milkshake
- Place ½ cup ice into a blender
- 1 banana
- Around 8 medium sized strawberries
- 3 big dobs of greek yoghurt
- 1/3 cup of milk
- 1Tsp Honey
- Blend (serves 2)