Panic, procrastination and pot of gold

As I’m sure you’re well aware by now, we have reached week 10 already. How on earth did that happen?? If you’re anything like me that sentence just sent your brain into the upside down, inside out, Alice in Wonderland world of chaos and confusion.

Okay, so lets procrastinate for a moment or two and really give this some thought…. It’s week 10, you’re still working on that task from week 2 and your assessment to-do list that you wrote with all good intentions in week 1 has long been re-purposed into a coffee coaster, that is no longer legible for the coffee stains. It’s at this point you start thinking, what am I doing, I’m so far behind, I’ll never be able to catch up and get it all finished in time, I may as well QUIT!!

After you’re mini quitting meltdown, you think to yourself, “It’s going to be okay, I’ve got this! I’m going to write a new to-do list and I will get started on the first task straight away!” Full of optimism, you write that list, then look at it and think, “No problem, I can have that ticked off by week 12, maybe even a little earlier!!”

Now that you have your beautifully colour coded to-do list in your hand, it would be safe to assume that you sit down and get cracking on that first task, right?  Wrong! Instead you photograph that list and post it on all your social media pages, boasting to all your followers about how organised you are. You then take a break because you’ve worked so hard today making said list, plus you need to keep refreshing your feeds to make sure your fans are liking and commenting on your outstanding display of time management. We all know that this cycle continues with you cooking toast for dinner at 9:30pm because you flicked over to watch some funny cat videos online whilst waiting for people to comment on your post. It’s at this point you realise you didn’t tick a single item off your to-do list and you now have one less day to get everything completed. But this doesn’t phase you too much as you trundle off to bed at midnight (you had to just check in on your social media accounts one last time for the day) you think to yourself, “I WILL get started on it first thing tomorrow”.

As you drag yourself out of bed at 10am (“Oh no! I overslept, how on earth did that happen??”), you have a serious case of the dreaded ‘can’t be bothereds’, which let’s face it was pretty much inevitable after a dinner that lacked some serious nutrition, followed by a really late night, smashing down red bull, eyes hanging out of your head scrolling through mind numbing news feeds.

It’s right about now that I’m going to hit you with some tough love, prepare yourself, it’s time to get real! If you stay on this current trajectory, it will be week 11 before you can blink, you won’t have achieved anything you set out to do and the stress levels will be completely unmanageable. But if you want to see the light at the end of the tunnel and calmly walk (well maybe run) into it, you have got to do things differently.

I have two techniques that I have picked up over the years that may be of value to you. I did not design these and I stumbled across them far later in my degree than I would have liked but never the less they made my last year of university my least stressful.

Tip # 1: Just do something, anything!!

The idea here is that you have that beautifully colourful to-do list already complete, first job done, tick! Now let’s get cracking. Pick one thing on that to-do list that you can do really quickly. I mean the quickest easiest task on there, do it now and cross it off. We all know how satisfying it is to cross something off a list, so much so that I have even been known to write things on my to-do list that I already accomplished before writing said to-do list just so I could cross them off straight away, everybody does that right; right? Each day for the next three and a bit weeks make it your motto to ‘just do something, anything’ on the list, because something is better than nothing, and the more somethings you do the more motivation you gain to do the rest of your somethings.

Tip # 2:    5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Blast Off!

The first tip is great but there’s a a grey area to it’s success and that is the over-thinker. You and I are the people who pick a something on a our to-do list and then decide to make a cuppa and give it some thought before starting. We are also the people who put off making that call to the doctor/hairdresser/tax accountant to book an appointment, we sit and we think and we think and then we think so much that we eventually talk ourselves out of doing it, because we probably don’t have the time to do it now, and we put it back on the list to deal with tomorrow, which soon becomes next month. The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, blast off theory is that once the rocket is launched there’s no way to stop it from taking off. So, pick your something to do and then in your head do the count down and when you hear the words blast off, just do it there and then. Job’s done, cross it off in big black marker, so very, very satisfying!!

Although there’s always a bit (sometimes a lot) of pressure, stress and tension at this time of the semester, everyone around you is usually feeling the same way, you are definitely not alone. All you can do is take a deep breath, eat well, get plenty of sleep and give these tips a go, you just might find your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Good Luck!!


ASK Desk, SMB.


Finding the right study/chill balance

Hey there everybody. I’m Alisha, a Berwick student as well as student futures crazy. I am a mentor, PASS leader and SAL this semester.

So, it’s almost time for our mid-semester break. Also known as, two weeks of watching Netflix whilst eating too much junk food. Then having that guilty feeling in your stomach that you should be doing something a bit more productive. In my first semester at FedUni, I did just that. I maybe read one or two chapters of a textbook but that’s it. Then after the break I was swamped with assignment after assignment which caused me to come to uni at 9am then leave at 7pm each day.

I learnt from that mistake. Second semester I adjusted my time pretty well doing around half study and half chill. My after break shock wasn’t that bad this time. This semester break I want to do that again. I am a morning bird so I plan to study in the morning then chill later in the afternoon. I am also week 2 into a 12-week body transformation with exercise and meal plans. I hope I can keep it up this break and don’t slack off the hard work I’ve done so far.

Overall, I think it’s best for you to figure out what works for you. Do what you want this break but remember Uni assignments might come up and haunt you.

Have fun and do what you love this break!

Your Berwick Butterfly, Alisha


As the end of semester approaches I’m sure you’ve started to think about your exams. You may or may not have noticed that, before the exams begin, there is a week in between week 12 and the beginning of the exam period. Before you get too excited and start planning to fill your week with all the fun things you have been missing out on during the semester, I thought I might give you a little insight into what this week is for. Continue reading SWOTVAC

File Management and Backing Up

Imagine losing a week’s worth of writing you have done for an essay, or worse, a whole semester’s work.

There has been a huge shift towards computer based means of storing and delivering information. There are many benefits to this, and the main one I can think of is not having to carry around heavy books. For the tech savvy, the convenience of storing all of your photos, homework, music, movies, and work documents in one place is too good to pass up. With this convenience comes a risk: that your laptop or hard drive will break, crash, be stolen, or misplaced and you could lose everything. Even losing a few days’ worth of university work can be a huge setback. Continue reading File Management and Backing Up

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).


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.



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).



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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

What Happens When You Pull an All-Nighter for Uni

DSC_0142As 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.

image1 Continue reading What Happens When You Pull an All-Nighter for Uni

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.


Continue reading Uni HACKED (Study Tricks and Tips)

SWOTVAC and Exams

SWOTVAC and exams

Hello FedUni Friends, are you feeling it in the air?

Yep…I feel it too, SWOTVAC and exams are upon us!

You can almost smell the anticipation and stress as you walk around campus. Well, at any rate, you can smell it at my house.

Like most students, my housemates and I are gearing up for the exam period. After three years of uni you would think we’d have mastered this time of semester, but hey, we are only human.

So in light of the looming SWOTVAC week and exams, we have put together some tips that have helped us survive the past three years.

Continue reading SWOTVAC and Exams