The Good Person Recipe

In 2015, I met Antonia Yip Siew Pin during Orientation Week. We were both international students with a great interest in performing arts, and it was only natural that we became friends.

Three years later, I met Antonia again, but this time I am the audience, while she’s the performer. At this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival, Antonia, alongside her colleague Nores Cerfeda, will perform their original two-person play The Good Person Recipe at Club Voltaire. The show is also scripted by Antonia herself.

42607406_105834057007553_5535951061992341504_nI went to watch the performance last Sunday, and the show was just so, so, so good that I would highly recommend you include it in your weekend plan. The show is filled with simple but philosophical details. As indicated through its name, the show revolves around a mysterious and peculiar recipe that could ‘cook out’ the colour of humanity merely with food receipts. While the show is set in a café, the heart of the story is filled with eastern wisdom, and oh gosh, I just damn love all the food humour it’s embedded with.

Beyond the show, what impressed me most is undoubtedly Antonia herself. A Malaysian international student, how did she get involved with the Melbourne performing arts community? How has her university experience led her to Melbourne Fringe, a paradise for local young artists? Does she have any tips for those who’re also interested in theatre performance? With these questions in mind, I caught up with her at Des Connor Room in Union House when she had just finished a rehearsal.

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Wing: Antonia, I’ve known a lot about you, but can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?

Antonia: My name is Antonia Yip Siew Pin. I’m an international student from Malaysia. I’m here to pursue my tertiary studies. I major in creative writing and media and comms. I’m also graduating this semester!

Wing: Woohoo! How did you get involved with performing arts?

Antonia: I have been performing since I was 13 back in Malaysia. Back in high school, I had been performing annually.

As performing arts has always been my passion, after I came into Melbourne, the first thing I did was going to Union House’s Information Desk and asked how do I be part of [the unimelb] performing community. They asked me to subscribe to a monthly newsletter with information on various theatre performances, and I just rocked up to auditions.

This experience of door knocking is actually scary, as I do have lots of concerns and worry before joining the community. Many people in the community already know each other very well. They probably are friends from high school to uni, and I was definitely a fresh face in uni and this community. Also as I am a woman of colour from overseas, I feel conscious of that as well, especially when all my friends in theatres are mostly locals. However, I would say it is still worth just turning up and doing it, chance will come to you in a way.

Wing: That’s impressive! Now tell us something about your show – how did you come up with the idea?

Antonia: My show, The Good Person Recipe, is my first Fringe show. It’s basically about a waitress struggling to preserve her goodness. She has a particular habit of collecting food receipts, and she uses food receipts as the means to measure the goodness in people. For more details, you can hop on our Facebook or Instagram page, and we also have our trailer there.

The entire show is basically playing with the tension between good and bad – the idea of what it means to be a good or bad person, and what it means as there is no such good and bad. There is only grey area everywhere, and the show will discuss how people should do with that.

The script I wrote for the show was originally a short fiction I wrote in class last year. I adapted it into a performative piece, and my friend Nores helped me edit it and fill in some blanks for my script.

Wing: How do you find it so far? What are the benefits?

Antonia: I had only done student theatres till last year when I got an opportunity to perform in La Mama Theatre, and this year doing Fringe has been particularly stressful for me, I have been losing lots of hair this entire process! It requires me to learn a lot of stuff – not just performing but also administration stuff, such as booking venues. Also, my partner who I would perform within this piece, he has way more experience ahead from me, and I’m always conscious of that. I’m trying to match my power level up to his, and this entire performance has let me try to match up or even in my own way to flourish and shine as bright as him on stage as well.

This is a very important show for me, not just because it’s my first time at Fringe but also like I don’t know where I will perform next year after I graduate. And the show has been particularly important because all my friends know I’ve been doing [performances] for ages. And it just feels so nice to know that I build up a little small circle of people that trust in me and push me to be better. It feels really good to have the whole theatre community supporting you from your back as well. And having people willing to donate money, to lend you a hand whether it is editing your script, giving you a few bonuses, stuff like that.

Wing: Final question! What are your main goals for performing arts?

Antonia: Friendship, hard work, dedication and persistence. These are definitely my four main goals of performing arts.


The Good Person Recipe will be performed on September 28, 29 and 30 at Club Voltaire. For more information, please click here.

All-nighters: why you might actually be torturing yourself

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Every time you don’t get enough sleep, you put your body through a decline in health and wellbeing.

“I didn’t really think sleep was necessary,” my friend Sophie told me before our Biology exam, “if I could do better in this subject by studying more.” And although she did smash her exams with flying colours, (and I’m very proud of her for that), sleeping so little evidently took a toll on her.

A week later she was still recovering.

Sophie was struggling to get back into her usual sleeping habits, resorting to bingeing on cappuccinos with 2 sugars to stay remotely awake, and wandering around the campus in a dazed state.

Sleep is so important. It’s obviously an enormous part of staying healthy, but people never really tell you specifically why.

Remember, only a single day of insufficient sleep made her the epitome of a babbling zombie.

Generally, sleep is thought of being an activity of rest, so that when we wake up we’d feel less groggy and be able to go about our daily routine—it seems so pointless otherwise.

However, being in a death-like state for a few hours doesn’t just help rejuvenate you from being painstakingly tired, it also does a variety of things like repairing the body and releasing cytokines.

Cytokines are tiny cells that fight against any yucky diseases that attempt to invade your precious body. Sleeping strengthens your cytokine army against hordes of evil bacteria and viruses which always plan to take you down. (You can never trust them viruses. Don’t be fooled.)

Imagine what would’ve happened to Sophie’s body if she was left sleep-deprived for 2 days, or even 3.

Well good thing you don’t have to imagine, because science has found that out for you!

Sleeping less than 7 hours a day not only makes you drowsy, but also impairs your decision-making skills, drastically reduces reaction times and is just straight up terrible for your health.

Does that sound remotely familiar?

Yes, sleep deprivation can make you act similarly to being drunk, a study shows.

Basically, being sleep deprived is like chugging a couple of beers every morning and then going straight to uni or work. Are you really expecting yourself to function normally in that state?

And if the majority of us know not to drink and drive, why are we sleep-deprived and driving? Why are we sleep-deprived while doing anything?

It sounds pretty silly doesn’t it?

Still, so many people neglect their sleep- heck, even I do it sometimes. Whether it’s to finish watching the latest Game of Thrones episode or cramming in those last few pages of lecture notes for the exam, we’re all guilty of doing this to ourselves. It’s no secret.

Some of us even pull the odd all-nighter from time to time. You can probably imagine that the consequences of this are just more exaggerated versions of the day-to-day effects of insufficient sleep, right?

However, pulling all-nighters over even a few days is more torturous than you realise.

Sleep deprivation is actually used as an interrogation technique on prisoners. Losing sleep leaves you mentally drained, which makes it harder to lie or even to realise what reality is. Interrogators exploit this, and usually question suspects when they get tired, when all they want to do is to desperately doze off to sleep.

Preventing someone from sleeping for 2 days causes them to be extremely disorientated. At 3 days, it crosses ethical lines because people start to go insane and have hallucinations of things that aren’t really there.

I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty scary stuff.

Although getting poor sleep can never be compared to getting none, you now know that sleep is no joking matter.

So the next time you think sleep can always be compromised for whatever activity you want to do, think again. Sleeping for less than 7 hours on a daily basis will not only have immediate effects, but long term effects on your mental and physical health.

So what can we do to improve our sleep and therefore our health?

  1. If you’re really having trouble going to bed at a reasonable time, try to achieve your goals in tiny steps.

    For example, if your desired bed time is 10pm and you’re currently awake till 2am (doing god knows what), don’t force yourself to make that 4-hour leap to victory. It’ll just make things harder for you!Start by sleeping 30 minutes earlier every 2-3 nights. You could even make it just 10 minutes if 30 is too much. The gradual change in sleep time is more achievable then just promising yourself: “Oh, I’ll just go to sleep at 10pm tomorrow”, trust me.
  2. Try to charge your phone and any other electronical devices away from your bed/outside your room

    Messaging yer S.O. at 2am is cute and all, until you’re required to wake up at 6am in the same day and you feel too exhausted to do so. Charging your phone away from your bed removes the temptation to continue convos AND prevents you from spending over 2 hours on your phone in the morning.
  3. Stop taking naps during the dayNapping is a good fix for when you don’t get enough rest, but can also mess up your sleeping patterns if you do it too often, making it harder for you to fall asleep at night time. Try to sleep in one whole chunk for better quality sleep.

Sleeping does nothing but good for your body! All of your organs will love you for resting your head on a pillow, so consider how drained they become from working overtime and start giving them enough rest.


About the author:

33613875_1993966790635958_3005181530315161600_nAccording to a Facebook post made on her timeline on February 24th, 2018, Nicole Nguyen is a potato. Critics are divided regarding the veracity of this claim, with some arguing instead that she is, in fact, a sweet potato, a fidget spinner, or simply “drunk.” She also loves Lady Gaga, like, a lot. In any case, her identity is a work in progress—when she’s not busy posing as any/all of the above, she is actually a second-year biomedicine student who wants to become a fierce doctor because she’s intelligent, charismatic, fierce, humble and fierce again. 

“And although her potato skills are great, she still has a lot to learn before she’s ready to save anyone. But I believe Nicole can save the world.” 

N.B. authors normally write their own bios, as is evidently not the case here.

Finding Value in Volunteering

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University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) volunteers prepare breakfast

Volunteering experience can play a key role in our personal and professional lives. We’ve each had opportunities that have helped us in various ways in our respective journeys, and volunteering can be a way to continue the cycle of support for others.

James Lynch is a leader in interview skill coaching and the recruitment industry, and Kumari Fernando is the general manager of DOXA’s developmental programs. Recently, I had a chat with both of them in order to unpack the value of the volunteering experience.

It turns out that the time that you invest in others can also be reinvested into yourself, through consolidating your resume and interview responses. I can personally say that I didn’t see my volunteering experience in this light. I’m guilty of just randomly listing my volunteering experience at the end of my resume, with little else but the date, the position and organisation without much thought of how to extend it and use it to my advantage.

“You can leverage whatever volunteering experience you have to be an indicator of your competence as a potential employee.”

When including your volunteering experience in your resume, it should be in an independent section. You can flesh it out by outlining in a few sentences the skills gained and or developed from the experience. Although this mightn’t be direct experience within the industry we want to be in, skills which are relevant to those industries can nevertheless be found through other experiences. You can leverage whatever volunteering experience you have to be an indicator of your competence as a potential employee.

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Volunteers visit the elderly and gift them terrariums with the Bedside Buds project

Lynch highlights that it is vital for applicants to demonstrate that they have the practical skills for the positions that they are going for. “Employers are looking for competency when we are hiring somebody. You score points for the volunteering, but you prove that you have skills and qualities that we are naturally looking for.” Double win!

The trend in employment history is that more and more employers consider an applicant’s volunteering history.  According to the Impact Survey of 2016 by Deloitte, a consulting and advisory company, over 80% of employers are more likely to hire an applicant based on their volunteering experience. If you would like to read more about this study, click here.

“These experiences, the people you’ve met through them, and the impact that this has had are all powerful stories you can share…”

Lynch believes that there is a significant reason as to why volunteering experience is highly valued. “It all comes down to the culture in all these companies of community work.”

Through his experience as a recruiter, an applicant’s volunteer experience can really make them stand out. “It proves you are willing to give and consider other people.” These qualities can make the recruiter more confident that the applicant is the best fit for the company’s vision and culture.

Furthermore, your volunteering experience can provide sincerity to your passions. When you care about an issue, you’re more likely to have done something about it over the years. In an interview, the employer may well ask you “what issues are you passionate about and what have you done about them?”

If you care about homelessness, for instance, you may have volunteered at a soup kitchen at some point, or you may have collected clothes to be donated, or helped with Urban Seed’s programs. These experiences, the people you’ve met through them, and the impact that this has had are all powerful stories you can share during an interview. On the other hand, if the only volunteering experience you have is within the months leading up to the interview, it calls into question whether you have volunteered out of sincerity or just to look good in the interview.

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Team leaders help out at the colour run with DOXA

Furthermore, volunteering is a proactive way for us to learn about ourselves. It can allow us to consider what is important to us and the direction of our future.  When you are engaged with many different programs and people, it can help shape your vision of where you see yourself in the future, the industries you want to work in and the impact you want to achieve.

Fernando shared that she had volunteered at an organisation, only to later find a full-time job in the very same place. She believes that her volunteering experience helped her navigate the direction she wanted to take her career.

“Volunteering is a real development opportunity,” she said, “it enables us to have a better understanding of what we want out of a career and our studies.”

With increasing competitiveness for internships, graduate positions and jobs, it is more important than ever to distinguish yourself. Many companies receive a staggering amount of applications for only a limited number of positions and roles.

“Volunteering is a proactive way for us to learn about ourselves. It can allow us to consider what is important to us and the direction of our future.”

From working with corporations that sponsor young people in their studies, Fernando has some insights about how corporations are looking for individuals who are flexible and have a diverse skill set. Recruiters are often not just looking at an applicant’s academic history and degree, but rather they are also looking at their development in areas external to their studies. If applicants can show that they have volunteering experience, it indicates that they are more likely to be willing to step outside of their traditional role, thus advantaging them in the recruitment process.

I hope this article provided some insight into the importance and value of volunteering experience. Remember that not every volunteering experience should have a corresponding reward that leads us to a scholarship or job. The simple act of extending a helping hand to others can be uniquely valuable in itself, and just the willingness to be immersed in things that matter is truly priceless.


38911342_1439016499576623_4176721924308598784_nAbout the author:

Liang is currently a first year BA student studying psychology and criminology. She can be often found doing Netflix marathon or spending too much time organising her diary and room in a mask of productivity. Share a bad pun and you have a friend in her!

 

How to Vote for Student Elections Painlessly

Photo by Arnaud Jaegers on Unsplash

Disclaimer: UniMelb Adventures prides itself from being a non-affiliated, apolitical publication and this article serves to inform the student population about general elections. This article was written originally for Farrago Magazine and has been abridged.

So its Week 7 and you have an assignment due on Friday. You’re rather tired and you just want to go to that regrettable 9am tute you got into because you forgot about class registration followed by a 2 hour lecture about why you should buy this textbook that the lecturer made and how it’ll teach you real life skills. However, you have a five hour gap between those two classes so you decide to go to the Baillieu to get some study done.

As you head to the Baillieu, you are bombarded by a kaleidoscope of Pink, Red, Orange and Black Shirts telling you to vote for them and how they’ll change your uni experience.

Flustered, you walk away from the Baillieu and feel rather peckish. Union House hasn’t filled up with people yet and you want to grab something eat there. However, as you head toward Union House, you see yet another swarm of Pink, Red, Orange and Black Shirts telling you, well you guessed it, to vote.

Seeing as you have nowhere to go, you watch as each shirt shoves each other telling you why they will once again change your uni experience. The tussle then descends into a melee and you get caught up into the screams, rap battles and backflips and you end up becoming the one screaming.

At this moment, you just want to go home and maybe skip uni all together. For most people, you could just say “no thank you” or “I’ve already voted” and thats the end. But here’s the thing:

Elections actually matter.

Your vote is rather influential in how the Union represents you in the following year.

So listen up, we’re in for a magic tram ride of a trip on what elections are and how to vote.

First Off, What is UMSU and why should I care about them?

UMSU is the University of Melbourne Student Union, which represents all UniMelb students. It is responsible for things like student clubs and activities, as well as student services and advocacy. So think of the ‘free’ student BBQs, carnivals or weird parties that happen throughout the year because your student contribution, the SSAF goes towards the services of the union.

Okay but, why should I vote if I don’t need to?

Voting lies at the heart of-Okay let’s not get dramatic. Voting is important and vote early, vote often like they do in Chicago.

In seriousness,  don’t vote often but vote early if you need to.

Voting in student elections is important because you get to choose who represents you, how often you can get more free food or find the help you need. If you’ve got issues about university admin, enrolment, grades and even your commute, UMSU on paper is supposed to represent your concerns about your university life.

You’ll have to vote for many positions. From president, the top dog of the union to the General Secretary to the fun aunt that is the Activities office and so on.

So vote, otherwise you won’t get a say on what matters to you during your years at uni.

So you’ve stopped screaming and actually going to vote, so how do you actually do it?

This is where things actually get messy and weird like your 4am essay due tomorrow. We will try our best to explain to you how to vote as if you were a five year old. The only problem? Five year olds can’t or don’t vote but its good to know.

  1. Go to a Polling Booth

A polling booth is where you vote. Here, you get a piece of paper called a ballot where you put down who you want to vote for. You can find polling booths at the following locations:

  • Baillieu Library
  • Union House
  • FBE Building
  • Murrup Barak (open Tuesday, Wednesday)
  • Southbank (open Tuesday-Thursday)
  • Burnley (open Wednesday, Thursday)
  • Stop 1 (open Tuesday-Thursday)

Most polling stations open around 10-11am and close around 5-6pm. We will get back to you when the finalised times are set but show up after 11am and you should be okay on how to vote. If you can’t be at any of these booths to vote, you can submit a postal vote at https://umsu.unimelb.edu.au/getinvolved/elections/

             2. How to Actually Vote

You’ll get multiple colorful sheets requiring you to vote on many things and many positions. The first few pages are regarding OB positions such as President or Welfare followed by Committee and Council contests. The premise is the same with those, vote for who you desire but its better to preference all for Committee/Council seats.

You have to preference THE NUMBER ONE for WHO YOU WANT TO WIN. YOU CAN THEN PREFERENCE YOUR 2ND MOST FAVOURITE AND SO ON, depending how many candidates there are. However, the elections are using what is called, Optional Preferential Voting which means you can vote in the following ways:

  • Vote for One
  • Vote for All
  • Vote for Some

Here’s an example of the ways you can vote:

The ways in which you can vote for student elections.

 

  1. Run Away

After you’ve chosen who you want to win, you put the ballot inside a cardboard box. You are now a democratic citizen who is exercising their rights as a student. You can now run away from the Color Run and Circus and head back into another one, your classes. Yay!

So When Do I Know Who Won and Stop Caring?

Don’t stop caring but generally you’ll find out late Friday of voting week on who has won President and maybe the other OB position. Usually Farrago, the student magazine will have live tweets and rolling coverage on Facebook. So stay tuned to see how your vote ended up and the joys of democracy will start flowing in?


About the Author:

Alain is a third-year student who still hasn’t gotten his P’s licence. He still spends too much at uni, and rather going to some cafe, he’s lazy and you’ll probably see him in Arts West a lot doing something for Farrago Magazine and more recently, editing this blog. 

 

 

 

 

Can’t Beat a Club Committee

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You hear about clubs from day one of uni, sometimes even before then at Open Days, O-Week, or through older students. But you never really hear about how they run, who organises these events, and what it’s like being on a committee.

At the end of the first semester of my second year, I managed to get a spot on the Arts Student Society committee. This led to two years in two different positions, working in a huge, wild and wonderful team of students from various majors.

Most Clubs have somewhere between 5-15 spots on their committee: A President, Secretary and Events Coordinators to name a few. At an Annual General Meeting (AGM), you’re able to present a speech, answer a few questions and nominate yourself for a position if you’d like to help organise the events that this club or society hold. The people in each position changes year to year, in order to ensure that new skills and faces were being brought to the club.

In 2016, I was the General Committee Representative for the Arts Student Society. I was basically a spokesperson for the general committee who got to tell members when events were happening and ask for their feedback. I always knew what was going on in the society and was able to connect with lots of people, often the odd confused jaffy as we created a community for our society.

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It was an opportunity where I got to know a lot of people and increase my social skills as I communicated with all kinds of people. I was also able to welcome newcomers to something where I’d had a lot of fun, especially in my first year.

In 2017, I went up again at the AGM for Education Coordinator. This was a position that required you to think about strengthening the educational and academic elements of a faculty society. I won the votes and had the opportunity to work in a partnership with another Education Coordinator. Developing a great partnership with him and communicating with faculty really felt worthwhile, not to mention the Writing Competition with all its entries and wonder. A lot of emails and reading were involved, but it was always worth it.

As education is always changing, this role also meant creating new things to keep up with students—for instance, a student-led Lecture Series on internships was one of our first new additions.

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Being on a clubs committee is one of those incredible experiences that I’m glad to have had the opportunity to take part in not once, but twice. It provides an opportunity to do some volunteer work (yes that’s another thing, none of the positions are paid) that contributes to the lives of other students around you with similar interests, and really helps you in making some great new friends, working together with others and creating exciting events for members.

As with everything however, there are always cons of being on a clubs committee.

Cons of Club Committees Pros of Club Committees
·      You have to put in the hard work alongside your degree, it’s purely voluntary, and how much you put in influences how members of your club feel, so you decide the experience.

·      You are expected to attend a lot of club events, which can sometimes interfere with other things you have going on in your life.

·      The AGM itself counts as a con because they often go for hours and sometimes you won’t even get the position that you’re interested in. Long speeches, questions and standing in front of an audience of people voting? Intimidating.

·      Sometimes there can be a lot of paperwork and emailing that goes around in circles until you finally work out what the answer is to the question you’re asking.

·      It’s something to put on your CV, volunteering looks great on the resume.

·      Depending on the society, sometimes you get to go on Orientation Camps – this is one of the greatest university experiences even I had as an introverted first year.

·      Free or discounted tickets to all of your events that you’re organising! Nothing better than a free party!

·      AGMs can be full of drama (if that’s what you’re into!)

·      Opportunities and connections: sometimes clubs might get approached by businesses for sponsorships, discounts, or even just free stuff (I got to attend the Melbourne premier of Ready Player One).

·      Skipping the BBQ line at your own BBQ.

·      Being part of one club often means you create connections with other clubs as well, which enriches your university experience!

·      You can try new things, create new events that you think students might be interested in.

·      You learn who knows what and where you can ask for help if you need it.

·      Great new friends and relationships can come out of club committees!

Joining a club and trying out for committee really is worth it. Without my time on the Arts Student Society, I think it would’ve taken a lot longer for me to feel comfortable at uni, confident and being more involved than I ever thought I would be.

If you’re interested in joining a club check out the Clubs and Societies Page to find the right one for you, and who knows, maybe one day you’ll be President of your favourite?


About the Author:

Sarah is a 5-ft-nothing bee enthusiast with a bob. Studying English and Creative Writing, she often posts bookish rants and poems on her Instagram @reading.rah

12 thoughts you have while applying for internships*

*as told through GIFs

  1. When your grades are still low, and you have no relevant experience, but you still have to be optimistic
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  2. When you need to make yourself look like a decent applicant
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  3.  When you stalk other people’s LinkedIn profiles for “inspiration” only to realise that they all have their lives together
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  4. When you realise you need to step up your game and get on their level, even though you have no idea how
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  5. When the deadline is at 11:59pm and it’s already 11:00
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  6. When you thought you aced the online section only to never make it through to interviews
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  7. When you thought you aced the interviews only to never make it through to the assessment centre
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  8. When you finally get an email, but it starts with “Dear applicant, thank you for your time, however…”
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  9. When you laughed at your friend for getting rejected, but then you get rejected hours later
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  10. When people keep talking about how many internships are out there even though you still don’t have an offer
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  11. When your friends all get rejected as well
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  12. If you finally get an internship though…
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Best of luck everyone!

 

4 things I learned about love, life and the cosmos in my first semester

39154896_292435964822579_1593822377400074240_nSolidarity between uni students is in the fact that none of us truly keep it together from beginning to end. If you’re managing, email me asap and be my life counsellor please and thank you—I can pay you in homemade dumplings that none of my friends would believe to be fit for consumption—but if you feel like you aren’t, read on.

After all, as we are are looking forward to bigger and better things in semester two, it is also important for us to have that time to ourselves to look back and reflect on the past 7 months that have whisked by. The wisdom and growth we have all gained in that time will hopefully make semester 2 less of a tragedy (“hopefully”).

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Today I thought I’d share the lessons I learned last semester, in the spirit of how we’re all slowly and at times awkwardly figuring out how adult.

Lesson 1- Focus and take care of yourself throughout the semester.

My low point last semester was when I had three assessments flying down at me in one week. One of these was my first research essay that I had left until the night before. During this period, in order to increase the time I had to do my work, I had to say farewell to washing my hair. The process of shampooing, conditioning and drying actually takes me more than an hour, and it honestly seemed like a good call at the time (because starting the assessment early was just not an option). I sincerely apologise to the tall people who hugged me during that period and had to face the lake of hair grease.

I will now admit how easy it is to fall into the trap of the uni bubble, and have everything centered around class. Yes, we do have a lot of work to do, deadlines to meet and striving to do our best academically. However, to feel the need to burn yourself out, and to not practice basic hygiene habits should not be the norm, right?

So rather than letting ourselves go to the point where we become unrecognisably gross, switch it up to watching your favourite tv show, unplugging from social media; go to bed earlier, or take a walk through your local park.  Take that pause to enjoy yourself and what is around you, and let yourself be refreshed and recharged.

Lesson 2- Accept that you may outgrow people you once loved.

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Wish the people in your past all the best, and hope that they find what they need in life. It is hard letting go and continuing on without the people whom you cared for wholeheartedly. However, we all can move on and appreciate the journey that was taken, despite the ending. Remember that you shall meet many great people in life in the times to come, but first you need to make space in your heart for them by letting others go.

Lesson 3 – Take up feedback and improve your skills when you fall below your expectations

When I got the mark back for one of my first Criminology essays that I thought I did well in, I pretty much almost failed that assignment that was worth 50%, leaving me upset for days. I contemplated dropping that subject, as I was feeling like that I did not have what it took to do well in it.

All in all, that experience put me into an extremely determined mindset to improve on my essay writing skills, because I really did enjoy that subject. Therefore my conclusion was that, in order for me to get better, it meant I had to go over that essay which I wanted erased from my memory. It was only later when I embraced failure, that I would actually propel myself forward.

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Since that experience, I took up a proactive approach towards my studies. I made appointments with Academic Skills, I read up on advice for essay writing, I spoke to my tutor, I re-read my essay and broke down the areas that I needed to focus on.

By the time it came to the final essay for that subject, I went ahead and applied all my new and improved skills. When results came out, I brought up the average for that subject to an H2A, and scored a WAM I thought would have been out of my reach. From this, it made me less stubborn to the fact that university is a place where we are meant to be challenged. Yet, do know that you do have support services and resources at university to assist you in building your skills.

Take your time to learn and enjoy that process, even if it means making mistakes. Even if they seem major at the time, they will soon lose that feeling of being some sort of defining moment, since you will have been able to learn and improve since then.

Lesson 4-  Believe in yourself

When you feel as if you have to be at a certain place in life and that the current you is not there yet, do not panic and hold it against yourself. You will reach there soon enough in due time.

Just like how you can still make it to that uni lecture if you want too  ;)

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All the best with semester 2.

Have a good laugh and wash your hair.


About the author:

Liang is currently a first year BA student studying psychology and criminology. She can be often found doing Netflix marathon or spending too much time organising her diary and room in a mask of productivity. Share a bad pun and you have a friend in her!

 

We tested a bunch of study spaces to find the most scientifically optimal one

Abstract

Owing to the positive reception garnered by our first venture into the world of scientific studies (Adventures, Unimelb 2018), it was decided that further scientific tests on the conundrums faced by the University of Melbourne student community were indeed necessary. This second instalment aims to continue demystifying student life by empirically ranking several popular study spaces and investigating what makes a study space ‘work’.

Again, we would like to acknowledge existing literature in the field (see: Adventures, Unimelb 2015) which served to outline the amount of choice students have when it comes to study spaces. However, it must be noted that much has changed since the publication of the above article: for example, a claim was made that “you’ll usually find a spot to study [in Baillieu].” No, gurl, you will not.

Consequently, we aim to update the literature in this field, and thereby determine the best study space for students at the University in 2018.

Hypothesis

Baillieu, hands down. A lot of us initially felt that this was a clear frontrunner in our test. To make things interesting, we have decided to omit Bailieu for two reasons:

  1. To stop encouraging students to study within an already-packed library (you’ll thank us in SWOTVAC)
  2. To level the playing field amongst the remainder of our spaces

This undoubtedly muddied the waters, and our seven testers were divided on the remaining study spaces.

Method

The testers

alain

  • Alain
  • Arts student in Media and Politics
  • True to his colours, his favourite study spots are Arts West and Arts Hall
  • Has 197 LinkedIn connections at time of writing

ayush

  • Ayush
  • 2nd year Arts student
  • Will study absolutely wherever he can find a spot (Law library or Bailieu preferred)
  • Dead inside and may or may not have been half-awake for this photo

beau

  • Beau
  • Commerce student but looks and sounds like an Arts student
  • Doesn’t believe in “studying”
  • Picks study spaces based on accessibility and cleanliness of toilet facilities
  • Loud study spaces are a bonus (so she can laugh when she gets a superlike on Tinder)

mark

  • Mark
  • Arts student but looks and sounds like a Commerce student
  • Frequently studies at home so he can play music out loud
  • “Frequently studies” :) :) :) :)

Tash

  • Tash
  • 3rd year Environments student
  • Studies at MSD to feel like an ABP student
  • In no particular order, her ideal study space has natural lighting, warmth, comfortable chairs, good noise levels, and no abnormal smells (Thankfully we tested all of these things. Like, literally all of them.)

tiff

  • Tiff
  • The most relatable Arts student
  • Mostly studies on campus since bed is a big distraction
  • Needs a good Wifi signal and a power point
  • Loves a nap in the Rowdy (shoutout to the no-study library)

yana

  • Yana
  • 2nd year Arts student in Psychology and Anthropology
  • Not nerdy enough for the nerds, but nerdier than your average homegirl
  • Has zero self-control to study at home and therefore enjoys the Panopticism™ of libraries

Testing Criteria

Between 12:30pm and 3:30pm on a Wednesday afternoon, our testers visited a number of study spaces, spending approximately 10 minutes inside each space. We strove to sit together in order to keep our experience of the space uniform. Where this was not possible, we dispersed in order to complete the tests.

We tested the following spaces: The Spot (level 3), Law library (level 4), Giblin Eunson library, FBE building (level 3), John Medley Linkway, Laby (Physics), Chemistry, ERC level 3, Arts West levels 4, The Ida, and MSD (both the basement and the atrium).

The following observations were made for each study space:

  • Whether or not there are power points (if so, how plenteous they are)
  • Whether or not food is allowed into the space
  • Whether or not there are toilets (if so, how many, are they clean, are there accessible toilets etc.) – credit to Beau for her outstanding toilet analysis

Ratings (out of 5) were also given across the following criteria:

  • comfort of seats
  • temperature (it was 27°C outside)
  • lighting
  • ambience/atmosphere
  • noise level (according to personal preference as opposed to actual volume)

This was followed by an overall score, which reflected our holistic views on each study space. These scores were averaged and ranked to present the results below. In the event of a tie, the winner will be determined as whichever study space scores higher on average in a majority (3 or more) of the criteria above. Without further ado…

The Results

The winner: John Medley Linkway (ANOTHER OBSCURE CHOICE)

Study space Score Categories won (1st, 2nd or 3rd place)
John Medley Linkway 4.3 Seat comfort (tied 2) temperature (1) ambience (2)
ERC (level 3) 4.25 Seat comfort (1) lighting (2) ambience (1) noise (1)
Law library (level 4) 3.6 Temperature (2), lighting (3)
FBE (level 2) 3.6 Noise (3)
MSD atrium 3.57 Lighting (1)
MSD basement 3.4
‘The Labyrinth’ Chemistry building 3.3 Temperature (3)
Physics building, Laby IDEAS Centre   3.29
Giblin Eunson Library (level 3) 3.29 Seat comfort (tied 2),
The Spot level 3 study lounge 3.2 Ambience (3)
Arts West (levels 4) 3.19 Seat comfort (tied 2) noise (2)
The Ida 2.5

 

Analysis

12. The Ida (average overall score 2.5)

Criteria Seat Comfort Temperature Lighting Ambience Noise
Avg Score 1.8 2.4 3.9 2.1 2.1

Likelihood of getting a spot: 80%, but it’s sometimes used as a function space so don’t rely on it too much.
Can you eat there: it’s literally a bar

sdr

The reopened student bar on Level 1 of Union House has always been a chill area for students to hang out, play pool, or study if they so choose (which is why we included it). However, none of our testers scored it higher than 3 out of 5, leading to its subpar ranking. This just doesn’t seem like the ideal place to study for most people—unless you don’t mind the chatter as background noise while you study, it’s hard to imagine being that productive here.

On the plus side, the toilet around the corner is also “the most hipster toilet” at our Uni, if you’re into 70s décor. Also, the natural lighting here is plenteous and there’s booze at the bar. Basically, don’t come study here unless you want an excuse to drink.

Most favourable score: Alain, Mark, Tash and Yana (3/5)
Harshest critic: Tiff (1/5)
Kindest comment: “I love this place to chill and chat and do light work” -Alain
Meanest comment: “weird vibe and straight up distracting” -Tiff
Best summary comment: “well, if your study method includes booze…” -Yana

 

11. Arts West level 4 (average overall score 3.19)

Criteria Seat Comfort Temperature Lighting Ambience Noise
Avg Score 3.6 3.4 2.2 3.5 3.9

Likelihood of getting a spot: 20%. Better the higher up the building you go, but overall not great.
Can you eat there: yeah go for it

cof

Logically and geographically, this feels like where you’d hit up next if Bailieu was full. Unfortunately, as a result of this, Arts West is pretty much always full as well. In addition to the lack of space, the complete lack of natural lighting also came under fire from our testers; in particular, Tiff gave a score of -5000 in the lighting category. Even just treating this as a 0/5, Arts West wasn’t able to even pass in this criterion, with an average of 2.2/5 for lighting.

It did however perform more strongly in the ambience and noise categories. The echo-y acoustics of the building suited the tastes of most testers, and as Ayush put it, “it is enough to remind you humans exist but not enough to distract.”

Most favourable score: Beau, Mark and Tash (3/5)
Harshest critic: Tiff (1/5)
Kindest comment: “MY FAVOURITE TOILET IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSITY. Accessible toilets on each floor, and the aesthetic is just on point, the white brick wall is just basic yet so sophisticated and minimalistic. The lighting is always on point.” -Beau
Meanest comment: “Everything just reminds me over and over of how stupidly dark this place is for no good reason” -Tiff
Best summary comment: “would not recommend unless you’re an Aesthetic Hipster™” -Tiff

 

10. The Spot study lounge level 3 (average overall score 3.2)

Criteria Seat Comfort Temperature Lighting Ambience Noise
Avg Score 2.4 0.4 3.4 3.7 2.9

Likelihood of getting a space: 30%. This place has a lot of long bench seats and tables, but in different places for some reason. This means that you have a good chance of finding a seat or a table, but not both at the same time.
Can you eat there: eating is more common in the level 1 study space than the level 3 one, but no one will kick you out for doing it in either.

sdr

The stomping ground of many Commerce students, the Spot study lounge on level 3 (there’s another lounge on level 1 but it’s usually more crowded so we didn’t bother with it) is generally a well-decorated and well-lit place to study, with plenty of power points as well as group discussion pods and a wide variety of seating options. You may wonder why its ranking doesn’t seem to reflect this. A one word answer: ven-ti-la-tion. Comparisons were drawn between this lounge and “Satan’s foot bath”—blame the West-facing windows, and be careful when studying here on warm afternoons.

Temperature issues aside, this was actually a lovely space, receiving the third-highest score in the ambience category for its visually pleasing décor and its productive crowd. There are also vending machines with various Asian snacks and drinks. All in all, a decent space which explicitly lost points for being too hot.

Most favourable score: Beau and Tash (4/5)
Harshest critic: Yana (2/5)
Kindest comment: “feels like we’re in the corner office of Deloitte” -Tash
Meanest comment: “I am breathing in humidity and people’s stress” -Tiff
Best summary comment: “Too. Bloody. Hot” –Ayush

 

9. Giblin Eunson library (level 3) (average overall score 3.29)

Criteria Seat Comfort Temperature Lighting Ambience Noise
Avg Score 3.6 3.0 3.1 2.9 2.6

Likelihood of getting a space:  20%. Not terrible, but you’ll only be able to find a space at one of those long tables where you need to directly face someone else. This leads to you being slightly paranoid the whole time you’re studying that you’ll look up from your laptop and accidentally catch their eyes.
Can you eat there: technically not (since you know, it’s a library) but it’s pretty common to sneak a snack or two. Just don’t, like, pull out a giant bowl of noodles and start slurping it at your desk or anything.

Performing slightly better than its neighbour, Giblin Eunson library was a fairly similar space to the Spot in many respects. The temperature was on the warmer side as well, and the crowd were also the right mix of productive (so you feel inclined to be productive too) and non-judgmental (so you don’t feel pressured to stay productive for hours on end). Also positive was the collaborative spaces—just be aware that the project rooms are not completely soundproof.

Though there is an accessible toilet, none of the bathrooms are particularly well-lit or “aesthetic”, according to our toilet expert. Also, power points and empty seats may be a bit hard to come by. However, if you do get a seat, you can take comfort (literally) in the knowledge that they are the second most comfortable on campus. According to us, anyway.

Most favourable score: Beau and Mark (4/5)
Harshest critic: Tiff (2.5/5)
Kindest comment: “[The seats are] firm and will support your lower back in a way that business/economics studies will not.” -Mark
Meanest comment: “Why do I feel like I’m in a pantry idk” -Tash
Best summary comment: “Pretty decent but not exactly the best” -Ayush

 

8, Physics South building, Laby IDEAS Lab (average overall score 3.29)

Criteria Seat Comfort Temperature Lighting Ambience Noise
Avg Score 2.3 2.0 3.5 3.1 2.7

Likelihood of finding a seat: better if you’re a first year – they’re the only place on campus we’re aware of that has a first-year students only study space. For the rest of us, 30%.
Can you eat there: yeah go for it

Going from one corner of campus to another, the Laby IDEAS (always said in all-caps) Lab on the ground floor of the Physics building struck a tie with Giblin Eunson, and came out on top owing to comparatively better scores in lighting, ambience and noise levels. Overall, this was a fairly divisive study space (with the third-highest standard deviation of the lot), and some of our testers were surprised to find it so high.

To be fair, it was pretty stuffy inside, and there weren’t exactly lots of options for seating, but the ambience really struck a chord with some testers, and features such as whiteboards and a TV displaying timetables for first-year physics classes were additional selling points for this space.

It also contains a weird futuristic space-dome thing (pictured left), so you might enjoy it if you like pointless but cool interior design choices.

Most favourable score: Tiff (4.5/5)
Harshest critic: Ayush (2/5)
Kindest comment: “very snazzy place” -Tiff
Meanest comment: “Overall, not impressed with the building so not even going to try to find the toilets” -Beau
Best summary comment: “it’s pretty cute” -Yana

 

7. ‘The Labyrinth’, Chemistry building (average overall score 3.3)

Criteria Seat Comfort Temperature Lighting Ambience Noise
Avg Score 2.7 4.0 2.8 2.9 2.9

Likelihood of finding a seat: this place literally has two tables. Good luck.
Can you eat there: as far as we can tell, yes

sdr

Finally. A well-ventilated space. You get an H1 in the temperature department. However, that’s probably the only reason this space placed this high—in other areas, it was considered just so-so, particularly in lighting (which was orange and bizarre and unnatural).

We struggled to find seats, since the area was largely a computer lab for Chemistry students only. The building was also very maze-like, and we didn’t spot any accessible toilets or many power points at all. The overall scores all fall between 3 and 4—basically, this is an uncontroversially mediocre area.

Most favourable score: Tiff (4/5)
Harshest critic: Alain, Mark and Yana (3/5)
Kindest comment: “It’s a cozy spot and I like it since it’s got warm lights and it feels like I’m Bilbo Baggins in my hobbit home” -Tiff
Meanest comment: “[This] would never be my first choice. Actually kinda sucks. This is why I haven’t touched Chem since Year 12” -Tash
Best summary comment: “It’s decent but I’m not sure if I’d come here frequently” -Mark

 

6. MSD library basement (average overall score 3.4)

Criteria Seat Comfort Temperature Lighting Ambience Noise
Avg Score 1.6 2.9 2.9 3.6 2.4

Likelihood of getting a seat: 1%
Can you eat there: emphatically no

sdr

Not gonna lie, we also the most difficulty finding seats here out of all of the spaces. However, those around us who had already found seats were all business, and this space was praised by all testers for its very productive vibe. The temperature was a little divisive—we couldn’t agree if it was “toasty” or “very stuffy”—and some found the quiet atmosphere a little oppressive, though this was definitely a bigger issue for another space on this list (see 3. Law library).

Food isn’t allowed in here and power points are plenteous along the benches and around the individual tables between aisles of books—all of this suggests that this is a library highly conducive to individual study. Note that if you need the bathroom, you will have to head upstairs, unfortunately. Could be a deal breaker for an otherwise very neat space.

Most favourable score: Tiff and Yana (4/5)
Harshest critic: Alain (2.5/5)
Kindest comment: “Serious but not too serious. Aesthetic is spot on.” -Yana
Meanest comment: “I like this space but it’s a bit too barebones and sterile.” -Alain
Best summary comment: “Good if you want a warm place to study hard” -Ayush

 

5. MSD atrium (average overall score 3.57)

Criteria Seat Comfort Temperature Lighting Ambience Noise
Avg Score 2.5 3.6 4.4 3.1 3.1

Likelihood of getting a seat: 30%, but you might need to hunt around a bit to find a chair
Can you eat there: probably not a full meal, but unlikely someone will stop you if it’s a snack

sdr

Fortunately, many of our qualms with the MSD basement are resolved on the upper floors of the building. Seating is more available the higher up you go, there are toilets on most floors (though poorly lit, according to Beau) and you’re allowed to eat. Power points are also generally available, unless you’re seated at a bench.

However, arguably the strongest selling point of this space is the sheer amount of natural lighting (no tester gave this space a rating lower than 4 for lighting). The openness of the space does lend itself to being a bit echo-y, but I think all of us could use a reminder that the sun exists during SWOTVAC.

Most favourable score: Mark and Yana (4/5)
Harshest critic: Ayush (3/5)
Kindest comment: “studious, productive, modern.” -Yana
Meanest comment: “It’s a good ambience but sometimes there’s pockets of weird noises and distraction and maybe it’s a bit too open” -Alain
Best summary comment: “I love natural lighting So Much NATURAL LIGHTING!!!!!” -Tiff

4. Faculty of Business and Economics (level 2) (average overall score 3.6, tied with Law library)

Criteria Seat Comfort Temperature Lighting Ambience Noise
Avg Score 2.5 2.7 2.8 3.6 3.8

Likelihood of getting a seat: 50% – the space you enter as soon as you exit the elevator is probably going to be a bit more crowded (pictured left). But if you turn to the right and like, make an u-turn, you might be able to find some sneaky seats down the corridor (pictured right).
Can you eat there: yes (but people will frown at you)

While many pass through here on the way to the Spot, few head upstairs to visit the FBE study spaces. We’re actually a little surprised this one placed so high, considering that it was a pretty average space in retrospect, but the availability and variety of seating options, as well as the abundance of power points and even the inclusion of a kitchenette are definitely pluses for this space. Also, the toilets are clean and functional (with an accessible toilet to boot).

By now, everyone figured out that there’s a fine line between a productive space and a chill one, but in many ways, this space is the line. It’s nice for collaborative projects, but also for people who just want to work alone. Except for that one person who left because of us. Oops.

Most favourable score: Alain, Ayush and Beau (4/5)
Harshest critic: Yana (3/5)
Kindest comment: “People were talking and seemed human (impressive for a Commerce building)” -Ayush
Meanest comment: “Taking off half a point for ugly window view but it was alright. Poor feng shui.” -Tash
Most bizarre comment: “This place traumatises me because I saw a guy sniffing his foot at the coffee sink once at 9pm.” -Alain

 

3. Law library (level 4) (average overall score 3.6, tied with FBE)

Criteria Seat Comfort Temperature Lighting Ambience Noise
Avg Score 3.3 4.1 4.0 3.3 0.4

Likelihood of getting a seat: 25% (as high as your chances of getting into the JD)
Can you eat there: a law student will kill you and make it look like an accident, starting a series of events that will play out over four thrilling seasons.

sdr

Full disclosure: this was the first library we visited, and we were totally unprepared for the impact that we, a group of seven, would have on the atmosphere inside a study space. This was a cold, brutal awakening for us—we had dirty side-eyes on us the moment we set foot in this place. Walking through the silence was literally like trying to walk through jelly; it was just oppressive and uncomfortable.

On the other hand, if you actually have important things to do, this space is a godsend for you. The Law library performed well in literally every metric, and had particularly impressive natural lighting and air conditioning (both categories in which this space scored 4 or more out of 5). All of this serves to complement the seriously productive vibe in this library. Just don’t bring your friends here.

Most favourable score: Tiff (5/5)
Harshest critic: Alain, Beau and Mark (3/5)
Kindest comment: “Best place for catching up on 17 lectures, a 2000 paper due in 1 hour or SWOTVAC.” -Alain
Meanest comment: “Cemeteries at midnight are noisier.” -Ayush
Best summary comment: “Law students are intense.” -Tash

 

2. Eastern Resource Centre (level 3) (average overall score 4.25)

Criteria Seat Comfort Temperature Lighting Ambience Noise
Avg Score 3.7 3.0 4.2 4.2 4.4

Likelihood of getting a seat: 50%, since getting to it is such a hassle these days. You might have some difficulty finding a seat in the main space (pictured left) but if you wander around there are a couple of rooms and hidden crannies off to the side that are usually less populated (for example, the room pictured right).
Can you eat there: naaaaaah

Ayyy we’re breaking new ground and moving into H1 territory here (a reminder that all coffee tastes bad and none of them deserved an H1 last time). The ERC is a little hard to get to now with the construction of the new Student Precinct, but it’s definitely worth the trek.

The lighting is clever, with big windows for natural light combined with spot lamps strategically placed above tables. There’s also flexibility in seating options, with sofas available for the more laidback as well. The toilets also have full length mirrors, so if you ever need to check your outfit…

Most favourable score: Tiff (4.75/5)
Harshest critic: Beau (3.5/5)
Kindest comment: “Everyone seems to be productive and it’s a comfortable, relaxed environment to work in.” -Mark
Meanest comment: “The aesthetic is not really there, like it’s old but not old enough to be aesthetically pleasing #vintage.” -Beau
Best summary comment: “very close to perfect” -Tiff

 

1. John Medley Linkway (average overall score 4.3)

Criteria Seat Comfort Temperature Lighting Ambience Noise
Avg Score 3.6 4.8 3.0 4.1 3.4

Likelihood of getting a seat: you’ve got a 50/50 chance
Can you eat there: yeah go for it

cof

This may come as a surprise to many: not a lot of people seem to know where the John Medley Linkway is. As Tash put it, “IT’S THE WOMINJEKA [BANNER]” that overlooks Gate 10, the Uni’s main entrance on Grattan St. Those that have ventured inside will know exactly why this space has performed so well on this test, scoring 4 or higher from all but one of our testers.

In spite of the toilets being a bit tricky to find (they’re in the stairwell), the 60s-70s décor and the perfectly temperature were major wins for this space. We didn’t miss the natural light so much, since the built-in lights were nice and bright, and in many ways, the vibe is just right: as Alain put it, this space manages to be “casual and serious at the same time. You know you’re in the Arts faculty when you’re here.”

Most favourable score: Tiff (5/5)
Harshest critic: Yana (3/5)
Kindest comment: “A pretty damn awesome place to study or chill or whatever.” -Ayush
Meanest comment: “Pretty chill and casual, but I wouldn’t go here for serious studying” -Yana
Best summary comment: “good for study, good for chatting, good for coffee, good for naps” -Tiff

 

Final Comments

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to study—some enjoy absolute silence whilst others enjoy a bit of company or chatter; some prefer to study on a stool at a table in a cold room, whilst others go for cushioned swivel chairs in warm rooms; some like dark walls; others like windows.

At the end of the day, we’d just like to acknowledge what’s really, truly important about our study spaces. That is, that Baillieu is just always too full, and you should definitely consider some of these options instead. If natural light is important, try ERC or MSD’s upper levels. If silence is important, go to Law. If you like a bit of background noise, consider Arts West. Just anything but Baillieu. We beg you.


About the author

mark profile

Mark is a second-year Economics major parading as an Arts student. His idea of a good time is Mariah’s Daydream CD on loop plus biscuits and maybe a good book (he’s currently reading Frankenstein). His favourite joke is that he’s like a ninja at the gym because nobody ever sees him there. He’s funnier in real life, he promises. Find him on instagram @myin.rbc

Three steps to not murdering your group-mates

1
That feeling when you have a group assignment (source)

Well, it’s time for the dreaded group assignment. Chances are, you fall into one of two categories:

  1. Been there, done that, got your resting bitch face ready
  2. A group assignment virgin who still believes that human beings are inherently decent (ahhh such naivety)

Either way, it’s very likely that at some point you’re going to find yourself with a rather strong urge to strangle some (or all) of your group. Here’s three simple steps to try and avoid that.

Step 1: Set a leader

As much we like to envision group projects as idyllic democracies where everyone gets an equal say, in truth they’re much more like autocracies where one person yells at everyone else until the work gets done. The truth is you want a leader in your group. You need someone who is happy to make the final call and just start doing stuff, otherwise it is super easy to get into a situation where you all sit around and say ‘I dunno, what do you want to do?’ to each other until you die.

Every group needs someone to initiate the ‘hey we should meet up’ convo in the group chat and then bug everyone when they don’t respond. Someone to follow up with the other group members to make sure that they’re on track.  Someone who makes sure that everything is done on time – this last point is especially important in group projects, where elements of the project often build on each other, meaning that if one person stuffs up the whole thing can completely fall apart.

2
The face you make when a groupmate leaves you on seen (source)

Now, don’t make it so that the leader just sits on their arse and does nothing but yell at people; they also need to contribute while maintaining a timeline. But having a leader will not only help everyone in the group stay on track, but also quickly determine solutions in case someone has an unexpected illness, and help consolidate the different ideas that everyone has.

Step 2: TRUST NO ONE

3
‘Nough said (source)

So granted that heading is a bit extreme, but really, you gotta have you own back. Imagine the worst-case scenario: nobody does a single vital part of the assignment, and it all falls onto your shoulders. With group assignments, there’s often a pretty strong feeling of “ah someone else can fix it” across the group—something I definitely learnt the hard way.

In one of my econ classes last year, literally no-one in my group fully understood the question till 3 days before the due date. While we were all waiting for someone else to do it, work on the assignment had basically ground to a halt. Thankfully, our tutor responded to our frantic email the weekend before the deadline, so we got our questions cleared quickly – but don’t bank on this. Tutors are only human and may not reply for a while, which can cause massive issues.

Step 3: Have fun!(?)

You don’t NEED to hate your group. I’ve actually met some really good friends through group projects. Nothing brings people together quite like the collective trauma of discovering that UberEats doesn’t deliver the one particular food you crave to campus.

Something one of my groupmates once insisted on was that we worked at the Rowdy. We weren’t really allowed to eat there, but the environment was great – we could solve one of the puzzles lying around on our breaks! And if you’re really stressed and need a super break, I have three words for you: Virtual. Reality. Headsets.

Just for kicks, you can also disguise your attempts to sample coffee from around campus by constantly suggesting new meeting spots to your group. There are some solid places I’ve found on these trips, like House of Cards and Standing Room. I also highly endorse Baretto in Alan Gilbert – it’s got decent coffee and tables to work at.

4
Coffee makes assignments bearable (source)

So there you have it. Group assignments can be survived, if done right. Best of luck with them and let us know how you feel after you finish yours!

 


About the author:

ayush profileAyush is a second (nearly third) year Bachelor of Arts student who procrastinates way too much. He can be found either drinking of coffee or complaining about lack of sleep due to said coffee. He is essentially dead inside.

 

What to wear to uni according to a first year vs. a fifth year

what to wear cover

Ezri (The First Year):

For many of us, university is the first time that we get to pick out our own outfits each day in place of drab school uniforms. Between 8am lectures and working frantically for an assignment due tomorrow, outfits might be the last thing on our minds. But fashion is a great way to express yourself – a  rocking t-shirt that says “Unicorn Hunter” can add an extra kick to your day, and a shirt that states “Eat. Sleep. Anime.” is a fantastic way to strike up a conversation with a potential friend. Especially for us jaffies, it’s worth knowing some hacks about what’s simple yet glam to wear, and what outfit traps to avoid.

Daisy (The Postgrad):

Wear clothes. Seriously. I know you’ve been working on your thesis for 25 hours straight and don’t know what day it is, but your supervisor will be freaked out if you show up in that Pikachu onesie again. Something with minimal coffee stains is a good bet. If you’re totally lost, look at what the youths are wearing and copy them. It’s what I do.

The Early Start

Ezri:

A hoodie never fails in the crisp morning air, as well as being super snuggly and a great way to cover whatever you threw on in the haze of sleep earlier that morning. Pair this with leggings or jeans and you’re all set!

Daisy:

A blanket scarf is a great way to wear a blanket without looking like you literally rolled out of bed.

winter clothes

Cooler Days

Ezri:

  • A woollen sweater with boots is a chill but fabulous way to start the day. Tip: If you have a long day on campus, make sure the boots are wedges and comfortable!
  • Accessorise with practical beanies to keep your head toasty, and mittens to protect those hands you’ll need in the lecture room – there’s nothing worse than having cold hands whilst madly scribbling notes from a lecturer that talks way too fast.

Daisy:

  • I know it’s tempting, but please don’t just put on warm socks under your sandals if you’re not willing to commit to That Look.
  • Beanies are great for pulling down over your eyes. Hide your dark under-eye circles and hide from the world.

Warmer Mornings

Ezri:

  • Jean shorts and a singlet with a cardigan (long or short sleeve) gives an awesome look for walking on campus.
  • A romper or t-shirt and skirt is a lighter option. Summer colours like orange and yellow also add a brighter aspect to the day and make you stand out from the crowd! For a more flowy look, try wearing a casual skirt with a snazzy t-shirt or singlet.
  • Keep in mind: Don’t be afraid to mix and match bright colours or patterns! I find contrasting a deep colour shirt with a plain bottom or vice-versa will always match.

Daisy:

  • Cut the sleeves off your t-shirts! Who needs cute singlets when you can look like that guy that your mom told you to stay away from?
  • Wear red to intimidate your enemies. Pink is cute too.

summer clothes

Days Where You Have A Lot of Classes

Ezri:

  • Since you may be sitting for long hours, comfort is a priority! No matter what the weather outside, lecture halls can also get quite chilly with the air-con blasting, so be sure to have a spare light jacket that fits easily into your bag!
  • It’s all about layers! As mentioned before, temperatures can vary, so wearing a jumper that felt great in the early morning can be the wrong decision when the sun comes out and it’s 30 degrees.

Daisy:

  • What not to wear: an invisibility cloak. Go to your lecture!

Practicals

Ezri:

  • Though safety is a top priority in the labs, that definitely doesn’t mean you can’t rock an awesome style underneath the lab coat. Of course, let’s not forget how long practicals can be, so make sure what you’re wearing is comfortable for long periods standing up and moving about the lab.
  • Opt for runners/sneakers or comfortable close-toed shoes. There’s nothing worse than being kicked out of a lab for wearing sandals by mistake.
  • Try to keep it less bulky and wear thin layers, or otherwise have heaps of room in your bag to stuff in jackets and jumpers.
  • Pick something with short sleeves, and in general, clothes that have less chance of being a fire hazard!

Daisy:

  • I’m an arts student, what are practicals? Please, somebody give me a job.
  • For critiques and workshopping, wear something with long sleeves on which to wipe your tears.

Final Tips

Ezri

  • Every night before bed lay out your kick-ass outfit ready for the morning.
  • Check the weather. I find it useful to turn on notifications from a weather app, so I don’t even have to think about checking!
  • Keep in mind what kind of day it will be. Exhibit A: Should you really be wearing those high-heeled boots when you have a full day of walking around the gigantic campus?
  • See what works for you in the mirror beforehand, and don’t sweat the little stuff like accessories, which can make a major difference to your outfit! Most of all, have fun, and relish in the chance to express your true self through what you wear!

Daisy

  • Copy what Ezri is wearing and try not to panic that you don’t know what’s in style anymore.

About the authors

ezri-profile.jpg

Ezri is in her first year of Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne. She enjoy writing about university, fashion, books and some other quirky stuff (yes, she’s referring to her love for many fandoms, including Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit!)  She consider herself a semi-organised, colourful ambivert that loves to chat with friends as much as sitting down with an awesome book!

 

29693920_10216409525095008_1133880568_oDaisy is a student in the Masters of Creative Writing, Publishing and Editing program and a volunteer at the Book Co-op. She enjoys studying, working out, and screaming into the void.

 

Why Pop the College Bubble When You Can Gently Let It Open?

2016 was weird. We all know that. It was occasionally sunlit, but mostly full of political and social storms. At its close, it was infamous for the deaths of so many legends across all forms of media.

Now, I invite you to visit 2016’s tombstone. Next to Harambe’s.

Okay, I’ll stop.

As well as being a generally havoc-filled year on a global scale, 2016 was also the year I was a fresher to the uni and to my residential college. I’m from Melbourne, and can commute to uni very easily, so going to college was about the enrichment and experience for me. This involved embracing college history and culture in equal parts, from the ‘fresher exam’, to the eclectic lingo that brings together interstate slang and phrases from all languages, to discovering the joys of UberEATS and late night Lygon Street hijinks.

I recognise the inherent privilege (another buzzword that 2016 took from feminist literature and catapulted into the mainstream) that I have in even admitting something like that, but being aware of that privilege going in, I was even more determined to make the most of college living and culture. I wanted to see what I could learn, how I could grow, and how I could use these new experiences in the real world that I’d eventually return too.

Of course, I had these good intentions, but sometimes found myself slipping into the hotel-like convenience of college as well as the hive-mind of being around 300 of people my age from sunrise to sundown. I can confirm that things like travel and other little things like essays that are worth 65% of your total subject mark can (and will) slyly sneak up on you, and you will find yourself retreating into the warmth of the bubble occasionally. But hopefully, with the following strategies, you can learn to nourish, pay attention to, stay active with, and give back to the things and people that lie outside this small portion of your life and university career. Here’s how I managed to achieve the best of both worlds:

1. Sign up to all the college clubs you can

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Source: giphy

Yes, in order to tentatively build yourself a way out of the college bubble, it’s important to establish it first! There’ll come a time in your O-week (and later in the semester) when every college and college-affiliated club will set up a stall, talk to you about what crazy adventures they offer and ask you to join them. They’ll also usually throw in a generous freebie because most club memberships are expensive. Really expensive for the average Melbournian like me. But it’s well worth saving up for before you blow your money on last-minute text books or those uber-hip fairy lights for outside your room.  It’s well worth joining the clubs early and receiving those member-subsidised tickets later if you plan to go to every ‘steamer’ at college.

Going to these clubs will help you realise in what ways you do and don’t like to get involved in college and it’ll help you develop precious allies that you can borrow laundry detergent from in the future. You can also get a glimpse of other colleges and their kingdoms…and by that I mean Ormond’s tribute to Hogwarts’s Great Hall.

By building the bubble through increasing exposure to what it means to be in the bubble, you can escape to or from different parts of it when you need to, whether that simply be another college campus that isn’t your own, or that flight you booked for home.

2. Try and combine your college and uni social lives

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Source: giphy

If you have friends from uni or precious, rare companions from high school that go to your uni, invite them on your college campus. Go for a walk, take them to dinner, sit in your room and let them absorb the college vibes via osmosis. I found this to be a really relaxed way to still engage in college living myself while still socialising and spending quality time one-on-one with non-college friends.

Moreover, your old mates might appreciate expanding their own friendship circles and can give you fresh perspectives on how funky your room actually looks, and how college has ~changed~ you in a  just a few short weeks. Basically, you can refer to them to ensure you have enough life and warmth outside the college incubator. They can give you a wake-up call if you need it.

A fine example of that may be when family birthdays, celebrations or gatherings clash with a (usually pricey and/or MUST DO OR ELSE WHY DID YOU ENROL HERE?!) college event. Talking to external friends or even older college mates can help you to figure out whether your Aunt’s birthday or the College Ball should earn the final slot in your calendar.

3. Join uni and external clubs

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Source: giphy

If you actually need any more incentive or reason to join some of the uni’s 200 clubs, go here.

My advice is that whilst college clubs should be your primary focus while you are in college, joining in uni club can help keep you grounded and remind you that you are still here to study.

For example, I joined MASS (Melbourne Arts Student Society) and MUPA (Melbourne University Psychology Association) so I could access resources such as peer-assisted study sessions, merch, forums and networking opportunities. Through clubs like these you can get the career trifecta: resume boosting opportunities, professional mentoring and advice, and club merch! Even though I was a very chilled member of MUPA, the study sessions they held which were tailored to each subject felt as personalised and as pastoral as an iddy-biddy year 12 classroom. Did I mention the expertly filtered and relevant resume-boosting gold that lands fresh on your FB-feed courtesy of these clubs?

Also, shout out to external clubs! Joining external clubs, say at your local council if you’re a domestic student or maybe a club online at a library or even a different uni around the city, is just as important. This again helps you to expand your social and professional networks as well as helping you to access holistic, social development that is not connected in any way to the college you are staying.

Many of the opportunities at college are advertised and handed to you — and yeah, that’s handy — but it’s also important to seek adventures that appeal to you as an individual, and that push  you to sell yourself as your own entity, away from college

4. Let the college bubble melt before you!

So there you have it! Although I decided one year of the college lifestyle was enough for me, I encourage anyone and everyone to give it a go if you’re able and interested. Someone once told me: “You can move out of home anytime, but you can only to college once.” College can be exhausting, demanding and make you routinely pine for the warm glow of home, but it is truly one of the most uniquely riveting journeys you can add to your personal narrative.

You can’t go wrong if you join clubs in a variety of contexts and try to kill two birds with one stone by inviting your external friends and family into the college bubble every now and then, so they can give you fresh perspective on your home whenever you need it most. These small, early investments and first-semester efforts to get organised will save you from straining to pierce the bubble later; instead, you can let it melt in front of you when you reach the border, as all the hard work is done.

college1
Source: Annihilation 

Cover meme credit: Leo Dunstan-Potter (Ormond College)


About the author:

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Taylor is in her third year of a degree at Melbourne University, studying creative writing and psychology. She loves a good dose of pop culture and would love to be able to tell a story that helps people. You can email her here: tcarre-riddell@optusnet.com.au.

The Other Co-op

book coop 1

You are drinking a flat white. You are always drinking a flat white. You squeeze your keep cup tightly. It is almost empty. You wander the halls of Union House, searching for another flat white. You don’t remember the last time you weren’t drinking a flat white.

Someone from the Socialist Alternative hands you a flyer. You have never been sure as to whether the Socialist Alternative is a socialist club that is alternative to the current administration or an alternative to socialism. You are too afraid to ask, or maybe too afraid to know.

Someone else hands you a flyer. So many hands reach out to you, with so many different coloured flyers,  invading your space and your mind.

The line to the Tuesday BBQ winds and bends around North Court. It winds and bends around Union House. It winds and bends around the circumference of the University. Flesh sizzles on the BBQ. You drop your head and stare at the pavement. You scream.

The ABBA tribute band performs ‘Dancing Queen’ and the cheers from the crowd drown out your shrieks. You run.

You find yourself on level one of Union House. You are alone. You walk down the hall and turn to the left. You have found what you were looking for; a place to get a flat white. They call themselves the Food Co-Op. You join them over the overpriced hipster cafes to save a dollar on your flat white. And possibly because you feel bad. Should you feel bad? Only after they fill your cup do you realise it is made with soy.

Now you do not feel bad.

You cross the hall. A neon pink OPEN sign beckons you into a small room, or maybe it is a storage closet. You do not know what you are looking for now, but you know you are looking for something.

There is An Unseemly Man in the Book Co-Op. He has been there for years, sitting on a shelf. Is An Unseemly Man a book or a man? You aren’t sure, because it has been so long since you’ve seen anything that is not a textbook. He, or it, continues to sit there judging you; taunting you.

Your lecturer told you that course readers would be available in the Co-Op, but you do not see any readers around you. The volunteer on duty informs you that this is not that Co-Op. This Co-Op and that Co-Op do not co-operate. No one has ever been able to find both this Co-op and that Co-op within one day.

You look for your textbook. Your lecturer told you to get the fourth edition. You see the third edition and then the fifth. You look on StudentVIP. There is no fourth edition. There has never been a fourth edition.

You buy the fifth edition for $15. Your friend buys the third edition for $150. You chastise her for not visiting this Co-Op. She tells you it does not exist.

The volunteer recommends some fiction. You do not read fiction. You are fiction.

book coop 3

 


About the author:

29693920_10216409525095008_1133880568_o.jpg

Daisy is a student in the Masters of Creative Writing, Publishing and Editing program and a volunteer at the Book Co-op. She enjoys studying, working out, and screaming into the void.

Best coffee on campus? We did a fully legitimate scientific test to find out

Abstract

For decades, the student community at the University of Melbourne has faced a deeply concerning issue; namely, that of sourcing the best possible coffee on campus. A unique drink in both its caffeine-providing qualities, its enormously polarising nature, as well as its cultural significance in our city, coffee has frequently been a subject of debate.

While existing literature points to some tentative conclusions in previous studies done on this topic (see: Adventures, Unimelb (2017)), the small sample size, lack of diversity among test subjects and crippling lack of peer review means that results remain inconclusive. To this end, we aim to undertake a comprehensive study, and establish beyond reasonable doubt the best cup of coffee to be found on our campus. You’re welcome. 

Hypothesis

We’re not sure. A couple of us thought no-one would win and that the only reason House of Cards and Standing Room are as popular as they are is because of the Placebo Effect. Whilst we collectively did want to test the validity of this hypothesis, a couple of us also had an individual favourite whom we were rooting to win. Honestly, all of us really just wanted an excuse to drink a lot of coffee.

Method

We recruited seven testers to make sure we had a wide and diverse sample size.

We purchased a small soy flat white from the following vendors: Hoho’s, Dr DAX, Castro’s, House of Cards, Brew Sisters, Baretto’s, and the two Standing Rooms (Union House and MSD). We thought that a soy flat white best represented the coffee culture of Melbourne.

Aiming to conduct this as a blind, and therefore unbiased, test, we procured eight paper cups from Hoho’s (s/o to them for humouring us on this one, you guys are the real MVPs). Each cafe would use those cups instead of their own branded ones—this was so that when we tested the coffees, we wouldn’t know which one came from where.

We then parted ways to get all of our soy flat whites as close to simultaneously as possible in order to keep the coffees’ temperatures consistent. Upon returning, we each took a sip or two of each coffee, until the seven of use had all tasted all eight coffees.

The testers

 Tash
Tash

 

  • Not really a seasoned coffee drinker but has been drinking at least one a day of late
  • Favourite coffee is homemade Italian coffee
  • Hasn’t tried all of these cafes before and is a Capricorn

Tiff
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  • Used to enjoy Starbucks but has since moved onto McCafe
  • Shamed her favourite cafe on campus (Castro’s) during the course of this test
  • A lover of soy flat whites/chai varieties
 Mark
mark profile
 

  • Once had 5 McDonald’s lattes in a weekend road trip
  • Is a diehard fanboy of Moccona instant coffee, but willing to fork out for a House of Cards latte
  • Has very low standards (in coffee or in life? You decide)
 Alain
alain profile
 

  • Survived 32 hours in LAX with Cold Brew Starbucks
  • Likes coffee sugarless, strong but not overpowering
  • REALLY wants to try rainbow glitter coffee

  Erza
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  • Once took a barista course
  • Can drink 7 coffees in one hour
  • Loves a mocha from Hoho’s
  • Is the best reviewer (according to himself)
 Emily
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  • Was once a young, happy Arts student who thought coffee was for sad people with full time jobs
  • Used to be embarrassed about ordering hot chocolate at meetings and converted to cappuccinos until they were just palatable
  • Now studying a Masters in Business and drinks coffee weekly
 Yan
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  • Went to Hoho’s pretty much daily last year and will defend them to the death 
  • May or may not be the former president of a major student body
  • Has lost the ability to smile without looking like she’s dead inside

The criteria

While purchasing each coffee, we recorded:

  • the time taken to get the coffee, from the getting in line to receiving our drink (note that we did this at ~12:30pm on a Tuesday, so our results are pretty indicative of how long it takes to get coffee during the lunch hour rush)
  • the price (and also any surcharges for soy milk)
  • their loyalty rewards system and Keepcup discounts, if any

When drinking the coffees, we rated on a scale of 1-5 for the following criteria:

  • texture
  • bitterness
  • smell
  • general taste

This was followed by an overall score, which is totally different from the ‘general taste’ criteria (not that any of us could explain why). These overall scores (not the general taste scores) for each coffee were averaged and ranked to present the following results.

The Results

The winner: Baretto’s (SO UNEXPECTED)

Cafe Score Price (incl. soy) Wait time
Baretto’s 3.67 $4.40 4m45s
Standing Room (UH) 3.39 $4.20 4m23s
House of Cards 3.36 $4.00 4m43s
Standing Room (MSD) 3.16 $4.10 5m00s
Brew Sisters 3.10 $3.50 5m51s
Hoho’s 3.09 $3.90 4m52s
Castro’s 3.07 $3.30 1m51s
Dr DAX 2.24 $3.80 3m53s

Results breakdown by each tester

We realise that coffee is really subjective, and that the scores we gave each place varied a LOT depending on our personal preferences. Our rankings were derived by taking everyone’s averages, but we also wanted to break them down for each tester’s individual tastes. Below, we’ve listed each tester and their coffee preferences. You can click on each person’s name to see a detailed breakdown of how they rated each place (and some sometimes useful, sometimes bizarre commentary).

Mark
Read if you: are a smol second yr who just wants some decent coffee, is that too much to ask for? 
Texture Bitterness Smell General taste Overall
Dr Dax 1.5, watery 3 2, cardboardy 2, very heavy handed on the milk so quite bland 2
Standing Room MSD 4 4 5, how coffee should smell 3, nice but acidic aftertaste 4
Hoho’s 3.5, a little watery 3.5 4, has character 4, acidic but not overly so 4
Standing Room UH 4.5 3.7 4, sweet? 3.5, a little too acidic 4.20
House of Cards 4, could be creamier but I’m not mad 4 4, gentle and creamy 3.5, a little weak 4.5
Castro’s 1.5, watery 2 3, a lil weak and lil sugary 2, watery 2.5
Brew Sisters 1, it looks lumpy 4 3.5, a lil sweet 2.5, very acidic 2.5
Baretto’s 3.5 4 2, suspicious 4.5, not too acidic and quite full 4
Tash
Read if you: don’t like bitter coffee and LIKE A LOT OF FEELINGS IN CAPSLOCKS.
  Texture Bitterness Smell General taste Overall
Dr Dax 3 2.5 not very bitter 1, smells like straight up soy milk 2, I think they used So Good. Vitasoy +calcium is better 1.5
Standing Room MSD 2, kind watery 1, SO BITTER YUCK NO BUENO 1 IT TASTES LIKE SOMEONE FARTED IN IT AFTER THEY ARE CHILLI OR SOMETHING 1
Hoho’s 1.5, SO WATERY WTF 2, a bit bitter, mostly tastes watery 3 2 2
Standing Room UH 4 3 3 1, has a bitter aftertaste, and not a good kind of bitter 3.5
House of Cards 1, watery (could be because it spilled) 2 1 4 3.5
Castro’s 2, too foamy, seems more latte than flat white 2, kinda bland, I can’t tell if this is acidic or if I’m just basic 4 smells like Christmas winter  2, OMG THIS TASTES LIKE WEETBIX ABORT 4
Brew Sisters 1, thick foam sediment on sides of cup, I’m slightly scared 1, very bitter, could use some sugar 2 1.5, tastes like instant coffee, but the kind of 2am SWOTVAC instant coffee. Good when you’re desperate 1.5
Baretto’s 3, foamy which is fun, but this is meant to be coffee not a bubble bath  1, very bitter, don’t like 5, smells exactly how you expect coffee to smell 3, watery 4.5
Alain 
Read if you: want to talk like you know coffee without knowing coffee at all. 
  Texture Bitterness Smell General taste Overall
Dr Dax 3, light taste but then the bitterness kicks in which is nice 3, barely a bitterness, appears quite late into the aftertaste 4, distinct and inviting aroma 3, underwhelming 3.2
Standing Room MSD 5, good incremental texture that gives a kick 5, good acidic bitterness 4, a really good inviting bitter overtone 5, excellent, good incremental consistency and bitterness. But looks like someone cried into it 4.6
Hoho’s 4, consistent and does the job 4.5, consistent, nice bitter overtone 2, a weird acidic bitter smell 3.5, good booster but weird inconsistencies 3.6
Standing Room UH 3.5, smooth but a bit on the light side which encroaches around your tastbuds 2, very slight bitterness 5, very pleasant bitter smell 3, a light-bodied coffee that I won’t mind drinking. But I need more bitterness 3.5
House of Cards 3, smooth, almost decaffinatedovertone but pleasant for afternoon or late afternoon 1, bitterness is non-existent  4, a good constant bitter smell 2, the bitter smell taste has deceived my sense as it has no bitterness in the taste 2.5
Castro’s 3.5, a bit more heavy-bodied wiht a consistent aftertaste which is nice. Milk slightly overpowers the texture 3, a good subtle kick but could be more noticeable 1, barely noticeable and light, does not indicate the strength and consistency of the coffee 3.5, subtle and light, not necessarily good to wake up to but if you’re studying or working it’s not overpowering 3
Brew Sisters 3, light-bodied and slowly constant aftertaste 2, watery, barely bitter with a small kick 3.5, aerated acidity with a tinge of wood smell  3, muted and light-bodied with smooth milk consistency 2.7
Baretto’s 5, a thick, creamy consistency that makes you want more. Quite impactful 2, barely any bitterness but is a decent palette cleanser during the day 1, there’s no smell to this. Are you sure it’s not decaf? 4, good moderate taste but with a few inconsistencies in the smell and bitterness 3.2
Ezra
Read if you: care about the opinion of someone who once did a barista course. Once
Texture Bitterness Smell General taste Overall
Dr Dax 3, not quite smooth enough 1, can’t taste any bitterness over the soy 1, only bad smell 1, just way too much soy  1
Standing Room MSD 4, very smooth but not enough roughness of coffee 3, not bitter enough, tastes like soy milk with coffee rather than the other way around 4 2, too much soy but apart from that it’s decent 2
Hoho’s 3 3, hint of bitterness but overcome by the soy 4, just slightly not enough coffee smell 3, soy is a bit too empowering 3
Standing Room UH 4 4, great bitterness but too acidic 5, very good smell, nice hint of acidity 3, a bit too acidic 3
House of Cards 4 3, not enough bitterness. But still tastes like coffee 4, smells a bit too rough 4 3
Castro’s 5, smooth texture with a hint of roughness  4, great bitterness but not acidic enough 3, too much soy smell 5 4
Brew Sisters 5 5, great bitterness and acidity! Will make your day 3, no hint of acidity 4, just slightly too acidic 4
Baretto’s 5 5, great balance of bitterness and acidity 2, smell of coffee is too rough with only a little hint of coffee 5, the soy complements the acidity well! 5
Tiff
Read if you: like really bitter coffee, and confusing metaphors about your coffee. 
  Texture Bitterness Smell General taste Overall
Dr Dax 2.5, thin 3.5, quite noice 4, smells very coffee 3.5 because it’s bitter which I like 4
Standing Room MSD 3.5 2.5 3 3.5, could have more coffee taste 3.5
Hoho’s 3, all I can say is…not bad? 3, not quiiite there 3, slightly underwhelming 2.5 3
Standing Room UH 4, very nice, creamy 1, somehow is sweet despite us not putting any sugar in it 3.5, I’m not sure at this point  3.5 3.5, it’s not bitter but I like it which scares me
House of Cards 3.5 2, bland 4, FRAGRANT. WARM AND FUZZY 3.5, slightly bland 3.5
Castro’s 1, so watery 1, bland, not bitter at all 3, smells like Brunetti’s grandpa. He has a pleasant grandpa 2, I can taste the grandpa 2.5, I hope Brunetti will take my advice and support his grandpa, morally, financially and socially. Maybe grandma is dead. Maybe he needs to find a girlfriend. I dunno.
Brew Sisters 4, very smooth 4.5, SO STRONG, SO GOOD 4.5, very coffee 4.5, nice 4.5
Baretto’s 3, the score got pulled down because I got distracted by how bland it is 2, blaaaand 4, warm and fuzzy 2.5, quite bland 3
Yan
Read if you: are in fifth year, coming to the gradual realisation that all taste and preference is a lie and just want a nap. 
  Texture Bitterness Smell General taste Overall
Dr Dax 3, STIFF 2, milk is very overpowering 1, I can’t smell anything 2, THIS IS NOT BONSOY 2
Standing Room MSD 2, watery 3, weirdly acidic undertone, I think this gave me a headache which I dunno if it’s the coffee or just me  3, smells like coffee 3, guess it has mildly more taste than the other ones 3
Hoho’s 2, watery 4, bitter, nice (I’ve given up smelling coffee at this point) 4, niiiice. Not sure why. Just nice. 3.5
Standing Room UH 2.5 slightly less watery but still 3, not bitter which is good because I don’t like bitterness 3, smells like coffee 2.5, slightly bland 2.5
House of Cards 3 2, like no bitterness? Why do we even have this as a criteria again? 3, nice balance but kinda bland 3
Castro’s 2 2, milky but somehow manages to be bitter without being aromatic which is like, how even? There’s no smell 2. tastes like normal milk not soy milk. How??? 2
Brew Sisters 3 2, I BET THIS IS STANDING ROOM BECAUSE THERE’S SOMETHING SLIGHTLY WEIRD ABOUT THE TASTE 4. ok for some reason I actually quite like this overall? Which scares me 3.5
Baretto’s 2.5 2, not bitter enough 2, not great but can’t put my finger on why 3, bland but also fragrant 2
Emily
Read if you: are a grad student who just wants a hot drink sometimes but sometimes also needs to drink coffee to impress prospective employers? We dunno how grad students work.
  Texture Bitterness Smell General taste Overall
Dr Dax 1, bad mouth feel 1, very bitter, almost acidic 3, strangely buttery 2, acidic and too bitter, would not drink again, slimy 2
Standing Room MSD 3 3, not bitter, but almost metallicy Almost fruity, nothing like coffee 3, kinda meh, vaguely Gloria Jeans feel 4
Hoho’s 2, a bit gritty, not smooth enough  2 5, creamy and not too strong 3 2.5
Standing Room UH 5, very creamy 5, not very bitter 4, strong, warm 4, creamy and not too strong 3.5
House of Cards 4 5, not bitter at all 2.5  4, kind of sweet, not too bitter 3.5
Castro’s 2, weirdly coats your tongue 4.5 not very bitter 2 3.5, nothing special but not bad 3.5
Brew Sisters 2, slimy and coats your tongue in weird way 3, good balance, not too bitter Weirdly metallic 4. smooth, good medium blend, not too strong or bitter 3
Baretto’s fluffy, smooth 3.5, strong without being acidic 2.5, super strong the kind of coffee most people like 4

Analysis

8. Dr DAX (average overall score: 2.24)

So Dr DAX is where all the uni staff go for their lunch/coffees/to sit around and look professional, which might go towards explaining why they did so badly – they’re clearly not in tune with what students want. Not only did it record the lowest average overall score, it also took home the wooden spoon in literally every other criteria. We suspect that they use a weird variety of soy milk and NOT Bonsoy, which every good Melbourne hipster knows is the only acceptable type of soy milk. Whatever soy milk they used completely overpowered both the smell and the taste of the coffee.

On the plus side, they performed well for waiting time (3min53s—well below the median of 4min34s) and were also the third cheapest at $3.80, including a 40c soy surcharge. You can save a further 10% on this price by either bringing a Keepcup or showing a valid University student ID (but you can’t claim a 20% discount by doing both). Also, every tenth coffee is free!

  • Most favourable score: Tiff (4 out of 5)
  • Harshest critic: Ezra (1 out of 5)
  • Kindest comment: “[A] light taste but the bitterness kicks in, which is a good constrative (sic) texture” – Alain
  • Meanest comment: “Almost unable to taste the coffee” – Ezra
  • Best summary comment: “I am scarred” – Yan

7. Castro’s (average overall score 3.07)

Castro’s soy flat white was actually quite a divisive drink, and though it earned a few high scores, some detractors dragged its score to a less-than-stellar average. Some found it watery, whilst others found it to be just the right blend of bitter and creamy flavours.

Even though we couldn’t all agree on the flavour, the waiting time was by far the shortest of the lot at 1min51s. We’re not really sure if this is the norm or if we just happened to pass by when there was nobody there. Still. On top of this, they also had the cheapest coffee at $3.30 with free soy! There aren’t any discounts for Keepcup users, but you’re already saving a fair bit compared to the competitors anyway.

  • Most favourable score: Tash & Ezra (4 out of 5)
  • Harshest critic: Yan (2 out of 5)
  • Kindest comment: “Great coffee taste and the soy complements the lack of acidity” – Ezra
  • Meanest comment: “OMG THIS TASTES LIKE WEETBIX ABORT” – Tash
  • Best summary*: “[It] smells like Brunetti’s grandpa. Brunetti has a pleasant grandpa. I hope Brunetti will take my advice and support his grandpa at the end of his life. He needs to morally, financially and socially support his grandpa more. Maybe grandma is dead, maybe he needs to find a girlfriend, I dunno.” – Tiff

*this summary is somehow symbolic

6. Hoho’s (average overall score: 3.09)

Though they were kind enough to lend us some cups to use, their coffee didn’t fare too well in our blind test. Granted, the standard deviation of our scores for Hoho’s wasn’t huge—yes, we crunched the numbers. All the numbers. In English, this means that we generally all agreed that their coffee was fairly decent but not amazing, and there was a greater degree of consensus here for a coffee that has wide appeal.

They were pretty middle-of-the-road in the other components of the test as well: they had the fourth highest price ($3.90 including a 20c soy surcharge), as well as the fourth longest queue (at 4mins25s). However, they also give you more options to customise your drink—they do matcha lattes, as well as beetroot and turmeric lattes (which all of us are too scared to try) for an extra $1.  

  • Most favourable score: Mark (4 out of 5)
  • Harshest critic: Tash (2 out of 5)
  • Kindest comment: “Has character” – Mark
  • Meanest comment: “It’s coffee I guess” – Tiff
  • Best summary: “Good but not great” – Emily

5. Brew Sisters (average overall score 3.10)

This quiet little coffee cart next to the swimming pool just managed to inch ahead of Hoho’s. Its smooth taste had a fair degree of bitterness, and it managed to capture high ratings from some of us. Others thought that the drink was a bit suspicious in its appearance and texture (“slimy” – Emily), which also meant that scores here did vary significantly.

Though they had the longest wait time (at 5min51s), they also have a range of other drinks as well as free milk alternatives—this small soy flat white came in at just $3.50, the second-cheapest option out of those tested.

  • Most favourable score: Tiff (4.5 out of 5)
  • Harshest critic: Tash (1.5 out of 5)
  • Kindest comment: “Great bitterness and acidity, can make your day” – Ezra
  • Meanest comment: “Tastes like instant coffee, but it’s kinda like the 2am SWOTVAC instant coffee. Good when you’re desperate, cheap and easy, gets the job done” – Tash
  • Best summary comment: “I dunno man” – Yan

4. Standing Room MSD (average overall score 3.16)

This coffee was by far the most controversial—remember how we calculated standard deviations?—and this one’s scores were by far the most spread. On one hand, it was Alain’s favourite drink, but a few others found it underwhelming or watery (“Ahh, bean water” – Tiff).

Unfortunately, Standing Room (MSD) did not fare so well in other areas: it was the third-most expensive coffee at $4.10, and it also came with the second-longest waiting time (5 minutes exactly). However, its unique location and ambience make it a steady favourite of the University community. Just not a steady favourite of ours.

  • Most favourable score: Alain (4.6 out of 5)
  • Harshest critic: Tash (1 out of 5)
  • Kindest comment: “A really good bitter overtone that invites” – Alain
  • Meanest comment: “WHY DOES THIS LOOK LIKE SOMEONE DID A FART ON IT? IT ALSO TASTES LIKE SOMEONE FARTED IN IT AFTER THEY ATE CHILLI OR SOMETHING” – Tash
  • Best summary: “Pretty good I guess” – Tiff

THE SPILL

the-spill.jpg

Yes, this happened about halfway through the test. It was Alain’s fault. Science is hard.

3. House of Cards (average overall score 3.36)

For many of us, we thought that this was the steady favourite to win. Unfortunately, they fell a little short today. Possibly because this was the one we spilled everywhere. Generally, we agreed that this one was a little on the mild side, which only suited the preferences of some. On the whole, it was a fairly uncontroversial drink given all the hype, but still performed well enough to claw its way into the top three.

Their price ($4.00) and waiting time (4mins43s), however, were each a little over the median, and they don’t have any kind of rewards system (unless you happen to draw the joker card when ordering, in which case you receive a free coffee; for the uninitiated, a pack of playing cards is their alternative to assigning order numbers). They also don’t like other cups—you’ll only earn the Keepcup discount of 20c if you have their own specifically branded cup, and they weren’t even happy to put the coffee into the Hoho’s cup that we were using, unless we carried it inside one of their cups. This was truly an ordeal.

  • Most favourable score: Mark (4.5 out of 5)
  • Harshest critic: Alain (2.5 out of 5)
  • Kindest comment: “Smooth, solid” – Tiff
  • Meanest comment: “My dog makes better coffee” – Tash
  • Best summary comment: “Could be a bit creamier but I’m not mad” – Mark

2. Standing Room Union House (average overall score 3.39)

Narrowly inching into second place is the Standing Room located inside Union House. Whilst its MSD sibling produced the most divisive drink, the soy flat white here was the least controversial, with all but 2 testers scoring it as either 3 or 3.5 out of 5. It fared well in the texture department (scoring almost 4 points, or an H1 score, for its smoothness), but the taste seemed to be a little on the acidic side.

Interestingly, buying this drink here costs $4.20, 10c more than the exact same drink from MSD (the difference comes from the soy surcharge)—thereby also making it the second most expensive. You can’t score any kind of discount on that, but you can get one free drink upon purchasing their Keepcup. They also had a decently brief wait time at 4min23s. A fairly strong performer all around, perhaps.

  • Most favourable score: Mark (4.20 out of 5)
  • Harshest critic: Yan (2.5 out of 5)
  • Kindest comment: “Strong, warm” – Emily
  • Meanest comment: “This is pretty lame and also has a BITTER AFTERTASTE…it’s not a good bitter.” – Tash
  • Best summary comment: “At this point I’m not sure” – Tiff

1. Baretto’s (average overall score 3.67)

And there’s our winner! Surprised? So are we. We literally only tested this place because Yan has it on good authority that this is where Glyn Davis, our esteemed Vice-Chancellor, goes for his coffee.

This was actually the only one to score at least one 5 out of 5 overall score, and it was lauded for its strong, blended texture and full flavour (though a few detractors thought that it was too rounded/tasted bland). It also held the highest average in the general taste criterion, making it the definitive winner of our test.

Does quality come with a high price tag though? In this case, the answer is unfortunately in the affirmative: even without soy, the $4.00 price tag on a small flat white is already just above the median price of the eight soy flat whites tested. An additional 70c for soy makes this by far the most expensive drink (though you can save 30c by bringing your own cup?). You decide if this is worth it!

  • Most favourable score: Ezra (5 out of 5)
  • Harshest critic: Yan (2 out of 5)
  • Kindest comment: “VERY AMAZING!!!” – Ezra
  • Meanest comment: “Very foamy and looks like a meteor fell in” – Tash
  • Best summary comment: “Fluffy, smooth…super strong, robust” – Emily

Final comments

In conclusion, not a single one of these coffees received an H1—it turns out that many of us realised just how weird coffee actually tastes when you drink it critically. Let’s observe a minute of silence for Yan (who gave the lowest overall scores, 2.63 on average) and Tash (who had the meanest comments to say about most of these drinks). In her words, “I thought I liked coffee but they all taste the same now…COFFEE IS CANCELLED.” We conclude that everyone should drink tea. Or instant coffee. We might even test a few of those next time.


About the author

mark profile

Mark is a second-year Economics major parading as an Arts student. His idea of a good time is Mariah’s Daydream CD on loop plus biscuits and maybe a good book (he’s currently reading Frankenstein). His favourite joke is that he’s like a ninja at the gym because nobody ever sees him there. He’s funnier in real life, he promises. Find him on instagram @myin.rbc

Your complete guide to free food at the University of Melbourne

free food photo

1. Through a club

The easiest way to get free food at uni is through clubs and societies. The mistake that most students make when it comes to clubs and societies is joining the clubs and groups they’re actually interested in. This, of course, is a rookie error and should be avoided at all costs. In order to decide which clubs, to join simply ask the representatives of said clubs two simple questions.

  1. Does the club have weekly events?
  2. Are these weekly events catered?

If the answer to both of these questions is yes, you may proceed.

Clubs with weekly meetings, which provide free food include:

  • Cheese Club (one pizza/cheese event per week)
  • Juice Society (two “””juice parties””” per week)
  • Food Interest Group (free subway once every fortnight)

If you’re looking for something a little less pizza-y and a little more healthy, the Bhakti Yoga club also does $2 vegan meals on Wednesday if you’re a member.

2. Through a BBQ

It’s an oldy but a goody! The infamous uni BBQ.

UMSU Entertainment in collaboration with the UMSU Activities Department runs a free BBQ every Tuesday and Thursday of semester from 12pm-2pm in North Court. They both also include alcoholic beverages. On Tuesdays, you can listen to a band play while you eat your snag. In the past, some pretty cool acts have featured, including the Smith Street Band and Art vs. Science!

Between the Arts and Science Students Societies you can also find BBQ’s on South Lawn pretty much every Thursday of semester.

A word of warning however: there is a finite number of sausages you can eat before you will die.

My friend Angus swears he knows someone who got scurvy by only eating at the free BBQs around campus.

Please consume these as part of a balanced diet.

3. Through the UMSU Welfare Department

The UMSU Welfare Department runs a free breakfast every Thursday morning of semester. Just head to North Court from 8:30am – 10:30am for some bacon and eggs and pancakes!

They also have a free breakfast bar on all the other weekdays, at the Ida (level 1 of Union House). It’s a bit less exciting than their Thursday morning stuff, just cereal and toast, but still better than going to class on an empty stomach.

If you’re a student in need you can also pick up a basic assistance pack from the Info Desk in Union House, or arrange a hamper through the Welfare Office on level 1.

4. Through the Food Co-Op

‘Play With Your Food’ is fortnightly event that happen on Wednesdays at 5pm and is put on by the UMSU Enviro Department. Head down to the Food Co-op on level 1 to communally prepare and eat a delicious vegan meal.

Check out their Facebook event for more info.

5. Through Lunch with the Queer Bunch

Do you identify as queer? If so you’ve just scored yourself a free lunch every Wednesday of semester at 1pm on the UMSU Queer Department’s dollars. These happen in the Queer Space, which is on level 3 of Union House.

6. Through WordPlay

Word Play, an initiative of the UMSU Media Department is a series of open mic style events which celebrates the spoken word. They’re also a celebration of Pronto’s pizza and cheap wine. To find out when the next one is scheduled simply like Farrago Magazine’s FB page and subscribe to their events.

7. Through public lectures and events

Many public events put on by the University are catered. See a poster for an ‘academic debate’, for example? Chances are this debate will feature sandwiches, some grapes and sweet sweet orange juice. Stick around after most people have left and you’re often able to take the leftovers with you.

 

Now that you know where all the free food is on campus, go forth and eat to your heart’s content! Just try not to get scurvy from all those snags!

(Think we’ve missed something? Send us a message on Facebook or shoot us an email at unimelbadventures@gmail.com!)


About the author

jacob profile.pngJacob Sacher is a Melbourne comedian and Unimelb Commerce student. His show at this year’s comedy festival Into the Abyss runs from 27 March – 8 April 2018 at Tasma Terrace, 6 Parliament Place, East Melbourne, Victoria. You can get discounted tickets with the code ‘unimelb’ if you book online here.

 

Students camp outside Co-op for 13 days to purchase subject readers

co op 5.png

Thursday week 2 of first semester – University of Melbourne students have now been lining up for 13 days outside the new Grattan Street Co-op, Unimelb Adventures reports.

Although there is no official release date for 2018 subject readers, rumours suggest that they are due to slip into the loading bay by the Easter break. However, the Co-op line has been steadily growing since last week. Security guards have been seen ushering the girthy queue off the footpath and into the Grattan Street gutter, citing ongoing safety concerns for pedestrians.

Second-year English Literature student, Chloe Simons, has been camping at the Co-op since Monday afternoon last week.

“It’s a good experience now that Grattan has been blocked off for the metro project. Last year a car hit my finger on Swanston,” Simons says, showing Unimelb Adventures her kinky pinky.

“Co-op camping culture is, like, totally a thing. It’s like Coachella in my 10-person tent. My friends, we like to camp in groups so we don’t miss out on those week 1 icebreakers. It’s all totally worth the effort – how else can I get my $75’s worth of poorly-photocopied Chaucer?”

However, a menacing shadow looms over the Co-op after the death of student Damien Lowe in the 2017 campout. Lowe, a first-year Arts student, suffered an explosion of the bladder after solo camping for 30 consecutive days. As covered by Unimelb Adventures last year, Lowe had been rigorously training his body throughout VCE to withstand the marathon wait for his University subject readers. Lowe claimed to have stretched his bladder to the point where he only needed to urinate once every four weeks.

Lowe’s friends and family have since campaigned for port-a-potties to be installed outside Co-op sites during semester. However, Chancellery has not admitted any accountability or sympathy for Lowe’s demise, instead claiming that they are supporting students by plugging the GoFundMe campaign of a Unimelb alumni creating life-like robots for students to remotely line up each semester.

Some veteran students, like Kate Liu, are no longer satisfied with just camping, and are now going to even more impressive lengths to get ahead of their classmates and secure their subject readers. Kate has also waitlisted her readers online and is constantly refreshing her iPad to check their availability.

“I’m not nervous or anything. As long as I have my readers by SWOTVAC, surely I won’t be too far behind,” Kate says. “And I can even order Ubereats to my spot in the queue. I don’t know what everyone is complaining about.”

The Co-op has declined to comment or supply Unimelb Adventures with an arrival date of the readers.


Use the code UNIMELBADVENTURES for a 5% off coupon on your University of Melbourne branded merchandise. Get yourself some funky threads and make sure that the Co-op’s identity verification software doesn’t issue you a low-grade electric shock when you enter the store without your student card.


About the Author

amie profile

Amie Green is an artist and writer who is studying her Masters in Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing. She likes to make all sorts of wormy, experimental and multi-media content; find more of her on Instagram @amiesgreenart

 

 

DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE IS SATIRE AND SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY.