The best places to chill out at uni

It’s important to take a break during the business of SWOTVAC and exams, so the team have prepared a list of our favourite places to chill out at Unimelb!

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The lawn next to the Sidney Myer Asia Centre

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Photography: Bella Barker

The water here is so calming, and there are two cafes close by (Cafe Resource attached to the ERC and Shanti Bagwan Cafe in the Alice Hoy building).

 

Queen of Hearts Cafe (Located in the HUB, Southbank Campus)

It has couches, a student lounge area, nice seating, table tennis and a foosball table! To get the equipment you’ll have to ask the baristas to lend you table tennis equipment and the foosball ball! They also have great playlists playing in the background (i.e. 90s hits <3 ).

Women’s Room

There are couches, blankets, bean bags, heat packs, you name it! All the necessities that keep you going. It feels homey pretty much!

Levels 2 and 3 of Arts West

Level 2 has beanbags. Enough said.

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Photography: Alain Nguyen

On Level 3, there’s a comfy corner that looks like a bed, and feels like a bed.

Concrete Lawns

OK, maybe not on the actual concrete, but there’s a nice stretch of grass nearby, as well as some benches along the edge  –  making Concrete Lawns a great place to chill out on a studt break (and if you’re studying again next semester, when you have a break between your classes!).

An old favourite – South Lawn!

The perfect place to relax on a warm day, with a good view of the clock tower / Old Arts.

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Photography: Bella Barker

 

Rowden White Library

The classic, the one and only, the Rowden White Library. What else can you say about this magical place, other than it has tons of free stuff to borrow, as well as the legendary beanbag room where you’ll find couples hogging up space, Game of Thrones Screening and snores?

Outdoor study area

Located in between the Sidney Myer Asia Centre and the Eastern Resource Centre, this study space is so tranquil! Perfect for enjoying nice weather with a change of study environment.

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Photography: Bella Barker
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Photography: Bella Barker

University Oval

Combine some fresh air with sunshine and exercise (exercise optional). There’s usually a few people kicking a footy around, or simply enjoy one of the most open spaces this close to the city.

Tsubu

Buy a beer or a coffee (or don’t). You’re mostly just there for chats under the tree.

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Photography: Chris Ebbs

 

System Garden – Tucked in behind Babel and Botany Buildings

Great spot to enjoy some sunshine and sit on the grass surrounded by some beautiful garden beds. Like South Lawn, an ‘oldy but a goody’! It’s a relaxing spot to sit down and enjoy your lunch, or to read.

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Photography: Nicole Ng

 

 

The big steps outside the MSD (opposite Castro’s Kiosk)

An awesome spot for some sun and a lunch break, before heading back into the MSD for some study.

 

Our last favourite place to chill out isn’t on campus, but it’s only a short walk away…

 

The REB

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Photography: Bella Barker

Just kidding.

 

All the best for SWOTVAC, everyone!

The Unimelb Adventures team

Exam and take-home tips

Figuring out the best way to prepare for end of semester exams or take-homes can be tricky. Which is why the Unimelb Adventures team has come up with this list of effective ways to approach your final assessments!

Take-homes

  • Set up your Word doc so it is all ready to go while waiting for essay questions to be released. Format it correctly with your name, student number, a spot to write your word count, and any other information you need to include on your assessment piece. This helps ease nerves, and also means that you are less likely to forget to include these details while powering through your essay.
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  • Don’t change questions at the last minute – all the questions are hard if you’re doing them properly, and you don’t want to waste the research you’ve already done.
  • Work on essays in your local library during swotvac. It’s good to get out of the house, and you can escape the stress of being at uni during this time!
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  • Go for a walk – as a study break it can really refresh your mind.
  • Avoid social media – try and limit it if you can’t give it up completely while you’re writing your exam. Not only does it reel you in and you end up spending way longer on there than you intended (we know, memes are amazing), but there will probably be a lot of status updates about uni stress at this time of year – which is the last thing you want to see if you’re taking a break!
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Exams

  • Create a Google Doc with all your notes so that you don’t lose them and can access them anywhere.
  • Do any practice exams or questions you can get your hands on.
  • Know your best studying time. Some people like to get up early and work really hard before lunch, then do more relaxed work in the afternoon (or even take some time off). Then they might do a little more work after dinner. But that’s just some people – find out what works best for you!
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  • Make a friend and use them to bounce questions off!
  • Eat sugar before an exam. We’re not sure if this actually helps, but one of the team’s Introductory Microeconomics teacher told them to do this and now they always do!
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  • Buy some new pens to make yourself feel good.
  • Keep your life outside of study organised too – make your bed every day, keep track of appointments and so on. An organised life = an organised mind!
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Source: Meme Generator
  • Write your notes in a few different formats – e.g. flashcards, Cornell notes, mind maps, typed documents and diagrams with annotations. You might find you can read through more notes in one sitting if you change things up a bit.
  • Check out if there are any study sessions or revision lectures being run for your subjects.
  • Grab an essential oil you like and chuck it on a burner (or smell it) when you study for a subject, then smell it before the exam and – if what they taught one of the team is correct – you will remember more!

Hopefully you’ve found something useful here, we also have a swotvac tips article that could be handy. Good luck with your assessments and remember – you can do it!

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Meal Prep: Swotvac 2017 Edition

It can be hard to find time to eat well during swotvac, but it is so important.

Luckily, the Unimelb Adventures team is here to make sure that you get H1s in health and organisation this swotvac and exam period!

All our suggestions are student budget friendly and super simple.

Breakfast

Find something that works for you to kickstart your day!

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  • On-the-go: Two slices of bread with your two favourite spreads (e.g. PB + J), cup of milk, and a piece of fruit. At home, you can take two slices of multigrain bread with your two chosen spreads of the day, cut the sandwich in half, pack it in a sandwich bag, drink your cup of soy milk, quickly grab some fruit, and eat it on the way to uni.
  • When you’ll be studying for a long time: Muesli – there are many healthy options available in the supermarket. Just put some granola muesli on top of some greek yoghurt for a breakfast that will keep you full for hours while you study.
  • Winter warmer: Porridge. Microwaves are a lifesaver, aren’t they? So grab yourself instant porridge that you can heat up in the microwave for about 2 minutes, and get yourself some fruit! If you are in a hurry, put your cooked porridge in a disposable cup. Don’t forget to bring a spoon!

Lunch

Options to get you through that deadly 3:30-itis…

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  • When you only want to cook once: Falafel burgers with half a bag of pre-packaged lettuce and tzatziki dip. The recipe says it makes 6, but it makes more like 10. You can freeze them and they last forever. Make a batch every two weeks and legit eat them every day during exams – tried and tested. If you’re not vegan you can replace the flax eggs with real eggs. Add some chilli too. If you can’t find dried chickpeas, just drain some canned ones really well. You can also swap the zaatar with any kind of dried herb mix, but if you can find zaatar it is very good!
  • Your new go-to lunch: Rice, veggies and can of tuna/selected protein! Make the rice on the weekend, or the night before a big study day. Scoop 1 cup of rice into a tupperware container, fill it up with frozen veggies (carrots, cauliflower, broccoli), and bring a can of tuna or add your desired protein. If you are feeling extra fancy, you can cook yourself scrambled eggs or a hard boiled egg with this quick meal.
  • To eat at home: If you’re at home, eggs on toast is always good. You can add avocado, spinach, mushrooms or tomato for some vegetables, and some feta for extra flavour.
  • Eat anywhere: Wraps! You can make a big salad at the start of the week and fill your wrap with it every day. You can also buy some cans of tuna/salmon, chicken or whatever you fancy to put in with the salad as well.
  • A classic: Potato salad. Boil some potatoes until they are soft, cut into blocks, add some butter, and mix with cheese, store-bought leafy salad mix, bacon and anything else you like.
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Snacks

To keep your energy levels up while you’re working hard!

  • Fruit salads are great healthy snacks to fuel your brain. You can prepare your own at home or if you’re really strapped for time, purchase one from uni, the station, or the supermarket (there’s usually a section near the front with small fruit salads!).
  • Sliced apples with peanut/almond butter – very nutritious, and yummy too!
  • Cut up carrot and celery with hummus, or just bring carrot/celery.
  • Crackers with peanut butter/vegemite, kinda making yourself a cracker sandwich. There are plenty of things you can make with just a piece of cracker as your base. For instance, salad leaves with smoked salmon. Be creative!
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Dinner

Suggestions that will keep you studying however deep into the night you need to go…

  • Comfort food: Soup is great to have when it’s cold – cook a big pot and then have it a few nights of the week. Dahl is also a one pot meal and something you can store easily, but it is way more filling!
  • Prep like a pro: Make up a big batch of pasta sauce that you can eat all week. Start off with an onion and garlic and you can’t go wrong. You can use a can of tomatoes, whatever other veggies you have in the fridge (carrot and zucchini are good), some bacon or feta cheese for protein, and throw some spinach in at the end. You can use wholemeal pasta if you want to feel extra healthy.
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  • Feeling fancy: If you’re in the market for a huge restaurant-style dinner and can afford the luxury of a slow cooker (20 bucks from K-Mart), grab yourself some meat (off-cuts usually work the best, and are super cheap) and veggies, put it in with a can of diced tomatoes and complete! Restaurant-worthy meals for the whole week. Enjoy them on their own or with the rice/pasta of your choosing.
  • An old favourite: Pasta bake! Boil some macaroni until soft, place in a large baking tray, add milk and cheese, bake in the oven.

Beverages

And lastly, the drinks…

  • You can add some cut-up fruit to your water bottle to give it some pizzazz.
  • If you’re at home, endless cups of tea are a proven way (in our experience, anyway!) of getting those essays written and those notes memorised. Alternatively, bring your tea with you to uni in a thermos.
  • A hot chocolate or chai latte can be a relaxing way to take a quick break from studying. Remember to bring your keep cup with you!
  • But we all know coffee might become the beverage of choice for a lot of you… Luckily, we’ve got a guide for that too.
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What We Wish We’d Known About Uni Before Starting First Year

You may have done everything within your powers to prepare for uni, but there are so many things you only find out later. To save you valuable time, the Unimelb Adventures team have come up with this cheatsheet of things we wish we’d known before we started uni!

  1. You don’t need to know what you’re doing right at the start of first year! You only need to decide on a major towards the end of second year, so experiment and take a wide range of subjects until you find something you really enjoy doing.
  1. Your first tutes might seem really daunting, but everyone’s actually just as uncertain as you. So instead of feeling anxious, get involved in classes and speak up. You’ll quickly become less nervous and tutes will become more enjoyable, plus you might even make a friend into the bargain!

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  1. If you want to be social, get out there and get involved! Again, it can be really daunting when you get to the end of Orientation and think ‘hang on, have I actually made friends?’ That all comes with time – people you meet in tutes and lectures, as well as getting involved in clubs and societies, will make it easier for you.
  1. Take a break in the secret garden. It’s always easy to find people around uni, but it’s harder to get away from them all! The System Garden is tucked away behind the Botany Building and can be reached via a path from Babel. The garden is the perfect place to find some peace and quiet. Bring your lunch or a book and enjoy the greenery and sunshine!

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  1. Lectures usually start 5 minutes after the advertised time, and end 5 minutes before the advertised time (so don’t worry about having back-to-back classes!)
  1. If you have just moved out of home or need help with money, make sure that you check out Financial Aid.
  1. You don’t have to be in a certain faculty to get involved with clubs and societies (e.g. you don’t have to be an Arts student to join the Arts Students Society). There are also language and cultural clubs you can join even if you don’t study the language at university and just want to learn about the culture!
  1. If you head over to the noticeboards in the Redmond Barry building, there are usually several researchers recruiting participants for their studies. The experiments are always interesting to take part in, and you’re often reimbursed for your time! $$

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  1. Make sure you keep an eye on the ‘Notices’ section of the student portal – there are links to free workshops, volunteering applications and more!
  1. Apply for jobs and build your skills on the Unimelb careers website (just log in with your Unimelb student details).
  1. Transitioning to writing university-style essays and reports is tricky at first for all students. A great place to start building your confidence is the Academic Skills AIRport, which has resources designed for undergraduate, graduate and international students.

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  1. Academic Skills also has advisers you can book appointments with if you would like additional one-on-one guidance when tackling your essays and assignments. The advisers don’t write your essays for you or edit the content of your essays, but they can provide some valuable advice.

The Ultimate Study Playlist

There’s a whole lot of conflicting information about whether or not studying with music is beneficial, but at the end of the day sometimes it’s the only thing that’s going to stop you from slowly losing your mind while you’re slaving away at footnotes or copying out formulae. We got our team to put together all of their favourite study songs and have made the ultimate study playlist just for you – enjoy!

 

THE BOYS – LISA MITCHELL

 

Ultimate calming (but not put-you-to-sleep calming) and smooth study song. Also doubles as great road tripping music.

 

WE’RE TAKING OVER – BEA MILLER 

 

A bit of inspo for the rejects of our generation. Certainly gets your head banging.

 

GUYS MY AGE – HEY VIOLET 

 

A bit of a moody one to make you feel like a badass.

 

YOUR FINE PETTING DUCK – DEVENDRA BANHART 

 

This song starts out being a bit sad but then tricks you into being happy which is exactly what you need when you’re permanently attached to a textbook.

 

A DARK KNIGHT – HANS ZIMMER 

 

16 minutes of broody tension that might make you read your notes in Batman’s voice. Worth it.

 

TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS – OTIS REDDING 

 

“She may be weary” – Otis knows you’re listening to this at 2am while finishing your footnotes. He knows.

 

BORDER LINE – KING KRULE 

 

Perfect for when you’re feeling sorry for yourself and want to sing and grumble at the same time.

 

FIGHT SONG – RACHEL PLATTEN 

 

Some inspiration for when you’re working on that dreary lab report at 3 in the morning.

 

CAROUSEL – MICKEY COOPER 

 

Mickey Cooper’s whole debut album is definitely worth playing on repeat while you study (you can stream it on Spotify); it’s ridiculously beautiful.

 

NOSTALGIA NIGHT – A B ROBB

 

A B Robb is a Melbourne-based artist, and his music is available on Spotify. It’s pretty, dark, and unusual. This song has enough bounce woven into the melancholy to keep you awake while you plug away at your essay.

 

NIGHTMUSIC – GRIMES ft. MAJICAL CLOUDZ 

 

If you listen to this on repeat you will probably end up hypnotising yourself and all of a sudden it will be 3am and you’ll have finished your entire essay, footnotes and all.

 

HOLD UP – BEYONCE

 

Because, duh.

Editor’s note: Beyonce gently whispering “are you cheating?” at the start of this is surely enough to motivate you to stay honest throughout the exam period.

 

JIMMY – KATE MILLER-HEIDKE 

 

Bond with Kate over bad soy chais.

 

BECAUSE THE NIGHT – PATTI SMITH 

 

Because! The night! Belongs! To! Crammers!

 

FADE – KANYE WEST 

 

Guaranteed to get you pumped up enough to want to fight someone or smash your exams or whatever.

 

AMAZING – HI FASHION 

 

This song is the most badass self-esteem boosting pick-me-up out there.

 

WORLD WITHOUT MEN – JESSICA SAYS 

 

Another phenomenal Melbourne artist with an incredibly distinct sound! This song was stumbled upon by sheer fluke, and listened to on repeat for the next fortnight.

 

JAMAL – SAMPA THE GREAT 

 

Sampa the Great was the inaugural winner of the Corner Award for a reason, and that reason is that her music is freaking phenomenal.

 

ALMOST THERE – PRINCESS AND THE FROG 

 

Your neighbours will really like this one.

 

HOLD BACK THE RIVER – JAMES BAY 

 

Anything by this guitar-playing gent is mellow and easy to listen to – perfect for studying!

 

10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄ – BON IVER 

 

This song is great for when you need some intense background music to help you focus, but don’t want to get too distracted by lyrics.

 

ISLANDS – The xx 

 

Chill enough that you won’t get too distracted, but upbeat enough that you can take a quick dance break amidst stressing over your word count.

 

PHOTOGRAPH – ARCADE FIRE 

 

This song is from the Her soundtrack, which is the ultimate study soundtrack. A lot of the songs will probably make you feel Things but what’s a little more sadness when you’re already drowning in deadlines, right?

 

TO THE LAST – JAMES BLAKE 

 

Both beautiful and sad, similar to the feeling you get when you finally submit that 3000 word research essay that you started 8 hours before the deadline.

 

If you like the sounds of this, you can have a listen to all of these songs (well, the ones that are available on Spotify) in the one handy playlist right here. Happy studying!

 

What to Bring to Exams

When you have a sit-down exam it’s easy to freak out and bring everything you own so you’ll be prepared for every possible situation. While it’s tempting to play it safe, a lot of things that you bring along will end up being totally unnecessary and a bit of a pain. We’ve put together this list of things that you should and shouldn’t take to your exams, just in case you’re wondering whether or not it’s reasonable to bring a snack, $100 in cash, and your cat.

THINGS YOU WILL DEFINITELY NEED

  • Student card: this will be used to identify you. If you don’t remember to bring your student card, you’ll have to provide an alternative form of photo ID, or report to the examination supervisors after your exam and provide photo ID within four days.
  • Spare pens: three blue or black pens at a minimum for written exams. It’s also recommended you have a red pen to use for headings/underlining/adding extra text etc.
  • Greylead pencils, eraser and sharpener: crucial for multiple choice exams. Make sure the eraser is good quality so it doesn’t leave gross marks all over your exam sheet!
  • Clear plastic bag: this will contain everything you need for the day. You aren’t allowed to bring pencil cases into your exam and you don’t want to risk losing anything, so use one of these to carry your stationery, student card, myki, medication and anything else you might need.
  • Time and location: write it down! People forget things when they are stressed, so make sure you check the time and location of your exam, set multiple alarms, and write it down in a few different places.
  • Seat number: write this down too! You’ll be able to check this at the exam venue, but it’ll mean fighting through a huge crowd. You also don’t want to risk accidentally looking at the wrong student ID because you’re in a rush and consequently ending up in the wrong seat.
  • Tissues: REB in particular gets pretty cold in winter and the last thing you want to be worrying about in your exam is a sniffly nose.
  • Layers: again, REB gets very cold. However, there are heaters scattered about so you might get quite toasty. Dress in easily removed/added layers so you’re prepared for every temperature!
  • A water bottle: make sure it is clear with no labels or writing.
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Don’t bring an eraser that is not actually going to erase anything and will turn your paper a funny colour instead.

 

THINGS YOU MIGHT NEED

  • Snacks: rules regarding whether or not snacks are allowed change a bit, but the instigators generally allow them. Avoid bringing anything that’s going to be noisy or smelly unless you want to get death stares. Muesli bars, chewing gum, even a sandwich – all good options. Things that will make someone want to throw things at you: crisps, celery, individually wrapped sweets.
  • Highlighters: these aren’t completely necessary, but they’re wonderful for highlighting key words and concepts in questions, or main points if you have to analyse any text.
  • Study notes: this depends on your study style. While some people find it stressful, others benefit from some last-minute revision. Just be mindful that you may have to throw out your notes once you enter, depending on the personal belongings policy.
  • A watch: you can bring a watch as long as it can’t be used to communicate with other people or store notes, and you’ll have to take it off and place it on your desk. Keep in mind that exam venues have clocks all over the place to make sure that people can keep track of the time.
  • Your phone: you definitely will not need this in the exam, and it can cause a little bit of stress if you’re worrying about whether or not you remembered to turn it off. However, if will definitely need it before or after the exam make sure you turn it off well in advance and double check that it is actually off.
  • Your wallet: again, you won’t need this for the exam but you might need it beforehand or afterwards. If you don’t bring your wallet, make sure you bring another form of photo ID just in case. If you do bring your wallet and won’t be allowed to bring a bag in, consider wearing a coat/jacket with very big pockets that you can put it in during the exam.
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Don’t be this guy.

THINGS YOU DEFINITELY WILL NOT NEED

  • Valuables: the university seems to alternate policies regarding personal belongings. Sometimes, you’ll be allowed to bring your bag with you and keep it under your desk. Otherwise, you’ll have to leave it in a shipping container out the front of the venue. These aren’t the most secure locations, and it can take forever to retrieve your things afterwards, so don’t bring anything that isn’t 100% necessary.
  • A bag: only bring a bag if you really, really need to. If you can store all your belongings in a clear plastic bag then go for it. Once again, wearing a coat with very big pockets is a great alternative.
  • Your laptop: if you’re going to study beforehand, make sure you bring physical notes and not your whole laptop. You definitely do not want to have to leave this outside in a shipping container, and it probably won’t look too great if you have it under your desk.
  • Your cat: unfortunately, they must stay at home.

 

And finally, don’t forget to bring your motivation! Good luck!

Living in the Library

Sometimes the best way to get study done is to force yourself to go to the library for a few hours (or even a whole day), but it can be hard to stick with that decision when there are so many other factors to consider. What’s going to happen when you get hungry? How will you be able to concentrate when there are people talking around you? What if you can’t even find a seat and have to turn around and go back home? We’ve got some tips for when you’re living in the library over the exam period so you can make sure you won’t have to worry about any of these things.

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SURVIVAL

  • Fun fact: you can get food delivered straight to uni! If you’re having a late night study session but you also need some dinner, services like Deliveroo, Ubereats and Menulog are your new best friend. You’re not supposed to bring greasy foods into the library (and it’s often not pleasant for everyone sitting around you), but you can sit in a lobby or study area.
  • By the same token, a bit of organisation before you head into the library for the day can be a huge help. Grab some snacks, make sure everything is fully charged, bring a bottle of water and double check that you have everything you need. You’ll be less distracted, and you won’t have to deal with the stress of realising you’ve forgotten something.
  • Make use of the BookIt system, and book rooms and computers well in advance!
  • Always remember your laptop and phone charger – it’s especially important to keep your phone charged if you’re going to be leaving campus late at night. If possible, also bring a powerbank/portable charger in case things go haywire.
  • Move around to a different location in the library if you start to feel like you’re losing concentration. A new environment, even if it’s just a new seat, will shake things up a bit. This is also very useful when you’re moving onto a new subject to study.
  • Dress in layers! Some libraries can be a bit unpredictable with the heating/cooling (looking at you, law library), and you might end up leaving after sunset when things get pretty chilly outside.
  • Bring headphones and/or earplugs. Even in the silent areas of libraries outside noise can get pretty distracting, so it’s always a good idea to have a back up plan. Listen to music that won’t distract you, or if that doesn’t work for you check out Rainymood!

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ETIQUETTE

  • Be conscious of the people around you and their stress levels. Someone might be really peeved by a behaviour you’re not even aware of. Be mindful of your habits and how frustrating they might be – finger tapping, sniffing, and eating loudly are all going to earn you death stares.
  • If you’re listening to music, be conscious of the volume. Even when you’re using headphones it’s pretty easy for noise to travel when everyone else is working in absolute silence, and the people around you probably aren’t too keen on listening in.
  • Respect the No Talking zones in libraries. Most libraries have floors for quiet chat whilst others are reserved for complete silence, so don’t head for the latter option if you’re going to be whispering with your friends.
  • Don’t leave your equipment all over your study space while you take a leisurely lunch. If you need to leave for an extended period of time (like, longer than 15-20 minutes), let someone else use your seat. Alternatively, get food delivered to you! Leaving your stuff at a seat you aren’t using will make everyone else looking for a place to sit very angry, and it’s also unsafe to leave your stuff out unattended in case of theft.
  • It is, however, more than acceptable to leave your seat for a minute to go and find a bin. Don’t leave your rubbish lying around, especially if it’s stuff like food that will start to smell by the end of the day!
  • If you’ve booked a project room with a group of people, stay mindful of your noise levels as your conversations can still be heard by the people outside.

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EMERGENCIES

  • Don’t stress if you get to the library and there are no seats left! Most classes are no longer running, which means the majority of tutorial rooms are free. Some may be locked, but others (e.g. Redmond Barry, Babel) are generally open during the day. Seats, powerpoints, and tables aplenty!
  • If you desperately need a seat near a powerpoint so you can charge your phone or laptop, consider studying in places like the Rowdy or the Women’s Room where there are plenty of powerpoints and very rarely huge crowds of people wanting to use them.
  • If you have to quickly leave your things to run and grab a book or go to the bathroom, don’t stress about leaving your things behind unwatched! Asking the person next to you to mind your things while you’re gone is something that happens very frequently in all of the libraries, and people are generally more than happy to do so.
  • Sometimes the wifi at uni can be a little bit hit or miss, which leads to a lot of stress when you’re working on a deadline and need the internet to do your work. Giblin Eunson, the ERC and the Baillieu all have IT help desks with people who can help you out if your wifi isn’t working at all!
  • Looking for somewhere to study late into the night? Most libraries have extended opening hours throughout the exam period, and some libraries like the ERC have extended hours zones that are open 24/7.

Happy Studying!

21 Steps to a Stress-less Swotvac

Swotvac is maybe the most stressful time of the year, and it can only take a slight Microsoft Word malfunction or missed tram to launch you into full panic mode (tears included). Luckily, there are a heap of things you can do that’ll help you prevent a meltdown and have a relatively stress-free exam period.

  1. You know who doesn’t ask you how study’s going? Animals. If you have a pet, spend some quality snuggle time together. If you don’t, the cat cafe is close to uni and is well worth your time.

    UeQdLtO
    Hanging out with this guy seems like so much more fun than study, right?
  2. Plan your food in advance. It’s really easy to just eat cereal at random intervals throughout the day & night, but you will study better if you pay attention to your nutrition. Dinner doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but it probably shouldn’t be breakfast food. At least not every day.
  3. Work out your daily schedules: some of us function better in the morning, others the afternoon, and others at night! Plan when you’ll study first, then allocate time for exercise, leisure, relaxation, and sleep. If you know you can’t seem to process anything besides cat videos after 8pm, have your last study block of the day from 7-8 and then say that 8pm onwards is leisure time! It’s really important to think of yourself, and don’t worry about what others are doing. No one is really a study machine, despite what you might see in the library. These other activities will help make your study sessions all the more worthwhile.
  4. Don’t neglect the essentials! While it’s tempting to just hang out in pyjamas all swotvac, you’ll feel much better if you keep up a basic routine. In short: Have a shower. Put on pants. Go outside.tumblr_msx15qFkVh1qbfc5to2_500
  5. Schedule activities that force you to take a break. The stress of SWOTVAC can prompt us to cancel all other commitments in order to study, whether it be taking the week off work, skipping that weekly netball match, or turning down coffee dates with friends. Although it’s important to prioritise study this week, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should be studying for twelve hours a day, every day – that’s unsustainable for most mere mortals. Making time to catch up with friends and keeping a work shift or two will give your week structure and prevent you from getting cabin fever.
  6. Studying late at night? Make sure your phone & computer have a bluelight filter or your laptop has flux (https://justgetflux.com/), which will essentially put a filter on your screen to minimise the effects of harsh light on your eyes. This helps you sleep better!
  7. Exercise. Sure, some of us don’t feel like exercising at the best of times, but taking a quick 15 minute walk can do wonders for re-energising and focusing you again after a long day at your desk. Fresh air is always an added bonus, but dancing around your house is a suitable alternative. 44lCVMu
  8. Speaking of eyes, look after them! Staring at a computer all day is not great for your eyes. Keep the 20-20-20 rule in mind (every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet in the distance for 20 seconds). If your eyes are really playing up, the university has an eye clinic that is free for students. They may be able to prescribe glasses or eye drops.
  9. Make a to-do list with all of the tasks you want to get done each day. This way whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed you can look at your list and see that you have actually gotten through a fair bit and managed to tick at least a few things off!
  10. Have a nice therapeutic cry. Obviously you do not want to be a teary mess for the entire exam period, but sometimes you have to let yourself feel very overwhelmed and sad and have a nice long cry (preferably in the shower) so you can get it all out and move on with your study.
  11. Be mindful. This could be as simple as stopping to breathe, doing a quick colouring activity, or a quick five-minutes guided meditation (Smiling Mind is a great resource for those beginning meditation). It’s important to keep your stress under control so that things don’t build up.

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    Pictured: not you avoiding your feelings.
  12. Make sure you have at least one non-study-related conversation per day. This will really help lift you out of the study funk and keep your perspective. Exams don’t last forever, and they’re not the most important thing in your life.
  13. In addition to this, having conversations where you complain about study can also be weirdly therapeutic (granted you’re having them with the right people). Sometimes you just need to rant to a friend about how you’re probably going to fail because you can’t pull yourself away from Netflix, and have them recite all of their bad marks from the past semester back at you in return. It’s easy to forget that we’re all in the same boat and you’re not the only one feeling a bit lost right now.
  14. Where you study can make all the difference. While some people need to sit in a quiet library for hours on end, this can cause a lot of anxiety for others. Figure out where you work best and stick to it, whether that be in a cafe, at home, or in a quiet spot at uni. You don’t have to force yourself to go to the library if it’s not going to be a pleasant experience for you!
  15. Sleep is very important. Always have at least 8 hours of sleep to have plenty of energy, and concentration throughout your day.
  16. Listening to your body is a good way to looking after yourself. If you’re a music student, whether diploma or Bachelor, it’s very important to listen to your body to avoiding over practising, or even RSI. All students should pay attention to any pains in your back, shoulders and hands. Try to move around for a few minutes during each study break and be mindful of your posture, especially if you’re working at a computer.

    RuddHands
    K-Rudd knows.
  17. Try looking at the scenery of trees, or the garden even. It boosts concentration when taking a break.
  18. If you’re feeling frustrated, try closing your eyes, and listen to classical music. Working in a calm manner is the best way to study or work.
  19. Sometimes when you’re stressed the best thing you can do is step away from whatever you’re doing, make a nice cup of tea, have a rest and then go back to whatever it was you were doing with a fresh outlook and a nice beverage that feels like you are being hugged on the inside.
  20. Have a look at our post about stress-busting apps. There’s an app to suit everyone’s needs. Or you might want to put away your phone completely during exams.
  21. Finally, as hard as it can be, try not to put too much pressure on yourself. All you can do is try your best and work within your limits – know what works for you and what your own abilities are, and don’t feel bad if you aren’t able to push yourself beyond that. You are already doing so well!

How to Take an Effective Study Break

Tessa is a third year Biomedicine student. Her favourite hobbies are yoga and walking her dog, but she also tolerates jogging or stroking her cat.

SWOTVAC is upon us. We all start the week with grand plans, but within days (or hours), motivation fades, Game of Thrones beckons, and before you know it Sunday is here and exams are tomorrow and you’ve barely started anything.

Part of the problem is what you do in your study breaks – the ideal break takes you away from the computer, gets you moving, and refreshes your brain. While it’s tempting to spend a short break time scrolling through Facebook, one ‘like’ of someone’s Eiffel Tower photo quickly becomes half an hour analysing their Year 9 selfies.

So what should you do instead in those five and ten minute breaks? Here are a few tried and tested suggestions, rated in order of effort required. I promise they’ll leave you more refreshed than any Facebook stalk, and you might actually stick to the five minute time limit!


Make a cup of tea

Effort rating: 2/10

Last SWOTVAC, I was simultaneously proud and repulsed when I finally cleaned up my desk and had to carry seven used teacups to the kitchen. However, while sitting in the office of one of my lecturers later that day, I realised that professors consume caffeinated beverages faster than their students down vodka shots – I counted twenty coffee-stained cups stacked among piles of papers and books.

I think the academics have found the key to productivity – making a cup of tea! There’s nothing more comforting than the familiar motions of preparing a hot drink to the soothing hiss of the kettle or coffee machine. Furthermore, only your bladder and your caffeine tolerance limit the amount you can consume, so unlike with junk food you can have it at every study break!


Personal hygiene

Effort rating: 3/10

For some of us, long showers and extensive make up routines are a great form of procrastination. But for others, personal hygiene falls by the wayside during SWOTVAC – after all, when else is it socially acceptable to spend a whole week in your pyjamas?

If your beauty standards have deteriorated this week, make sure you freshen up in your next study break. It doesn’t even have to be big – just change into new PJs, or brush your hair or teeth. Bonus points for brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand – it’s said to enhance creativity. Bring on that essay!

 

Source: giphy.com


Housework

Effort rating: 6/10

One of the signs you’re a true grown up now is that your desk and chair are no longer used as substitute wardrobes. In the wonderful world of adulthood, chairs are actually for sitting! Make study more inviting by engaging in some procrasti-cleaning – hang a load of washing out, make your bed, or wash those crusty old dishes. Unlike procastibaking, it can be done it in five minutes!

Source: giphy.com


Exercise

Effort rating: 9/10

As I’m sure we’ve all been told numerous times, exercise is one of the best ways to stay sane in times of stress. Being active, especially if you’re outside and surrounded by nature, releases endorphins that will boost your mood, and give your body a break from hunching over a screen.

You can even squeeze exercise into a short study break – articles abound exalting the benefits of short, high intensity bursts of exercise. Just google ‘7 minute workout’ to find dozens of apps to guide you – my favourite is Lazy Monster  because the monster is cute and the music is ridiculous. Android users can try the creatively named 7 Minute Workout .

The Nike+ Training Club also offers workouts for every fitness level, from a five-minute workout to a 45-minute training session. If yoga is more your thing, you can throw in a few sun salutations. Or you could just study in your active wear to trick your brain into thinking you exercised. I swear the act of donning a pair of Nikes or 2XUs tires out my muscles.


Meditate

Effort rating: 12/10

If I believe social media, just five minutes of meditation a day should transform me into a #cleaneating, marathon-running, H1 student who has started several businesses on the side while also volunteering at the local soup kitchen and maintaining a glamorous social life. But every time I’ve tried to meditate, I’ve found it too boring to stick with. Sorry internet – I guess I’ll never reach my full potential.

 

Source: funny-pics.com

Give up and go on Facebook

Effort rating: -1/10

Sometimes your willpower just disappears. It’s okay. You deserve to watch those puppy videos.

Source: giphy.com

 

Good luck for SWOTVAC everyone!

– Tessa

Preparing for Every Type of Assessment

Assessments are always a bit stressful, but they’re especially daunting at the end of semester. Our wonderful team has compiled some handy tips so that you can make sure you’re prepared for any and every type of assessment you have ahead of you and get through the exam period as smoothly as possible!

Essays that run all semester

  • Start a plan early and stick to it! This is not the assessment you can do the night before. At all. Divide your tasks into stages like research, planning, drafting, editing and give yourself a deadline for each stage.
  • Use the few days you have before it is due to do some heavy editing. When you’ve been working on something for such a long time, it’s easy to slip up a few times. Make sure it reads as a whole coherent piece and you don’t end up repeating yourself all the time!
  • Get someone else to read over it. It’s easy to get so sick of something that you just don’t care anymore when you’ve been slaving away on it for a whole semester, so someone else might pick up on things you wouldn’t even notice.
  • Don’t be scared to change/completely scrap ideas that you thought were great at the start of semester. Your ideas will change as you learn more and that’s okay!

Essays over a few weeks 

  • Make a word document with all of the useful quotes and arguments you come across in your readings! This means that instead of having to go back through them when you’re writing up your essay, you can see all of them in the one place. It’s also a good idea to organise them into subheadings for arguments and/or paragraphs.
  • Sometimes, even if you don’t feel like it, you just have to get words on the page. You can always revise the paragraph later. It feels so much better having written something, rather than putting it off due to lack of inspiration, and subsequently having a Red Bull-fuelled freak out session the day before it’s due.
  • Don’t waste time trying to write a great sentence. Write a bad sentence that you can fix. Even if sometimes the words don’t make any sense – just write them down. It’s okay if your first draft looks like this:

”It is important to note that [the theorist person] was criticised for [get a quote].”

  • Don’t be scared to consult with your tutor if you’re feeling a bit lost. They aren’t allowed to tell you what to write, but they are allowed to tell you if writing an entire essay on Beyoncé is a good idea or not.

 

Source: chroniclesofanhrnewbie.wordpress.com

Sit-down, closed-book exam

  • Don’t focus on memorising the content word-for-word. While you might need to know some key definitions, these types of exams generally aim to test your understanding of concepts rather than how well you can memorise things.
  • Make the most of any practice questions you’ve been given throughout the semester, and do them multiple times until you’re getting most of them right – especially if there’s a chance the same questions will be on the exam.
  • Do your required readings! Even if you won’t be examined on them, a lot of the time they’re prescribed because they give you a deeper understanding of key concepts.
  • Don’t rely on reading over your notes on the day of your exam to help you pass. You’ll perform much better if you study the content over the space of a week or so, and use the day of the exam to look after yourself and make sure you’re in a good mindset.
  • If your exam involves any mathematic formulas, make sure you check in advance to see whether or not said formulas will be provided (which often happens in subjects like Psych). You don’t want to waste time memorising them if you’re going to have them given to you in the exam anyway!
  • Go to revision lectures! Even though lecturers and tutors are not allowed to tell you what will be on the exam, they often show their appreciation to the people who turn up to these lectures through subtle hints.

Open-book exam

  • Do not fall into the trap of thinking an open-book exam is going to be easier. You will be expected to work at a higher standard and/or achieve more in the time allotted.
  • Do practice exams! Don’t think it’s okay to not learn and practice the content just because you’ll have it in your notes. Save your notes for those things with really long/complex/annoying names you know you just won’t remember.
  • If there’s something you can study and remember off by heart, do so! It can be best to think of open-book exams like closed-book ones – that is, you still need to study things, but with the back-up of having notes for the things you find tricky.
  • Make your notes really really easy to navigate. You don’t want to waste your time looking for information in your notes. You need to know where each topic is located and be able to quickly reach that page. Colour coding, tabs, and a table of contents are all good ways of achieving this.
  • If you’re only allowed to bring in a certain amount of pages, don’t try to cram as much as you can into them. While writing down key concepts in your margins in handwriting so small it looks like it’s been written by an ant might seem like a smart idea at the time, it’ll mean you’ll be spending a lot of time trying to decipher your notes and less time actually doing your exam.

 

Source: pinimg.org

Take-home exam

  • Make sure you’ve done your readings! A lot of the time tutors are more than okay with you mostly focusing on the prescribed readings in take-home exams, so if you’ve done them in advance you’ll save yourself a lot of time.
  • Make a really specific plan in advance. Try to keep yourself on track with several key checkpoints throughout the exam. For example, decide when you’ll stop planning, when you’ll start editing etc. Several smaller goals are much easier to achieve than one big one!
  • Plan out where and when you’re going to do the exam in advance. Take-home exams are time sensitive, so you don’t want to realise that you’re working over the 3 days you have to complete it at the last minute, or suddenly decide you can only do work in the library when it’s already 3pm and you won’t be able to find an empty seat.
  • Make sure you have good food on hand. The last thing you want is a sugar crash 2 hours before the exam is due.
  • Go to your tutorials/catch up on any tutorial content you missed. The concepts and ideas that you’ll be getting great marks for in take-home exams are often the same ones that are discussed in tutes throughout the semester, and sometimes tutors are generous enough to discuss specific questions that appear on the actual exam.

Presentation

  • Keep in mind that presentations are not the same as essays, and you will have to read it aloud. It’s better to write it in the way that you usually speak, rather than trying to fit in a lot of impressive words that will sound weird and forced when you’re actually presenting.
  • While some people can memorise entire presentations off by heart, a lot of people cannot. If you’re in the latter category, it’s a good idea to write out your presentation and then put it all into dot points. This way you won’t freak out during the presentation if you forget a sentence and lose where you’re up to.
  • Make sure you read your presentation aloud to practice, and not just in your head. Add in commas when you take a breath if you have written it down word-for-word. It can be really helpful to record yourself reading your presentation aloud to a) work out if you need to add more intonation and b) to listen to it over and over while doing other things to help with memorisation.
  • Try to practice in the room you’ll be presenting in. You’ll be able to focus much better if you already know the layout of the room, where the audience will be, the size of the podium etc.

Source: fanpop.com

Group project

  • Vent your stress in a productive and useful way outside of group meetings. When there’s a group of people under pressure, it’s very easy to get angry with your team. If one member isn’t pulling their weight or has stinky feet or chews loudly, tell your cat all about it, go for a walk, cook something – do anything that doesn’t involve bringing your frustration to meetings.
  • Bring snacks. Everyone is happier when they’ve had something to eat.
  • Try to be as flexible as possible. It’s frustrating when you can’t seem to find a time for all of you to meet, but keep in mind that people have commitments like work and other assessments that they have to schedule meetings around. If someone can’t make it, it’s not the end of the world. You can always Skype them in, get them to send through their input ahead of time, or send them a summary of the meeting afterwards.
  • If someone isn’t putting in any work, talk to them about it. While it’s tempting to cut them out of all future decisions and complain to your other group members about them, sometimes things can be resolved with a simple conversation.

Performance 

  • Make sure you are well-presented. Your appearance can make a huge difference overall! If you don’t have a set costume, wearing all black usually works well for things like drama. Try not to wear anything that could be deemed as inappropriate by the examiners, but make sure whatever you wear is super comfortable!
  • It’s crucial that you are patient, polite, and display common courtesy towards your examiners. Also make sure you have your printed scores ready to give to them!
  • Be well-prepared for your performance. This means having lots of mock performances, or technical exams. The more you practice in front of an audience, the more you can deal with pressure, nerves and so on. Blind practicing also helps for all performers!
  • Be there early. Once you miss your performance time, there’s no alternative way to organise it again.
  • If you have any questions about your performance, don’t hesitate to contact your teacher. They are there to help you to be the greatest you can be. You can also get your friends to give you suggestions on how you can improve.
  • Warming up before music performances is essential! Try not to overdo it – an hour or so of warming up should be more than enough. If you’re doing a recital, two hours is the max.

 

Source: sharegif.com

No matter what type of assessment you’ve got ahead of you, the best you can do is know your content, manage your time wisely, and most importantly have faith in yourself! Not undermining your abilities and surrounding yourself with people who want to see you do your best does wonders, regardless of whether you’re writing an essay or preparing for a big performance. Good luck!

– The Unimelb Adventures Team

 

STOP 1? More like Stop FUN—Oh God I Didn’t Think That Through

Have you ever had that feeling when you walk into your Student Centre and it isn’t there anymore? I’ll bet you have, because as of January 1 this year, all of Academic Services—as in Student Centres, student administration, the Melbourne Careers Centre, Academic Skills, Student Connect, and more—have physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally co-located into one building/concept: S T O P 1.

So what does this mean for me, the Average Joe student? Where do I go for things?

Here, you silly duffer!

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So they do everything?

Pretty much.

Like course advice?

Definitely

What about transcripts?

Yaaaaas.

What about Academic Skills?

I said that it does everything! It’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, but it’s full of something better than chocolate and joy: Academic Services!

But it’s every student in the University getting served in one place! I don’t have time to wait for five hours!

Not gonna happen, friend. It’s smoother than Metamucil down there. There are triaging staff who should serve you within a few minutes, if not straight away. If you need to see a course planner or an admin enquiries officer, they’ll help you get a ticket and you’ll be called soon. Try to avoid going at lunch time though, if you can.

Are you sure they do everything though?

Yes. And if there is a service there they can’t offer, they’ll direct you to the right place.

My cat ate four servings of Thai green fish curry because I left it out on the bench last night. I need to be home when his cat laxatives kick in and I can’t leave the house. Can I still get some help?

Absolutely! Just go here and type in your question.

My question is far too specific for a FAQ, and my cat’s heading for her litterbox. Isn’t there somewhere I can submit my enquiry directly?

Sure thing. Choose a category and submit here.

Isn’t there an email address I can send it to?

Not anymore! We’ve moved to an entirely new enquiry management sys-

Oh god, oh god. I can hear her yowling for me. Can you give me a sec?

Yes?

Sorry about that. Go on.

So, ah, we’ve moved to an entirely new enquiry management system that involves online submissions of enquiries that are sent directly to the appropriate team. Not every department is using it yet, but most enquiries should start there.

That’s cool-as bananas A+ wicked! Can I ask another question?

Eh.

Where did all the Student Centre staff go once Stop 1 opened?

They’re there, friend! The people you will be speaking to on the floor are team members from the Student Centres, which means you might see a friendly face or fifteen.

Ah, I see. What about all the other staff? Are they chained in a basement?

Not quite! Almost all Academic Services has co-located in the very same building where Stop 1 is housed. So instead of being sent on a six-day- long hike across uni to find the answer to a question that involves multiple departments, everyone is one place and can hopefully solve your question much faster.

Love it! So no more bathing in the Reflection Pool on South Lawn and using leaves from the Systems Garden as toilet paper every time I have to ask a question?

Hopefully not, but that’s your journey.

Can you please rap a link that will provide me with any more details I might need?

Absolutely. Can you give me a beat?

H to the T to the T to the P to the S to the FORWARD SLASH to the FORWARD SLASH to the S to the T to the U to the D to the oh god just go to https://students.unimelb.edu.au/stop1

What Do I Do Now?

Finishing undergrad is nothing short of terrifying, especially once you start thinking about what you’re going to do with your life now that you’ve got that very expensive piece of paper under your belt. Do you want to do an Honours year? Maybe you should go straight to Masters? Or maybe this is it and you don’t want to study any more? We asked some of our older and wiser friends to talk about what they’ve decided to do since finishing undergrad, and how they’re going so far.

HONOURS

Reanna – Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology

I’ll be honest, I didn’t seriously consider what I was going to do after finishing my BA until midway through my final year. Doing Arts meant I was basically set up for doing further study, rather than stepping straight out into the workforce. Having taken a gap year after high school, my energy levels in terms of university were feeling okay, so I decided further study would be my best option.

I chose Honours for a number of reasons. For one, no particular Masters program stuck out to me as of yet. Speaking to an academic at a study fair also revealed to me that a number of Masters courses go down from two years to one when you have Honours – definitely a plus! Secondly, the idea of research has always been appealing to me, and having Honours opens up moving on to a PhD, or working as a research assistant. And thirdly, to do a Master in Clinical Psychology (if I want to go down that track) requires one to have their Honours.

Things I like: 

Honours gives you a lot more independence than undergrad. Depending on your supervisor, you are pretty free to structure how you approach your thesis. Conducting my own research is also interesting and challenging in many ways.

Things I don’t like:

Psychology Honours is extremely competitive to get into, and it will remain that way this year as there are even less Masters places on offer. And as much as I like the freedom of conducting my own research, this can also be equally as challenging as you have to rely on your own motivation to push through.

 

Source: shechive.files.wordpress.com

MASTERS

Sam – Master of Publishing and Communications

Having already done Honours and then taken a gap year to travel, my next steps options were dwindling by the end of last year. History Honours had been a great experience overall, but I felt I had just about exhausted my historical reserves, unless I was really serious about entering academia. Lingering uncertainty about entering the real world (i.e. full-time work) made finding an engaging Masters course seem like the most attractive avenue. My problem has always been that I like studying plenty of things but I find it hard to define anything that I really love doing, so I took a bit of a punt and went with a Master of Publishing and Communications.

Things I like: 

So far, I think I’ve made a good decision! The course is varied and definitely at a higher level than undergrad. There’s also a real focus on the Australian publishing and media industry specifically, and on teaching practical skills that will be applicable in the workplace. At this point, I’m motivated and aiming to become a professional editor after my course finishes next year; I’ve never had such a clear end goal before!

Things I don’t like: 

More HECS is an obvious downside to choosing to do Masters. This is an especially pressing concern if you don’t have a CSP, which is unfortunately the case for the majority of graduate positions offered by the uni. That’s about it though, no real regrets for me.

 

MEDICINE

Travis – Doctor of Medicine

As I’ve mentioned on this blog before—surprisingly controversially—I wasn’t sold on the whole med thing when I got my offer. Theoretically, med seemed like a really good choice. There’s some science (yay), an opportunity to teach if you dig that (I do) and, most importantly, the chance to really help out. Sounds cool right?

BUT….it actually is! Since starting this year I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed it and, most particularly, how much I’m excited to be a doctor! I completely expected to be really fascinated by the lecture content but to take more time than others to get into the more practical side of things. In actual fact, I’ve found the reverse.

Medicine is a hard slog, but it really is full of cool shit. Beyond the stress of tests, you get to learn some fascinating things and, more importantly, work with some really incredible classmates. Though everyone is crazy smart, they’re all down to earth—which, I’m reliably told, is handy if you want to be a doctor!

Things I like: 

Hearing patients’ stories. Can’t help but feel enormously privileged to hear from some pretty special people who’ve done it tough. CSL (case-supported learning) is also a great opportunity to unleash your inner nerd with the added bonus of good food and quality banter.

Things I don’t like:

It’s overwhelming sometimes. By the year’s end, we will have covered more than 300 lectures worth of content and, for the purposes of our exam at least, are expected to remember that in the same excruciating detail as undergrad. I’ll be happy to get through without having my brain explode.

 

source: giphy

LAW

Jacky – JD 

So about halfway through my BA, I realised I had no game plan, and adult life was approaching faster than I’d like. So I started looking at courses to apply for to put off that whole… taxes and owning suit pants thing. The JD was one of the several options I was considering, and I was accepted before any other applications were due so… yeah. I went to law school largely due to an administrative matter. But that’s ok!

Things I like:

  • Staff are A+ humans and teachers. My lecturers are the best teachers I’ve ever had.
  • Flexibility of course structure. Under-loading, extending & intensives are all very normal.
  • What it teaches you. I probably won’t need to know about trusts ever again. To be honest, I don’t really know about them now, trusts are confusing. But I have learned a boatload of discipline, dedication, and self motivation. When I’ve forgotten about the details of trusts (e.g. the second I left the trusts exam), I’m still going to know how to drag myself out of bed at 6am and work at maximum effort all day and then some of the evening too and then do it again the next day.

Things I don’t like: 

  • That whole ’employability’ thing isn’t working out quite how I imagined. The job market for law is brutal, fiercely competitive, and, frankly, a bit gross.
  • Everything is expensive. Textbooks, classes, law camp.
  • It isn’t good for you. The rate of mental health difficulties among law students ridiculously, dangerously high. There are a lot of resources available, but that doesn’t quite hide the fact that those resources are necessary because of the nature of the degree.

 

Source: crushable.com

TAKING TIME OFF

Danielle – Bachelor of Arts (Politics and History) 

I didn’t plan to take time off after finishing my undergrad, but it was kind of thrust upon me when I realised I wasn’t too keen on or ready for my Masters degree.

Taking time off is a very open thing – for some people, they simply need a break from study and use it to work full-time, volunteer or travel (or all of those things). Others are completely unsure of their path, and need some time to think about their next step.

I’m mainly the latter, and while I’m still confused and a little all over the place, having the time off has reminded me that I enjoy being at university and writing. Although it can be a little scary, taking time off can be really rewarding!

Things I like: 

Sometimes you just need a break, and that’s okay! If you want, it can be your chance to pursue other things or take a rest from study. It’s given me the time to pursue things that I’m interested in, like writing and volunteer work, without the added pressure of study. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to enjoy without having this time.

Things I don’t like:

This depends on your personal situation and temperament. For me, sometimes it feels like my life is a little directionless or that I should be doing more. University provides you with structure, and I admit that I crave that!

 

Source: favim.com

GOING STRAIGHT INTO WORK

Chris – Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing & Management) 

Getting a job after uni was always part of the plan; it was largely why I went to uni and what motivated me to do my best whilst there. And admittedly, working life is pretty grand. After a few months of the depressing, monotonous and heart-breaking trials of the soul crushing job market, I was very lucky to receive an entry-level sales role in an ice-cream supplier and I have not looked back since. No longer do I have to stay up till midnight to finish that assignment, which I know I’ll do terribly on, nor deal with frustrating team assignments or face the impossible task of finding a seat in the Baillieu library. Now I have a say in the work I take on, I work with professionals who are absolutely inspiring, and I have my own desk. Not to mention that I get paid from a reliable source that is not customer service, Centrelink, or my parents. And better yet? Free ice cream – as much as my heart could content.

Yes, I do have to work 8 hours a day, but the hours are flexible, and no, I can no longer wear my sports clothes or rock up hungover to a meeting. But that’s probably not such a bad thing. I have also gained free time. Outside of work, I have nothing but leisure time. That constant voice in my head telling me ”you should be studying” has finally dissipated and has been replaced with ”what do I want to do now?”. Finally, my learning has not stopped since uni. I have learnt so much more from budgeting and customer interactions than I did in a year’s worth of Quantitative Methods. Working is challenging, rewarding, fun, and genuinely makes me happy.

 

 

10 Apps for Stress Relief

When you’re caught up with uni, work, social events and everything in between, it’s easy to forget to take some time out for yourself to de-stress and make sure you’re in a good place. If you’re someone who struggles to find time to deal with stress and anxiety, apps can be a great place to start! There are so many apps out there solely targeted at helping you figure out how best to calm down, whether that be through meditation, mindfulness or just playing a fun game. Here are some of our personal favourites:

1) Bliss

source: http://bliss31.com/

Bliss is your digital gratitude journal. It prompts you to complete a quick reflective activity and is a great source of positivity. If you find yourself worrying or engaging in negative thoughts, Bliss is a great way to break up that anxiety with some positivity. There are a lot of different activities available, and you can pick and choose how regularly you do each of them

Available on: Android 

2) Calm

Calm is a very helpful app for sleep, meditation or just relaxing. It offers soothing images, sounds, and guided meditations. It operates on a course-style system, allowing you to develop your meditation practices over a few sessions. Most of these courses are only available with a premium account, but you can try some for free and see if it’s going to be a good option for you.

Available on: Android  iOS

3) Headspace

Headspace is a really simple app that guides you through meditation sessions for ten minutes each day. It heavily focuses on teaching you the basics of meditation, so once you’ve gotten past the initial Take10 session you can either choose to continue on to a subscription or use what you’ve learnt to meditate without any extra help. If you choose to subscribe, you’ll be given access to a heap of meditation packs focusing on things like health and relationships. You can also track your progress, and invite your friends to join in.

Available on: Android iOS

4) Pacifica

Source: https://www.thinkpacifica.com/
Pacifica looks like a simple mood monitoring tool, but it’s so much more. It’s a powerful and diverse app that allows you to better understand what factors contribute to your mood. It prompts you to input your mood, take a few notes about what’s happening, and then offers you a quick activity to improve how you’re feeling. You can also set goals and limitations for yourself related to sleep, caffeine, exercise, time with pets, water intake and so on. There’s also a heap of social groups you can join to discuss your goals and challenges.

Available on: Android iOS

5) Relax Melodies

Relax Melodies is similar to Calm, in that it focuses on providing you with soothing auditory experiences. It allows you to layer different sounds to create your own personal, calming soundscape. You can choose from options like rain, wind and birds. While some sounds are only for premium users, the selection of free sounds is still great!

Available on: Android iOS

6) Smiling Mind

Smiling Mind offers accessible and customisable mindfulness activities. You select your age, and download activities designed for that age group. With all of the short, guided meditations you do, you have the option of using a backing track or just a narrator.You can also track your progress over time, and earn points and badges by doing more activities.

Available on: Android iOS

7) Super Better

sb-logo1
Super Better is a bit more complicated than most stress-related apps, but it is pretty great. It uses game metaphors to help you feel better. You fight ‘bad guys’ (such as laziness) and go on quests as a way to combat stress! The design is lovely, and it offers a wide range of quest activities. This app is ideal if you need some help de-stressing, but meditative mindfulness activities aren’t your thing.

Available on: Android iOS

8) MindShift

MindShift is designed to help people living with anxiety deal with their symptoms and develop more helpful ways of thinking through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The app has information about anxiety, a self-report section where you can fill in your own symptoms, advice for different situations (such as test anxiety or dealing with conflict) and tools to help you calm down, like breathing exercises and mindfulness strategies.

Available on: Android iOS

9) Shuffle My Life

Shuffle My Life isn’t directly stress-related, but it’s a great tool to help prevent you from falling into a bad place. It offers you a randomised activity to complete each day – anything from ‘smile at a stranger’ to ‘buy something new’ is on offer.You aren’t punished for declining a task, but it’s a really simple way to inject some novelty into the uni-study-sleep cycle. You can also customise the tasks to set a price limit if you’re on a budget!

Available on: Android

10) Happify

Source: http://www.happify.com/
Happify uses a collection of short activities to give you a lift and help you manage your stress. The visuals are cute and the app goes to a lot of effort to help you understand the science behind each activity. Frequent mood assessments help keep you honest and on-track with how you’re feeling and are quite detailed. Quite a few of the features are only for paid users, but the free version will give you a good idea of whether it’s worth upgrading to Happify premium.

Available on: Android iOS

 

Did we miss your favourite stress-busting app?
Let us know in the comments!

30 Tips to Survive Lectures

If you’ve started uni this year, lectures might seem like a confusing way to learn. How do I know what to write down? Should I print out the slides? How exactly am I supposed to stay awake? Not to worry – we’ve got you covered.

  1. Decide early on if you’re going to handwrite or type your notes. You can’t effectively revise using notes that are half hand-written and half typed in random word documents you’ve saved as “ghreuiafbdfja.doc”. Have a system and stick to it!
  2. Make sure your notes are organised! If you handwrite your notes, it’s a good idea to have a notebook for each subject, or a bigger notebook for everything that’s divided into sections. If you type up your notes, either save your word documents into folders, choose the notebook layout for your documents, or download an app like Evernote or Microsoft OneNote that will do all the organising for you! Don’t forget to back up your notes!Source: giphy.com
  3. Don’t focus too heavily on colour coding your notes when you’re in the lecture. This requires way too much time and concentration, so it’s much better to do all your highlighting and underlining when you’re revising your notes later on.
  4. For those of you who like everything to be organised (tidy room, tidy mind), rewriting notes after a lecture has been scientifically proven to be useless! So don’t stress too much about your notes being perfectly spaced, with pretty headings and subheadings. All you need is for them to be legible.
  5. Listen to what the lecturer is presenting. Did you know that we can contain 50% of the information being presented through listening and watching, but only 5% when we’re writing down notes while the lecturer is speaking?
  6. If you can, read through your lecture slides and readings before your lecture. This actually helps in understanding the content presented in your lecture. You can plan ahead by reading the subject guide thoroughly.
  7. Printing out slides is ideal if they have a lot of information on them. This way you can focus on actually listening to the content of the lecture, and every now and then you can add annotations to your printed notes.
  8. If you’re tech savvy, and you seem to be able to focus more with technology in front of you, try uploading and annotating your slides on a tablet!
  9. If you use a laptop or tablet to take notes, consider getting a website blocker such as Self Control that can block distractions such as Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter for a selected time period.
  10. Revise the content after the lecture. Even if you just talk to your friends about what happened in class, you’ll be improving your understanding of the content.
  11. If you’re still not sure about what the lecturer was talking about, try to relate it to the rest of the course. Seeing how everything fits together takes practice, but it is a great way to boost your marks.Source: giphy.com
  12. Lectures start five minutes after the start time listen on your timetable, and end five minutes before the advertised time, so don’t be too stressed if you have back-to-back lectures!
  13. If you find that attending lectures is simply not working for you, try switching to watching the recordings instead. This way you can pause the recording to take down notes, and google definitions and concepts. Furthermore, you can do it anytime and anywhere, which is great if that 9am lecture is killing you!
  14. If you get easily distracted when listening to lecture recordings, it’s a good idea to download the lecture file and listen to it offline.
  15. Where you sit in the lecture theatre is absolutely essential to your level of focus. Make sure you are sitting close enough to make out every word on the screen, and perhaps knowing that you are in clear sight of the lecturer will make you think twice about nodding off!
  16. If you’re easily distracted by the never-ending stream of pop-up notifications on your phone, either turn it off or put it at the bottom of your bag so you can’t reach for it.
  17. Lecturers very rarely revise content they’ve already spoken about. Don’t fall into the trap of waiting for a revision session that’s never going to come!Source: NBC
  18. Don’t bring textbooks to lectures – you won’t need them.
  19. Don’t feel pressured to copy what everyone else around you is doing. Find your own rhythm and let that guide you.
  20. Some lecturers are very forthcoming with what they’d like to see in your assessment. Write that down!
  21. Don’t be afraid of asking questions! Many lecturers are more than happy to answer questions during the lecture, as the information is often helpful to everyone. If your lecture doesn’t want to answer questions during the lecture, you can usually go up to them afterwards.
  22. Print out the lecture slides and highlight concepts you don’t really understand during the lecturer. This means you can go back and quickly figure out which parts of the course you need to go over again when it’s time to revise!
  23. If you have multiple lectures in a row covering similar topics, review your notes from the previous lecture in advance. You don’t want to be totally lost when the lecturer carries on where they left off or assumes you already know things that were covered in previous lectures!
  24. If writing out notes works for you, make sure you write them in your own words and don’t just copy down what’s on the slides. It can be really tempting to memorise everything word for word, but you’ll be able to retrieve information far more efficiently if you’ve devoted that extra time to understanding the content in a way that makes sense to you.
  25. If your lecturer won’t provide recordings and you don’t want to confront them about it, you can contact the Education Academic officers and they’ll give you a hand.
  26. If your lectures aren’t recorded, send your lecturer an email asking if it’s ok for you to record on your phone.
  27. If you have a really long lecture, especially one over lunchtime, bring some snacks with you so you don’t get hungry, distracted, and inevitably leave early. Just make sure they aren’t too noisy so you don’t annoy everyone around you!Source: pinterest
  28. Don’t stress too much if you haven’t been able to easily get seats in any of your lectures at the start of semester. Lecture attendance drops rapidly throughout the semester so you’ll be spoilt for choice as far as seat location goes before you know it!
  29. Lefties rejoice! If you’re in a theatre with attached desks, there are seats for left-handed students on the end of each aisle.
  30. When in doubt, return to the reading guide. Try to structure your notes and headings around the scheduled topics. It will make revision much easier.

Reasoning Through Reason MULT10016

Ashleigh Hastings studies media and politics at Melbourne Uni. Her hobbies include singing in inappropriate places, dying her hair inappropriate colours and struggling to sum herself up in two sentences.

The basics

Reason is a level 1 Arts subject taught in semester 1. Reason is also an Arts foundation subject, meaning it’s designed to help you develop basic analytical skills, critical thinking and the conventions of academic writing. These skills will come in handy later on in your degree. In my experience, Reason definitely fulfilled this purpose. Every Bachelor of Arts student must choose one out of six Arts foundation subjects in their first year, so why not make it something interesting?

Reason covers both the history and philosophy of reason from Ancient Greece to the present day. This subject also explores tensions between our passionate and rational sides, and between science and faith.

Don’t be alarmed if the somewhat heavy philosophical content at the start of the course is a challenge. Plato and Aristotle form a good foundation for the weeks to come and things won’t stay so old fashioned forever. Thankfully, Reason jumps quickly through time to the Enlightenment period, the abolition of the slave trade, first-wave feminism and eventually lands in modern debates around the roles of science and religion. This broad range of content is covered by frequently changing lecturers, so the whole subject won’t be ruined if one topic doesn’t suit you.

 

Assessment

Assessment wise, this was my least stressful subject in the daunting first ever semester at university. The assessment for Reason consists of:

  • A Bibliographic Exercise (500 words) worth 15% and due in Week 5
  • An essay (2,000 words) worth 45% and due in Week 9
  • A take-home exam (which was in essay form in 2015) worth 40% and due during the exam period

You can find more information in the handbook here.

 

Skills workshops

Taking Reason means you must attend three skills workshops in addition to the regular lectures and tutorials. A special feature included in all the Arts foundation subjects, skills workshops are sessions covering basics like using the library, structuring your essays and avoiding plagiarism. These workshops are admittedly a little boring, but they are useful and compulsory. Like, fail if you don’t go compulsory.

 

source: giphy.com

 

 

My experience

Perhaps not surprisingly given the vast content, I found Reason very intimidating to begin with. We moved through topics so quickly that I felt like my grasp on the content was too weak. But don’t be discouraged! After my first assessment was returned, I realised that Reason is not about memorising facts and dates, it’s about learning to argue and evaluate well! Even better, the later assessments give you a lot of freedom to write about things that interest you.

 

Why you should take it

Reason really does improve your rational argumentative skills. Because the whole subject focuses on thinkers who analyse reasoning, your attention is continually drawn to the flaws and hidden gaps in the way people argue. Before you know it, this new way of thinking about reason will be reflected in all your essays, not just the ones for this subject. Reason is basically ‘critical thinking’ 101 – a must for any argumentative Arts student who plans to write critical essays in the future. For these reasons (pun intended), this subject is definitely one to consider.