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

             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. 





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


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.


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.


The testers


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


  • 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
  • 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
  • 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



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


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


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.


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


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


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


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.


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


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

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.

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.


‘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.

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.


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!)

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.


Immigrating into first year: a field guide for international students

Moving away for uni is a common experience. You look for an apartment, maybe bunk in with a friend, start cooking and cleaning for yourself and learn much too late that not turning on the vents above your stove WILL set off the fire alarm in small apartments. New school, new city, no more parental supervision, fresh start.

Starting uni as an international student is kind of like getting the Apple Student Experience Plus version – it’s a bigger deal, some friends are impressed by it, others think it’s a waste of money and it stretches your pockets more than they can really comfortably take.

As an international student who’s been here for over two years, I’ve compiled a list of things that pretty much sum up my experience here in Melbourne.

1. Your parents aren’t physically here, meaning you have the freedom to screw up however you want

If your parents are anything like mine (I wouldn’t say controlling, but Stockholm could learn a thing or two from my mum…), you’ll know that there’s a certain level of conditioning in you to obey them. Thing is, you’ll be separated by thousands of kilometres. I expect all of us to have a little “Smeagol is FREE!” moment once we realize this. If you can’t imagine, here’s some things to help you realise:

  • ‘Balanced nutrition’ is a very subjective idea. I mean, if you’re alive and semi-functional, who cares if you’re living off caffeine, alcohol, microwave meals and hopelessness?
  • No curfews. Our parents will still try as hard as they can to satisfy their need to know our location and ensure our physical safety at every waking moment – this is a sign of love. However, love is blind, and you can smokescreen your whereabouts with a few pre-prepared photos of yourself in the library and a quiet room to talk.
  • If you screw up an assessment, you don’t have to tell your parents till the end of semester. By then, they’ll be so happy you’re back in their arms that it’ll soften the blow. Hopefully.

2. Food from home is a LIE

I’m Singaporean, and like our cousins in Malaysia, food is a big part of life for us. We live to eat, not the other way round. So it’s particularly devastating for us here when we sit down to a bowl of noodles advertised as ‘Singaporean/Asian Cuisine’ and take a bite of What-The-Flying-F**k-Was-That?!

This is true for most places advertising food from a particular region. Maybe because of Australia’s biosecurity laws, or just because most white people haven’t tasted what real food is supposed to taste like, things rarely taste as they should. There are a few legit places, but they’re rare and often quite a ways away.

Look out for these places. Note them down. Don’t go to them too often otherwise they’ll lose their effect (besides, eating out in expensive). It’s a great way to quell that crushing sense of homesickness when it reels its ugly head, like when it’s SWOTVAC and you wonder where your mum is and why she’s not making you dinner. The food still won’t be quite the same, but it’ll do for now…

My personal favourite haunts include: Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen on Russel Street or Sarawak Kitchen on Elizabeth Street. Highly recommend, totally not a plug (although bribes would be nice).

Alternatively, you can cook dishes from home for yourself (depending how good a cook you are). I often call my mum to ask about recipes and cooking techniques. Sometimes, I’ll bring back key ingredients, like soy sauce from home (it tastes different, I swear). Hey, I need all the help I can get.

3. You’ll hear your local friends complain…a lot

“Oh, I’m so broke”, is a favourite of mine. I just wanna say, “Man, you get government handouts every two weeks”. You’ll be paying four times what they do for the privilege of attending boring lectures and the honour of sleepless nights before assignments while they’re working a few extra hours a week for booze money.

Heck, they’re not even gonna pay back their school fees until they can earn enough to do so. No wonder we get the stereotype of the ‘smart immigrant’. If I’m paying thousands for this degree, I’m absolutely gonna make it worth my time.

4. Learning to ‘adult’


The practice of acting in a manner that allows oneself to ensure one’s own survival after separation from parental units. Traditionally includes skills like budgeting, cooking, household chores, and not being a dick.



As international students, most of us can’t rely on our parents too much, at least not to be here physically. It makes us appreciate what they’ve done for us till now. It doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t know how to live on our own, but that we can’t rely on someone to do those shit chores for us when we can’t or don’t have the time to. Things like managing your time around laundry, finding an apartment to rent, buying groceries for the week, or paying bills.

I reckon we’ve got to grow up a lot faster. Not to say that local kids don’t have to go through these things as well, but they typically don’t have as many expectations or hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in them.

Heck, I’m doing Fine Arts, the go-to butt of all employment jokes (yet somehow still better than a normal B-Arts degree. Suck it Arts students). Still, my mum trusted me not to waste that money, to take care of myself, and not goof around for three years. This means taking care of myself.

Which is an awesome segue into:

5. Call home

At the end of the day, you’re alone here. Friends can fill some of the void, but there’s nothing like your real fam. Be like me and make a call back at least once a week. It doesn’t need to be for long – just long enough to hear mum’s voice and keep up to date with what’s the haps at home.  Chances are, mum and dad are getting along in years, so we should cherish them a bit before they kick the bucket…

They sent us here (or let us go) because they trust us not to be (too) stupid. Always end your call with an “I lub you too…”

Then go for the pre-drink party with your friends and get trashed. I mean, c’mon, just because you’re becoming an adult doesn’t mean you have to be one TODAY.


About the author

nick author pic.png

Nick Lam is a final year student at the VCA. When not constantly reading or writing, he wonders why he’s not either reading or writing. Nick enjoys long walks on the beach and other b*llshit people do to fill the void in their lives. He made us use this horrifying picture as his author photo.


What if I Didn’t Make Friends in O-Week?

Source: Giphy

We all have that dream. You show up to your host tour on your first day of uni and become best friends with the other person who’s also late. You find solace in the person sitting next to you in your Power tutorial. You meet the coolest person who you immediately click with on that o-camp. The dream of meeting your next best friend as soon as you start uni is one that we’ve all had, but it’s not always a reality.

And that’s okay.

Here’s some secrets.

I don’t remember anyone from my host tour.

I left my orientation camp only sort of knowing a handful of people.

I didn’t get coffee with anyone I didn’t know already in my first semester.

I made my best friends after my first semester of university.

Not everyone is going to make friends the second they step foot onto campus. But there are always things that you can do to boost your confidence and ensure that you’re not going through uni by yourself.

Clubs and Societies

Think of a hobby or interest you have. Chances are there’s a club for this and they will most likely have a Facebook page where you can learn about their upcoming events. By participating in clubs events you can find people with similar interests. Even more, if the club has recurring BBQs or picnics, this is the perfect opportunity to help a society out and cook a snag. Going to events and offering a hand means that people will see you more often, you’ll  develop familiarity and potential friendships! For a list of the clubs, click here.

Friend Requests

You’re almost guaranteed to add a lot of people on Facebook or follow them on Instagram and Snapchat. I’m not saying the more people you add the more likely you are to make close knit friendships, but it means you’ll develop a circle of people you do know. If you’ve just added someone on Facebook, don’t be shy about sending them a message! It might not feel like it, but they’re probably just as keen and just as scared about contacting you as you are about them.

And even if you don’t talk to them straight away, you might find yourself in a class with them in second semester, and having already met them, you might be more inclined to talk to them again.

Safe Spaces

If you identify as a woman/non-binary or member of the queer community, there are spaces in Union House where you can go and relax. Decked out with couches and goodies and amazing student representatives, the Women’s Room can be found on Level 1 (straight ahead when you come up the stairs and then to the right) and the Queer Space on Level 3 (turn right when you get out of the elevator). You’ll also be able to find support and information in these rooms on various issues if you need it.

UMSU, the University of Melbourne Student Union, also has other departments and services available . Want to help out at BBQs and parties? Have a look at Activities. If you’re looking for more communities of likeminded students, check out People of Colour, Indigenous, Disabilities. All these, plus more, can be found here.

Get Involved

Getting involved in things that aren’t clubs can also be a really good way of meeting new people at uni. Write something for Farrago and visit them in the Media Space (level 4 Union House), attend some PASS sessions if you’re an Arts Student and keen to smash out those H1s, and even pitch us an article if you think there’s something we should be writing about! The more you participate, the more people you’re going to know.


It can be a difficult time if you’re not finding people to connect with immediately, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Taking time for yourself is really important. It can sometimes become very stressful at uni without a strong support network so I highly recommend looking at the Unimelb Services website for a place to seek out some help.

For me it took a lot longer than it felt like it took for other people. Eventually it was actually in tutorials where I ended up with the same people from first and second year that I found some of my friends. Participating heavily in societies like Ring of Choir also helped a lot.

Everyone moves at different speeds. If you don’t make friends in your first few weeks of uni, it’s nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, it’s more common than you would think. In your first semester you might be a jaffy with few friends, but by third year you might have found the best group possible. Just keep doing, and dreaming.

Source: Giphy

A Guide to Starting Uni

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Source: Giphy


Starting uni is definitely an exciting adventure, but it can be confusing at first! Here are some tips to help you get started.


Attend orientation camps and events – and it doesn’t matter if you go alone!

The best time to make friends at uni is right at the start. I went to an orientation camp in my first year, and it was there that I made close friends that I still have now, going into my fourth year. You don’t have to have a group of friends to go with – these camps and events are all about making friends, and everyone is so nice. It is super reassuring to see a familiar face on campus on your first day when you might be really nervous! I have made most of my friends at uni through orientation, clubs and volunteering, rather than in classes.


Find out where your classes are before the first day

You will probably stop by uni to collect your student card anyway, so make the most of your time on campus and do a ‘trial run’ of finding your classes. As an example – my first ever uni class was on the biology floor of the psychology building – and the class was French! The app ‘Lost on Campus’ is a lifesaver when it comes to finding your way around.


Financial Aid

Uni comes with a lot of expenses, so make sure to visit the Financial Aid website, which has many resources and opportunities for financial assistance.


Read ahead

One thing I noticed when I started uni was that there was a heavy workload and so many ideas were new to me. It is best to start the year feeling somewhat familiar with what you will be learning, as there will be other things you have to sort out when you first start such as transport, accommodation, social events and finding where things are, so you don’t want to fall behind. Gradually you will see classes on the LMS become ‘available’ on the LMS, which means that you can browse through and take note of when assessments are, as well as have a read through any readings that are available. On this point too…


Get organised early

If you have to buy textbooks, it is good to do so before O-Week / Week 1, because there are really long lines at these times. You could go when you go to collect your student card and find your way to your tutorial rooms and lectures. It is also good to check out the university subject handbook and plan your timetable before class registration (hint: there are a lot of uni parties on Thursday nights, so you might not want to schedule too many classes for Friday if possible!). You can find out when registration opens for your subjects here. Make sure to be set up early to get the classes you want – the tutorials either side of lectures fill up SUPER quickly, so make sure you have a Plan B. You can schedule lectures back to back, because they start 5 minutes after the time on the timetable, and finish 5 minutes earlier (so, a 9:00am – 10:00am lecture is really 9:05am – 9:55am). Tutorials (tutes) usually go for the full hour.


Set up your laptop and get free Microsoft Office!

More details here.


Get ready for those sweet STUDENT DISCOUNTS!

Make sure you sign up for UNiDAYS and Student Edge.


Make a Student Connect appointment

I found my Student Connect appointment super helpful when starting uni, as they advised me how to plan my time (I had two jobs) and I felt more confident about starting my university journey afterwards. You can learn more here.


Familiarise yourself with at least one library

In my first year, I was so intimidated by the library that I didn’t go in there for about the first eight weeks of semester… and I feel like my life would have been a LOT easier if I had known my way around the library from Week 1. You can have a look around yourself before uni starts, or go on a library tour. I also recommend familiarising yourself with ‘Discovery search’ which will be very helpful for assessments. Basically, you use this search to find academic journal articles, which you will use to support arguments in essays, and for research. You should also sign into your university account with Google Scholar (instructions here, just click on ‘Google Scholar preferences’) so that you can access articles you find on Google Scholar. This is important because you want to be able to access complete texts, which you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise unless you paid for them.


Join at least one club

This is a great way to meet people. I joined a whole bunch in first year and then I could choose my favourites to continue attending (I wish I could have attended everything, but there are only so many hours in a day unfortunately!). Here is a list of clubs you could join.

If you have Facebook, make sure to ‘like’ the Facebook pages of clubs and societies to be updated on events and ticket sales. Remember with extremely popular events, people start lining up for tickets earlier than the advertised time.


Join a mentoring program

When I was in first year I participated in a mentoring program run by the Faculty of Arts and also one run by the Student Union (UMSU). I found these programs great for making connections and learning tips from older students. I even joined as a volunteer in the UMSU program in my second year.


Buy a planner

Another thing you will need for uni is a planner! Now is a good time to buy them as many are on sale. You will have a lot to plan, from work, to club meetings, to events, and most importantly, assessment due dates (which come up sooner than you expect)! Typo have some super cool ones, and there is a Typo store at Melbourne Central station.


Plan your transport route

It is good to know exactly what train / bus / tram you will need to catch, and how long it will take, to avoid any unnecessary stress or lateness on your first day of uni. Here are some helpful transport tips:

  • Pretty much every tram going along Swanston St takes you to uni. You can get on at both Flinders Street and Melbourne Central if you need to get the train first
  • There is a ‘Melbourne University’ tram stop, but you can also alight one stop earlier, at Lincoln Square – which might be quicker, depending on where your class is
  • If your train passes through North Melbourne, you’re in luck! Read about the 401 bus that goes from North Melbourne to uni (and vice versa)


Wishing you the best of luck for university! :) You’ve got this!





Study hacks

We work hard all semester, but sometimes, we just want that final boost when it comes to the lead-up to exams. Here are some of my favourite ‘study hacks’ – tried and tested for those elusive H1s.


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Source: Giphy



If you studied VCE Psychology, you probably know about this. I like to give my brain prompts to associate what I learn while studying with recalling it in the exam hall. I like to handwrite my notes with the same type of pen / pencil I will be using in the exam, wearing the same perfume while studying and in the exam, etc.


Make arbitrary information memorable

Sometimes, you are just reading over your notes and thinking “there’s no way I’ll remember this!”

So how do you make that information memorable? Think of a link between the new information and something that you already know. Turn the information into a story or relate it to something that has happened to you.

If you are musically inclined and want to turn your study notes into a song, here’s some inspiration.


Change up your notes

Don’t just write down what was on the slides – engage with the content. Ask questions and answer them with information you’ve learnt, turn chunks of texts into diagrams, and colour-code. It is a richer process (and also more enjoyable than just copying things word-for-word!).

This tip was inspired by an article on The Conversation – definitely have a read if you are interested in transforming the way you take prepare your notes.


Flashcard apps

These are especially helpful because they are portable – when you have a quick break, you can go through flashcards instead of Facebook. I recommend the Cram phone / iPad app and also Anki for your laptop. These apps can prioritise what you don’t know so you can master it.


Get in a positive frame of mind – but don’t rely on motivation

If you visit our Twitter page, we have been posting some inspiring study quotes! You can also think about your end goals – e.g. ‘I want to ace this exam to be one step closer to getting into Honours / my dream postgrad degree / my dream job’. However, sometimes that motivation doesn’t come – and that’s when we need to just start anyway. Personally, I find it more mentally exhausting procrastinating than actually doing whatever I need to do. Even if it’s not the best study session you’ve ever had, you’ve still put time and effort in, which is what counts – we can’t be studying machines all the time!


Stayfocusd app

This is an extension for Google Chrome that has helped me immensely in the past week completing final essays and exam study – it’s amazing how much work I can get done when I limit social media to ten minutes per day! I’m working myself up to blocking online shopping too – but I’m not quite there yet…


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Source: Giphy


Happy studying and good luck – you’ve got this!


A guide to getting organised for exams

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when exams and final assessments are looming! So, here are some organisation tips to keep in mind, to make sure you’re ready to perform at your best.

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Source: Giphy


Something that has helped me all 5 semesters that I have taken exams has been making sure my stationery is ready to go. I make sure that I have the correct calculator and then make a trip to Officeworks to stock up on any stationery that I have run out of. I put all my exam materials into a clear zip-lock bag and keep it in a safe place so that it’s all ready to go for exam day (or days) and I don’t have to think about it anymore. I also make sure I have a clear drink bottle without a label and a watch with a working battery to take with me.

For take-home exams, another strategy that has made me feel more organised is setting up my Word document with the correct formatting, spacing settings, required font, etc. This means that when the take-home exam question/s are released, you’ll be ready to just start brainstorming and then typing your amazing essay!



Remember to use the Book It system if you need to use a computer at uni during SWOTVAC or the exam period. It can be very frustrating to arrive at uni only to find that there aren’t any computers available. You can make more than one booking, although there is a limit at three, so if you are planning to head into uni a few times in the week you can book your place at a computer in advance. The same goes for group study rooms!


Make your bed every day

This always helps me feel organised and feel like my day is off to a good start. I make my bed first thing every morning!


Let your friends know that your exams are coming up

This is important because towards the end of the year many social events start popping up. Make sure you let your friends know in advance that you will be taking exams and might not be able to go to everything, or reply to any messages immediately. Write down all your social events in your diary so you can leave enough time to complete study and assessments. If any of the social commitments are flexible, perhaps schedule them for after exams, or when you have a week-long break in between exams.


Organise your desktop

There usually are a lot of files that aren’t saved in the correct place by the end of semester. Sometimes, it happens! You have to leave a lecture quickly, and all of the sudden the file with your notes is saved as something you probably won’t remember in a folder for another subject. It can be very useful to go through all your files during SWOTVAC and sort them out. You don’t want to be looking for notes when you have limited time and getting stressed because you can’t find them. Some people also find colour-coding notes very helpful. This is also a nice extra revision technique!


Clean your living space

I’m sure there is a saying that is something along the lines of “tidy space, tidy mind”. It is so true! Make sure your living space, and particularly the area you will be working in, if you will be studying at home, are spick and span!


Wishing you all the best for exams and final assessments.


If you have any other tips for staying organised, share them in the comments below!



Cassie’s top tips for getting thrifty around campus

Cassie is a third-year Commerce student, majoring in Economics and Finance. She spends several hours a day listening to true crime and/or politics podcasts, and is addicted to long distance running.


If you’ve been living the lavish university life, your bank account may be hurting after a few too many indulgences. So if you’re looking for some tips to cut back your spending, or just some harsh truths about where you’re spending it all, you’ve come to the right place!

  1. Stop buying coffee!

This is obvious because it’s true. Coffee is incredibly expensive. Maybe just ‘treat yo’ self’ once a week, or invest in a loyalty card and make use of your free tenth beverage every now and again! Check out my other blogpost about the different coffee spots around campus and where to find the cheapest brew.

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Source: Imgur
  1. Take public transport to Uni

Parking at University is both; super expensive and stressful. Take the bus/train/tram or simultaneously save on the gym membership by walking or riding your bike.

Source; PerezHilton
  1. Prepare your meals

I’m not talking meal prep like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, you could even set aside some leftover pizza if that’s your thing. Meal prepping is not hard and can save you some much needed dollars. Allocate one night a week (like Sunday) and just put aside a couple of hours to pack up some lunch and snacks for the week ahead.

Source: toneitup
  1. Cheap eats

If you must buy food on campus, then hunt around for cheaper options! I promise you it’s possible to eat good, cheap food on/around campus. One to try: Don Don! All their dons are less than $8, and they’re damn good. This also means that regardless of whatever juice craving you have: Boost may not be the thriftiest option for you. We all know that Boost is the Prada of drinks and you are not making the Kardashian level amount of money that you would need to drink Boost regularly (even with the free tenth beverage!)

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  1. You do not need new stationery every semester

I know it makes you feel glamorous but you don’t need new pens. Use the same pens as last semester. Also, for most degrees you don’t need every shade of amazing $20 highlighters. Buy one.

Source: PedestrianTV
  1. Don’t buy your textbooks

You know what else the library is good for apart from napping between classes and charging your phone? It houses all your textbooks! If you really don’t want to share, buy them second hand! Details can be found here.

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  1. Don’t buy water

Taps are a thing. Bring a drink bottle and don’t buy water. You’ll save money and help the environment at the same time. Win-win!

Source: Giphy
  1. Get your finances in order

You don’t have to be studying Commerce in order to get your finances in order. Interest is an important thing and can make a big difference to your savings. Find the savings accounts with the best rates here. Most banks also have term deposits, which reward you with high interest and do not allow you to withdraw money – forcing you to get thrifty!

Source; skonahem
  1. Leave your money at home

If you literally cannot control yourself because you love that A-list lifestyle, then leave your wallet at home, and remove Apple Pay from your phone. It’s may seem like an overreaction, but it works.

Source: Giphy

– Cassie

Getting involved at university and padding your resumé


Aidan is an Italian Honours student at the University of Melbourne and one of our sub-editors at Unimelb Adventures. When he’s not studying (ie. struggling to write his thesis) in the Bailieu library, you’ll find him taking photographs around Melbourne or attempting to learn another foreign language.


“So….. What are your plans for after university?”.

Source: ShareGif

Whilst it’s tempting to try and avoid answering the question and joke about “staying at university for the rest of your life”, at some point you’re going to have to start thinking about the future and start applying for those jobs and internships.

The next problem that you have to face is how to turn those 3+ years of essay writing, group assignment nightmares, and mid-semester breakdowns into some kind of professional-sounding experience. This is particularly difficult as satisfying the selection criteria for job applications when graduation day finally rolls around, or even during university when you’re applying for internships, does not usually involve “pulling all-nighters before assignments before nights are due” and “pub crawls”.

Satisfying all the criteria for jobs is particularly difficult as the demands of university, including its social aspects, don’t really leave you with the best opportunity to go out and get the experience required for your dream position.


Source: Quickmeme

Even if you have worked throughout your university degree, sometimes your extensive experience as a barista and your exceptional latte art skills aren’t going to be the best opening line of your application. The solution? Getting involved around campus.

Not only is getting involved a great way to pad your resume; it’s a great opportunity to make friends, learn new skills and follow your passions. As someone who is currently applying for a series of graduate programs and jobs, I’ve found myself drawing on some of these university experiences and extracurricular activities in order to satisfy some of the essential criteria for certain applications. Even with limited time after my study and part-time work (have to pay rent somehow), I’ve managed to find a few key extracurricular activities to help prepare me for life in the big world.


How I feel paying rent (Source: Quickmeme)

Some of these include: being a committee member for the Italian Social Club, a sub-editor/writer for Unimelb Adventures, and a Model UN delegate with the Melbourne International Relations Society. Whilst these are my personal examples, there are a myriad of groups you can get involved in a wide-range of roles and responsibilities you can undertake in order to prepare you for the professional world.


 Some of the things prospective employers are looking for

  • Teamwork
  • Strong oral and written communication
  • Achieves results
  • Working under pressure
  • Organisational Skills
  • Time management
  • Analytical mindset
  • Leadership Skills

Above are some of the most common criteria that employers look for. Now you may think that you can use just your university studies for the majority of these skills, and this may be true for some of them.  However, it is also great to have some experience outside of just your university studies to draw upon when you’re applying for jobs and internships, and extracurricular activities are perfect! For example, my experience as a Model UN delegate involved debating other students – ie. ‘strong’ oral communication skills – and experience analysing and researching international issues. I also spoke about my experience as a committee member for the Italian Social Club and how that helped develop skills relating to time management, organisation and teamwork as I worked with other committee members to organise and run events for the club, whilst balancing other commitments. Even my short time with Unimelb Adventures has come in handy as I speak about ‘meeting strict deadlines’ related to coordinating with writers to edit articles in preparation for publishing.

Whilst it’s important to try and put your best foot forward, it’s also a good idea not to over-exaggerate your role and experience when applying for your jobs. Whilst it may be tempting to say you pioneered a project that stopped climate change, or that you speak 7 languages, if you are lucky enough to progress to the interview round, you are likely to be further questioned on this experience. So be honest, you’d be surprised what kind of skills you develop through these experiences and how you can use them to your advantage.


Source; DubaiMemes
As there are so many extracurricular activities you can be involved in around campus, it’s also important to make sure that they are the ones you are going to enjoy the most. Whilst it may be tempting to choose only the ones that will stand out your resume, or to employ a cutthroat Frank Underwood-esque approach in your rise to become President (of that society), my advice it to also follow your passions, and it may even help your studies!

For example, my role as a committee member of the Italian Social Club is driven by my love of the Italian language, culture, food, a passion that I wish to share with others. It also ties back to my studies and family history, and it gives me even more opportunities to speak Italian!

Interested in getting involved? Check out this list of all the official clubs and societies on campus or read Alain Nguyen’s blogpost about more opportunities.

For more tips on applying for jobs and internships, check out the Unimelb Careers page for more advice from seasoned professionals

All the best for your applications!

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!


  • 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.
Source: Giphy
  • 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!
Source: Giphy
  • 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!
Source: Giphy


  • 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!
Source: Giphy
  • 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!
Source: Giphy
  • 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!
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!

Source: Giphy

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.


Find something that works for you to kickstart your day!

Source: Giphy
  • 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!


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

Source: Giphy
  • 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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Source: Giphy


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!
Source: Giphy


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.
Source: Giphy
  • 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.


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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Source: Giphy

Swotvac Tips

Cassie is a third-year Commerce student, majoring in Economics and Finance. She is addicted to podcasts and long distance running.

It’s almost swotvac. It’s the time of year when you realise you didn’t understand 75% of the content this semester, you stopped doing your tutorial work in week 3, and you never actually went back and watched those 12 lectures you skipped. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some tips on how to survive swotvac.

  1. If you can, avoid the library

When people are studying and stressed, and they’ve been in the library for 12 hours every day for the last week, things get gross. If you can, avoid the library because you will get sick, you will feel disgusting all day, and you will not be able to get up and go to the toilet because either the librarians will come and take your stuff away or some ninja student will steal your seat.

  1. If you must go to the library, do not arrive between 9:30 am and 5:00 pm because you will waste half your day trying to find a seat

Image source: Giphy

Anyone who has lined up to get into the Law Library or Giblin Eunson during swotvac knows that it is pure carnage. I’m not kidding – it is the Hunger Games and the scenes are concerning. It is also the only way you will get a seat during swotvac. You either have to arrive really early or really late or you won’t find a seat. You can also book spaces online at but get in early because reservations fill up fast!

  1. Find a good café, and get a loyalty card

You will be drinking a minimum of two coffees a day. Loyalty cards where the 10th coffee is free seriously deliver the goods in swotvac.

  1. Stock up on healthy snack foods

Image source: 9GAG

That’s right, healthy. I’m talking about good fats. Nuts, avocado, sandwiches and fruit. Do not eat sugar all day or try to survive on coffee; you will crash and burn and you will feel absolutely shit. A healthy, well-fed brain will struggle to understand some of the ridiculously difficult things you are studying, and a starving brain will give up.

  1. Make a list and set yourself deadlines

Schedule yourself. Plan what you have to do from the exam date backwards, and put it in a calendar. Then, stick to it. If you finish what you had planned to do that day, take the night off. Seriously this is a golden rule and it is very easy. Just take 15 minutes on the first day of swotvac and make a list.

  1. Get at least one person to study with

Image source: Reaction GIFS

You don’t need to sit down and study with them, but find one person per subject, add them on Facebook and annoy them with questions. The likelihood is that they are also desperate to ask someone else questions and you’ll help each other out. It also helps to have someone to vent to about how f*cked up the practice exams are.

  1. Have scheduled breaks

Image source: Giphy

At the start of each study day, plan out little reward breaks. Like, when you finish a practice exam, watch EllenTube for half an hour. These are really important and they’ll make you less likely to procrastinate later. Little goals are good, and you deserve it.

  1. Don’t let the first few days get you down

When you suddenly realise that you don’t understand half of the content, don’t panic. That is what swotvac is for. All non-first year students will tell you that it is totally normal to teach yourself a lot of the course in swotvac.

  1. You will have a breakdown, it is okay

Image source: Buzzfeed

Every swotvac you will have one breakdown around the time when you do your first practice exam and you fail. You will call your mum or your best friend and you will cry. This is normal. It is okay. Cry it out, go eat a big bowl of pasta, take the night off and get back to it tomorrow. Everyone has this and it is totally normal.

  1. ‘Do Not Disturb’ is your friend

If you’re on a roll, use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ function on your phone. It won’t notify you when people contact you unless you go over and pick it up. Procrastinating is so easy in swotvac and minimising your distractions can help a lot. Another useful procrastination reductions method, particularly for essay writing, is the Pomodoro Technique, which involves working in 25 minute intervals with 5 minute breaks in between. You can read more about how it works and its benefits here.

  1. Sleep

Some students brag that they sleep four hours a night and still smash all their exams. You are not that person. It doesn’t matter how well you function on four hours of sleep, it’s scientifically proven that everyone functions better on 7-8.

  1. Exercise

Image source: Pinterest

You don’t need to go to the gym everyday day but get outside and get some fresh air. You need to take care of your body in this time. It will make you more productive and reduce the frequency of swotvac breakdowns.

  1. If you don’t get something, your friends don’t know and your online tutor is confusing you (it can do more harm than good), go to a consultation

Just go. Get in line with your planned question. Have work to do while you wait, because you will be waiting. 2 minutes with a tutor can save you hours of torture while you try to figure it out yourself. It’s also a great place to meet other students so you can help one another, and often they’ll ask about something you don’t get either and you’ll kill two birds with one stone.

  1. If you need a break, take a break

I thoroughly believe that when you hit a wall, just come back to it later and go do something else. You will have days in swotvac where you get nowhere. Don’t waste your time and end up in a pool of lecture slides and tears. Take the afternoon off. Take the night off. If you feel good enough, take the day off. When your brain cracks the shits, just let it have a little rest.

  1. Plan a gift to yourself when your exams are over

Image source: Geek and Sundry

Studying sucks. Treat yo’ self.

– Cassie

The Pros and Cons of Taking an Intensive

Nicole is one of the staff writers for Unimelb Adventures. She is in third year, doing a Bachelor of Music, specialising in Performance and majoring in Piano. She loves keeping herself fit by swimming and going out on adventure walks!

Throughout my undergraduate studies so far, I have loved taking the opportunity to do either summer or winter intensive courses for subjects that I need or would like to do. Most of the subjects I have taken have been core subjects, but I also took a breadth subject that ran during the July intensive period (Auslan and Visual Communication). So here are some of my thoughts on taking an intensive subject!


You get used to being back on campus
I love the feeling of being back on campus after a short break. I like getting the chance to get comfortable with my surroundings before uni begins. It gives you some mental preparation for the next semester. If you are taking a core subject during either the summer or winter intensive periods, use it as a transitioning period into whatever year you may be going into. When I did Music Language 3, I was able to ease into third year studies. Then, when I got into the semester, I didn’t feel so overwhelmed. It was pretty chilled, in a way. I could get used to being a third year by doing a core subject at the start of the year.

You can get back into the swing of studying and/or practising
One of the advantages of doing an intensive is that you can slowly build up your studying and/or practising routine again. I think that it’s important to develop that before the semester starts, and I found that it worked for me during my intensive courses.

You get the place to yourself
As a music student, I know how packed rehearsal and practice spaces can be during the semester. On the other hand, during the intensive period, practising can be very peaceful indeed. It gives me the chance to think about my technique and musical expression a bit more, as well as more room to move around without a lot of external stimuli to distract me. Likewise when it comes to studying in study spaces or libraries. There are lots of seats to find, and it is quite nice indeed! It’s so quiet and peaceful without so many people around.

Look at all the free seats in the MSD study area! (Source: Nicole Ng)

There are no long lines at lunch!
During the summer and winter terms, there is no lunch hour rush. For instance, the lines can be very long at Egg during the semesters! But not during the summer or winter intensives. Just imagine how fast you can get your lunch without a long line at the cash register!

You get the chance (and enough time) to explore the campus more freely
I love exploring! During my intensive last summer, I explored Arts West. I know, I’m a bit late to the party, but it’s better than not going in there at all. I loved every little bit of Arts West, and found a nice studying spot for myself that I will be going to!

Source: Nicole Ng (Instagram)

You can focus on just one subject
The ability and opportunity to concentrate on one subject is a great advantage if you want to do well! I managed to do very well in Music Language 3 because it was the only subject I was doing during the summer intensive period and I could put a lot of effort into it. It’s a really nice feeling to get your final grades back and see that you did really well!

You have fewer subjects to do during the semester
This is personally one of my favourite things about intensives, especially as I am a music student. It gives you more time during semester to do other things such as studying, practising or hanging out with friends. You can be flexible with your schedule too! That’s one of my main reasons for doing an intensive – having more time to prepare for my recital studies, and being able to move around practice and study times if I need to.

Meme Generator

You can get it out of the way
If you are doing a core subject during either the summer or winter terms, it’s great because you can get it out of the way! I remember when I finally finished Music Language 3. My goodness, was it a good feeling. I don’t even have to touch the Music Language stream again for the rest of my tertiary studies! Woohoo!

If you fail the subject during the intensives, you can always give it another shot during the semester
And vice versa for those who may have failed during the semester. It gives you another chance to improve or pass the subject, especially when it’s a core subject. Besides, by re-doing a subject that you may have failed during the semester as an intensive, you’ll stay on track with your study plan, and still be able to graduate on time too!


Can get pretty intense, especially with the workload and expectations that are involved
The courses are intensive – after all, that’s what they’re called. Haha! Learning new content each day can become overwhelming and tiring. That’s why coffee comes in handy: keep yourself awake, and ready to go!

Math GIF

Wishing for a holiday when going straight into the semester
Particularly when you take a core subject as an intensive, you may not get a long break for yourself. Basically, you are sacrificing your summer or winter break for your studies. That’s my least favourite thing about intensive subjects. It sucks when it finishes just before O Week, or during the week that O Week starts. A week is never enough, even if it is better than nothing. So, I suggest making the most of the week-long break, and getting a really good rest before the semester starts! Do whatever you want!


If you are feeling this way, remember that all the advantages of taking an intensive always outweigh the disadvantages! Remember to look after yourself when undertaking an intensive subject. Do something that makes you happy, and give yourself a break every now and then! Or have a chat about your worries, stress and concerns with a friend or family member. I found talking about it was helpful, and got the support I needed to get through it.

If you are behind in terms of attendance or studying, you risk of failing the subject
When taking an intensive subject, you have to be on top of everything. Otherwise, you run the risk of being behind, and it can be hard to catch up! Do lots of preparation and stay organised if you want to do well. This also applies to attending classes and lectures! Always double check if there are any hurdle requirements! Make every week, day, hour and minute count!

So there you have it – the pros and cons of taking an intensive! This is mostly reflecting on taking a core subject, or one of your electives during the summer or winter break, but it applies to any intensive subject available. For more information, check out the handbook: see if one of your core, elective, or breadth subjects runs during the summer or winter break. You can also check out an older post about summer subjects by Daph!

– Nicole