Everybody’s working for the weekend

The weekend is fast approaching and with all the new friends you’ve made in your first week, it’s time to party. Some of us get too excited when Friday rolls around, drink ourselves into oblivion and then spend the rest of the weekend in a darkened room with a bucket (you know who you are). This is a clear sign of bad technique.

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As a self-proclaimed weekend professional, I’d like to offer some expert advice that will help you make the most of your party weekend. All the way through to Sunday.

Be organized.

Plan your wild behaviour ahead of time. If there is a wicked festival happening on Saturday afternoon, don’t overdo it at a dive bar on Friday night. It’s easy to get caught up on the beer train once it gets going, so remind yourself of the outstanding music and dirty dancing you have to look forward to the following day and you’ll pour yourself into bed in a relatively sober state.

The weekend is not a drinking competition.*

Of course you are going to start with a few drinks, maybe even a few shots to get everybody in a party mood. In fact, I strongly encourage it. But there’s no need to make it a marathon.  Alcohol takes time to enter the blood stream, so once you begin to feel even slightly intoxicated, slow down (“nursing” your drink is the official term) or stop drinking until your head clears a bit. Enjoying the party tipsy is a much better option than passing out on the toilet or hooking up with something that resembles a manatee.

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*Unless of course it literally is a drinking competition, in which case, good luck to you.

Replenish.

Disgusting and greasy food is a necessary staple of any big night out, so go for that 4am Maccas with gusto. You won’t regret it. Well, not entirely true, you might… but at least there’ll be something in your tummy besides booze and shame.

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Sunday Funday.

Don’t be a hungover Sunday beast with the curtains drawn. Sunday should never be a depressing write-off because of a hangover, or because the threat of school/work the following day looms over you. Enjoy a lie-in and then plan something random, like bowling, putt-putt, or if you are on a budget, some chill out time at the beach or the park. Make the absolute most of all of your days off before it’s back to the grind.

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Classroom Do’s and Don’ts – A Guide for Week 1 and Beyond

DO sit next to somebody whose quiet and studious behaviour inspires you to work hard and strive for your best.

DON’T sit next to somebody whose distracting (and disgusting) bad habits make you want to beat them about the face with your heaviest notebook.

DO raise your hand politely if you have a question for the lecturer.

DON’T interrupt the lecturer to loudly shout out your question in a manner that indicates you might have Tourette’s syndrome.

Stupid questions

DO ask your lecturer questions about anything relating to the course that you don’t fully understand, and if necessary, set up an appointment to discuss further after class.

DON’T ask your lecturer deeply offensive questions about their personal life, and/or try to set up an appointment to discuss further after class.

DO try to pay attention to what the teacher is saying to make sure you don’t miss any important points.

DON’T pay unrelenting attention to the back of the head in front of you. Not helpful.

DO take simple and succinct notes on the topics that are being covered, either in a notebook or on a laptop.

DON’T take notes on unrelated topics or doodle pictures of private parts directly on the desk. Particularly inadvisable to do in permanent marker. Or paint.

Taking notes

DO discuss key points with your classmates in study groups.

DON’T discuss key points with your classmates during an exam on the key points.

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DO start working on an assignment as soon as it is… assigned. (*Sigh – should have seen that coming)

DON’T start working on an assignment the last minute before it is due because you’ve been busy chasing tail at the local pub.

DO take the time each day to see what fascinating things can be found on the SIBT Students Blog!

DON’T take any of their advice too seriously. Especially ridiculous do’s and don’ts lists.

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Making Friends…

One of the biggest challenges you’ll face in the first week of classes is a social one.

If you are lucky enough to have one or two acquaintances starting with you, you might already see a couple of friendly faces in the crowd. The majority of us, however, will be starting completely in stranger territory.

In no time at all, those faces will become familiar and you’ll be able to count numerous friends among them, but you’ll need to put in some effort. You won’t know who you want to make friends with until you actually speak to people. This way you can start to eliminate some of the weirdos (or, if you are also a weirdo, befriend them).

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The first thing to do is to introduce yourself. Simple.

Ted: Hi, I’m Ted.

Sharon: Hi Ted, my name’s Sharon.

Without a proper introduction, you are technically still a stranger, which makes everything you say just that much creepier.

Ted: My favourite colour is green.

Sharon: Are you speaking to me?

Of course, an easy starting place for those first conversations is the class you are both sitting in.

Ted: What do you think of accounting so far?

Sharon: It’s f*@king hard.

As soon as you find some common interests or hobbies, the conversation should flow naturally.

Ted: Those are fabulous shoes you are wearing.

Sharon: Thanks! I’m a bit of a shopping addict.

Ted: I also love shopping for women’s clothing!

Of course, if you have very little in common, this person may not be a great friend match for you.

Ted: So, do you like cats? I’ve got 6 at home.

Sharon: I think I’ll sit over there.

Avoid potential hot topics such as politics or religion in those introductory conversations. Once you know each other better and your friendship is firmly established, then you can go on to have debates on political or religious issues without worrying about offending anybody.

Ted: If Hell exists, I’ll probably end up there!

Sharon: (touches cross around neck and moves lips silently in prayer)

Ted: Not a big talker, eh?

Keep the conversation lighthearted and ask plenty of questions to show that you are interested in getting to know them.

Ted: Do you have any brothers or sisters?

Sharon: Yes, one older brother. Yourself?

…Without getting too personal.

Ted: So, what cup size are you? I’d guess a C, maybe even a D…am I close?

Sharon: (silent disbelief)

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First week tips

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Don’t miss the first class!

The first lecture of any unit is vital to attend. You’ll get essential information about the course material, including the teacher’s favourite topics (cough *future exam material* cough), find out how the course will be graded, and equally important, how you might be penalized for missing a class or handing in an assignment late, etc. (Not that you would ever do something so despicable).

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Study buddies

Aside from sounding incredibly awkward, study buddies are a real and tangible source of extra help throughout your uni studies. Get chatting to people in each of your new classes and exchange contacts. Not only will you make new friends this way, but when you do inevitably miss a class you’ll have somebody to ask for those notes you missed (and vice versa).

Supplies!

Who doesn’t have a bit of a fetish for the fresh, clean, white pages of a new notebook?  (Guilty!)

I sometimes find it hard to start writing in them, but it is important that you do – take beautiful, clear and concise notes while you still have these crisp, unsullied pages to work with. Once those margins are filled with doodles of Spongebob and smeared with potato chip grease, you’ll be less inspired to fill them with notes (trust me).

If, on the other hand, you have a laptop, things will be a little different – do yourself a favour and turn off the irresistible charms of wifi or you won’t get anywhere fast (except Facebook).

Note the schedule

Your new timetable will take some getting used to, especially if you haven’t had such responsibilities in the past. Get yourself a calendar (or make use of the one in your phone) and put in the week’s lectures/tutorials/study blocks ahead of time. This will prevent you from accidentally missing any, and more importantly, help you organize your “extra-curricular activities” around them. And of course by “extra-curricular” I mean seriously gooood times. 

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Getting Orientated

For many of us, the idea of attending the first day of classes at a new school is enough to strike terror deep into our souls. What will the classes/teachers/people be like? And what will I do if they are all awful and I have to spend the next 4 months (potentially much, much longer) with these monsters?

New surroundings, new routines, and new people are just a small part of the total life overhaul that is about to happen when you start your uni journey, and this can be even more overwhelming if you are starting in a brand new country as well. But it doesn’t have to be a nightmare.

Luckily for all of us, there is ORIENTATION!  (Hooray!)

This is your “time to adjust” so make the most of it!

You’ll be taken step-by-step through all the basics by an experienced mentor who was in your shoes not long ago. And they turned out ok*, right? (*If your mentor is creepy or useless in any way, I absolve myself of any blame right here and now).

JUST IN CASE you find it particularly hard to get adjusted in those first few days, here are a few useful tips:

Ask questions.

Hand up

Sounds easy, but lots of students find it difficult to put up their hand and speak in front of everyone, especially if they think it will make them sound idiotic. Chances are, if you missed some information thrown your way (and there will be lots to take in all at once) somebody else probably missed it too, and they will thank you for double checking. Remember, there are no stupid questions! Unless you are asking the teacher personal queries regarding their age, or perhaps if they are free for a drink after the lecture… don’t do that.

Be friendly and confident.

You aren’t the only one here being thrown face first into the deep-end of tertiary education. All of those blank faces around you are new to this as well, and they are equally confused and overwhelmed. If you would appreciate some friendly words from your future classmates, why not be the first to get the ball rolling. Start up a conversation and make some friends. The worst that can happen is that they turn out to be a dick (in which case, chat to somebody else).

Kick the first day nerves. Stop stressing about making an amazing first impression, and don’t freak out if you make a mistake. Weeks from now, nobody will remember that you tripped and fell on your way to your seat, or that you called the teacher “mommy” (ok, they might just remember that one). This is just the first day of many, and there will be plenty of funny, awkward and shameful moments to come (the good news is that they won’t always be your fault).

Once you can let go of some of those first day anxieties, you can start to really get excited about the months ahead. Put your energy into discovering the best of the campus and nearby areas, whether its your favourite food kiosk, a tranquil study spot, or just the local pub. Your years at uni will be some of the best years of your life; think about freedom from eagle-eyed parents, parties, new friends, parties, fascinating knowledge that will expand your mind for the better, and some really, really great parties.

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When there’s so much good shit to look forward to, it’s just not worth sweating the small stuff.

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Sydney do’s and don’ts

If you’re moving to Sydney for the first time to go to uni, you’ll quickly realise that it is a beautiful city, with a friendly relaxed attitude and a laid back lifestyle.

That is until you’ve been here for a while and realise that there are some, shall we say, ‘guidelines’ to being accepted as a Sydneysider. You’ll also realise that for some inexplicable reason, it has a massive chip on its tanned shoulder about the Sydney vs Melbourne thing. All I’m going to say to that is – beaches. Contest won. Melbourne on the other hand, doesn’t give a shit about this contest.

So, here are my do’s and don’ts to reaching an acceptable level of Sydney-ness.

Clothes

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DO – wear thongs and shorts with a sweater and beanie in Winter.

DO – wear a beanie in Summer.

DO – wear your most fashionable joggers to pick up a coffee on a Saturday morning.

DON’T – throw on that holey old T-shirt, faded shorts and mouldy runners to exercise in. EVER. You will be judged.

 Lifestyle

DO –apply full make-up before doing any form of exercise, this is particularly true when in the Eastern suburbs.

DO – join one of those ‘Boot Camp’ get fit groups where they force you to get up at 2.00am to do ‘soft sand’ running.

DON’T – be fooled into thinking that you don’t need to bring a salad and a beverage to a BBQ. Even if the host says not to. They’re lying.

DO – talk about how expensive it is to buy property in Sydney. Even if you have no intention of buying a house in Sydney.

Beach

DO – seek out the gorgeous little harbour beaches. They are a joy.

DON’T – be embarrassed to gawp at all the beautiful people on Bondi and Manly beach. That is the reason they are there.

DO – learn to surf. You will be immediately accepted.

DON’T – ‘stroll’ or ‘meander’ along the Bondi – Coogee Walk. You either run at full speed or ‘power walk’.

 Entertainment

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DO – keep up to date with the latest restaurants to open and be prepared to queue for days if necessary to get in. It is essential to say you’ve been there.

DO – say you’ve been to the newest, tiniest bar in Sydney. Preferably it’s in a closet, with one ‘up cycled’ chair, one hipster barperson and ALL the obscure alcohol of the world.

DON’T – talk about how good the ‘small bars’ are in Melbourne. Or mention ‘laneways’. It’s just not worth it.

DON’T – say that you prefer to do your drinking in the big, lovely old spacious hotels.

DO – say ‘Schooner’.

DON’T – say ‘Pot’.

DO – watch NRL.

DON’T – watch AFL. Unless it’s the Sydney Swans, in which case an exception will be made.

Geography

DO – talk about how  beautiful the city and harbour is.

DON’T – talk about what a great cultural city Melbourne is.

DON’T – talk about Melbourne ever.

 

 

 

 

 

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Valentine’s Day – couples

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Saint Valentine was a martyr for love. He was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry, and doing some other irrelevant stuff for persecuted Christians.

During his imprisonment he is said to have healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius.  Legend states that before his execution he wrote her a letter and signed it ‘from your Valentine’ as a farewell, and thus the Valentine tradition was born. Of course, one cannot help but assume that he was also having it off with Asterius and that “healed” is a dirty euphemism.

For those of us who are a bit short on healing powers, passion for martyrdom and most importantly, cash, here are a few ideas to show how much you care the cheap and slightly less morbid way.

 The home-made gift

Most people might expect a gift of chocolates or (if they are really optimistic) jewellery on Valentine’s Day. But you don’t have to spend a load of cash to get them something sweet.  Why not invest in some cake mix and icing and create some cupcakes? You can decorate them with romantic phrases, although crudely drawn hearts will work too.

For the creative among you, you could write a love letter or poem to your significant other. A warning though – don’t take this ‘proclamation of your love’ too far, especially if this is quite a new relationship.  Hint: If you are writing in your own blood, chances are you’ve taken it to a creepy place.

All you need is a small, sweet something that will show you’ve put in the effort (even if it cost nothing) – hence, you care!

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 Flowers

Buying flowers can be an expensive business, but sometimes it’s the only way you can show your partner that you care without having to worry about finding them a gift that requires actual thought.

The great news?  Flowers grow all over the place. Now, I’m not recommending that you break into the botanical gardens to find and violate a rare bunch of exotic plants for your loved one, but if you keep your eyes open, you are bound to find a few roses or daisies somewhere. Check around in local parks or in gardens of friends or family members (but ask first before you start circumcising rose bushes willy-nilly).

 Don’t nag them…all day!

Probably the greatest gift of all.

As it’s a special day for the two of you, you could put aside all your usual nagging about the millions of things that really piss you off about your beloved for the whole of Valentine’s Day. I’m not saying it will be easy, but it will be free!  And remember it’s only for one day, after which you can go back to telling them how you really feel about their many, many flaws.

The romantic night out…on a budget

On this special night, restaurants everywhere will be fully-booked and occupied by couples gazing into each others eyes… the very sight of which may cause you to bring your meal back up again.

Avoid the expensive eateries and do your own thing.  Picnics are great – throw together a melange of finger foods, some chips and dip, grab a large blanket and head to a quiet spot in the park or on the beach.

Add a bottle of wine and a few candles and voila – instant romance. Just make sure nobody is around if you really get in the mood; it is a public place after all and you could be done for indecency.

If the weather doesn’t permit for this type of romantic gesture, try a similar picnic spread at home. Candles, nibbles, and wine* will always work.

*Especially wine.

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Weird hangover cures

Have you woken up feeling like lego this morning*?  Maybe you greeted the day with a ‘technicolor yawn’?

Whatever you call your hideous hangover, you can be sure that people all over the world and throughout history have suffered as much, if not more, than you.

So before you reach for the tried and tested water and vegemite option (see previous blog post on this), have a look at what the booze hounds around the world have to offer. Alternatively of course, you could just never drink again.

Ancient Rome
The Ancient Romans loved a good party. In fact, along with roads and public health systems, they totally invented the party. You can find students all over the world regularly commemorating this most excellent of all Roman innovations with the ‘Toga Party’, where all guests are obliged to wear sheets and party like its 150 BC.

Despite being party pioneers, the Roman hangover cure never really caught on. For example, the party guru Pliny the Elder, after a particularly heavy night, decided that ‘deep-fried canary’ was the only cure for him. Accompanied by sweet chilli dipping sauce**, he could bolt down the birdy and get on with that days empiring with no further issues.

Puerto Rico
More a hangover prevention than a cure, the Puerto Ricans swear by the fruity practice of rubbing a slice of lemon (or lime) into the armpit of their drinking arm before they go out. The only way I can possibly see this working is to combine it with shaving your armpit which means rubbing citric acid into the skin would hurt like hell. The shooting pains up their arm would therefore prevent them from slamming down the tequila’s.

Otherwise, I would have to conclude that this method is a pile of stale kangaroo shit.

Sicily
Dried bull penis. It sounds like an ingredient straight out of a witch’s cauldron. Or an alternative to dried porcini mushrooms as a base for risotto. But no, the Sicilians recommend chewing on a good mouth full of dried bull penis as a hangover cure. There is no way I would argue with this fantastic idea from the birth place of the Mafia. Capisce?

Ireland

According to the Irish, after you’ve had a night out on the Guinness you should bury yourself up to the neck in wet river sand. Really Ireland?  This sounds suspiciously like an idea the Irish would suggest to an unsuspecting foreigner purely for their own twisted amusement. Can’t fool me, I’m not doing it.

US
In the harsh days of the Wild West, a nice cup of English Breakfast or chamomile was in short supply, what with it being wild and all. So when your average cowboy woke up feeling like he’d gargled with a chipmunk he would fix himself a cup of rabbit pellet tea. Yep, you’re darn tootin’, that cowboy would put some poo in a pot and brew up a cup of rabbit shit. Delicious.

Canada
Oh Canada! At last there is a country that understands our needs as we grope our way drunkenly through the hangover cures of the world. The heavenly dish of Poutine consists of hot chips and gravy topped off by cheese curds which combine to make the best hangover cure of all time. Also, it’s a great accompaniment to beer, but that’s how we got to this inebriated state in the first place, so scratch that. Yay Canada!

* i.e ‘in bits’

**this is completely made up.

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Irritating Sydney

Before settling down for my studies in Sydney, I spent a gap semester in London. For those of you who have never been to London, rats, angry and/or drunk people on the tube and the depression-inducing weather are just a few of the treats you can expect.

So comparatively, Sydney is a tropical paradise. It’s warmer, cleaner, beautiful, and the people are chilled out and friendly – how could they not be with all these beaches around?

Sydney is a great city.  So great, in fact, that I feel little-to-no remorse in pointing out what is irritating about it. 

Actually, thinking about it, that could just be my general lack of a sense of shame… here are my top 4 anyways:

1) Flies

There is one word for the flies in Sydney – relentless.  If anything, your frantic attempts to swipe them away will only encourage them to try harder.

They are skilled specialists, zoning in on one body part over and over again. Some specialise in ears, some in nostrils (come to think of it, they are huge fans of most crevices), and if you have ever seen a runner suddenly stop mid-jog, clutch their throat and desperately try to cough something up, you’ll know you’ve witnessed a mouth specialist fly. A great source of protein, albeit an unwanted snack.

Whatever the speciality, all of them are massively irritating. Alas, short of wearing a cork hat, shrouding yourself in a net or periodically whacking yourself with a stick like some crazed monk, there’s not much you can do about it.

The good news? They are only around in the summer time so come winter your sanity will (theoretically) return.

 

2) Tourists

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Once you’ve been here for a while you’ll notice that the tourists ebb and flow like the tides of the sea. If the sea was noisy, slow and clogged up the walkways… And the beaches. And the bars.

To be completely fair though, most people annoy me. Tourists only get the short end of the stick because they tend to travel in packs and are oblivious to the various cultural norms. I understand why anybody would want to come here but why, WHY do they have to feed the pigeons?

3) Ibises

Poor Ibis. To begin with, you’re not the most attractive bird, and it’s an unreasonable expectation on our part to think you could maintain that white plumage in the big city.

But your long black beak is the stuff of nightmares, you smell like fresh garbage, and you have taken my lunch on more than one occasion.

Despite the fact that these birds irritate me greatly, they are native Australian birds and they can’t be blamed for rampant consumerism that causes them to rummage in trash.

So give them a break. They are damn ugly though.

ibis

4)  Cockroaches

I’ve always been greatly disturbed by the number of cockroaches that “secretly” inhabit the city.

Last year I was staying at a friend’s house and living under the stairs, much like Harry Potter (which I thought was bad-ass at first, but it really wasn’t).

The sight of just a few of these bastards was enough to prevent a proper night’s sleep for the rest of my stay.  Nothing says “sweet dreams” like a cockroach on the face.

Now, I don’t care as much.* Once I learned that the presence of cockroaches in your house has very little to do with how clean it is, I stopped scrubbing everything in bleach and chilled the f*ck out.

*This is a blatant lie. I so care.

In conclusion…  don’t sweat the small stuff.  Classes start next week and then you’ll have something to properly stress about, so focus on that and you’ll be fine. Resist the urge to kick that ibis up the bum at the park and get your ass to class instead.

 

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Awkward Facebook fails

From the bottom of my black heart, I would like to wholeheartedly thank the people who perform the spectacular Facebook fails that make us chortle on an idle Friday afternoon.

While these unfortunates are regularly lambasted on the internet for being the living proof that humanity is doomed to failure, I think the opposite is true.

By bringing these hideously awkward social interactions to our attention, we are given the motivation we need to be kinder, wiser more thoughtful people, who from now on will always rethink and reread their status updates before exposing them to the public.

So Facebook Failures, today I give thanks to you all for making the world a better place. You are truly the saviours of humanity.

Glowing

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I feel sorry for the clock more than anything!

Busted #1

frends witht he boss

It’s so, so easy. Just don’t be friends with your boss on Facebook. Then you can bitch about him and continue to do a bad job for as long as you like.

 Busted #2

Frenemies

Whatever, how was the food? I’ve heard the humble pie is good.

Handbags

goatee

Matt and his rad goatee should go get a beer together.

True Love

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Bottom Notch.

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