Studying vs. Weekend

So it’s Friday afternoon, you’re done classes and work for the day, and you are heading home.  BUT… you have an exam on Monday. And Tuesday. (Maybe even Saturday…eww).  Come to think of it, next week is a minefield.

The weekend is studying’s natural enemy. At the beginning, you’re convinced that you’ve got the willpower to lock yourself in your bedroom for 48 hours straight. Come Sunday, you’re staring at that untouched textbook and contemplating life as a hermit in the forest.

Nobody wants to spend their glorious free time studying*, but there are certain steps you can take to ensure a pain-free yet productive weekend – here’s what to do (and what not to do) in the lead up to finals:

(*if you do, this blog is not relevant to you – please stop reading and leave immediately with the knowledge that you disgust me.)
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State of Origin Supporter Tips

To be blatantly honest, I have little understanding about this so called game of “Rugby League”. If you are anything like me, you watch Rugby League three times a year (Origin time) and feel this is enough to sufficiently class yourself as an expert. Now while I may not be a real expert, I have however become an expert at making people believe I know what I’m talking about. Last night’s game was extremely exciting (a real nail biter) with the Blues coming out on top beating QLD on their home turf 12-8. I made sure to practice all my fake expert techniques and every single one worked a treat.

 

If you’re new to the whole origin scene, here are my top tips to keep you from looking like a footy fraud (the ultimate crime when watching the Origin at a pub, club or RSL).

 

Guidelines to follow when watching the next two games:

 
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STUDY TIPS

“EXAMS”

If you experienced a shudder or felt physically sick as a response to this word, you are probably one of many SIBT students preparing to sit your finals next week.

It’s easy to get intimidated by the “E” word. Exams are hostile creatures – they loom before us, aggressive obstacles standing in the way of all our future happiness and success.

And they will happen. Next week.

Now that I’ve successfully freaked you out with a threatening introduction, let’s move on to the good news. With just a few simple tricks and a little discipline, you can maximise your study prep and be ready to kick the “E” word in the “A” word.

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Time management

If you try to dive headfirst into the exam material, you’ll end up treading water and will get nowhere fast. First, take the time to organise yourself and break each unit up into manageable sections to tackle one at a time. Be strict about the time you can spend on each section and allow extra time for more difficult material. DO NOT pull an all-nighter the night before!  Anything you think you might have crammed in will be lost in a haze of sleep deprivation – you’ll end up scribbling something unintelligible about unicorns.

Setting

Not everybody studies the same way, and therefore where you study is an important factor. Some students benefit from some music or background noise; others may thrive in a silent, empty room cut off from wireless internet and contact with other humans.

 

If you are the type who finds yourself googling “Channing Tatum” instead of paying attention to your notes, then the latter may be more appropriate for you. (Note: Check out MUSE – great study space at the North Ryde campus)

 

 

Rewards

Set small, achievable goals and reward yourself. This could be a lolly at the end of each chapter you read, or a hot chocolate once you’ve mastered a difficult formula. Treat yourself for each little “win” and you’ll look forward to the next one. (Within reason – obviously consuming a mass amount of chocolate or sugar during your study sessions will not end well).

Humour

Staring at the same dismal page of notes alone and praying for something to sink in is a slippery slope to madness. Instead, bring a little joy into those painful study sessions by studying with friends. Do some casual quizzing and have a laugh over obscene pneumonic devices – you’ll remember the fun you had AND the exam material.

Breaks

While an all-day studying frenzy seems like a good idea in the weeks leading up to finals, it isn’t.

Your brain needs time to recharge and process all the information you’re abusing it with. It could be a nap, a sandwich, a stroll around the block, or some quality time googling Channing – give yourself a break and look at the material with some fresh eyes later on.

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How to Keep Yourself at Your Desk When Studying

Honestly, this is literally the biggest feat known to man: the ability to keep oneself at one’s desk for longer than 30 minutes when studying. I have tried and failed many times, however there have been a few glimpses of hope where I have pumped out a solid 60 minutes of study in one go and been incredibly happy with my success.

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What I have learnt in my experience is that you have to trick yourself into staying there. There is nothing so appealing about study that would make you want to sit there by your own will, so you need to outsmart yourself with trickery. Sound crazy? Read on.

 

Successful ways to trick yourself into staying at your desk and studying:

1.       Close all curtains and cover all clocks.

You will be super-duper counterproductive if you time watch.  By using this clever trick (often seen in casinos), time will fly and you won’t even have time to think about that beautiful sunny perfect-beach-day you are missing outside. Hermit yourself up, light a cute candle for ambience and flick on those desk lamps. You’re in for the long haul.

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2.       Create a feast

This is by far my most practiced and effective strategy. You first need to elect an amount of time you wish to study for and then prepare a meal that will last you this long.

I find that hot chocolates, hunky sandwiches, any form of dessert, tea and biscuits and last night’s leftovers are fantastic additions to your desk during any study period.

3.       The shut-out technique

This strategy can be unbelievably irritating, however in desperate times we must take desperate measures. Ask your family or housemates to literally ignore you, pretend as if you don’t exist for the amount of time you need to study, e.g. 3 hours. Now, when you try to escape your desk and have that cute procrastination chat with the house member of your choice, they will walk away, leaving you with no choice but to return to your desk and study. Success.

 

If all else fails, there is an extreme case scenario option. Not for the faint hearted, but designed for those with limited self-control: Tie yourself to your chair, allowing only freedom of movement for your arms so you can write and type.

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Happy Studying!

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6 Things We Take For Granted as Students

As students, we occupy a strange world in-between childhood and adulthood.

There are many things that technically make us adults, such as living alone and being responsible for our own work, bills and groceries (oh, and our age I guess).  However, we lack many of the real responsibilities that adults have to face. For many of us, our parents still play a major role in helping us “get our sh%t together”. It would be nice if they could continue to do that until we were 40, but there’s probably a limit to how much (of you) they can handle.

What we can do is make the most of this exciting “novice adulthood”. It’s like a test drive, only someone else is still around to slam on the brakes if you go a bit crazy. (And you probably will.)

Below is a list of things we take for granted as students – take the time to appreciate them now!

Naptime, anytime

When is the last time you got home from a morning class only to throw yourself back into bed and sleep for 3 beautiful hours?  This is a luxury that most people don’t have in the real world (except hobos), but in student world, it is a constant source of bliss.

Flexible schedule

Sure, our timetables are subject to the courses we’re taking and their availability, but we still have a lot of choice when it comes to organising our schedules. Don’t do mornings? Then don’t – schedule all your classes after noon and sleep like a baby (…or a hobo).

Student discounts

It pains me to say it…but we won’t always have 20-30% off bubble tea, movies, bus tickets, bowling, and karaoke.

Time with friends

You’ll miss that bunch of idiots when you are all working full-time jobs and having babies. Ew…babies.

Endless opportunities to meet/date new people

Every new class you start or club you join means a whole new social group of like-minded people of a similar age. That’s a continuously expanding pool of potential friends and lovers that we can tap into at any time for a bit of fun. (Hey – get your mind out of the gutter.)

Tolerance to several nights out in a row

There’s a reason that (old) people say, “I’m getting too old for this” after having a few too many. We’ve still got the energy to go without much sleep and our young and nubile livers can handle their fair share of abuse. I don’t mean to condone heavy drinking here, but you should be out there partying – FACT.

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Speaking “Strayan” 101

Speaking “Strayan” is something us Australians are very proud of, and we can certainly understand why anyone would wish to learn. Look, it’s a complicated language in which there are very few rules, but it does require a comprehensive understanding of short words and twisted sentences. Put them all together and you got the language “strayan”.

Learning another language takes a long time and is often very difficult (as a failed student of year 8 French, I can concur with this statement), so in an effort  to help you learn “Strayan”, I’m just going to throw you the basics. Keep it “short and sweet” as they say.

 Key “Strayan” Words Everyone Should Know:

 

Roadie: a beverage that is consumed en route.

“Mate, it’s a long walk. I’d bring a roadie or two.”

 

Sheila: A female. However, if you go around calling every girl you meet Sheila, you’ll probably end up getting slapped.

“I just got slapped by a Sheila!”

 

Deadset: Another word for seriously or absolutely.

“You got slapped by a Sheila?”
“Yer, deadset!”

 

Chook: Chicken.

“Love, have you fed the chooks this morning?”

 

Reckon: Think.

“What do you reckon about Sheila drinking that roadie?”

 

Rock up: Arrive or turn up.

“Do you reckon he will even rock up tonight?”

 

Whoop Whoop: Middle of nowhere.

“Mate, he lives in the middle of Whoop Whoop, deadset.” 

 

No Worries: Not a problem.

“Hey thanks for cookin’ the chook tonight.”
“No worries mate.”

 

Shindig: Party or event.

“Wanna come over to me place tonight mate?”

“Nah, can’t, I got that shindig at Garys. And I’m not trekking out to Whoop Whoop.”

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If you aren’t sure if you’re doing it right, remember this: Two syllables are more than enough for any word, just keep chopping till you get there. Then throw a vowel on the end like “o” or “ie” and you should be right.

Eg.       Dave → Davo

Monday → Mondie

Tracksuit → Trackies

Afternoon → Arvo

Breakfast → Breakie

Barbeque → Barbie

Avocado → Avo

If you can master all of the above, you’ve pretty much got the whole language under your belt. Deadset.

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5 Things You Should Never Do at a Job Interview

Do not, under any circumstances…

1)  USE INFORMAL OR SLANG PHRASES

Interviewer:  So Jason, tell me a bit about why you are interested in this position.

JasonI dunno man, seems like a pretty exciting gig. YOLO, am I right?  (*attempts high five*)

 

2)  BAD MOUTH YOUR PREVIOUS EMPLOYER

Interviewer: Why did you leave your previous job?

David: Oh you know, same old story. Boss was a total dickhead. You seem alright, though.

 

3)  BLATANTLY LIE ABOUT SKILLS OR EXPERIENCE

Interviewer: So, do you have any leadership experience?

Ruth: Back when I was living in a small tribe in Hwanuk Nuk Na‘ah (imaginary place), I saved 60 small infants from rising flood waters and rebuilt the town with my bare hands.

Interviewer:  Get out.

 

4)  OVERSHARE

Peter: It’s a miracle I made it in on time!  Ate some horrible chicken last night, spent half this morning on the toilet.

Interviewer: Ahem…yes, well then. Let’s get started shall we? (*enthusiastically crosses something off list*)

 

5)  HIT ON YOUR INTERVIEWER (or the receptionist, or anyone else in the office…)

Interviewer: Hi, my name’s Sarah, I’m the manager here and I’ll be conducting your interview.

John:  Hi Sarah, my name is John but you can call me…tonight.  (*winks*)

Interviewer:  Wow.

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4 Areas Where Technology Makes Us Useless

Developments in technology are essential to modern life, and have resulted in vast improvements over the last few centuries, particularly in health and medicine. However, it is not these positive changes that I wish to talk about because that wouldn’t be entertaining for anyone. It is because we rely on phones, computers and other devices that are much, much, smarter than us that I believe we are getting more useless as a species.

Here is my list of 4 skills that are fading fast… and what you can do about it.

1)  Map Reading

I mean a real, physical map – like, made of paper (something you might have seen in the Pirates of the Caribbean). Somewhere between Google maps and GPS tracking devices, we’ve lost the capability to plan routes and get to a destination our own way. Now we just type in the final address and a robot with a slightly Russian accent tells us which way to turn every 500 metres.

The solution?

Turn the road trip into a quest!  Leave the tracking system at home (or if you aren’t quite that ballsy, leave it in the boot as backup) and find your own way. Getting lost is half the adventure – who knows what unpredictable things/people you’ll come across (especially in small, Australian towns).

Note: Obviously, this is all a load of BS if you are trying to get to a job interview or other important meeting in a hurry – bring the GPS.

NOOOooooooooMemory Retention

With instant access to ALL the information that we could possibly require at any given moment, when is the last time you had to actually remember a friend’s phone number or birthday? When you are left with a dead battery and no charger, it’s like the apocalypse is happening.

The solution?

Since many of us will not go very far without our phones, the solution involves a little discipline. When you look up an interesting fact or detail, take a few minutes to repeat it to yourself. This way, it will (ideally) get stored in your brain as well as your phone.

Handwriting

As class work turns more and more toward the “online”, you’ll soon realise that the Hello Kitty pen you bought specially for your first day at SIBT has become less of a necessity and more of an awkward desk ornament.

The solution?

Practice! If you don’t want your notes to look like they’ve been scrawled by a chimpanzee, then put in the time and effort to make them look nice. Sure, your essays have to be typed, but there are other letters that are much nicer when personalised…i.e. a sexy love note to that girl/boy in your economics class.

Attention Span/Social Skills

These two go hand in hand, so I’ve put them together. I know what you are thinking… “How can I possibly focus on what the lecturer or friend is saying when I’ve got ‘The 100 Best Cat Photos Of All Time‘ to look at?”

 

The solution?

Self-awareness is the key. Look up from the screen for a minute and just check – is your teacher looking at you like he/she has been irritably repeating the same question for the last 5 minutes? Or maybe you’ve become “that guy” at the party: so busy on Facebook that you fail to notice that everyone else is having a great time in the hot tub. You’re missing out buddy – do yourself a favour and put the phone down.

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Editing

With the term coming to a close, it’s likely that you have a number of final papers to hand in. Now, most of us (myself included) will find that the hardest part is starting to write, although that usually has a lot to do with laziness. It is, however, very important that you give yourself plenty of time for the last stages of editing and revision. (If you are starting a paper the day before the due date, you’re in for a long, sleepless night of caffeine-induced dementia.)

Once you’ve gotten into the flow of writing and have covered all the points you want to make, it is just a matter of honing your paper into that masterpiece that will have your lecturer jumping for joy. When you are this close to the finishing line, it is easy to throw in the towel and call it finished BUT (and I cannot stress this enough), proofreading and editing your work can make a massive difference in the final product.

Below are some editing mishaps that demonstrate just how important it is to go over your work. One little word or letter in the incorrect place can drastically alter the meaning… often with hilarious results.

From student essays…

“Spanish military dictator Francisco Franco was supported by right-wing panties.”

“Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world in 1580.”

“The specific ocean is the biggest ocean on earth and covers more than 30% of the earth’s surface.”

Stay clam now...

 

…to resumes…

“I have a known track record and excellent experience with accurancy and fixing erors”

“Strong Work Ethic, Attention to Detail, Team Player, Attention to Detail”

“Dear Sir or Madman,”

 

…and even historically.

Thou Shalt Commit Adultery

A 1631 version of the King James Bible became known as the “Wicked Bible” because the word “not” was left out…

To be or… to be

One edition of Shakespeare’s Hamlet apparently went through several proofreaders without any of them catching this blatant error…even though they are some of the most famous lines in the English language.

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How to Beat Mondays

Why are Mondays so upsetting? 

I’ll tell you why. You’ve spent the last two days enjoying complete freedom.

Maybe you spent the weekend with friends checking out some of Sydney’s finest sights, strolling through Darling Harbour or enjoying the patio at the Opera House. Maybe you slept in until noon on Saturday, put on really loud music and danced around in your underpants. Or maybe, JUST MAYBE, you drank a bit too much on Saturday night and spent Sunday rolling around in pyjamas eating Hungry Jack’s off your belly in front of the TV (definitely NOT an insight into my exciting life…ahem *cough*).

Urgh

So when MONDAY comes round again, you don’t feel prepared to be thrown back into the deep end with school and work and studying and uuurrrggghhh. You need to take extra care to destroy those Monday demons with special treatment.

To beat Mondays: 

  • Treat yourself to an extra-large caffeine drink (i.e. white chocolate mocha…mmmm) with an extra shot of espresso in it and kick that weekend hangover to the curb.

Note: You should also refuse to make eye contact or speak to anybody until you’ve had said beverage.

  • Dress comfortably. If you can pull off sweatpants without looking like a hobo, go for it.
  • Bacon makes everything better (Always). For breakfast, grab a bacon-and-egg roll from Taste Baguette at the Hub in North Ryde – they are massive and hugely satisfying.  Or, if you are at the city campus, cross York Street and grab an Italian BLT from Panzerotti – it is even BIGGER and comes with crispy, thin pancetta (basically like bacon’s sexy cousin).  I’m drooling already…
  • Spend at least half an hour writing a list of what you need to get done today, and then prioritise it. Taking the time to organise yourself at a relaxing pace will make jumping in to the actual work much less threatening. You can also figure out which tasks are less essential and push them further down your to-do list.
  • Celebrate when they are over!  Mark the end of your last class or work shift with a victory dance/nap/glass of wine. Looking forward to this joyous moment at the beginning of your Monday will make it more bearable.
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