How to get ready for Term 4

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How to get ready for Term 4

At the time of writing, you're probably lying in your bed (either 12pm or 12am really) not doing anything and savouring/regretting the fact that you can do nothing right now. That the horrors of uni/school have passed you and you can do truly what you want.

But sooner or later, the threat of holiday homework and the impending doom of the start of the term/semester looms upon you. Knees weak, arms heavy, mom's spaghetti. You really should get prepped for the new term/semester ahead. Here's how.

Get digitally organised

If you're like some people I know (*cough* Anna *cough*) then your desktop is probably horrifically filled with documents, screenshots, and random other things that you never got around to deleting.

Today's the day. Just like you have to clean your room - you gotta clean your computer too. It doesn't require anything fancy - in fact it requires these 3 steps:

1. Delete/archive everything that you don't need - let's be real, you're not going to be using all the handouts that they've sent you. So just delete them all.
2. Create a folder for each and every subject you have - make sub folders for assignments, notes, handouts, and you can order them by week or topic
3. Back it up. Back it up. BACK IT UP. Put it on Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, whatever - so whatever freak accident doesn't delete your work either

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Get physically organised

This is where it varies for so many people. But here's your chance. Escape that entropy. Get whatever stationery you want, throw out all those useless handouts, and make sure that you know where you can get anything physical.

If you're like some people - you can scan them and put it up on your computer if that takes your fancy. That way, you have everything down on lock.

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Get mentally organised

Organisation of the mind sounds like the most useless thing ever. When I first wrote it - it kinda felt like I was about to spruik you something. But this is probably the most important part of the article.

1. Let go of the unimportant stuff - half of the things you worry about probably won't matter in the grand scheme of things. So don't get too caught up in everything.
2. Habits make or break you - the people who do the best do it out of habit, make it as easy for yourself and get your habits down pat
3. Take breaks - while it may seem like you need to do everything now, you don't. Take one day out of the week to do absolutely nothing.

- Mark

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What to do during the break

1. Rest Up & Chill

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You’ve probably been working pretty hard for quite a while now. Exams are coming up soon too and you’ve probably been inundated with assessments the past few weeks (and you might still be). When you can try and get in a day or two’s rest at least so you can rejuvenate and smash the rest of 2018 out of the park!

If you get the chance, hang out with a few good friends. This time of the year can be quite tough leading up to exams so support each other during the process.

2. Get some exercise

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Joints and neck feeling quite tight? Feeling like you’re 30 years older than you are? Do a bit of stretching and some exercise to get those endorphins flowing. It’s likely that you’ve been staring at a computer screen for numerous hours a day and your body’s health is paying as a result of it. 

3. Study & Practice Exams


Yeah this is probably a good idea…right?

Written by

Himal

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Thursday Thoughts: Being Vulnerable

I was 10min in to a seminar I was presenting and I for sure thought it was going to bomb. The majority of the students were disengaged and were not paying attention. Naturally my heart started racing, I was forgetting to breathe while I was talking and I had 3 more hours left of the program to deliver!

If didn’t come up with something quick, then I knew it would be over. Amongst the stress I thought perhaps if I just be real and really dive deep into the emotion and share a bit of my personal life then maybe, just maybe, I could get them on to my side. 

I’m not going to go into too much detail, but what happened was as soon as I started talking about the struggle of high school life, crumbling under pressure, talking about expectations and how damaging it is to yourself when you compare yourself to other people and opening up about my own experiences with this, everyone in the room was silent and attentive.

I think there’s something about when you feel what you’re saying when you talk about anything, especially pain and struggle, that makes people want to listen.

I endeavoured to figure out what it was and it lead me to reading short stories and listening to other people talk about struggles and significant events in their lives.

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I think when you talk about what it is that you’re going through or what you went through;  It makes people feel like they’re not the only ones who are suffering and they can subsequently deal with their situation with a bit more resilience and hope. 

 

 

I used to be hard wired into thinking that when you share your emotions and your story - it’s a weakness. When in fact, it is an incredible tool to connect with people and make them feel better about themselves and their situation. 

So I encourage you, with the right people and context of course, to share some of your stories and listen to what other people have to say about theirs. Whether you’re the one sharing or the one listening, either way, it's relieving.

Written by Himal

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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting Uni

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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting Uni

Starting university is probably on the path for many students finishing high school these days. I know when I started uni, there was so many things I wish I knew before I started that no one told me. Some things were of no surprise, yet there were so many things, small or little, that really surprised me.

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Uni is as hard as year 12

I had this preconceived notion in my head that just because I was studying what I want, and that I could skip everything that it would be easy as pie. How wrong I was, I found that it was as hard as year 12 for me. You were only given the freedom to slack off, unlike in year 12 where there was an intense pressure placed upon you.

This may vary however, students undertaking STEM degrees are more likely to clock in more hours than Arts/Commerce students. But it's not easy - so don't be fooled that once year 12 is over, that you can finally start relaxing.

Everything is compressed

One thing that definitely surprised me was how fast the learning was. I remember taking an introductory maths unit and every single 1 hour lecture was akin to a single week or several weeks within high school.

You gotta really stay on top of everything because they will go on with or without you. It's more of a fend for yourself type of situation. So don't expect anyone to hold your hand throughout it.

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Uni is lonely...if you make it out to be

While there may be hundreds of students within your lecture hall, and it feels more like a class within tutorials. It can still get quite lonely. You make friends within a tutorial, yet this friendship only lasts one semester. I call these one semester friends.

You really need to organise everything or the people you meet, and the friends you make start fading away.

There's so many opportunities

You'll get barraged with so many emails, so many fliers and so many people asking you to join clubs. It really is the time for you to try whatever you've always wanted to try - or join the committees and clubs that you want.

Just keep in mind - that all the clubs you've joined during orientation week, you probably will never go to a single event by them. You get so excited yet you realise there's not enough time to go to every single event they have.

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It's so hard finding a spot in the library

Like damn, why is it so hard to find a spot to study.

- mark

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STUDY HACK: Improve hand writing and speed in essays

I can’t remember the last time I actually wrote an essay in pen and as a result of that, whenever I had to during a SAC, my hand would hurt and my writing legibility would significantly lower by the time I was done writing an essay. 

There is a good quick fix to this that I used in year 12 to train my hand for essay writing. All you have to do is tape a AAA battery to the end of your pen. 

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It’s like weight training for the fine muscles in your hand. Over time as you get used to the weight you can keep adding more AAAs. By the time the SAC or the Exam comes, take off the batteries and you’ll find a dramatic increase in your writing speed and legibility. 

No more hand cramps and random squiggles and lines in an essay!

Written by Himal

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How To Write Fast

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How To Write Fast

You might be like my girlfriend - she's great at writing, yet she writes at a snail's pace. Now, whether this is due to writer's block or perfectionism - we've all been there. It feels like whenever you write 3 words, you find 5 words to delete and before you know it - you're back to where you started. Writing fast isn't a talent, it's a skill - and here's how to hone it.

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Plan, plan, plan

If you have no idea what you're going to write, of course it's going to be really hard to write something down. If your mind wanders in and out and there's no clear voice in your head as to what to write then your writing is going to crawl.

You need to know what you're going to write about. Some people make massive plans so when it comes to writing - everything is already set out, they just have to get from point A to point B.

For me, headings are my plan. Headings contain the essence of a section or a paragraph. They encapsulate your writing in a few succinct words. Add some headings before you write - who knows you might find it much easier to write with a set out plan in place.

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Don't be a perfectionist

Writing is a skill, you need to be able to practice day in and day out. Some people are scared that whatever they write down is final, permanent. So whatever they write has to be 100% correct. This is the worst thing you can do when you write.

I want you to write as wild and as reckless as you can. There may be spelling errors, grammar errors, or you might not even make sense to yourself when you read back on to it. But the point is - getting something down is the first step. The next is honing it, revising it, working on it just like a master blacksmith.

Be one with your pen (or keyboard!)

Have you ever noticed, that whenever you have ever written fast - it seems like the words are coming out of your head faster than your hand can keep up with? This is what I'd like to call being in the zone.

Being in the zone means you only have one task and nothing is going to get you distracted from finishing that task. This requires having zero distractions around you, and focusing only on the words in front of you. Forget all the fancy features on your word processor. Open up notepad (or a plain piece of paper!) and make the only thing between you and your words are the fingers that write/type them up.

Writing faster, means writing more, means getting more practice, means writing better. There's no way to get better at writing than to practice - so, on your marks, get ready, go!

- Mark

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Why you shouldn't study/work at all one day a week

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Why you shouldn't study/work at all one day a week

To many disillusioned students - there is never ever enough time to do anything at all. There's always lectures to catch up on, classes to prepare for, readings and assignments to do. So why do we say you shouldn't work at all for an entire day?

Avoid burnout

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This is the one I see the most often, especially in year 12. You feel like everyone is working at a blistering breakneck pace and you need to catch up. Sometimes it never feels like enough - and before you know it. you're a burnt up husk of who you used to be.

This is burnout. Why is it - the most successful people you know, they somehow seem to always have time to go to parties, go out, and have fun. It's cause when you're burnt out, you can't do anything. They have something going on.

Give you time to enjoy life

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Keeping your sanity within the semester is more than just being on top of your school work, but also not turning into a hermit that does nothing all day but study.

Plus, if your eventual goal after graduating is to get a job - the difference between an 85 and a 90 matters a whole lot less than what you do in other aspects (work, volunteering, projects, etc)

‘Reset' your week

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This is the perfect time to get your week in order, making lists of what you're going to do, what you're going to achieve and ‘reset’ the clutter that accumulated within the week.

Whether that means cleaning your room, creating a bullet journal, or having a long think of what you see the week being - this is a good time to reflect, reset and re-emerge as a better person ;)

Plus - who doesn't want an excuse not to study at all. Here's my prescription for you: Once a week, take an entire day of no studying, and enjoy.

- Mark

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Time and time again...

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Time and time again...

Here are a few facts:

9 years of our life is spent on TV and social media.

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3 years are spent in education.

28.3 years of our life is spent sleeping...

We have 86,400 seconds every single day.

How do you spend it?

I ask you how you spend it,  because you can’t save it. It is the one commodity that is the same for everyone. You can earn more money, but can you earn more time?

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Hours upon hours we can spend glued to a TV, seeing the words, “are you still watching?” more than we see those that are important to us.

I get it. It’s not as easy as flipping a switch. We can’t suddenly become go getters, wake up at 6.am, study hard, hit the gym, read a book, play music, engage and connect with people, power through the night and kick goals in all aspects of our lives… but really, who’s choice is it to make?

If the choice is in our hands then we can choose to do more of the things that are meaningful.

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If someone deposited $86,400 in your bank every single day, but at the end of each day it was all gone, how and what and who will you spend it on?

 

“Our greatest mistake is thinking we have time.”

 

Written by Himal

 

 

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The PM routine of 4 uni students

Mark

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For some reason, every single day after uni/work I go from a reasonably alert person to becoming a shuffling zombie that can only think of sleep. I'm thinking it's the public transport. That vibration of the engine, and my mind starts slowing down - yet I can never find a comfortable spot to go to sleep.

So when I get home, after I put everything in my bag out to its rightful place I go under my bed covers and just rest (nap or no nap). My days usually start at 6am, so getting home at 6pm just wears me out. I make sure to relax and rest before dinner. This usually consists of me catching up all of my YouTube subscriptions and getting stuck down the rabbit hole of recommended videos.

I don't usually get a lot of time to relax during university/work/volunteering so I try to make the most of it when I can, waiting for that moment where I can do this every night.

Anna

After a long day of uni/work, I like to treat myself to a relaxing night that usually goes a little bit like this:

TV: After eating dinner, I like to relax and digest while watching TV. I like watching cooking shows, like Masterchef, and I’m not ashamed to admit my love for trash reality TV such as The Bachelor. I am also easily pulled into crime and hospital shows; those first two minutes do such a good job of sucking you in!

Cuddle: I have two dogs and a cat, and there’s nothing better than spending time with my little furry friends when I want to de-stress and wind down.

Shower: Yes, I’m a night shower-er, controversial I know. But what can I say? I like the feeling of getting into bed after a shower; I feel fresh and relaxed.

Skincare: My 8-step skincare routine has grown over the course of my never-ending endeavour to find the best skincare products. Some people may find the routine extensive and unnecessary, but I find it very therapeutic to go through and is a must every night!

YouTube: After all of that, I like to settle into bed and watch some YouTube subs on my phone until I feel tired. And then I’m off to sleep!

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Amanda

Last night, a calendar notification made a necessary appearance on the right corner of my laptop.  ‘SWOTVAC DOn’t YOU PLAY’ The ungrammatical nature of the phrase reflects my own panic and attempt at being funny.

I don’t always have a set ‘winding down routine’. I typically start my uni/work day at 7am and then come home at 8:30pm!

After studying, I would then indulge in some pampering. I would cleanse my face and use Lush's bubblegum lip scrub as a way of letting my body know that the day is almost over. Following that, I'll listen to one or two songs and do some stretching.

But my ideal routine would entail the following:

1. Putting on a face mask 

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2. Re-reading Calvin & Hobbes is like going back to a forgotten happy place in my childhood. The comic strip by Bill Watterson centers on a six-year-old boy, named Calvin who has a precocious talent for masterminding pranks alongside an anthropomorphic stuffed Tiger!

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3. Playing any album by City girl or In Love with a Ghost in the dark!

Himal

My days aren’t quite as demanding as my fellow TQ writers. At least for now they aren’t and so my routine generally as follows:

1.     Hit the gym

After spending a long day at uni where most of my time is actually spent traveling on public transport, or even after work, going to the gym re-energises my tired mind. It is the one place where I don’t have to engage with my thoughts; I can just focus and lift something heavy.

2.     Shower

Yes, I shower at night…it’s only because I feel unclean if I don’t and I to 'wash off the day' and get to bed feeling clean.

3.     Diary

This is more of an occasional thing that I would like to make a daily routine but I generally write down:

-       Reflections on specific events that were interesting or troublesome

-       What time I woke up, what time I’m sleeping tonight

-       What I ate and how much I ate

I’m trying to track my habits and if there should be anything that I should change.

4.     YouTube/Netflix

I generally like to catch up with all the subs on Youtube and if there isn’t anything interesting I’ll end up watching an episode or two of the Fresh Prince and slowly nod off to sleep.

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Facing Failure

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Facing Failure

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You lay in your bed as despair sets in, you feel as if there's nothing left for you to do - what are you worth anyway? You think to yourself - what's the point of doing anything if everything I do fails?

Whether it be a failed test, a job interview, rejection from the one you like, or you didn't do as well in something you thought you were good at; we all have something that we wish we didn't fail at.

Fail hard, fail fast

Those successful people you see everyday. The ones that look like it was effortless to be as good as them. They were not always like that.

They used to be like you too - everyone starts somewhere. Behind every successful job, there have been many failed interviews - people show you their highlight reel, not their outtakes.

Learning to fail is probably the best thing to develop. At first, each failure was crippling and it set me back - but for each and every failure, it felt a little less crippling. While a set back, there was always something for me to learn, something I wouldn't have known otherwise.

This probably is hardest for those who never had to try being smart, or those who were naturally good looking, charismatic, smart, etc.

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Failure sets you apart

I'm gonna say it outright. The people who fail the most are the ones more likely to be successful. It seems like an oxymoron doesn't it?

But think about it - those who face failure are doing something they don't know, doing something they may not be comfortable in.

The ones who are risk-averse never try to go for that dream girl, get that unattainable job or start that business. They just stick to where they are, scared of doing anything due to fear of failure.

Where do I go from here?

One thing that I always think to myself whenever I fail is that, life goes on.

“This too shall pass”

What are you going to do now? Where does this lead you to?

Mark c:

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UPDATE: Two Month No Buy Challenge

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UPDATE: Two Month No Buy Challenge

So two months have passed and, as promised, here is the update on my No-Buy challenge. It is not so much an update as it is a conclusion, a verdict on how I did; did I give in, or was I successful? I’ll give you a rundown on what happened:                      

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So right after my ban commenced, I had to buy accommodation for my mid-year Japan trip. After all, this trip was one of the main reasons I decided to undertake a no-buy challenge in the first place. Now let me tell you, the total price for accommodation was not cheap, so it was pretty easy for me to not spend any money on the things I had put on my no-buy list, simply because I didn’t want to (or rather, I had no money to)!

Alas, as the weeks went by and pay days came and went, my bank account replenished and the restriction of low funds, in turn, diminished. I felt the familiar urges to shop and spend start to resurface, and I really started to feel the challenge in this ‘challenge’. The first time I felt my resolve really starting to slip was when I saw a top that I had considered buying at its full price of $60 on sale for $15. It took me a good few deep breaths and repeating the inner mantra of ‘You can do this, you can do this, you can do this…’ to resist. Another time was when I found some ankle boots that perfectly matched what I had been looking to get for over a year.

 Me when I saw the palette restock and I couldn't buy it..

Me when I saw the palette restock and I couldn't buy it..

However, I was really tested when I scrolled past a post on Instagram from Mecca, an Australian beauty retailer, advertising an exclusive restock of a limited edition eye shadow palette that had I really wanted but missed out on last time it was available. I didn’t know if it would be restocked again after this time, and I highly doubted that it would stay in stock for another month until the end of my ban.

To cope, I would partially satisfy my impulses by window shopping and scrolling endlessly on online shopping sites; it was also a test of sorts to build up my resistance to the temptations that I gave in to so easily. Over some weeks, it really did start to work. I went to the shops equipped with the mindset that I wasn’t going to spend any money, and I didn’t. I had a stronger resolve and I was firm and quick in saying ‘no’ to temptations to break the challenge. Being me, I did complain and dramatise my despair in not being able to buy a certain item at times but the want of the item never overcame my determination to succeed in the challenge.

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This is not to say that I still did not have my moments of weakness, of woe of being tied to the restrictions I had placed upon myself. But these were made up by the times I got to reflect and feel proud of my spending decisions and the restraint that I had built up. Of course, the desire for a lot of things was still there but not being able to immediately act upon that urge made me realise that, if only I had taken the time to mull over an item for a day before buying it, I would have realised that a lot of the time the desires were only temporary. I have probably saved a lot of money these past two months from staving off impulse buys - as a result, I have been able to save up money for things that I actually really want, and have contemplated over for some time. In the long run, this type of spending is more meaningful than the immediate but temporary fulfilment I receive from the impulsive purchases I so often wasted money on. 

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So, what now? Now that the ban is over, the resolve that came with not wanting to fail the challenge is gone. Without that factor, do I just revert back to my old spending habits? Well, hopefully not. I’m hoping to be more conscious of what I am spending, and really questioning the necessity of an item before taking the plunge. Is that to say that I won’t still ‘treat myself’ to a couple of indulgent things? No, I probably will stay partake in a little bit of ‘treat yourself’ moments here and there but I will strive to be less impulsive and really take the time to mull over an item before purchasing it. Overall, I hope to instil in myself healthier and smarter spending habits.

I learnt a lot in these past two months, and I want to better myself from this experience. I know I still have a long way to go, but this is a start! I said it as a semi-joke in my first article, but I really think I would be up for a six month no-buy next time...maybe not for a while though :P 

Written by Anna :> 

 

 

Side note: Some of you may be wondering 'And what of that limited edition eye shadow palette?' Well, I had kept a tab open on my phone to refresh each morning to see if it was still in stock and, promisingly, it stayed in stock for over a week, two weeks, three…I decided that I would purchase it at the end of my ban as a reward but, alas, on the night the challenge ended the palette, devastatingly, went out of stock. Maybe it was the universe trying to tell me something. Or maybe the universe just hates me :<

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Self-restraint vs Stress

My horoscope for May said something along the lines of exercising ‘self-restraint’ especially with money. 

Whether horoscopes are valid or just our minds falling into the illusive trap of aligning with what we want to hear will be the crux of another discussion! Thing is, my horoscopes tend to be relatively accurate. Which is equal parts fascinating and equal part, concerning. Perhaps my mind is so wired to fixating on favourable bits of my horoscope. As a psychology student, I should recognise that I am engaging in confirmation bias almost every day. But hey, I like to think that a little magic and fate exists in the constellation of words. 

The past recent weeks has been such a flurry of 3am nights (self-inflicted) , muji pens running out of ink and stress-inducing assignments. What’s new? But going back to the theme of self-restraint and moderation, I realise that I have developed a somewhat unhealthy tendency to splurge on material things or an Instagram feed of brunch… in a digestible form. Upon writing this post, I have come to the realisation that stress-induced Amanda should stay away from all kinds of online shopping. 

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Need to budget better...

AND IT’S ONLY THE START OF MAY?

I shouldn’t be able to write a post about the things I have accumulated. But alas, I figured this could work as a sobering realisation to stop indulging in material things as a way to deal with stress. Instead of indulging in the 5-minute euphoria of buying something shiny and new. 

Let's be positive and start with the good purchases I have made with a dash of spontaneity. 

1. Girl's night out on a Monday

Watching Avengers: Infinity War on a Monday night felt somewhat cheeky and kinda self-indulgent as I really should have been studying. Nonetheless, the movie was INCREDIBLE. A raw synergy of action, emotion and just pure, unadulterated adrenalin. At the cost of $20. But I have no regrets there! No, actually I do have a regretful moment. I lost an entire bag of unopened shapes somewhere in between. Monday nights now remind me of the smell of $ 8 popcorn, discounted crisps and gal-pal reunions. 

It’s a well-kept secret that I use social media far too often. To the point that I have deleted my favourite app which is Insta!  So, I’ve been actively using a multitude of apps to counter the impulse to unnecessarily check on my phone.

  • I have been loving FOCUS! Which is a timer that breaks up my study time into productivity-filled slices.

  • Another app I use cleverly personifies productivity as a growing tree. And distraction is the tree's poison! 

Unnecessary purchases that I have made this month include 3 blushes and ... 

buying strawberry Oreos and salt and vinegar chips. Apart from the obvious satisfying of tastebuds, the allure of junk food lies in its close-knit associations of comfort and relaxation. My friend who was with me whilst I did ‘grocery shopping’ pointed out that all the items I was holding had pink packaging on them. So, did I really want Oreos or did my brain fade into nothing but a 5-year-old kid wanting something PINK? Truthfully, I just wanted the Oreos. 

Nonetheless, I feel like packaging plays an instrumental role in diminishing our self-restraint when it comes to shopping. Essentially, it’s glorified cardboard with some ingenious marketing tactics emblazoned on it. So, that is something I have to remember! I'm buying the lipstick/book/product, NOT the pretty designs on the outside. 

Best finds of the month

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Whimsical & dreamy

Perfect for as a study playlist or sleepy moods. Playing this in a dark room is pure bliss. 

I think self-restraint when it comes to shopping is something I have to improve on.  Self-love does not necessarily equate to spending money on things. This popular catch phrase of 'Treat yourself' now typically validates splurging. Maybe self-love and self-restraint can be as simple as having an earlier night instead of sleeping late or disconnecting from the digital world and focusing on the now. 

 Perhaps, I should undertake Anna's no-buy challenge

-Amanda ♡ 

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What I Miss About High School

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What I Miss About High School

  Thinking back on cringey high school memories...

Thinking back on cringey high school memories...

Now I know high school can be a tumultuous period in our lives, full of cringe-worthy, embarrassing and sometimes painful memories that are better left in the past and forgotten. After all, it falls in those formative years where we’re all struggling to simultaneously fit in and find our own identity. By Year 12, everyone can’t wait to move on to the next chapter of their lives and leave high school behind. I was one of those people too, looking forward to what university had in store for me, but I was also hesitant and sad to leave the familiar school grounds in which I had grown up in the past six years.

I was quite lucky. I had a very positive experience at high school; I had good friends, good teachers (for the most part), I enjoyed my classes and I was a good student. I’m not going to lie, I had my fair share of drama, broken friendships and tears to get to that point, but by the time I reached the latter years of Year 10/11/12 I could positively say that I was happy. Yes, I’ll admit it, I was one of those students who actually looked forward to going to school every day.

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Now, as a third year university student nearing the end of the year’s first semester, those high school years are but a haze of memories and nostalgia for me. As I go through my daily life now as a university student, I often look back on those high school days with a feeling of longing. Longing for those days where I could see my friends every day, not just as a fleeting moment at the beginning of a lecture. Longing for those smaller classrooms, where I knew each person in the class and where the teacher actually knew everyone’s names too. Longing for those after school band practices, and those excursions we would make to various band competitions and performances.  

  University be like...

University be like...

Looking back now, the work wasn’t even that hard either, even if it seemed like the worst thing in the world at the time. It is so much more manageable than the average university workload, trust me. You also don’t even have to worry about what you are going to wear every day either because everyone is just wearing the school uniform.

I also miss the routine that high school gave me. 9AM till 3:15PM every day, band till 5PM some days. The university course that I am enrolled to has a different timetable each week of the semester, so it’s difficult to settle into any kind of routine. I often wonder why it was so easy to wake up and go to school every day in high school, yet it’s a struggle to make it to one day of university a week. I think it’s ultimately due to the lack of routine my ever-changing timetable gives me (and also the long commute).  

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Being in the third year of university now, many people in my high school graduating year are now finishing their courses and looking for full-time work. And it boggles my mind, because it seems like just a while ago since my friends and I sat around in the VCE centre, chatting about class and the weekend while we waited for our sandwiches to crisp up in the toastie machine. We were all so carefree back then, without the weight of 10,000 word essays, assignments worth 20% of the unit mark and mid-semester tests weighing down on us.

I’ve since visited my high school a number of times since graduating, and each time I feel a pang of sadness as the place becomes more and more alien to me – this place where I was once so comfortable, that was as familiar to me as my home for six years, this place that I had attached such a strong sense of belonging to, was now somewhere that I felt like an outsider. And I realise that I can miss high school as much as I want, but it really is just a part of my past now. 

It really is a case of not knowing what you have until it’s gone…so for all of you high school kids out there, cherish these years while you can. As for me, I'll continue to reminisce fondly on my high school memories but I'll look forward too to the future and what it will bring. After all, it's all a part of growing up. 

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Written by Anna.

 

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Books to read on the train

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Books to read on the train

 The idea of books always seem romantic to me.

The idea of books always seem romantic to me.

Reading books on the train, somehow the phrase sounds more romantic than the actual experience. We might imagine ourselves on a long haul train through the country, with the scenery passing by as we lounge cosily in our seat.

The truth couldn't be any more different, you might be reading on a seat or standing up, the train is crowded because everyone has to get to work/school and you might be falling asleep because you had hardly any sleep last night.

Whether our train journeys are romantic or mundane - I do think that reading is probably the most beneficial thing that people nowadays don't do enough of. Public transport provides a lull in-between two points of our lives - a place where we can read and reflect.

So without further ado - here's the books I've been reading on the train c:

Fumio Sasaki - Goodbye Things: The new Japanese Minimalism

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This is a quick read, and has considerably less focus on talking to objects to get rid of things (looking at you Marie Kondo).

While I don't agree with what Fumio Sasaki says in certain parts of his book, it really is a good way to kickstart throwing away things you don't need.

It raises the question of what is necessary for living, why do we have what we have, and where does acquiring too many things lead me to. Sometimes, as they say - less is more.

Robert Jordan - The Wheel of Time

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For you fantasy nerds (like me!) this is probably one of the classics. If you want a journey through the lands Robert Jordan has created in one of the most interesting worlds yet.

There are references and classic tropes of fantasy, but they're all subtly different. If the concept of an adventure that takes you through the entire world and back sound interesting to you - go for it!

Word of warning however - this is a very long series, with 15 books altogether, and with each book often exceeding 500-600 pages, this is not a series for the faint of hearted.

This is an easy read, but a very long one. But each book is so worth it, every, single, time.

Lucy Maud Montgomery - Anne of Green Gables

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After much poking and prodding by my girlfriend to read her favourite ever book series. I finally did, and it was certainly not disappointing. My initial apprehension of a 100 year old book about a little girl going through her life quickly turned to curiosity for what happens in her life.

This is indeed the original coming of age story that is raging in Hollywood right now. After reading this book, I kinda felt the pang of a parent seeing their child grow up, and becoming someone they were proud of - but also the sadness that their child is no longer the small kid that always needed them.

A quick read - it's something that shouldn't be turned away because of the plot of the book.

So, what are you waiting for? Read that book, finish that novel, and savour that story.

Mark c:

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Why I'm deleting Instagram*

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Why I'm deleting Instagram*

*for a month (cheeky disclaimer, sorry that was a little click-baity) 

The relationship we have cultivated with a plethora of social media platforms is nothing short of fascinating. I like to conceptualise them as little doorways into alternate realities. 

Hypothesis:

Is there a negative correlation between the deletion of Instagram and increased productivity and over-all focus in a chronic female user over a one month period? 

Clearly, this is an ambitious speculation extrapolated from my tendency of being overly optimistic. 

The following image encapsulates my overly-optimistic attitude towards this. 

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The divisiveness of the poll... 

reflects a great deal of faith. Or rather the lack of it. 

 

Two Mondays ago, I had finished studying at the State library and decided to peruse what the book store has to offer. It’s like a rabbit hole into little gizmos you don’t need but desire, tons of writing implements and of course, constellations of words woven across 300 pages.  

As I studiously ignored the shiny stationery, I came across a book catchily titled ‘How to break up with your phone?’ The punchy title immediately made me rethink social media in an entirely new light. I don’t think we ever seriously considered the ‘Terms of Conditions’ of Facebook when we were 11. Our constant usage and engagement with such platforms is simply because everyone else indulges in it too! Ah, the power of social influence, hey? 

As I stood there reading the blurb, I pondered about whether I’m obsessed with checking my phone.

It’s one of the first things I check in the morning and the last thing I check at night. 

Uh-oh.

We’ve come to associate phones with social networks, instant gratification, friendship, connection. Truth be told, I love the instantaneous nature of social media. The ability to wave or connect with an old primary school friend on a different continent is a luxury never afforded to my parent’s generation as youths. Furthermore, the inception of platforms has given rise to a starburst of new colloquialisms and slang unique to the millennial experience.

The problem I face is how I unconsciously open certain apps and fall into a rabbit hole of mindless consumption. Perhaps, this chronic habit has been positively reinforced by the (usually) unexpected pop of ‘validation/gratification’ packaged into a chubby red heart. Alas, the self-replicating cycle begins! 

I had a conversation about this very topic a few weeks ago with a friend who chooses not to post anything on Instagram in the last four years of having it. 

Friend: It’s all instant gratification, smart girl.
Me: Yeah! But I’m self-aware!

Looking through a psychological lens, the addictiveness of social media stems from its variable-interval schedule. You never know when something new pops up! As the reward is unpredictable, our brains are primed to be in this state of anticipation. Subconsciously waiting. 

Another reason why I’m extricating myself from this photo-sharing app is because I have a huge assignment to complete by the end of May! I figured that this could be the ideal window of time to have one less distraction. heh. 

Wish me luck*, 

Amanda 

*cos this gal will most definitely need it. 

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HOW TO: Be Productive

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HOW TO: Be Productive

Recently...

I've been getting annoyed with how little I get done in a day. Does this sound like you too?

I associate productivity with how many things I can get done in a day. You might be similar or you might associate productivity with how many hours of work you put into studying, doing homework, etc.

Whatever it is...

The two tips I'm about to share with you below is how I try and increase the number of things I get done. It may even help you too!

1. Write a To-Do List

I believe we mentioned this in previous articles before but I might add a bit of a twist.

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I would suggest...

Write your list the night before

...not on the day of. Just like how you set your alarm to wake up the night before, you should do the same with the tasks you intend to work on the next day. This sets the intention in your head the night before so you have a clear understanding of what needs to get done tomorrow when you wake up!

I find that, without a To-Do list, I get stressed out because I feel like I have too much to do. However, once I write it down, it seems a lot more manageable!

 

Here's an example of what I do below:

 

Instead of writing this:

Write English Essay

I put down

Write Essay Intro

Write Body Paragraph 1

Write Body Paragraph 2

Write Body Paragraph 3

Write Conclusion


As you go through, tick/cross each task once you have completed them. Doing this gives you a sense of accomplishment and increases your motivation to do more tasks!

One more thing, make sure you factor in chill-time. I mean, actually put down 'chill-out' as one of your tasks to do. That way your To-Do List looks balanced and not too daunting, which can sometimes be demotivating.

2. Wake Up Early…

...by going to bed early!

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It’s hard to wake up early when you went to bed at 12 or 1AM. Get to bed early enough to get enough sleep - avoid watching Netflix because we all know it’s not going to be just one episode, it’s going to be ONE SEASON. That being said, avoid Social Media too as it's easy to get lost in the endless scrolling and all the posts; before you know it, it'll be 1AM!

That’s it! I hope this helps increase your productivity!

Oh and one more thing,

Write tomorrow’s To-Do List now!

 

Written by Himal

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How to wake up at 6am!

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How to wake up at 6am!

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For the past few months, I've been waking up at 6am every single day (well, most days anyway) and the free time I get in the early morning is probably the most valuable time in my day.

To get to where I am now, however, took a few long weeks of what seemed to stretch out forever. The alarm blaring was like a knife through my heart every morning (metaphorically), and indeed it still feels like a challenge every morning.

Apart from the obvious (like sleeping early and for 8 hours) here's 4 tips for waking up early every day.

1. You won't wake up if there's no reason to

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Ask yourself a question: Why am I waking up at this ungodly hour?

If the answer is because you thought it would be a good idea, or you saw an inspirational video the night before, then I hate to break it to you: You probably won't be able to get up tomorrow morning.

When you woke up early to go to a test, go to your exciting trip or go to that job interview - did it feel like it was easy to get up? Almost as if you could have woken up without an alarm?

If there's no reason to do something, then why do it? Find a reason, make it concrete and make sure it motivates you to wake up every morning.

2. Prepare the night before

This is simple, if you make it easy and convenient to get up - it makes the entire process so simple.

The night before, prepare what you're going to wear, put your textbooks/notebooks/pens in your bag, and have your lunch already set up. 

This makes the morning so much less of a chore and gets you out as soon as possible fighting that sleep inertia.

3. Set only 1 alarm

If you only have one alarm and you have a reason to get up (like getting to work/school on time) then the fear of missing that alarm will force you to wake up. Having multiple alarms gives you a safety net for when you might miss one alarm, but with each alarm you set will get further and further away from waking up at the time you originally planned to!

It might be a hard lesson - but it keeps you being honest to your motivation.

4. Take a shower in the morning

This one might be a bit divisive but, from my point of view, getting into that hot shower feels as good as hitting the snooze button and gets you refreshed for the day.


Tackle the world with your best self - not your snoozy, bed-headed, want-to-go-to-sleep self.

Mark c:

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Our favourite places to study!

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Our favourite places to study!

As schoolwork, assignments and tests pile up - the TQ team shares their favourite places to get things done.

Disclaimer: images are not of the actual locations mentioned

Mark - 7:20AM at Ancora Imparo Way 

The early morning is probably the most peaceful and the best time to study; but it's probably the hardest time to get up at. Nevertheless, my favourite study spot is 7:20AM at my university's education building.

I grab a spot with a nice comfy cushioned bench with a small table and get to work. The small murmurs of people already there and the peacefulness of the early morning allows me to do things with a fresh and energized mind.

Plus, I'm already at uni so I can never be late to anything due to the traffic. Other pros include that if I start in the morning I can finish early afternoon, which gives me valuable time to do something I might have forgotten about that was due that day.

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Amanda - 8:50AM at Arts West 

Like Mark, I enjoy an early start to the day as it gives me a small window of time to find my focus. 

I would always go to the third or fourth floor of Arts West on the Unimelb campus to find an empty table space! Usually, my classes start at 10AM or later in the afternoon, so I would utilize this time to do my readings and work on some notes. To complement the cosiness of my surroundings, I would plug in some ambient music. My favourite songs to begin my morning include: Undertow- Panama, Your favourite Song- Loote remix and Loveless Shadows by City Girl

Recently, I have been frequenting the ground floor of the Biomed library. I find their swivelly-chairs super comfortable. And there’s a real sense of collective stress and hence, solidarity within that space. I once heard someone breaking down from forgetting her laptop charger and she apparently had ‘three lectures to catch up on’. 

I also occasionally frequent to Bread Kingdom! Filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread, cosy, what’s not to love about this little quiet café? This study place is exclusively for light reading and just brainstorming ideas. 

In times of peak stress, you will find a flustered, red-cheeked me at home in the study room or in the main area of the State Library! 

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Anna - 2:30PM at home...

There's no place quite like home for me when it comes to a good study space. I find the familiarity of the surroundings and the sound of my mum's Vietnamese drama shows and my dogs barking oddly comforting;  a lot of people would probably find it distracting but, for me, I like a little background noise when I study. 

At home I am able to sprawl my notes as far as I please across the table, listen to my lectures on x2 speed without earphones on full volume and have study snacks readily available in the next room - ultimately, I enjoy the freedom and comfort of studying at home. It is where I can focus and am most productive.

I like studying in the afternoon or at night, mostly because I don't have the willpower to get up as early as Mark and Amanda. I also like the freedom of being able to study as long into the night as I want (or need) to. 

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Himal - 9PM back from the gym

Generally my days are quite packed so I prefer studying at night when I do not have anywhere else to be later on.

I sit at my desk with a drink bottle, a cup of green tea, my stationery and laptop neatly set up ready for a GG (Good Grind) with a little bit of low-fi hip hop music playing softly in the background.

I prefer to be alone when I’m studying as I love talking and wouldn’t be able to hold myself back from talking.

Ultimately, the best study sesh would be right after gym when I’m at peak performance.

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Where are your favourite places to study? :) 

 

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5 tips on how to land that internship!

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5 tips on how to land that internship!

From the very first Facebook post that led me to applying for an internship, to the very final interview that landed me the internship - I learned so many valuable lessons on how to get that coveted work experience that could catapult you into the “real world”. Since my internship finished in the summer of this year and people are applying for internships left, right and centre; I thought I'd give some tips on how I managed to get one.

My experience: I'm a computer science student who got an internship at a Big 4 company in Audit (aka Accounting). I worked as a pizza delivery driver when I applied, was a peer mentor and volunteered at my church. My average mark in uni was a high distinction.

1. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take

Just apply. Seriously. If you have a low WAM, no work experience, no extracurriculars, or think you wont land the internship, just apply. A 95% chance of rejection is better than a 100% chance because you didn't apply.

Similarly, it doesn't hurt to apply to many internships at once. Worst case scenario - you get rejected but still gain so much more knowledge of how the process works for next time. Best case scenario - you get multiple offers and have the luxury of choosing. After all, every application increases your chances overall.
 

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2. Work, volunteer, do anything that's not academic

Companies want people who are more than just booksmart. They want well rounded people, people who can manage time, communicate and balance multiple things at once. It can be anything:
• A part time job at Maccas (McDonalds for you non Aussies)
• Helping out at a non-profit, at a church, etc.
• Join a band
• Write in a newsletter, be part of a local radio, etc.
• Join a uni club (and take leadership roles!)

They prefer people with these experiences than people who have slaved away and achieved a 99 WAM for the expense of giving up everything. Plus, this gives you an excuse to do something fun or interesting rather than studying all day.
 

3. Know what you're applying for

This is a no brainer - knowing what you're going to be doing and who for is essential key info. Questions about the company or the role are definitely going to be asked in an interview - might as well prepare an answer now.

Think about it - if you had a business, would you hire someone who didn't even know what they applied for or what your company did?
 

4. People skills > Technical skills

If you have made it all the way to a phone/video/face-to-face interview and/or assessment centre then your resume stops talking and you start talking. Being friendly, and a likeable person will get you 80% off the way there.

The people hiring you want to know if you'd be a good person to work with. After all would you work with someone who was amazing at their job but was really aggressive or difficult to deal with?
 

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5. It's okay to be rejected

Seriously, it's not the end of the world if you get rejected. There are so many more places you can apply for, and so many more opportunities. Just take this as a lesson, and figure out what you can improve on. Here's a quick list:
• Behavioural questions (e.g. tell me of a time....)
• Online testing (verbal, logical, numerical reasoning)
• Video interviews (it's so much harder than face-to-face)
• Resume tweaking (spelling, grammar, ordering)
• Not being yourself (they can see a fake person a mile away)

Good luck!

By Mark Patricio (who is in no way an expert on this c:)

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App Review: Daylio

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App Review: Daylio

The first time I heard about mood tracking was in a bullet journal setup video on YouTube. I had always had the perception that bullet-journalling only consisted of drawing out your own personalised weekly diary spread, but I soon realised that 'monthly expenditure', 'habit/mood tracking' and  'brain dump' pages were a common feature of many of these personalised diaries. I have neither the creativity of commitment to manage a bullet journal, but I was interested in this idea of tracking your mood throughout the month. 

So for the past month of March I have been trying out a mood-tracking app called Daylio. It is free to download on the App Store and Google Play, however, an upgrade to Premium is available for an additional cost of $4.49. 

So how does it work?

The app will give you a daily reminder to go to the app and submit your mood entry for the day. The time at which you want the reminder to be sent can be edited in the settings of the app, or you have the option to turn off reminder notifications altogether. 

When you click into the app, it will open up on your 'diary page' where your previous entries of the month will be shown. At the top of the page there will be a purple bar prompting you to add the day's entry.

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When you click on the prompt, you will be taken to another page where you are given the choice to rate your mood for the day out of five options. This page will display the date and time at which you submit your entry. After choosing your mood, another page will open up where you can record the activities that you have completed that day. You can even add a written note about your day, which will show up in your entry after you have submitted it.

When you are done, you simply have to tap on the purple tick at the bottom of the page and your entry will show up in your monthly diary entry page.

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What are the pros?

As you can hopefully see, the app is really easy to use and navigate. I found that the whole entry process only took about a minute, so it wasn't a massive inconvenience to enter every day. Even so, there were days when I would forget to add my entry, but the app accounts for this by allowing you to add your mood for previous missed days. 

Apart from the ease of use, the statistic features are where the app really shines. On the calendar page, you are able to view your moods on a calendar layout - it was very interesting to see my mood represented this way throughout the month. You can even choose to see what days of the month a particular activity was done, and how often it was done. I feel like these features show the duality of this app as both a mood and habit tracker. 

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On the statistics page, you can see your monthly moods represented on a line graph (please don't judge my mood swings!!), and also your monthly mood count. You can also see which moods associate with which habits, which I found gave some pretty good insight on how particular activities elevated or depressed my mood. 

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Daylio also allows you to add new activities and has an extensive range of cute little icons which you can choose from, so there's little chance you won't find a suitable icon for whatever activity you are trying to add. You are also able to name your activities and moods whatever you like, which I feel adds a nice personal touch. 

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What are the cons?

At times I felt limited by the fact that you can only add one mood entry per day, as I feel like my mood can fluctuate throughout the day. For example, on the days where I chose 'Sad', I was not sad throughout the entire day; I most likely had some kind of event that triggered that sadness at the time I made my entry. However, multiple daily entries are a feature of the premium app, so if you are willing to shell out $4.49 you can make as many entries as you want. 

Overall, what do I think?

I think Daylio is a really great app if you want to have a mood tracker but don't really have the time or creativity to make one in a bullet journal spread. In a way, the app doubles as a habit tracker as well, and gives some insight on how your mood can be affected by particular activities. I think keeping in tune with how you are feeling is very important, and being able to see how some of your habits associate with your mood can be useful in navigating a way to become an overall happier person. 

 

- Written by Anna :>

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