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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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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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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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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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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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How To: Stress Less

It’s the 21st of March and already I have been faced with more challenges than I can count. 

I am certain that some of you feel this way too.

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School is throwing assessments at you left, right & centre, you are trying to stay fit on top of trying to fit in time for your family and friends. You might even be dealing with a few more personal issues, and 

YOU

are expected to manage it all and keep your head above the water. At times, it can becoming overwhelming and stressful so below I have listed down a few ways you can manage this stress.

1. Write it all down

All the thoughts and emotions that you have running through your mind, write it down. Clearing your mind helps you to think clearly. 

2. Write a To-Do-List

Write down all the tasks that you have to do so you have it clearly in front of you and you can better prioritise your time. 

For more info on prioritising, take a look at our previous article: http://www.thequintessential.org/articles/2018/3/8/get-yoself-togethe

3. One Step at a Time

*cue Jordin Sparks*

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Have you ever been so overwhelmed that you’ve spent an hour stressing over something when you could’ve just taken action and got the task done?

Just take everything one step at time. Worrying about all the things you have to do at once can be quite overwhelming and you may end up accomplishing nothing. 

4. Sleep

Get a good night’s rest. Having enough natural energy to operate throughout the day is essential to keeping your mind healthy and in productive mood. 

5. Breathe

This is by far my personal favourite out of all ways to combat stress.

You’ll find that when you are anxious or stressed, thoughts are running through your mind at roadrunner speeds. Taking long and deep breaths slows down the pace of your breathing and hence the pace of your mind.

Afterward, you'll feel calm and you’ll have sharper focus.

Try it now!

 

There are many different ways of dealing with stress and, in all honesty, you’ve got to do what works for you. The above few are examples that I find are quite helpful and I hope they work for you!

Written by Himal

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5 steps to meal prepping like a boss

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5 steps to meal prepping like a boss

Quick! What's the first thing that you think of when someone says “meal prep”?

Bland Meal Prep?

Bland Meal Prep?

Uhhh...probably big gym junkies who eat nothing but bland boiled chicken, rice and broccoli with nary a single spice in sight?

I mean - that's what I first thought when I first started meal prepping. It had to be something boring that you eat every single day as you slowly start to resent your food by day three (it has happened to me before!). But I was amazed, shocked, even gobsmacked at what the benefits were.

Imagine this, you wake up at 7:30 and realise - "crap, I have a class at 8 and I should have gotten up earlier, I'm gonna be lateeeeee". Do you have time to think of finding something nutritious, delicious, and fun to eat? No you probably scan through your pantry and settle for a single sad slice of white bread.

But when you meal prep, you just grab and go; knowing that whatever you have is something you actually wanted to eat and even saves you money for that ASOS sale that you know is totally going to happen soon.

So here's 5 steps to get you started.

1. Look up the most delicious recipes you can find

Seriously, the sky's the limit. No more sad sandwiches or expensive slices of regret. You can have delicious burrito bowls, stir fries, pasta, or that curry you always get from the restaurant.

Google is your best friend here

You don't have to eat sandwiches or sad tuna

You don't have to eat sandwiches or sad tuna

2. Do it all on Sunday morning

Or afternoon really, or whenever the day before your week starts. This keeps the meals the most fresh.

3. Try it before you make a massive batch of potential regret

This has happened to me several times. I thought it was an amazing idea to try some Cuban meal before seeing what it actually tasted like and didn't even try before the next day.

By then it was too late, I realised it tasted terrible and I was stuck with a massive batch.

They can be healthy too!

They can be healthy too!

4. If you get sick of food easily - get some VARIETY

If you hate eating food several times in a row - then meal prepping seems like a nightmare come to reality - the thought of eating the same exact meal day in day out sounds like a recipe to destroy your tastebuds.

But really - you can just make some variations on your recipe, or create several different recipes. For example, you can make several different sauces with pasta or different vegetables for roast or prepare the chicken (or other protein alternatives) differently.

5. You can always leave yourself a cheat day

Seriously - go wild on that Friday lunch with your coworkers. Just cause you're saving money, being healthy and being an absolute gun doesn't mean we don't have cravings every now and again.

You do you. After all, variety is the spice of life ;)

- Mark c:

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Two Month No Buy

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Two Month No Buy

I have a problem; I have next to no restraint when it comes to spending money on things that I know I don’t need.

Salesperson: You look amazing, honey!

Salesperson: You look amazing, honey!

I’ll fall for any marketing strategy, any advertisement or sponsored social media post. I’m basically an advertiser’s dream consumer. I live for the emails of those numerous online shopping sites I’ve signed up for to tell me what all the latest sales are. I click on those FB and Instagram ads knowing full well they were tailored to me by those sneaky activity trackers. It becomes a vicious cycle of seeing an ad or social media post *cough*Trendmood*cough*, wanting to buy whatever is advertised, contemplating for about a day before taking the plunge and then seeing another ad.

I am also easily swayed in person to purchase things in the shops. When the sales assistant tells me I look good in a top or some jeans I am basically sold, even though I know it was probably part of their job to tell me I look good. Even without the extra encouragement from the sales people, I’m rather good at convincing myself that I really need another stripy shirt, even though I have six others at home.

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Another major driver of my non-restraint is FOMO. FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out, and by Google definition it is ‘anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media’.

Essentially, it’s the perception that if you don’t get something now, you will never be able to get it again. It happens when I come across a good sale, whether it be an ad I scroll across on Facebook or a sign propped outside a store in the shopping centre. Don’t even get me started on anything labelled as Limited Edition; it is a marketing strategy literally telling you to snatch up whatever item as fast as you can before it’s all gone. Makeup companies especially love to slap ‘Limited Edition’ onto their products to drive hype and sales (and it works!).

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Now don’t get me wrong. I am not completely irresponsible – I do have savings that I am trying to build upon, and, if I try hard, I can resist the pull of that beautiful Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette or those ankle sock boots that I’ve been wanting for ages. But alas, as my mid-year trip to Japan approaches, saving is more important than ever.

That is why I am going to challenge myself to a two-month no-buy. I know that, realistically, I don’t need a 7th stripy t-shirt or another eye shadow palette. My earring collection has also literally quadrupled over the last two months, and I can live for another two without purchasing any more.

Now, I know that two months isn’t a particularly long period of time and there are probably some of you out there thinking ‘is that even a challenge?’. Well, it is for me, and I have to start somewhere I think is achievable. Who knows, maybe after these two months I’ll have learnt some more restraint. Maybe in time I could go for a six-month ban, possibly even a year. But, baby steps…

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Although I say my reason for doing this is to save for Japan, I also hope to gain more from this challenge. I want to be more critical with my purchases and smart with my money - I don’t want to open a wardrobe or look over at my makeup vanity to see them full with regretful purchases made over split-second decisions.  I want to be more resourceful rather than constantly try to expand my resources. I want to learn to use and love what I already have. Because that’s the thing – when you have so many new things inundating your collection at such a fast pace, it’s hard to take the time to really fall in love with any of it.

So I’m taking matters into my own hands and making my own intervention.

Two Month No Buy challenge  

The rules:

-       No new clothes

-       No new makeup or skincare

-       No new jewellery or other accessories

Exceptions:

-       Refills of items I already use regularly

-       Glasses, because I am due for a new prescription and will most likely be getting a new pair soon

Effective:

-       As soon as this article posts. 7pm 12-03-2018.

Wish me luck!

Written by Anna :>

 

P.S. Stay tuned for an update article in two months to see how I did!

 

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How to: Prioritise

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Do you ever find yourself saying something along the lines of: "I don't have time for that"

Or have you ever been so overwhelmed by the number of things you have to do that you end up being unproductive and not doing anything at all?

Very often this will be the result of inefficient prioritising! So let's see how we can efficiently prioritise to make sure we have time for the things that are important for us and also reduce our stress levels.

But first, let me entice you with a few benefits of prioritising

Benefits

  1. You’ll be organised
  2. You'll Stress Less
  3. Overall productivity increase

If you find the above 3 points convincing, read further to find out how you can make this happen in your life.

Priority No. 1?

Right now you might be juggling a whole lot of things. A few of them might be listed below (not in any particular order)

  • Family
  • Work
  • Social Life
  • Sport
  • Music
  • Gym

It’s hard enough as it is to try and allocate time during the week to each of the things above but what about the other areas that you need to consider, like time for yourself? 

We spend hours and hours, acquiring money, getting grades and trying to become what we consider ’successful’ only to then later on spend money, effort and time on our health which has been sacrificed in this pursuit.

It’s essential to ensure that you take care of yourself first as priority no.1 so you can efficiently do all of your other activities.

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Personal Experience:

I used to spend hours and hours studying so I could make sure I get good marks. On top of that, trying to balance work, a decent social life and family time made everyday seem like I was going 100 miles an hour, not stopping to take look that I had left both my mental and physical health at home. Eventually it took me to a point where everything caught up to me and I would frequently get sick, I lost interest in things that I would usually find enjoyable and I’d feel almost purposeless. Everything only took a turn for the better once I started spending some time on myself and taking care of myself first and then focussing on everything else that I needed to do.

The rest of your list...

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...really depends on what activities you have throughout the day, month or even year. Before you go full steam ahead and jot down your list it is important to be honest with yourself.

If you are a student who is studying, clearly studying is high in your priorities (if you want to do well that is). If you’re an adult and you’re trying to climb the corporate ladder then work will be quite high in the priority list. 

Once you’ve done this, then you'll have a clearer idea of how you should be spending your time. 

 

Also, having clarity in this area can assist your decisions about what you should or should not do.

For example, in the case that you’re a student, consider this scenario; you have a party Saturday night but there’s a SAC/Test/Exam on Monday morning and you aren’t prepared. Going by your priorities, if Study/University is higher than your social life in your priority list then the decision is clear: Study and not Party. 

Overall, your stress levels reduce because you understand when and where it is necessary to spend your time and energy on a given task. 

Alright guys! That's it!

I hope you found this post useful! 

Written by Himal

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    Hello 2018!

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    Hello 2018!

    Okay, we know, we've been away for a long time (like, a really long time). However, we're back and we have a lot of exciting things planned for TQ! But first, we thought'd we'd update you on what we've been up to...

    Himal

    Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 7.08.46 pm.png

    Going in order from most energy spent to least: Uni Family, Gym, Family, Music, Social Life is all that I’ve been doing the past half year and a bit. 2017 was a really good year, and this year I’m planning to ramp things up and hopefully make 2018 even better! The most significant difference between this time last year and now is how much I understand about myself and what I want. I find I spend a lot less time now trying to copy other people and bending over backwards trying to fit in. I’ve begun to understand that time alone is quite beneficial and its hit a point where I quite enjoy my own company. Other than that, I’ve spent the whole of February doing what I love; travelling all across Victoria sharing inspiring messages to high school students getting them to surpass their limits and get themselves to the next level!

    Mark

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    Hey everyone! It's been a busy few months for me this past summer. Over the past few months I have found work as a bookkeeper/financial executive (basically I have to do all the finances) of a small advertising agency based in Melbourne as well as having undertaken an Assurance internship at one of the Big 4 accounting firms. It seems that I keep getting accounting roles even though I study Computer Science! Having my hands full with that, I also play flute as part of a concert band and am actively involved within my church with teaching, and everything tech related! I probably need to travel and relax or something before I burn out and will be going to Japan in a few months!

    Anna

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    Hi. It’s been a long time. Almost a year, in fact, so I have a couple of things to update you guys on. After wrapping up a tiring yet rather successful second semester of university last year, I enjoyed a long summer break, the highlight of which was my first trip interstate to the Gold Coast with some good friends. I also finally got my license (woo!), and I took full advantage of the fact by going on a road trip to Wilson's Prom. I mainly passed the rest of my days hanging out with friends and family, streaming shows, reading and listening to music

    I continue to work at a part-time job at a pharmacy which, although at times challenging, I enjoy a lot more than my first retail job (which I also continue to work at). As for now, I am trying my best to transition out of holiday mode as university rapidly plunges into third year, and I also look forward to bringing TQ back to life with all the ideas we have in store! 

    Amanda

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    The past summer has been an absolute whirlwind of new experiences, friends and good vibes. I have spent many summer nights reading new texts for my VCE English students and making study guides! (Pssst, if you’re studying Extinction, you may want to click on this!) I have also found work as a junior (I STRESS the word JUNIOR) administrative assistant at a clinic near my uni. I am still working on jumping between private tutoring and working in a more pressurizing environment! Nonetheless, it feels kind of exhilarating to juggle the two jobs. With that being said, I will admit that my brain is already demanding more sleep.

    Apart from work, I have found a slightly unhealthy fixation on earrings from little market stands. So, your girl here needs to get it together and stop getting so mesmerized by shiny, glossy trinkets. I also came about the realisation that I absolutely love going to NGV to enjoy the ambience and out-of-this world kind of creativity. I think it’s so refreshing to overload your senses with a kaleidoscope of colours and sounds. Also, their postcard collection is STUNNING. Anyways, I am so excited to see how third-year uni unfolds and the new journey TQ is going to undertake with YOU!

    Images illustrated by the lovely Amanda ♡

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    Jack of All Trades, Master of None

    We are constantly encouraged to be good at everything. Be organized and analytical, yet highly creative and able to think out the box. Be an extrovert as well as being an introvert, be a great leader, but also a competent follower… sounds confusing, doesn’t it?

    Say you could be all of them; you have all these characteristics, but how would you describe yourself? What makes you stand out?

    The honest answer is, to be honest, nothing. Because you might be good at everything, but you won’t be great at any one thing. In other words, you’ll be a jack of all trades, but a master of none.

    Doubt Usain is lightning fast at math hey?

    Doubt Usain is lightning fast at math hey?

    Many want to be really good at everything. You want to be able to do math like her, you want to be able to have swift handles like him, you want to communicate effectively like her; you constantly compare yourself to other people and, as a result, end up feel inadequate. “I’m not good enough.”

    If you truly want to be great, then aim to be a master of your own personality traits and not so much what everyone else has. No one person is the same. If that were true then the world would be fairly boring.

    Through finding and working out your own traits, you’ll find you have a genuine interest and passion in your everyday life. For instance, if you realise you have a very theoretical and analytical mind, you might enjoy math. You’ll go beyond what is required for you to study because you simply are intrigued by its complexity. After this increased level of passion you’ll eventually attain some level of success in that area and your motivation and confidence will then rise. Once your self-esteem rises you’ll hone that skill of yours and make it your own. You may not be a jack of all trades in the end, but its better than being a master of none.

    This doesn’t go to say that even if you do something that isn’t aligned with your personality you won’t have success in that field; many people are successful but in the wrong field and continuously lead a life comparing themselves to others and having a low level of self-esteem.

    Finding your personality traits:

    Method 1: Trial and error

    Try picking up an activity or subject that you think you might enjoy.

    -       Pros

         o   Most intimate learning experience

    -       Cons

         o   Can risk embarrassment and continuously failing can shatter self-esteem

    Method 2: Introspection (reflecting)

    Spend 5min a day reflecting on your behaviour and write down your thoughts!

    Below are a few examples of questions you could ask yourself when trying to figure out your patterns of behaviour.

    • How do I respond when I am angry with someone?
    • Do I tend to take charge in a conversation?
    • Am I outspoken or quiet?
    • Am I an introvert or extrovert?

    Try reading Personality Plus by Florence Littauer to discover a bit more about yourself and your personality!

    Written by Himal

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    University: The Stationery You Will Need

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    University: The Stationery You Will Need

    There are a lot of things that you have to prepare for when you head into your first year of university. You are entering a world which is completely unknown to you, a place vastly different to what you have become familiar with over the last 6 years. In preparation, you are told of all the new responsibilities you will have, what to expect when sitting in a lecture as opposed to a classroom, what the difference between a tutorial and a workshop is. But one thing the you’re never really told is…what kind of stationery do I need?

    It may not seem that important but what kind of stationery you use is a determining factor in how you take down notes, organise your work and manage your time; all very important things, you might agree.

    When I went on the first of my bi-annual trip to Officeworks last year, I realised I didn’t know what to buy. There were things on my timetable that I hadn’t an idea of what kind of things I would need for them; did I need a different book for tutorials and workshops? Did I need to print out lecture notes and, if so, what would I put them in? Do I separate all of my units or should I put them in one folder? Do I need a workbook for every unit?

    Luckily I had my sister with me who was fresh out of university (and had also done Pharmacy, the same course I was starting) so she knew exactly what to expect and what I would need. So last year I used the setup she recommended to me, but this year I am trying a new setup and seeing how that works out for me. Here are my findings:

    Folders

    1.

    For first year I had a different coloured plastic pocket folder for each unit. I liked to print out my lecture notes so that I could highlight and add my own notes on the side as the lecture was going on.  Consequently, I accumulated a lot of loose paper so I found that have a plastic pocket folder was essential. I marked the corner of my notes with the colour of the folder I had given for that unit. I also had a clear, smaller folder where I kept the lecture notes that I would need for the week, which is what I bought to all of my lectures. For taking notes, I used an A4 notepad where I could easily remove pages and add them to the relevant unit’s folder.

    Advantages:

    -       Notes are separated and organised

    -       Colour code makes it easier to distinguish which notes are for which units

    -       Weekly notes folder easy and convenient to carry around

    -       One A4 notepad can be used for all units

    Disadvantages:

    -       A lot of separate folders, can be hard to manage

    -       Have to remember to change out weekly notes

    -       Have to bring multiple folders for days with tutes/workshops for different units

    2.

    This year I opted for a simpler option of one big folder for all of my units. It was still a plastic pocket folder and there were dividers to separate the notes of each unit. Instead of a notepad, I had loose leaf clip ins where I could write down additional notes that were also in the folder. I still colour-coded the notes via coloured stickers that I stuck on the corner of the page.

    Advantages:

    -       Everything all in one place – convenient

    -       All past notes with you to refer to if need be in current lectures

    -       Colour code makes it easier to distinguish which notes are for which units

    Disadvantages:

    -       Carrying one big folder around can be very exhausting and hard on your back

    -       I quickly realised there was no way to fit all notes for all units in one folder – I went back to having one small weekly folder (however, depending on your course and the amount of notes you make/print out, this option may still work for you!)

    Notebooks

    1.

    For first year I had one 4-subject workbook for all units. The workbook had dividers and there was a sleeve for loose leaf papers on each one. I also had one B5 book that I filled in with summaries of the topics of each unit of the semester in preparation for end of sem exams.

    Advantages:

    -       Convenient, one book to bring to all tutes

    -       One all encompassing summary book to refer to for exam study

    Disadvantages:

    -       Can be tiring carrying one big book around?

    -       Could get disorganised having all work and summaries in one book

    2.

    This year I am trying out one small B5 book for each unit. I am planning to divide each book into two – one half for tutorial work and the other half for summaries.

    Advantages:

    -       Each unit’s work separated and organised

    -       Summaries and tute work for each unit are filed together

    Disadvantages:

    -       Can be a lot of books to manage (keep in mind that you don’t get a locker unless you purchase one, so you have to remember to bring the correct books to each day)

    Planners

    1.

    Planners are super important for time management and keeping track of all of your assignments. Last year I used a planner that had a normal calendar of the week on one side and a blank notes page on the other. I wrote important due dates on the calendar side and wrote down a checklist of tasks I wanted to finish through the week on the other side.

    Advantages:

    -       Tasks clearly set out in a checklist

    -       Important reminders and due dates are listed along with smaller tasks

    Disadvantages:

    -       May be hard to keep up and manage (I stopped writing down the checklist 2 weeks in…but if you’re able to keep it up this is a good option for you)

    2.

    This year I opted for a simpler planner which just listed the date and provided a few lines underneath where I’d write due dates and important reminders. I high-lighted the reminders with the colour I had given the unit.

    Advantages:

    -       Not too much effort to maintain

    -       Colour-coded makes it easy to identify which tasks are for which units

    Disadvantages:

    -       Can get cluttered

    -       Tasks not clearly set out 

    Pencil Case

    Not having a locker means you have to carry everything around with you. This has made me simplify the contents of my pencil case to a few essentials:

    -       A lot of blue and black pens

    -       Red pens

    -       A couple of pacers (and refills)

    -       Selection of highlighters

    -       Small ruler

    -       Eraser

    Keep in mind that these are only a few options that I tried out that worked (or didn’t work) for my particular course and my workload. Of course, if you were doing a different degree, say an Animation degree, you would need more specialised stationery, like a sketchbook. Try out new things and personalise your stationery setup to suit you and your course!

     

    Written by Anna :>

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    2 cents for First Years #1

    Our TQ team are all heading in to second year uni after a challenging but rewarding first year. We figured we should share our 2 cents as it may save you a lot of stress and anxiety during your first semester!

    1.     Beware second/third Week escalation

    From: http://kclegacypress.com/archives/5215

    From: http://kclegacypress.com/archives/5215

    In the first week of university, you might find it relaxing and laid back and it may seem like the opportune moment to step on your back foot. However, be extremely cautious; before you know it, your first assignments will come out and you’ll be under the pump trying to complete them whilst keeping up with the week’s lectures and tutes. It is not difficult at all to fall behind!

     

    2.     Make friends in your tutorials!

    Often, the person sitting next to you in your first tute is most likely in the same boat as you. They may not know anyone else in the tute and they most likely haven’t begun adjusting to uni life. So don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation and make connections with people.

    This also comes in handy when your subjects have group assignments. Working with someone you’re familiar with may assist in the completion of the assignment. However, don’t be afraid to work  with new people as they may help you see things from a different perspective!

     

    3.     You may lose friends :(

    The sad reality is, many people may lose strong bonds with high school friends when they come to uni. It’s not the same 9-3:15 day anymore where you get to see your friends before school, at recess, during lunchtime and after school. It’s hard to keep the friendship going without the constant contact, especially if you’re at different universities.

    However, you may find you still maintain strong bonds with many friends from high school which is fantastic and tells you that they weren’t just your friends because they were with you every day, but because you genuinely enjoy each other’s company and want to spend time together.

     

     

     

    Hopefully our 2 cents will make it easier for you to settle in to first year uni :)

    Good luck for 2017 from the TQ Team <3

    Written by Himal

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    Doomsday

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    Doomsday

    No doubt every Year 12 student of this year is growing more and more nervous by the day as December 12th creeps closer. Exams have come and gone and holidays have begun, but the apprehension of results still loom.

    I remember the moment I received my results like it was yesterday:

    I had signed up for getting text results so that I would receive the all important four-digit-number on my phone at 7am. I woke up an hour or so before the scheduled release time, about forty-five minutes before the alarm I had set the night before. I wasn’t able to sleep till quite late due to the anxiety that plagued me on the eve of results day, so it was a wonder how I was able to naturally wake up so early with so little sleep. I guess the trepidation had managed to seep its way into my slumber, waking me up.

    And thus, I was subject to one hour of agony as I waited for the clock to hit 7 o’clock. Around 6:50 I heard the ‘ding’ of a text being received on my phone. I remember actually feeling my heart stop, my blood running cold. My phone was lying on the floor next to my bed where I had kept it charging overnight. As I peered over the edge of my mattress I saw only a blur of a newly received text lighted up on my phone. I was unable to make out any of the numbers or words due to my near-sightedness (I was not wearing my glasses), I wasn’t even able to make out who the text was from. But somehow I knew; I knew that text was from VCAA and VTAC, trying to kill me one more time by sending the text out ten minutes before the scheduled time. I was not ready.

    I rolled back onto the bed, gathering myself, trying to calm my breaths and my heart which had both tripled in speed (it did not work), and peered back over at the screen of my phone which was still displaying the text on the locked screen. I reached down, arm trembling, and bought the phone slowly up towards me. The closer it got, the clearer the characters in the text became. I wasn’t expecting the ATAR to be on the very first line of the text. I didn’t even need to open up the whole text to see it. There it was, those four digits, the culmination of all my hard work in the last 6 years….

    I had done better than I expected. I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders, realising then just how nervous and anxious I had really been. I ran to the rooms of each of my family members, crying as I told them. I rejoiced with my friends over messenger, not only about our results but also about our newfound freedom to enjoy our well-earned holidays blissfully without the stress or worry about looming ATARS.

    Every student who undertook VCE will have their own story, their own memories of that day. Some may have been more nervous than me, some may not have been nervous at all. Some may have not slept at all the night before, some may not have even checked their results until a week later. Like me, some students will have done better than they thought, some will have been bitterly disappointed and some will have done just as they thought they would. There will have been tears, celebration, indifference even.

    One thing that we all shared was that…life went on.

    It’s been said a million times but your ATAR is not the be all, end all of everything. And likewise, results day is not Doomsday, as much as it may seem like it.  That’s not to say that its not important; the result you receive may present some changes to your pathway plan or challenges you’ll have to face in the future. But that’s the key word: future. The receiving of your ATAR is not the end, it is only the beginning. Whether it be going off to university, taking a gap year or something else, you have a whole new chapter of your life to look forward to.

    Just remember, your ATAR is the key to only one of the doors leading to your ultimate goal. There are numerous pathways to where you want to go, and sure, the road you may now have to take may be a little bit longer, but as long as you persist and believe in yourself, as long as you want it and work hard for it, you can get there. And for those who don’t quite know what their ultimate goal is yet; that’s okay. You’re often under the impression that you must choose your life career during course selection in Year 12, but the truth is, you have a lot of time to experiment and find what you like during tertiary study, if you choose to undertake it.

    Whatever happens on December 12th (or whatever has happened if you're one of those who received your results early :P) , the TQ Team would like to congratulate all the VCE students of this year on completing their Year 12. Whatever the result you receive, be proud of your efforts and we wish you the best of luck for the future!

    - Written by Anna :>

     

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    Low Battery

    Ever wanted to wake up early and perhaps get a few things done and also not have to rush in the morning to go to school?

     

    The problem isn’t with you not being able to get up early at say, 6am. You can get up at that time, but only with sufficient sleep. In other words, you’d have to be in bed earlier than usual. 10pm would be a decent time to go to sleep for a 6am wake up.

     

    But does that happen?

     

    More often than not, NO.

     

    Why? Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, your SO, your special friend that you talk to all the time that everyone thinks your dating but you’re not, are all too intriguing and too great of a temptation and so you indulge in them.

     

    Once your alarm goes off at 6am, you won’t even lift your head from the pillow, and you’ll move your hand from under your pillow, hover it over your alarm and hit the snooze button. You need to charge.

     

    Of course, a lot of people do this but the worst thing is when this routine of sleeping late and going to school feeling drowsy and lethargic becomes routine. You might not have done much but you’ve indirectly tortured your body through poor sleeping patterns.

     

     

     

    You can sleep early because you can wait to see how many likes you got on that new insta pic you posted at 9pm in the morning just before you head off to school.

     

    Otherwise, you’d be like any other smart phone with low battery; slowly your data; the ability to connect to your knowledge will be switched off to preserve battery along with the brightness of your beaming smiley face. At 5% you’ll then be turned on to airplane mode and try to autopilot your way back to bed so you can scroll through your newsfeed waiting to repeat this all over again.

     

    - Himal

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    When in the City...

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    When in the City...

    When I was younger, I seldom ever ventured into the city alone or even with friends. The city always seemed like a big, scary, unfamiliar place; plus, it was always out of the way so I often opted to go somewhere closer for a day out. It was only on special occasions that I would go to the city, be it for dinner with my family or a shopping day in the CBD.

    So when City Experience came around in Year 9, it was like venturing into uncharted grounds, into a new world that I knew nothing about. I remember my sister, who went to university in the city at the time, warning me beforehand of some ‘rules’ that I had to know before starting my week of daily commutes to the city.

    Now, having to travel up to the city every day for university as I do and now being a frequent city-goer myself, these ‘rules’ have been ingrained into me too. And seeing high school students on the train coming up for their City Experience from time to time, I thought it would be a good idea to impart the wisdom that my sister gave to me:

    1.     Let people out first before going in

    Now this is just a general rule for public transport in general, but unless you live in the city, taking public transport will become a long, daily ordeal. So keep in mind, when the train/tram/bus you’ve been waiting for has arrived, let the people on board exit before going on yourself. The journey up to the city is one made by many every day, so often it is very packed. By simply waiting for some space to clear on the train before coming on, it’s just common sense isn’t it? Plus, it’s just common courtesy.

    2.     Don’t crowd entrances

    Adding onto that, don’t crowd the entrances either. This of course doesn’t apply to times when there is no choice but for the entrance to be crowded (which is very often) but when people squish up at the entrance of the train/tram while there is still plenty of space in the aisles. I see school kids do this a lot. They come onto the train and then just…stop. This is not just individual people by the way, it’s a whole crowd of people entering at once and creating a clog at the door. By crowding the entrance, you only make it harder for people to get in and out. You spend enough time being sardined on public transport on the way to the city, why needlessly subject yourself to it even more when you can simply move into the aisles and create more space?

    Also a tip: If you’re on a train/tram/bus that is packed to the brim and you’re near the entrance, hop off for a while to give space for people to get out (don’t worry about not being able to get back on, you’re first in line to do so!).

    3.     Don’t be too noisy on the train

    Now this isn’t to say you have to be dead silent, just don’t be obnoxiously loud. Be aware and respectful of your surroundings; most people around you will probably be very tired after having to stay up late or having a busy day at work. A lot of people take the train ride as an opportunity to catch up on a bit of sleep.  

    4.     Right: fast lane, Left: stand still

    This is an important one that I only learnt during city experience. While travelling on escalators remember to stand on the left if you’re planning to stand still, and if you find yourself on the right then you’re required to walk your way up/down. The right lane is essentially a fast lane for those who are in a hurry or can’t be bothered waiting the time it takes for the escalator to reach the top. If you stand still on the right lane, rest assured that there will be a line of very annoyed people behind you waiting for you to start walking.

    5.     Don’t block walkways

    The city is at most times very crowded. On top of that, many of the people making up the crowds are very busy and have places to be. The last thing they need is a line of people walking side by side at a very slow pace, essentially creating a wide wall blocking an entire walkway. I know it’s great and exciting to explore the city with your friends but remember that you’re sharing the space with a lot of other people. You aren’t required to walk side by side with your friends every step of the way, walking behind one another, maybe with a partner works too.

     

    Really, the core of all of these ‘rules’ is to be mindful of your surroundings. Be aware of the people around you and be respectful and you won’t have a suited businessman or tired fourth year uni student side-eyeing you annoyingly from the corner of the train.   

    -       Anna :>

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    To and from Uni

     

    The worst part of my day in all the days I travel to uni, which is not much at all (three out of five days of the week) is the actual travelling. For some unexplained reason that I think someone out there should write a thesis on, travelling on Public transport for an hour or more on those days makes me insanely fatigued.

    Here’s how my day usually starts.

    On a good day, I get up an hour before I need to leave for uni, toss and turn, complain about being tired for a good 10 minutes and then proceed to blink a few times, roll sloth-ily over to the side of my bed and open my blinds to have sun rays beaming through each of the gaps. I slowly proceed to zombie walk to the bathroom to brush my teeth etc. Next, I’ll throw on the standard Uni student outfit; (shirt, chinos and jacket) then have a light breakfast, stretch a bit, hook up my ear phones and walk to the bus stop. From there I’ll catch a bus, train and then tram to get to uni which totals to around an hour and bit on public transport.

     

    What generally happens less frequently than I’d like it to, I’ll have a bad day. My mother would slowly open my door and tell me in a low-key irritable voice that I’m late to uni. To which I would respond, “Yeah yeah I’m up” and this time I ONLY complain about being tired for about 5 minutes while stretching and yawning in bed. From there, I’ll have a short shower to wake me up so I don’t look like I’ve died and been resurrected overnight, and to save time I brush my teeth in the shower, get out within 4 minutes as if Australia was in a terrible drought, piece together standard Chinos, T-shirt and hoodie combo and have an UP&GO on the train to uni.

     

    It’s either one of the two types of days that occur for uni. However, the biggest, most frustrating and confusing aspect of the day is how tired I get from just travelling on public transport. My friends and I share this feeling empathetically, especially when we have to travel all the way to the city to attend uni. I once had to go to uni for a 15 minute meeting and travel all the way back home. Essentially, I was at uni for not even a sixth of the time that I was travelling on that day. When I got home, I was exhausted and felt like I had a full day of classes.

     

    I really wish someone out there would find a cure or something to prevent this fatigued and lazy repercussion. Either that or it’s two and a half years of torture. To those that have it worse, I commend you on your effort and dedication since I barely survive three out of five weekdays and only twelve contact hours.

    Legit every day on the bus

    Legit every day on the bus

    Written by Himal

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    You should stop studying

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    You should stop studying

    Wait, wait, wait, what? I thought your entire website was all about studying. Now you're telling me to stop?

    Yup, exactly that. I want you to stop studying. Well, you should still study, but stop studying so much. I really do mean that. But there are a few things you need to know.

    Alright, tell me.

    First, I want to make this clear: I don't actually want you to stop studying. What I want you to do is to study in moderation. Just like any activity, too much of one thing is probably bad for you. And there are actually good reasons to do this.

    Soooo……they are?

    Probably the most obvious, you'll actually have a social life for once. I knew too many people during Year 12 that gave up their hobbies, gave up going out with friends and gave up everything to focus on Year 12. While they did indeed get spectacular scores that would make any parent proud, some had regretted it. They regret quitting that sport, they regret not going to their friend's birthdays; they regret studying so much.

    And you know what, 20 years from now, what will you remember? Will you remember going out and having fun with your friends during your youth? Or will you remember slaving away day by day on your desk - with nothing to remember but a score that doesn't really matter after it all. Your ATAR is not the be-all end-all that it's hyped up to be.

    But wouldn't going out with friends too much lead to me failing, dropping out and living under a bridge??

    The key to anything is moderation. And that's with your social life. You need to learn how to balance everything. You need to study enough so that you will be happy with the next steps you take after you graduate.

    I thought that once I finished high school, received my ATAR, everything would be easy from then on. That all my hard work was realised, and that it would be easy cruising from now on. Boy, was I wrong. University is as much work as year 12, and work is not any better at all.

    I was naïve, and that's what lead me to realise. Balance. You need to balance everything - school, work, social life. Everything. The work doesn't stop, it didn't stop for me after Year 12, it’s not stopping at uni, and chances are - it's not going to stop when you start working either.

    But how can I balance everything when work is piling on around me? I can barely handle everything.

    You can, I believe in you. You are capable of more than you think you are. The only thing holding you back is time management, a habit for procrastination and your mindset. If you manage your time properly, you'll find that there is more time in the day.

    So if you take the time to stop and smell the roses,  and spend time with your family and friends. You'll realise that they are more important than your studies ever will be.

    Written by Mark.

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