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Thursday Thoughts #1: I let my Mind get the better of me

I had a 500 word Psychology assignment...

due yesterday morning at 8am. Mind you, it was quite straight forward and simple. It was literally just 5 short answer questions and the answers were given to you almost word for word in lectures.  It should've taken 3 hours but it took me roughly 8.

 

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I ended up spending 3 hours the night before it was due finishing it off with tired, bloodshot eyes from staring at a screen playing fortnite the whole day (suck so bad, legit the only time I get a kill is when I fall off the edge of a cliff and kill myself).

 

 

 

It wasn’t that I left the assignment til last minute that frustrated me, but more-so that I would get distracted as I was writing it. For whatever reason, I found myself zoning out, going on my phone, playing a game, or scrolling through Facebook or Instagram every 10-15min. I'd be distracted for only a few minutes and get right back to doing my work but the issue here is, I could not get into a flow state where I could be productive. I was really rubbish at being efficient.

 

Even right now I stopped writing this article for a good 30min because I was having a juicy conversation with Amanda -_-"

 

This is all because I let my mind win. And when it wins, it takes control and goes wild. It makes me spend hours on social media when I could go to the gym or study instead. It makes me binge Netflix (Hooked on Designated Survivor - it is incredible) and it makes me take naps like all the time as if I ain’t got things to do, places to be, people to see etc. 

 

Perhaps your mind is winning too.

 

I'm going to combat this is trying to consciously be aware and focused on whatever task I am doing. If I am working out - I  am working out. If I am studying - I am studying, if I am on social media - I’m social media-ring.

 Zoom in and stay focussed.

Zoom in and stay focussed.

 

Maybe you can try this too, or if you’ve got another way to get reign in your mind and put it where it needs to be let me know! Leave a comment below or shoot us a message on facebook.


https://www.facebook.com/thequintessentialblog/


- Written by Himal

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Where did March go?

I have always gravitated towards youtube videos where someone would detail new finds spanning across products, music and books. Social media and its glorious oversharing tendencies has made us so curious about the lives of strangers.

Like Anna, I wanted to live out my ridiculous fantasy of being a Youtuber/guru. Just let this gal have this moment. So, let me present you with a little kaleidoscope of moments that made March a little memorable! 

1. Jalna Pot set yoghurt in Sweet & Creamy Greek

Y’all, I cannot even begin to articulate how much my tastebuds enjoy this yoghurt. It’s not overly sweet and particularly delightful with the tartness of strawberries! 

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"Don't eat me!"

I have a strange habit of anthropomorphising food.

2. Bread Kingdom

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I loaf pastries. 

Get it?? Okay, I'll excuse myself. 

One of my friends introduced me to this adorable little korean bakery near Melbourne Central. It stocks the loveliest medley of cookies, red bean buns (my personal fave), buttery delicacies and cakes at an affordable price! Which is great for us uni students trying to saving up! 

The other day, I wanted to have some quiet time after a hectic day of work, lectures and tutorials. So I went there to unwind with a honey-citron ice tea and do some sketching. 

 

3. Clarins Lip oil in Red Berry

Your girl here has been in a love affair with matte lipstick since senior high school. However, I thought I’ll change things up and try a glossy lip for once. This lip oil adds a nice flush of pink and moisturises at the same time! 

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It smells just like candy.

4. Soundtrack of March

Music is so evocative of memories and deeply buried emotions. Sometimes, when I listen to a particular song (circa highschool times) I would be hit with a huge wave of nostalgia.

Let's begin with the dreamy, butterflies-in-your-tummy kind of melodies. Ideal for train & bus rides on the way home or any liminal space! 

Reckless Lover (acoustic version) by Handsome Ghost 

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Strawberries & Cigarettes by Troye Sivan 

In my blood by Shawn Mendes

Rewrite the stars by The Greatest Showman 

One of my twitter mutuals recommended a holy grail of a study playlist!

This playlist is called Loveless Shadow by City Girl is a dreamy concoction of ambient sound and instrumentals. 

My ultimate favourites include On the Train Somewhere Between My Apartment and You and Loveless Shadows. 

5. A Lesson I have learnt 

March has been full of unexpected surprises. I caught up with people I haven't seen in yonks and reconnected with old friends too. As I dealt with work and ever-growing-pile of assignments, I've realised that if I make time, most things are possible! Also, I realised how easy it is to reach out to old friends. Especially in this day and age of social media, it's so easy to believe that we can know someone from their insta/snap-stories, there is so much more beneath that glossy facade. All it takes is just one message of 'How are you?' and let things unfurl from there! 

And that's a wrap! What were your favourite things in March? 

Love, 

Amanda

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How To Get Ready For School

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How To Get Ready For School

Hey everyone, as the school holidays are coming up (or mid semester break for you uni students!) I just wanted to create an article on how I get ready for school/uni. These are the personal tips that I wanted to share - hopefully they work for you!

Calendars

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Calendars are so important in how I get ready nowadays, whether it be digitally through my Google Calendar or physically through my Midori Traveller's Notebook (Sidenote: You really should get this notebook, it's amazing, I'll have an article about it soon). You really need to know what you're doing and whether you have work, school, sport, family events, parties, etc. you'll always know and will never be offtrack if you have it written in your calendar!

I also recommend using Microsoft Outlook's iPhone/Android app. It is the best email and calendar app there is. Add your school's timetable on to it (your school may already create a personalised Google Calendar for you) and connect Facebook onto it. That way, it will automatically add all your school and social events onto your Outlook app. 

If you really want to be dedicated, you can create your own bullet journal like my fellow TQ team member, Amanda! Seriously, the way she organises her notebooks makes my notebook look like chicken scratches/doctor's handwriting. Bullet journals are a great way to personalise your calendar and keep things interesting!

Meal Prep, Meal Prep, Meal Prep

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Go on, every Sunday I want you to make a big batch of food and separate it out for your breakfast/lunch/dinner. This makes life so so so much easier. I do it for lunch every week and I don't have to worry about what to eat every day. This saves me from resorting to eat the saddest food (think plain bread and mayo) and allows me to eat much healthier!

Oh, and you save so much money. You don't have to spend $10 everyday just for food; I've gotten my meals to be below $2 a meal, and these aren't small portions either. They're delicious, cheap, save time; what's not to love about that? And if you ever get sick of food easily, you should prepare a couple of things in advance. The key here is to just prepare so you're never caught unaware.

Reading on the Bus/Train

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There's nothing worse than being bored on the bus/train every single day while you commute to school/uni, scrolling endlessly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. I've taken up reading during this time. This makes time go by so much faster and you get to fill up time that is usually wasted throughout the day.

Everyone always talks about wanting to read more but say that they never have the time. You will (probably) always have to commute, so whether you take public transport, drive or ride a bike you can take up reading. It could be on a physical book, or a Kindle (so many books in so little space!) or even an audiobook (this week's sponsor! jkjk).

I'm currently slogging through a 15 volume epic called the Wheel Of Time, and there's nothing like wondering what the next chapter holds in store for Rand Al'Thor.

Stationery Shopping

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For many of us, starting uni is just an excuse so that we can buy the pens/pencils/notebooks that we've always wanted. Well say no more, get them. Whether they're the cheapest 10 cent pens, the trusty Bic 4-pens or that expensive pen you've been eyeing for a while; now's the best time to get them. After all, you're going to be spending a lot of time writing for the next few months, why not make it enjoyable as well?

...and actually studying?

Yeah, that would probably be a good idea too.

Written by Mark c: 

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What I've Been Loving

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What I've Been Loving

Okay, I’m going to live my inner beauty/lifestyle guru dream for this article because, frankly, I can  (and also my brain cannot think of anything school or study related to write about today - if you came here expecting some study tips you will probably want to skip this article and come back on Thursday. I won't take any offence!). I'll be going through some things that I have been loving this past month, ranging from skincare to music - you can consider them all recommendations, and maybe you will even learn something about me! 

 

1.     Klairs toner

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First, I’m starting off with a skincare product that was recommended to me by my sister. In case you don’t know, toners are typically used after your cleanser in order to re-balance the pH of your skin. I have only recently started to incorporate toners into my skincare routine so I have yet to try out a large range, but this Klairs toner is by far my favourite of everything I have tried. Firstly, it doesn’t dry me out and is actually rather moisturising, which is always a plus for me! It’s also very economical in that it doesn’t require a cotton pad to apply – I just pour some out onto my fingers and gently dab it onto my face. Also, the scent reminds me of the spa/hot springs so it’s very calming – I love it so much that I’ve incorporated it into both my morning and night routine!

 

2.     Decjuba ripped knee jeans

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About a month ago I realised that I had stopped wearing any of my jeans. I guess I just realised they were all either ill-fitting or really uncomfortable and I figured, having worn loose flowy pants with elasticised waistbands all summer, that I wasn’t about that tight jeans life anymore. I set out to revamp my jeans collection which is how I came to pick up these jeans from Decjuba. They aren't too tight-fitting and has rips at the knees and a mullet hem - they are comfortable and stylish, and I've been wearing them non-stop since I've gotten them. My go-to outfit with them are a basic tee and my trusty slides!

3.     Camelbak bottle

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Okay so this isn’t a new favourite; I have used this bottle for about two years now, but I recently bought a new one to replace my old one, so that counts right? When I first got a Camelbak Eddy bottle, it took a while to get used to the nozzle – you have to bite on it in order for the water to come out. Sounds weird, I know, but the advantage is that you don’t have to tilt the bottle at all – the nozzle acts as a straw in a way, except you don’t even have to suck on it; the water comes up on its own once when you bite it! I find that I drink so much more water when I am using my Camelbak because it is so convenient to drink from!

 

4.     Cosrx cushion/Revlon concealer combo

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With my acne prone skin, I am always on the lookout for a foundation that 1) has good coverage to cover breakouts/scars and 2) doesn’t break me out. The Cosrx Clear Fit Blemish Cushion ticks both of these boxes and more – it contains natural antioxidants and antiseptics, anti-aging, brightening and skin-healing ingredients AND has SPF 47. Basically, it’s skincare as well as foundation, and I’ve been pairing it with the Youth FX Concealer by Revlon this month to get my perfect base. The concealer is light to medium coverage and makes my under-eyes look bright and hydrated and doesn’t cake/break up throughout the day.

 

5.   Poet|Artist by jonghyun

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If anyone knows me, they know that I love Kpop and that my favourite group is SHINee. Last December, one of the the members of SHINee, Jonghyun, passed away and when the news broke out, I just…couldn’t believe it. I was devastated, and struggled to accept the fact that he was really gone. This January, the solo album that he had just finished recording before the incident was released posthumously, and when I plucked up the courage to listen to it...hearing his voice for the first time since last December really struck a chord. It really helped me to accept what had happened and made me appreciate his music even more. Go listen to it here.

 

6.     Harry~

To finish off on a lighter note, I got a cat!  

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Need I say more?

 

This type of article may become part of a series called Miscellaneous Mondays where I and the other TQ members will write articles that won't necessarily have anything to do with school, study or student life - hopefully it will keep things interesting and you can learn more about us!

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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Meditation Challenge

Our day-to-day lives are a kaleidoscope of classes, part-time jobs and brunch dates. Whilst I love seeing the lovely faces of my friends and yakking away about what the universe has in store, I sometimes find myself wanting time alone. 

When I first

started uni, your girl here signed up for 8am psychology tutorials for both semester 1 and 2. In retrospect, it was definitely self-inflicted misery when the mercury dipped below 11. But nonetheless, I started to enjoy the process of taking the 6:45am train full of empty seats.

Likewise, when my 6:15pm lectures ended, I would always secretly look forward to the walk towards Melbourne Central station. Truth be told, there’s absolutely nothing spectacular about the walk. I wish I could tell you about the great revelations found in moments of solitude. 

BUT, I have none! 

Most of the time, my stomach was basically eating itself and I just loved drinking in the sight of restaurants lighting up and pink sunsets. 

I suppose, I stumbled upon one epiphany: I like being alone at times. Detaching from my phone and the reality of a study desk is just so rejuvenating. So, starting from today, I will embark on some meditative exercises to find some calm and inner peace. A few nights ago, I found a youtube video that focuses specifically on breathing: You would pace your inhalation with the unfurling of a triangle which eventually morphs into an octagon. I did the meditative exercise for about five minutes before going to sleep and I felt strangely content.

In this era of fleeting distractions and constant notifications, doing absolutely nothing for ten minutes and re-centering seems like a good idea. Theoretically. I will pop back in two weeks time to see if I find 'inner zen' through various meditation apps and videos! 

In fact, would  Y O U like to join me too? 

P.S If you have been doing meditation, please enlighten a novice like myself!! Share all of your knowledge and experiences! 

Off to finish my readings, 

Amanda ♡

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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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    Our New Year of Uni Resolutions

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    Our New Year of Uni Resolutions

    With a new year comes the opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed. While new year resolutions are notorious for only lasting the first few weeks of the year, we thought it was worthwhile to make some study/university specific goals that we could carry throughout the semester. 

    Himal resolves to...

    1. Increase my WAM this sem - I've made it a resolution each sem to try and increase my weighted average mark (WAM). Ultimately, this will ensure that I'm always trying to beat my personal best and attempting to reach new heights. Basically, I'm trying to find ways to not let myself get distracted while I'm studying so I can be effective in achieving results.

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    2. Stay healthy - This encompasses physical and mental health. In the past I have become ill or stressed out quite frequently and only recently after taking care of both my mental and physical health, my energy levels, overall health and fitness have been quite good.

    Obviously, I'm going to have to check in with myself and see how I am actually going and try and ensure I remain level-headed throughout the semester by purposefully spending time by myself. Other than that, I'll keep hitting the gym, spending time with good company and eating healthy!

    Anna resolves to...

    1. Watch lectures that I've missed by the end of the week in which they were recorded.

      Very badly drawn by Anna herself

    Very badly drawn by Anna herself

    If you were to sketch my lecture attendance throughout a typical semester of uni, it would probably resemble a wide U shape; pretty good at the beginning of the semester and then a spike at the very end of the semester when all the revision lectures are held - the middle, major portion of the graph would be sadly almost flat-lining along the x axis.

    The reason for my absence from lectures are a combination of the exhausting 3 hour roundtrip commute to campus that I really can't be bothered with sometimes, work, laziness, and the all-too-convenient lecture recordings that I can access and listen to at home. Now, that's all well and good until I procrastinate and find myself with a semester's worth of lectures to listen to during SWOTVAC.  So to save myself from that unneeded stress, I will endeavour to listen to lecture recordings that I've missed in a timely manner - and to help me with this, I'll try to attend more lectures face-to-face throughout the semester too.

    2. Eat breakfast

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    I love to sleep. And to get an extra few minutes of sleep in the mornings where I have 9am lectures mean that I have to cut some corners in my morning routine. Oftentimes, breakfast is the first to go because at 6am when my alarm goes off I'm not so much thinking about food than I am groggily contemplating 'do I really reaalllyyy need to go to uni today??'. Alas, I then find myself in a tutorial at 9:30am with my stomach rumbling and I can't focus on what the tutor is saying because all I can think about is food and sleep.

    So in order to energise and help me concentrate in early morning classes (and to save me from wasting money on buying food in the university café/Melbourne Central food court), I will try to eat breakfast every morning. Be it an Up&Go, a small tub of yoghurt or a slice of toast, I will try to get something in my stomach before I set out to uni for the day.

    Amanda resolves to...

    1. Stop getting so distracted with social media. There is something inherently addictive about it!

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    Thing is, I enjoy the process of taking miniaturised vlog equivalents in snappy boomerangs, superzooms. I love documenting the transient moments of a coffee date , an overpriced french toast or that classic messy desk 'I'm drowning in stress' situation. The creative freedom we glean from creating another extension of ourselves is nothing but gratifying and fun. Now this all sounds far too rosy, let’s take a step back. Too often, my distracted self finds itself indulging in a downward spiral of carefully curated pictures in digestible forms. Essentially, I start lusting over things I don’t need- lipsticks, makeup, more clothes. The innocuous ‘bell’ sound with “OooH! What’s new on twitter/messenger/gmail?”

    In a nutshell, I need to exercise a lot more discipline and focus.

    I think I want to do a social media challenge in the very near future where I’ll delete my fave app cough insta for a month.

    2. Spend more time on fitness!
    For far too long, I have neglected the benefits of consistent exercise. Last December, at a YLP camp, I had to do three pushups in front a WHOLE ROOM OF STUDENTS and I could barely do two. Naturally, I was mortified at my lack of arm and core strength. So, I want to learn how to do push-ups properly and build up my stamina! Let’s try and do 5 pushups everyday.

    Mark resolves to...

    resolution 4.png

    1. Stress Less - dealing with a course that has a heavy work load and working at the same time really put a toll on me last year. I saw my grades slip as well as me always frantically moving around like a headless chicken.

    I don't intend for that to happen to me this semester. I will prioritise what actually matters and cut out things that don't matter - because the secret to doing more is to do less!

    2. Intense Focus - I have a problem with procrastination. Once I actually start doing the work it's no problem - but starting is often the hardest part for me. So this semester I plan to actually work intensely and with focus.

    Monday to Friday from 8:30am til 4:30pm (when I'm not at work) I will work only on uni tasks, e.g. assignments, lectures, pre-readings, quizzes, etc. This way I will get more work done while giving me more time to do the things that I want.

    ***

    What are your new year resolutions for school?

     

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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

    Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 7.08.31 pm.png

    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

    Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 7.09.36 pm.png

    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

    Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 7.09.45 pm.png

    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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    Sad.

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    Sad.

    She lies in her bed, surrounded by darkness. It’s only 9:30pm, still plenty of time left in the night to be doing some study and catching up on all the lectures she has missed. Exams are coming up in less than a month, after all, she needs all the time she can get to revise, no, learn everything. She realises this, yet she still can’t seem to gather up the willpower to get out of bed and do it. Or do anything really.

    She’s had a rough day. She’s been feeling down yet no one seems to have noticed. Some people had shown slight concern, but no one had really noticed. The hollowness she felt in her heart, that heaviness in her chest, that all encompassing feeling of sadness that was suffocating her. She lies in bed with it still looming over her, pushing down on her, rendering her unable to get up.

    She knows she’s being ridiculous, expecting everyone to have read her mind when she plastered a smile on her face the entire day. She knows she’s being unfair to those who did show concern, as she only pushed them away when they only wanted to help. And it wasn’t like she felt down the whole day, there were little pockets of genuine laughter and smiles. But at that moment, as she lies in bed cocooned in the warmth of her blankets, she feels cold and alone.

    She wonders why she’s feeling this way. Is it because of school? She regrets the way this semester has turned out – she should have concentrated more, put in more effort to engage and learn and go to every class. But it has turned out this way and she has little time left to mend the holes in her knowledge before the first exam. She doesn’t know if she can do it. She feels helpless. She feels like she has failed herself and everyone who had expectations for her success.  She knows full well that she can be using this time to study but she can’t bring herself to do it. Not today.

    She’s also unhappy with her weight and her skin has been breaking out badly, so her self esteem is at an all time low. She feels like eyes are on her everywhere she goes, judging her, laughing at her. She knows she’s probably criticising herself too harshly, and nobody really cares except herself, but she can’t help it. She feels ugly, and wonders how anyone can find her attractive.

    She realises it’s a combination of everything. Everything in her life that is going badly, thought today was the day to band together and attack.  They cloud her mind, making it harder for the good things to peek through, until…all she can see are the bad things. Everything runs through her mind at a million miles per second, deepening the hollow feeling in her chest and at a point it all gets a bit too much.

    The first sob comes out harshly, abruptly. And then others follow and then she can’t seem to stop. She feels utterly ridiculous, like she’s being overdramatic. Everything she is worried about will pass and she will feel happy again. But at that moment, the sadness poisons her, and is all she can see and feel.

    She lies in bed crying and darkness washes over her.

    -       Written by Anna

    On this blog, we talk about exercising good study habits and being positive and looking on the bright side of things when things don’t go too well. However, I’m fully aware that not all things go to plan, and there are days like these where everything seems to be going wrong, both in school and your personal life, and you can’t seem to find a way out.  

    Sometimes you know you should do something but it’s hard to actually bring yourself to do it. Sometimes you know you shouldn’t be feeling a particular way about yourself or other people, but you can’t help it. You can be fully aware of something but still feel something that completely contradicts it.

    All in all, the point of this short story was to bring to light that it’s not as easy as making a choice or being told to do something and doing it. Of course, some people may be capable of doing that, but a lot of people aren’t. To expect that from everyone is unrealistic. So these days can happen, and sometimes it helps to cry and let it all out. It’s okay to. And you will be okay too.  

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    Why you should wake up early

    Just the other day my alarm went off at 6am and I half consciously moved my arm and proceeded to topple over everything on my bedside table as I switched off my alarm. I then thought it would be a good idea to close my eyes for just 5 more minutes and then start my day after.

    I opened my eyes and looked at my phone.

                            10:30am

    Damn. I've lost half the day. 

    Here's why you should not do what I did and attempt, like I am, to start waking up early. It'll be hard at first but I'm sure we'll be able to make it a habit!

    1.   Better Grades

    Texas University study revealed that those that wake up early get better grades because they are more likely to have a healthy sleeping routine and eat breakfast daily.

    2.   More time

    You feel like you have more time in general when you wake up early. Waking up at the crack of dawn leaves you with roughly 16 good hours you could utilise to get more done during the day.

    3.   No one is awake

    In the early hours of the morning, on and before 6am, very few people are awake so you have less distractions. Your friends aren’t on Facebook, the air outside is fresh and it’s the perfect time to disconnect.

    You can:

    -       Spend time alone

    -       Prepare yourself mentally for the day

    -       Get your morning workout in

    4.   Quality Sleep

    Those that wake up earlier are more likely to establish a good sleep routine. Sleep routines are found to aid natural body clocks so you fall to sleep and wake more naturally.

    5.   Mental Health

    Early risers are found to be more positive and optimistic in life, leading to greater fulfilment. Conversely, late sleepers tend to be more creative, however they are more likely to succumb to depression. Essentially, pulling consecutive all-nighters will not be beneficial in the long run! 

     https://fitandfrenzy.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/how-to-wake-up-early/

    https://fitandfrenzy.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/how-to-wake-up-early/

     

    Written by

    Himal

     

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    Getting in 'the zone'

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    Getting in 'the zone'

    It's a Sunday night. I'm typing away on my keyboard, slaving away. I'm caught in a trance, a dream like state where everything melts away and I'm only focused on one thing. The only thing. My assignment. 

    That was due in about three hours.

    My entire mind is focused, I somehow manage to do over half my assignment in that one sitting. At the end of it all, I was amazed, in awe of the amount of work I managed to do in such little time.

    That assignment had been the bane of my existence when I first started working on it, a little over a week ago. I sat down every single day, from morning until night - trying to understand, to grok all the content.

    Endless hours of scrolling through my lecture notes, the PowerPoint slides and countless tabs on my browser - all in the elusive search on how to start this assignment, how to just take that first step.

    After that first step however, the second step comes closely after. Then the third step, then the fourth, and before you know it you're basically running through to the finish line.

    That's what being in the zone feels like for me, a race, a marathon from start to finish.  Getting to that first step in a marathon is probably the hardest part. That first step was the result of all your training, all of your practice and all of the hard work you've done.

    So to be in the zone, you need the preparation, that training and all the hard work. That first step in your assignment often means looking up concepts, Googling the formula, and fully understanding what you are being asked to do.

    In reality, that assignment isn't at all about the work you're being told to produce. It's about how you produced that work - and the understanding that went into it.

    How to get in the zone

    Prepare, prepare, prepare. You need to actually understand what they are asking you. The stuff you really need to know. If you don't have a general clue as to what your assignment is talking about - then that's your first task. To actually fully understand every single word of what they are asking you to do.

    Start. No really, just start.

    That is literally the hardest part in my experience. Do the smallest, easiest part. The one that you can blast past. After that, the next steps come faster and faster. 

    Before you know it, you've done half and you really wanna finish the other half. You have the compulsion, the need to be able to finish it. All the 'tips' we give you to study take a backseat, because when you're in the zone it all just goes over your head.

    You're not checking Facebook every 30 seconds, or talking with your friends next to you. Your focus narrows, to that end goal. That final stretch until you're free. 

    Get into that zone, you'll be amazed at how much you can achieve ;)

        - Mark
     

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    Down the rabbit hole

    There should be a specific name to describe the universal phenomenon of deriving great comfort from reading or watching videos on productivity and/or procrastination. Especially when you are doing exactly the latter.

    Procrastinating. 

    *click* 

    And there goes the click sound from the mouse again. My eyes instinctively flicker to the top right-hand corner of my laptop. The pixels spell out 10:19pm. The sensible neurones concentrated deep within my right frontal lobe immediately become electric in irritation. A little red siren begins to scream "Code red. Code red. Do not proceed any further. Notify motor neurones in the left hemisphere. For the love of all things good, do not let her click play. She had a plan of working on the assignment for 2 hours straight. STICK TO THE PLAN.  DO NOT CLICK…” 

    I close my eyes, shutting out the sight of the messy desk strewn with doggy-eared pages and gel ink pens. 

    Two caricatures of myself  P O P  into my consciousness. 

    Angel: Okay, pal. Stop it right there. You absolutely do not need to watch a video on people dressing in coachella inspired outfits at a buzzfeed office. It is seven minutes and twenty-three seconds long. The video length exceeds the allocated study break time. By the time you finish watching it, it would be 10:26pm and then you will somehow validate the argument that one has to start studying at xx:30 mark. There is a 95% probability of you watching yet another video to satisfy your deluded reasoning that one must begin work on even numbers. 

    Devil: Blah blah, listen hun. If you want to watch people twirl around in obnoxiously expensive fringe jackets, you do that. You can just resume studying 10:30 anyway. It’s only a couple of minutes. Stop trying to give yourself heart palpitations by freaking out.

    Before I arrive to a resolution, my hand registers my subconscious desire and clicks play. 

    The burst of cheap gratification and dopamine is somewhat exhilarating. And surprisingly, the short-lived thrill has nothing to do with the substance of the video. (It has zero significance or meaning to me anyway.) Procrastination is based on false security and endless justifications. These days, with the press of a button, we can step into a digital world peppered with little emoji humans and self-enhancing filters. Even with this self-realisation, me trigger-happy fingertips still brazenly press enter

     And down I go the rabbit hole of clickbait, temporary glee and mindless scrolling with the occasional reminiscing at an old photo. This kaleidoscopic landscape is marked by new pictures, Facebook algorithms churning out content streamlined to YOUR taste and the ever-so-handy ‘youtube recommendations’. 

    Somewhere in the middle of my Alice in Wonderland journey, I come to the sobering reality that this is a terrible affliction. 

    And I need to get out now, through the dizzying distractions that can be enjoyed later. I absolutely do not need to watch a two-minute video on the reasons to be happy.

    My inner critic screams: “Fool, what the heck are you doing to make yourself happy? The video you’re currently watching is an artificial smorgasbord of artistic visuals and expensive lighting. You can enjoy the scenic shots of sunsets and delectable looking cake later."

    At the same time, the inner artist defiantly juts her chin out and says “Ahem, it is art translated into a visual medium enjoyed by the masses. Look at that seamless intercutting between scenes of coffee cups and sunrise." 

    That 👏 is 👏 plain 👏 gorgeous. #SHOWTHATAPPRECIATION

    Meanwhile, the inner oracle ominously offers her (unnecessary) insight into the near future. “I foresee a soggy mess of a panicking student trying to complete an assignment due at 8am on a Monday morning. 

    With a jolt of mild horror and anxiousness, I peek at the right hand corner of my laptop. My heart sinks into my stomach. It is 10:47. 

    Oh. 

    Ooh. 

    😏

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    Striking a Balance pt.1

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    Striking a Balance pt.1

    I was having brunch with my sister the other day and the conversation turned to an interesting topic that I thought I’d touch on for this article. We were talking about how there are people that are too hard on themselves; they constantly view themselves as not being good enough and are never satisfied with their results. And then there are people on the other side of the spectrum, who sometimes get overconfident and satisfied too easily with what they achieve, and never really push themselves to become better. It is important to establish a balance between these two mindsets, and finding this balance can be beneficial for not only school, but work, relationships and life outside of school in general. 

    As talking about both mindsets in one article would make for an article longer than anyone would want to read, this article will be separated into two parts. For this first instalment I'll be writing about the person who is too hard on themselves:

    The person who is too hard on themselves continuously sets themselves high, unattainable standards. They’re not happy with a 9/10, because it could be a 10/10 – but then when they get 10/10 they downplay their achievement and attribute their success to anything but themselves (‘Oh, the test wasn’t difficult so it wasn’t that hard to get 100%’, ‘This subject is a bludge anyways’, ‘Everyone else also got 10/10 so it’s not that great’). And when they might not do as well, they feel defined by that lower score, by that undesired outcome.

    They lock themselves away and work tirelessly to become better but however hard they try they never seem to become good enough. They look at others and, in their eyes, the others are on another level; the others are smarter, more successful, richer, more liked. They never let themselves celebrate what they achieve, or rather, they never see what they achieve as anything worth celebrating even though everyone around them believes it to be so. 

    I know it's probably quite hard to recognise these things in yourself but, if you are able to, here are a few points you can practice to help you be a little kinder to yourself:

    Don’t make excuses for your success

    Modesty is in no way an undesirable or negative trait, but if you are too modest and continually accredit your own achievements to other people or certain outward circumstances – anything but your own efforts – it can breed some negativity in your own mentality towards yourself. You become convinced that you’re not good for anything, even though your self-earned success is staring you in the face.

    Try to look back and recognise the hard work you put in to achieve 100% in that SAC or be cast as the main lead in the year’s school production. Think back on those hours you stayed up late to study, or all those times you stayed back after school to practice for your audition, and realise that it was you; your hard work, your talent, your smarts that got you over that line. Don’t make excuses for your success, just own it.

    Stop comparing yourself to others

    It’s good to look for inspiration in others and strive to become like them, but when you continually measure yourself up against other people you are bound to find something of which you find yourself inferior. It’s probably been said many times before, but the best person to compete with is yourself – just focus on bettering yourself and your own personal results and you’ll find yourself much happier than constantly looking elsewhere and finding someone else has done better than you (in your eyes). Compete with yourself to become better, not bitter. 

    Take some good out of the bad

    Often it’s quite easy to see an undesired outcome and disregard the journey to getting there. There is always something good to take out of a seemingly bad experience. Say you tried out for your local football team but weren’t accepted – it can be incredibly easy to focus entirely on your failure to get in and think all of your efforts were gone to waste. But those hours of training and early morning runs you did in preparation for the try-outs improved your skills and your fitness, making you more eligible for next time you try-out. The important thing is to not be too discouraged and to get back up and try again, knowing that you’re better equipped and more experienced because of your failure the first time.

    Reward yourself

    It is admirable the way you are trying to constantly improve yourself, but sometimes it can be beneficial to just take a step back and reflect. More than likely, you’ll see that you’ve accomplished a lot up to this point but you haven’t given yourself the chance to reward yourself for it, or you don’t think it’s anything worth rewarding. Of course in some cases you could have done better, but you should celebrate your progress or try to look objectively on what you’ve achieved and you’ll find that you might have been too harsh in your judgements on yourself.

    balance 1.png

    You are so much better than you think you are, you just need to look back and give yourself credit for it. 

    Written by Anna :>

    Tune in one of the following weeks for part 2 ~

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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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    The Assignment Onslaught

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    The Assignment Onslaught

    It's a Wednesday night, you just got back home from Uni/high school and you know that you really should get started on those assignments, those labs and those quizzes. Ever since those introductory classes the work just keeps piling up.

    You feel like, as soon as you frantically finish one assignment, two have taken its place. It's like Hydra, it's a never ending stream of work that leaves you curled up in the foetal position on the floor wondering where your life went wrong.

    Believe me, I know this feeling (if slightly exaggerated). The feeling that even though it's only been 3 weeks you feel like you're 5 weeks behind. One thing I realised once I entered university is that it is not as easy as everyone makes it out to be. In fact, in my experience, it requires much more from me than high school ever did.

    But you have to realise that, it's okay to feel like this.

    That's because everyone around is probably feeling the same way; you are not a hopeless cause. For every person that looks like they're acing everything in the unit, there are many more who are still trying to get to grips with what's happening. You are not the only one struggling.

    The assignment onslaught never stops once it's begun. There are, however, a few ways to manage this:

    1. As Douglas Adams famously said, "Don't Panic". If you panic, you literally will feel paralysed and helpless. You feel as if there is no way out of this but, believe me, there is.
    2. Hard work is what gets you there 90% of the time. As long as you focus and keep concentrated, all those assignments will get done, as long as you put it in the effort - there's no need to be a genius.
    3. The hardest part is getting started. Once you force yourself to start the rest will come to you - and sometimes you might even feel the urge to complete it.
    4. Keep organised and prioritise; there's nothing worse than when you realise you've been working on the assignment that's due in two weeks and you haven't started on the one that's due in two days.

    KNOW WHEN EVERYTHING IS DUE

    Just keep trucking along and, when you've finally gotten through it, you'll be proud that you survived the assignment onslaught :)

    Mark

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    TUTORIAL ANXIETY ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

    "Some corporate companies are assigned quotas of hiring certain ethnicities or genders. Is this an appropriate way of battling discrimination in workplaces?"

    Your tutor's eyes skim across the class of caffeine junkies and mildly sleep-deprived students with a look of expectancy. 

    Immediately, tentacles of nerves and uneasiness wrapped your insides tightly. Raise your hand up. UP. You know the answer to this. What the heck are you waiting for?

    Have a Hermoine moment. BE HERMOINE. EMBODY HERMOINE QUALITIES. 

     

    Say the relatively long monologue you rehearsed in the shower yesterday. Ah, what was it? AHA!

    'The key to achieving equality is fostering mutual respect between the two sexes. It is so misguided to think that companies are 'anti-discriminatory' solely because they hire a particular quota of individuals.'  

    Wait, what was my point? Come on, neurons FIRE FASTER. Honestly, I should have continued studying a second language. I would have denser grey matter beneath my skull. 

    'When the only pre-requisite to working in a company is based the colour of your skin, that is immensely patronizing and cheap.'

    OKAY, now raise your hand, you're ready to go, girl. 

    As you open your mouth, another voice breaks the blanket of silence in the tute room. 

    More often than not, the discussion starts on a new tangent and the moment is lost. 

    In Semester 2 of 2016, this was a relatively common occurrence in a few of my tutes. The odd thing is that in Semester 1, I never had this issue of overthinking my potential contributions. It was equal parts confusing and frustrating to suddenly be gripped with nerves at the thought of saying something in class. 

    In my formative years of High school, I did have a wisp of self-consciousness when it came to raising my hand in class. Eventually, I was able to shake it off and become much more comfortable in large discussions. 

    Back in my early Primary school years, I was enrolled in the Singaporean education system which greatly emphasizes on grades and rigorous study habits. The conversational exchange between students and teachers in classroom settings was practically non-existent. (Note: This is nearly nine years ago! So, these experiences may be outdated.) So, that teaching method taught me to be a passive and absorbent kind of student. 

    Nonetheless, the resurgence of the slight anxiousness came back with a vengeance last year. And I would always find myself filled with regret after some tutes where I did not speak or raise my hand up faster.

    It was a strange, disconcerting feeling. I knew I had to get it handled asap. 

    TIPS

    1. If you have done the readings, gone to the lectures, you will be FINE. Even if the tutor picks on you. So, rest a little easy, you hummingbird of a heart. (Aka, get your work together.) 

    2. Think of tutorials as little spaces where wacky/passionate/controversial/refreshing opinions and perspectives are exchanged. What's YOUR opinion on the topic? Or subject? 

    3. When your tutor directs a question to the class, it is because he/she wants to use the class's opinions and views as a compass. They feed off your energy and ideas that will ultimately propel the class discussion. So, help them out a little bit? ;) 

    4. Deep breaths. No-one is judging. To be honest, the critical eye in your mind should be a little forgiving on ourselves. In a tute, a handful of people are daydreaming/sleeping with their eyes open.  Others are keen to hear what their classmates have got to say.

    So, stop mincing your words and rewording them in a way that sounds most 'sophisticated' and 'oh-so-impressive'. Go for short and sweet and improvise. 

    5. I know for a fact now, that participating in tutes makes time ZOOOOom faster and a whole lot more enjoyable.

    Anyway, your girl here needs to do her readings and battle with the onslaught of week 3 madness. 

    Hope all you first years are having a blast and getting heaps of new experiences. You keep doing you, sunshines. 

    -Amanda ♡

    P.S I HAVE MISSED WRITING ON THIS PLATFORM. Come say Hi at our twitter  ! Don't be shy. Shoot us questions or topics YOU wish to see. We would love to hear your experiences and thoughts on first year uni or VCE. 

    P.P.S Playlist that is getting me through uni: 

    Trainwreck- Banks

    This Is Not About Us- Banks

    Hole In My Soul- Kaiser Chiefs

    India- Rod Ladgrove

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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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