E'Shan: 4 ways you can have it all at uni

E’Shan has a bachelors degree in engineering and graduated from USQ with a Master of Project Management and Master of Business Administration in 2016. When she is not conducting flight tests, she can be found in the kitchen baking, cooking and, of course, eating.

Ever wondered how some people seem to be able to score HDs in practically every subject yet at the same time have a great social life, appearing at every party and event? Did you ever console yourself that it’s probably because they don’t need to sleep? If you’ve been nodding your head so far, read on and discover how, with the help of various USQ support services, you too can become THAT person (without having to sacrifice sleep)!

1. Use the website and your SRO to plan which courses you’ll study and when

Prepare, prepare and prepare! You must be thinking, ‘I know this, so what’s new?’. Well, I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to do your own preparation for uni life. I don’t just mean planning your study timetable and reading up ahead of every class. Rather, during enrolment when you have decided what course to undertake, make use of the online resources available on the USQ website to find out what courses are required for your degree, and which semesters they are offered in. Take the time to plot out when you’ll study which courses for your degree, paying particular attention to those subjects that have pre-requisites and make sure you have it down on paper. This is especially helpful for working students who may need to plan ahead to avoid study conflicting with their job.

Doing this early on in your degree will set a clear path, and when each new semester rolls around, double check to ensure that your planned courses are indeed being offered (as things may change). Most importantly, should you feel lost, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your SRO or faculty staff. They are very friendly people and are more than happy to discuss with you the various options and possibilities.

2.Use the StudyDesk to get organised and stay that way during your degree

Prior to the start of each semester, familiarise yourself with the USQStudyDesk. Find out what assignments and quizzes are due when, as most lecturers would have uploaded such information on the StudyDesk about 1 to 2 weeks before the first day of classes. Having a sense of what is required and a timeline showing when each assessment item is due will allow you to plan your study time more effectively. Start reading up on your assignments early and have an outline on when you intend to complete which sections. Formulate your schedule and try to stick with it, but don’t freak out if you fall behind … keep calm, write some to-do-lists and eat cake! If possible, when organising your study schedule, include a few ‘buffer’ days, because you never know when life will throw you a curveball.

Organise your study materials (be it hardcopy or softcopy) so that all lecture notes and assignment instructions are kept in their proper places. This will help minimise the time spent trying to find them when crunch time comes (trust me, those extra few minutes will always come in handy).

3.Form friendships with peers and lecturers alike

Attend classes and make friends for life (or at least for uni life). These people will be your support group/ quiz buddies/ assignment partners throughout your studies, and can be relied on to motivate you. Also, they serve as an avenue for you to discuss and clarify assignment questions (not to mention of course, when you have to skip a lecture, they are the people who will share their lecture notes with you).

If you are not an on-campus student, don’t worry that you will be unable to make real friends. Make ‘virtual friends’ by utilising the online resources such as the forums on StudyDesk to introduce yourself and interact with your fellow course-mates.

Besides making friends with your peers, get to know your lecturers too! Speak up and participate in class discussions. Share your ideas and when in doubt, ask questions (there really is NO such thing as a stupid question)! If you’re shy, make an appointment with your lecturer for a discussion instead. Your lecturers are the best source to seek clarification on something that you didn’t understand in class. In my experience, they are always extremely helpful, willing to guide you and to answer your questions.

4. Make the most of uni events and services to take a break from study and de-stress

USQ organises webinars throughout semester that are free and very helpful as you start your revision and preparation for exams, so keep an eye out for them on your StudyDesk! USQ also has non-academic services and activities for students throughout the academic year, such as Stress-Less Week, Harmony Day and Market Day, just to name a few. Such events allow you to interact with other students and definitely help you de-stress.

Furthermore, free counselling is also available to students should you feel the need to vent your frustrations. Another way to de-stress is to sign up for the sports events that are organised by Phoenix Central. Not only does it allow you to take your mind off the academic stress, you can also burn some energy while re-energising for your next study session.

Remember, it is very important to take some time off from study to relax and re-organise your thoughts. If you find yourself staring at your report or essay with no output for a long time, take a quick stroll, bring in the mail, breathe in some fresh air and then come back to it. Remember to enjoy life too, you deserve it.

As an international student, these are just some of the ways I made use of USQ's support services when I was studying my double masters. I’ve found these online resources and the staff support from USQ to be extremely beneficial to me; my study journey would not have been as fun and fulfilling without them.

There are a number of different support services available to you as a USQ student, so make sure you make the most of them because they will help you succeed.

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