Best places to study in SWOTVAC

I have discovered that the best time to be in the library is on holidays – all I currently see is a barren wasteland of empty chairs and the occasional person hiding behind a laptop. This is completely the opposite to the SWOTVAC library experience were where hunting for chairs is the norm and there will be at least one annoying person trying to eat a muesli bar in the silent section.

The best places to study in SWOTVAC are usually empty classrooms in random buildings. On my wanderings I ride the elevator to an odd floor, walk up and down foreign faculty staircases and try and walk with confidence so no one tries to kick me out. This year I ended up in the Asia-Myer building and discovered they put out free tea and sandwiches for those who dared venture away from the traditional library! Unless they weren’t free and I took someone’s conference food. Oh well.

You may ask – why would you go to the library in the holidays? Simply put, I am avoiding doing chores in my sharehouse. And with the billion emails I am receiving it acts as a nice office away from home. Also good distraction finding random books on the 3rd floor of Baillieu, I would hit up the 300s if I were you.


Student accommodation in first year – do it!!!

Hello friends, it’s been a while! Pretty much over two months – I do apologise. But I’m here to tell you guys something every up and coming first year should be made aware of.

Now, full disclaimer, I understand that university accommodation isn’t within everyone’s price range. Some of the uni colleges are approx. $30 000 a year, which comes out to be around $600 a week – big yikes. There are of course more affordable options – some are actually cheaper than living in a share house, what with Internet and utilities covered in the price, and should definitely be considered as a viable option.

To start with, you meet and make so many friends living in one of these complexes. So many people, in so many different courses!!! It’s wild. Whether you go to a big or small university, it’s easy to become lost in the crowd, and living on res or in student housing allows you to be an individual and make friends this way. The events most of them hold are a social hub, and everyone’s in the same boat as you.

Second, affordability. Like I mentioned, everything’s covered, and you usually don’t have to buy a TV, fridge, or anything like that – it’s all already there. Things are so stressful when you’re moving away from home into a new environment, and having everything covered for you is a burden taken off your shoulders.

If you’re thinking about living in Melbourne to study, most universities (uni melb for example) are located in the CBD, and so are the accommodations and apartment buildings. The last thing you want to worry about is navigating public transport and potential fines when you’re on your way to the first lecture, and again it takes a very heavy burden off your already tense shoulders.

To put it simply, you make friends at accommodations that you won’t make in giant lecture halls. It’s easy to be lost in the crowd, and living somewhere where everyone else knows what you’re going through?? Priceless.

303 Royal Parade is the apartment complex I’m currently at – have a look at it, or the many other options like University of Melbourne colleges, Atira, Student Housing company….just do it.


Ramblings of a night owl

 

I live in Cheltenham and I have at least a painful 4 hours ride (to college and back) every day. Although I enjoy the view of lush green suburbs and striking street art covered walls through the journey, I’m growing numb to it. I mean, when you commute for a good 6 months like this, you are bound to get tired of it eventually.

 

 

So I began paying attention to the passengers in the train. Okay, quick question. Am I the only one who doesn’t like making eye contacts with people? I walk, sit and stand looking down or scroll through my phone. Perhaps it’s a blaring sign of being an introvert but if I ever accidentally lock eyes with someone, my heart races (the kind of feeling when you’re about to fall from stairs) and end up feeling extremely uncomfortable. I could definitely do with less anxiety in life if I had Harry’s invisibility cloak, you know?

But for the most part, the passengers are engrossed in conversations, face deep on their phones, or nose buried in their books. Hardly comes off as a surprise these days actually. That doesn’t mean I want strangers to talk to strike conversations with me. Because although I’m in my mid-twenties I believe that I attract danger like a magnet and who knows I might be talking to a potential psychopath and the next thing you know I might end up dead in some “dark alley”. Heeeey, it’s not my fault I’m wired to think that way because I’m sure half of us at least joke about this among our friends. And honestly, when you’re a woman you think of all possibilities that could potentially get you into danger and imagine how you can escape from it. The imaginative martial arts skill or high-pitched screaming may not come in handy in real life though. Lets say, I’ve been in a similar situation – I froze and my body refused to move. The practical side of my brain, stored with immense possibilities of “What to do when you’re in danger” such as contacting my emergency numbers, screaming for help, materializing cool martial arts moves all dissolved from my brain and failed to manifest into any sort of action. But I ran for my life.

I don’t run. I hate running. But when the situation called for it, I surprised myself. The fighter in me took a back seat and I fled the scene faster than I could’ve ever imagined. Because I’ve never thought about running in situations like these. I used to conjure up situation where I fought back; but the reality hit differently.

After that horrifying experience, I retracted to a life within the four walls of my room. A way of life that women are still fighting to break free from. And then there’s me.This habit turned out to be a blessing for my parents because I didn’t go out unless it was necessary. It’s not as sad as it sounds…..pffft. I’ve definitely overcome my fears but I guess during the healing process, I got too comfortable within my solitary confinement.

Well, that escalated quickly. My initial plan was to whine about strenuous commuting but uh… I may have gotten a little too carried away with this midnight rambling about my sorry life.

It’s 11 p.m. and I’m trying to hold back from complaining about how day light savings have left me with one less hour to sleep. Isn’t that how it works? I still can’t get my head around the scientific explanation of this phenomenon so I’m expertly measuring time according to my sleep patterns.

Until next time then. Stay safe!


I can’t stress this enough

Hunched upon my bed (terrible posture) at 10:41 p.m. in the night, I realized what I want to write about.

 

Stress.

I’d like to think that I’m good at managing stress. But others refuse to agree.

It’s debatable, okay?

Life is an amalgamation of various sources of stress. I can’t explain how, but everything triggers stress in me. Uneven eyebrows? Stress. Bad grades? Stress. Periods? Stress. Missed call from mom? Stress. Dirty laundry? Stress. You see, my life evolves around stress.

Hence everyone around me blames stress as the root of all my problems.

This is indeed a messed up cause and effect relationship and no number of self-help books or Instagram self-care pages can pacify me.

 

What do I do to help myself? Sleep. It’s a really simple but an exceptionally effective way to deal with stress. Not very pragmatic though. Because what do I do if I’m stressed at work? Sleep? Yes. I’ve done that. I dozed off for a few minutes in an office bathroom stall. It worked. Never doing it again.

I watch funny movies, rant to a friend, binge eat, go shopping, walk, exercise and more to beat stress. But over time, I realized that I was seeking a way to escape the problem than face it. So everything I’d tried either became redundant or backfired at some point. We’re young and wild and we make mistakes. Perhaps, a little too many.

ANYWAYS, I would like to believe that I’m learning how to deal with stress. First off, you gotta identify when stress strikes. More often, I mistake anxiety or anger for stress. They’re indeed results of stress but I often dismiss it for some temporary technical issue in my body. What I fail to notice is, when I don’t face the source of my stress, I act out, effectively hurting someone in the process. And this is a cycle. I refuse to acknowledge the issue, brush it off and move on. And obviously, when something stressful transpires again, it snowballs into something more dreadful and my functions come to a halt.

I’m learning to face the problem. I identify the issue and map out the pros and cons. Like, what worked and what didn’t. Consider this as a SWOT analysis. Don’t get me wrong I don’t find solutions immediately. But what I find is clarity of the situation. And I’ve observed that sometimes, the problem solves on its own and at other times, I figure out a solution in a few days time. It’s important to know that not all problems require your interference or active problem solving skills. When you stumble upon a problem and if it fails to resolve even after utilizing every ounce of your capability, all you need to do is, let it be.

Every problem has a solution. Correct. But like I said, problems don’t always require your constant supervision. And you’ll only know that once you pin down whatever’s troubling you. This is no easy feat. It certainly is time consuming and would take several attempts to buck up and face it. But I suppose, that’s how you learn. There’s no rush so you can take one step at a time.


Dear Diary, what is Prosh?

All my conversations lately look like this.

Me: I’m doing Prosh

Non-proshers: What is Prosh?

And thus I launch into my explanation.

So I thought, today for my blog, I’d talk about one of the greatest uni events I have discovered at Melbourne Uni. I’m going to go through a list of some of the most asked questions about Prosh and answer them to the best of my ability.

Q. What is Prosh?

A. The best way to describe Prosh is a week-long game where there are multiple teams, and each team completes a list of things to earn points for their team.

Q. What do you have to do?

A. There really isn’t anything you have to do. A lot of the things people do during Prosh (such as getting intoxicated) don’t actually get your team points (sometimes they do), they just add to the experience. Things on the lists that teams get can include donating blood, giving your mum flowers, collecting bottle caps, or more intense things like getting a tattoo, performing a dance number, constructing a giant pirate ship. Throughout the day there are also many mini-games that teams participate in. For example, if you were at uni today you might have seen a race along the moat at south lawn where people had to scull their cans of soft drink/cider/beer/juice.

Q. How long does it go for?

A. Prosh goes for one week and starts at 8:00am every morning and finishes at midnight every night. The beauty of Prosh is that if you don’t want to do it, you don’t have to. If the 24-hour ‘long drive’ event means you’ll get car sick, maybe sit it out and waste your 24 hours on the 24-hour scavenger hunt.

Q. What team are you on?

A. I’m on the best team. UndeΨded (pronounced undecided), is the team run by the science students that accept anyone, even arts kids. The science team is quite large with 70+ members, but there are smaller teams with 10-20 members. Small teams compete separately to large teams in the tally of points at the end. There are also teams from other unis such as the RMITeam and the Uncultured Swines (Swinburne).

Q. How much does it cost?

A. Depends on what team you join. Personally, to be on the science team, we all paid $35 for the t-shirt and thats it. One of my friends on the Ormond team didn’t have to pay at all to join her team. The whole Prosh week isn’t actually affiliated with Melbourne Uni even though it is run on campus, so when you pay, you pay a team leader, not the actual faculty.

Q. Why should I do it?

A. It’s a great way to make friends on campus, get away from the stress of your studies, grab some drinks with other people competing and it’ll leave you with memories that you’ll never forget.

Q. When do I sign up?

A. I’m not sure if it’s too late to join a team for this year’s Prosh as it has already begun but I 100% recommend signing up for next year. Create your own team or join one. There is no limit on what age you can join Prosh, so you’ll never lose the chance to join in.

 

Okay, so hopefully that covered all the questions you had.

And with that, I hope you all have a great week watching the Proshers running around and having fun with your newfound knowledge of what they’re actually doing.

See you next time,

xoxo Spiderpig


Dear Diary, here’s my resume boosters

Hey hey everyone!

Sorry, it has been so long since my last post. Right now my life is like a cauldron and its brewing with 3 assignments per week, 20 contact hours and 12 hours of part-time work. Nevertheless, I’m here (finally) to discuss what I do in my spare time. But beware, this is a lengthy post (thus the bold subtitles).

Socialise? You ask. No. Even better.

Volunteering!

Today’s blog was initially going to be about the best ways to make friends at uni but I was feeling inspired by my ventures yesterday as a volunteer at the Teddy Bear Hospital at Chadstone. Being a volunteer at the Teddy Bear Hospital is a great way to talk to kids about health and safety and also make some great friends while having loads of fun. The Teddy Bear Hospital is run by Melbourne University Students, so if you’re a student who’s interested you can sign up by checking out their facebook page and sending an email.

Now let’s talk about other things you can do to make the ‘community’ section of your resume that little bit more impressive.

 

AT UNIVERSITY

There’s a bunch of ways you can get involved in all the Uni Action that looks great on your resume. I suggest checking out the UMSU (Uni Melb Student Union) website and seeing what volunteering listings they have available. Currently, I am volunteering at the Welfare Breakfast every morning. Yes, that’s right. If you get to Uni between 8-10am you can get a free brekky every morning at the Ida Bar.

Another way to find some opportunities within the campus is by being on the committee for UMSU. They do general elections annually and if you think you have the skills to run for one of the positions, go for it! Similarly, if you join a club, all UniMelb clubs have a general meeting where you can run for one of the executive positions of that club. Maybe even become a president if you have the right skills. One of my friends has recently joined the committee of the Melbourne Arts Student Society and is involved with running all of the special events and balls.

 

OUT OF UNIVERSITY

If you feel like you don’t want to spend all your free time at University then there are heaps of places to volunteer outside of University. For example, it can be as easy as calling your local aged care home and expressing an interest in volunteering once a week with the elderly. When I did this, I was tasked with taking care of an Alzheimer’s patient. Having this experience with this woman really helped me to deal with my own grandma’s dementia and really opens your eyes to how they’re feeling.

Another way to volunteer outside of University is to help out at a second-hand store like Vinnies, Salvos or Helping Hands. These stores get hundreds of donations per day and they could really use your help to sort through all the donations. Did you know that the Helping Hands store has its own community kitchen with $3 buffet lunches to help out the unemployed or financially disadvantaged?

RAISING MONEY

So far all I’ve talked about is doing good with no rewards; altruism if you will. But how about making a difference through donating to charity. There is always an opportunity to donate to charity so nothing is stopping you from making your own fundraiser. Maybe you could do a 10km walk, or wash cars, or sell chocolates? If you’re not feeling like starting your own fundraiser, you can easily raise money through someone else’s. One that’s always really fun and I’ve been apart of for a few years is the 40 Hour Famine. It started off as a fundraiser where you would fast for 40 hours to raise awareness for those who are starving in third world countries, but now the fundraiser has expanded to various challenges. You could give up speaking for 40 hours, give up technology or even give up your home. The latest challenge, the backpack challenge, raised awareness for people who are forced to flee their homes due to natural disasters or war. Another popular fundraiser is Carries’ Beanies 4 Brain Cancer, where you can run your own campaign to sell beanies and raise money for brain cancer.

 

BENEFITS

So why should you do anything that I’ve listed above? Despite the title of this blog, I don’t do any of those things for my resume. I find helping people a lot of fun. When you take a step out of your daily life and step into someone else’s you really expose yourself to a world that the media doesn’t really show. The people you meet through volunteering, whether its other volunteers or just people that need your help, everyone is so genuine and caring. There’s a lot of stigma around homeless people and you may typically associate them with beggars on the streets, but there are so many families out there who are just like yours but without money or without employment. We’re lead to believe that everyone has fair opportunities and that equality exists but you don’t realise how untrue that is until you meet someone with a disability or their family that has to give up full-time jobs to care for them. When you volunteer at an organisation your not just giving up a few hours of your day, you’re giving those hours to someone else.

Of course, a benefit for us is that we can put on our resume “volunteered at ___”, but the satisfaction from that is minuscule to the satisfaction you get from seeing the smile on the faces you’ve helped. Another way you can record these hours is through Melbourne University’s Leaders In Community Award. This is an award that you work to achieve throughout your degree. Basically, it involves volunteering in the community and at university, and also undertaking leadership positions in the university. The award is a great encouragement to keep you volunteering throughout your years at Melbourne.

 

CONCLUSION

Alright, so that was a long post. Congrats if you actually read it all. In summary, this post was just me trying to convince you to volunteer. Trust me, it’s worthwhile. You may not keep in touch with the people you meet, but as you get older you’ll always remember them as the people who changed your life.

 

Thanks for listening to my Ted Talk,

SpiderPig out x


Are you that person?

Do you talk in your tutorials or answer questions in lectures? Judging from my recent experience across Sociology, Spanish and other Arts subjects I would say the overwhelming response would be no. I seem to have taken on the role of *irritating* mature age student who isn’t afraid to put her hand up and answer. I never thought I would be that person but my logic is thus:

– after two degrees I no longer care what people think of me, I firmly believe that a dumb answer is still an answer!

– you learn if you get the answer right and also on a deeper level if you get it wrong, but no-one would have learnt anything if you hadn’t put your thoughts out into the open. Everybody wins!

– All the tutors/lecturers want is participation and to engage their audience. They don’t care if you get it wrong.

After five seconds of other students avoiding eye contact with the teacher, my hand is forced to raise itself. I have to say something, even if idiotic, to save us all from a painfully awkward silence akin to death. I feel like I am doing some good in the world when the tutor isn’t left facing a room of 15 people and all you can hear are crickets.

I used to feel like I would get it wrong and be publicly humiliated, which only happened once in a room of 600 people. I had emailed my Chemistry lecturer about a simple question the previous week and she felt like she needed to share and laugh about it with the entire student cohort. Cheers.

Confidence broken, that terrifying experience made me feel so ashamed that I never wanted to ask another question again. However, after working with students and learning about how to give constructive feedback I can only say that experience was misuse of teaching power and it should have been handled differently.

Since then it has become much easier to call attention to my ideas in class and I try to answer at least one question every session. Eventually you learn that that no-one really cares if you get it wrong, they are all far too consumed with their own insecurities than to worry about yours. So I say, why not answer a question in your next tutorial? You might even become that person.


I’m not a journalist

Hello sweet potatoes!

Semester 2 has officially begun (three weeks ago, actually). Woo!

I’m doing my Masters in Global Media Communication and my entire family and extended relatives believe I’m gonna be a journalist one day and appear on TV shows. Wha-

I don’t try to correct them anymore. My family has zero idea about what I’m really doing.

I chose this course because I strongly believe in pursuing what I’m passionate about. Semester 1 was sluggish, but Semester 2 is making all the difference.

Semester 1 consisted of Understanding Media & Communications, Researching Media & Communications and Legal Issues in Media and Publishing.

Not gonna lie, Understanding Media and Communication is a heavy subject and requires regular reading. You can’t float your way through; you have to swim all on your own. On the bright side, the lecturers are terrific and they make the journey much simpler by explaining concepts, providing word-to-word guidelines for assignments and answering questions to literally everything. I’ve always looked forward to tutorials where the class used to indulge in compelling conversations about the topic of the week.

Researching Media & Communication is a breath of fresh air. If you’ve previous experience working on research projects, this is going to be a breeze. If you don’t, it’s still gonna go swimmingly well because the purpose of the subject is to instill an understanding about the process of research. Also the lecturers are exceptionally supportive and quite easy to talk to. If you put in enough efforts, the subject is an easy A.

Legal Issues in Media and Publishing was the most interesting one in my opinion because the subject was new to my knowledge and the lecturer was purely entertaining and engaging in class. BUT I almost passed out after receiving my final grade. Failure to quote sufficient academic references in the essay cost me greatly.

Having said that, these subjects really helped me get the hang of the course. And being in a class with students from diverse cultures and background promote fascinating perspectives about things. It breaks manifold stereotypes too. Although this program comes with a lot of writing, it never gets boring.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This applies to both future aspirants of UniMelb and the current students. I can’t emphasize how important this is. And trust me when I say this, there are no right or wrong questions at UniMelb. By asking questions, in addition to getting answers, you are also directed towards opportunities for further help.

The best part about this program is, every subject is connected around the current global events. I never used to read newspapers and I had zero idea about what was happening around me or the world. But the subjects I’ve taken up really inspires me to take that extra step and stay informed. This development is certainly a first and makes me look forward to the next two semesters as well.

I have a huge student loan hovering over my existence, but I know for certain that this course will be worth it!


don’t worry, be happy

There’s something that I want to use this platform for more than anything, something that is really important to me – opening up the discussion about mental health.

As a high school student I both dreaded and yearned moving to uni and starting anew. I’d moved around a lot, so I wasn’t too keen on gaining another set of friends; and I’m not all that good at making friends sometimes, because of my anxiety disorder. I was so anxious about moving, and I still struggle on a day to day basis, and I want to talk about being that kind of Jaffy.

This isn’t a sad post!!!! Please do not pity me!! Mental health is just a part of everyday life, and having a mental illness is something that isn’t discussed openly enough. Last year I could hardly find anything on moving and adjusting to a new city that specifically helped ME, and I don’t want that for anyone else, ever.

Moving is hard full stop. Packing up everything you know and going to a new place, whether it’s in another town state or country, especially without knowing anyone around you, is terrifying no matter who you are. Everyone gets anxiety about these kinds of things of course – if you don’t, you’re a sociopath. But if you have a mental health disorder, everything can seem to be just that bit more daunting. A new environment, new schedule, and new people is what did it for me. Knowing that I had to do everything without the support of my parents and friends everyday by my side, knowing that I would have to explain to all these new people why I couldn’t hang out constantly, THAT was daunting.

But here I am, and good lord it’s been hard, but everyone nowadays is so understanding and open to new ideas that there was no way I could ever be excluded or discriminated against at the University for being me. The workplace is a different matter I’ve found out – and that’s another obstacle for down the line. My teachers are amazing and making new friends who aren’t assholes has really helped too.

So, to summarise, talk about mental health more. I feel like everyone is constantly talking about their bad ankle, or a faulty wrist, and it really should fall under the same category. Society has come so far, and you really don’t realise it until you’re out in the big wide world and actually integrated within it. But unimelb if you’re reading this – please make appointments for the free counseling more accessible. Momma needs her fortnightly breathing exercises and rant to a complete stranger.


Feeling Positive

After receiving my results for Semester 1 a few weeks ago I guess I can officially claim that “I am an Arts student”! This semester I will be going down to three (from the normal four) subjects in order to be able to work and study at the same time. I am trying my best to fit in working as a veterinarian in private practice and with the final year veterinary students in the university teaching hospital in Werribee (somewhat of a logistical and sometimes stressful challenge). It feels like I haven’t had a holiday but I am not complaining! I am grateful to feel so interested in what I am learning every day and to be working with such welcoming and knowledgeable veterinary teams, until I fall in a tired heap that is. 😉

I just wanted to mention a subject that has completely changed my outlook on life and future career since March 2019 – Wellbeing, Motivation and Performance (WMP). This is a first year Positive Psychology subject from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and is available as a Breadth subject.  After falling in love with the semester plan in the first lecture (whole weeks dedicated to topics such as Gratitude, Motivation, Resilience and Emotions!) I spoke to my lecturer Rachel Colla to see how I could find out more or get involved. I had heard whispers about Positive Psychology in the veterinary profession as a tool to combat mental health but didn’t know much else.

Rachel let me know that the 2019 World Congress for Positive Psychology (WCPP) happened to be in Melbourne in July. Of all the places in the world the biennial international Positive Psychology conference happened to be in my home city (if that is not a sign I am heading in the right direction, what is?) and that a bunch of international positive psychology superstars would be descending on my home town in the semester break. I signed up to be a volunteer and that’s how I came to spend all my waking hours from July 18-July 21 surrounded by all things positive. I was lucky to meet so many brilliant and engaging people from a multitude of different backgrounds but above all it was inspiring to see how the people who have taken risks with their careers are now the ones doing the work they love in their own self-created jobs.

I am so grateful to both Rachel Colla and Sue Salamito (my WMP tutor) for encouraging my involvement and being so generous with their knowledge. The fantastic WMP team has been incredibly welcoming and supportive and I hope to use my knowledge from Positive Psych not only in my future work but in the way that I live every day.

I guess the underlying theme here is don’t be afraid to talk to people about your interests – there are so many individuals and groups at this university who want to help you and support you but they can’t do this unless you show them you are interested and willing to have a go. Just ask.

The funny thing is, the main reason I came back to university was to study philosophy and I haven’t taken a single philosophy subject yet. So far Positive Psychology, Sociology, Spanish and Gender Studies are keeping me on my toes and I am excited to continue finding out about the other things I never even knew existed before starting a Bachelor of Arts. Vamos!


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