Doing A Okay!

Being back into the swings from mid-semester break, I faced a difficult time last week. I was being very hard on myself. I was putting so much pressure on myself, that I wanted to breakdown last Friday afternoon. I was screaming in frustration in my practice room when I couldn’t play a phrase that I had been learning since the start of the semester. I wanted to do get back on track, and to be able to do very well in order to get good grades to get into honors. I was in a total mess last week to be honest!

This week I have been much better. I have been kinder to myself. I had been taking learning in the best manner as I can – being calm, relaxed and taking big breaths if I couldn’t get things right. I have been listening to myself better than I have been before, and stopped practicing when my body and arms tell me, “Please no more.” I exercised, and kept myself fit this week more than twice a week. I swam 3km on Tuesday night, then swam again before work on Wednesday, which was another 1.5km swim!

Things are looking up I think. The best thing I can do is just be strong person, try to be positive as much as I can, and have as much support from my friends and family. Just taking my time to enjoy things just for a little while in the moment. Doing things that makes me feel better in terms of happiness and feeling positive about myself. I think having a clear mind by taking care of myself in both mental and physical health is a key thing as a tertiary student. I think that is important that one should have.

I had also been looking forward to more exciting things ahead. I am recently preparing for an accompanying gig that is going to be very exciting! I’ll be doing a rehearsal with one of the vocalists that I will be working with next week, and also be having a photoshoot next Saturday down near Bendigo! It’s going to be another busy period, but it will be very worth it, and a huge achievement that I will be accomplishing soon. I’m also involved in Access Connections, as a mentee, which is a mentoring program for Uni Melb students assisting with their aspiring career pathways. So far, it is going great! I had my first meeting with my mentor, and she’s really nice! I’ll be looking forward to our future meetings, and will be doing lots of exploring on music teaching!

So, yeah. Things are looking up for me, and I can never be more grateful for what’s more to come.

I hope everyone is well. 🙂

– Nicole

Vulnerability … and Other Dirty Words (Aimee)

Hello my esteemed blog-readers and fellow bloggites!

Have you had a nice week? If your week has been a horrible, terrible, no-good, belly-up catastrophe… please accept a virtual hug to make you feel better! If not… take the hug anyway! Or a handshake… I’m not sure what level of intimacy you’re comfortable with…

Moving on! This week, I’ll start you off with a question…

*Clears throat *

Q: Do you know what my favourite thing about Melbourne Uni is?


A: The support services.

(Be honest… who thought I was going to say the coffee?)

No seriously… one of the best things about Melbourne Uni is that… Oh dear, now this sounds like an advert! Excuse me, reader buddies, but I think the situation calls for a good old-fashioned disclaimer…

**DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Melbourne**

That’s better! Anyway… One of the best things about Melbourne Uni is that, whenever you’re in need, there’s always a support service somewhere on-campus to lend a hand. From Academic Skills to Careers Counselling, student-support has got you covered! (Admittedly, I’m still waiting for a ‘How to Find your Ideal Marriage Partner 101’ or the ‘Office Where we Tell you What to Do with your Life’, but oh well…)

One service is student counselling, where you can go and have a chat about… well, anything really! (Though, your bunions are probably out of the question!) Out of all my friends (get ready for the mathsy bit!) 80% have told me that they’ve tried student counselling and loved it. The counsellors are nothing short of wonderful and the appointments are always to-the-point. So, obviously, uni counsellors are on the money… or else, they pay lots of money in bribes!

HOWEVER… there is one word that stops students from seeking help and that is: vulnerability. (Dah, duh, dahhhhh!!!) Often, people would rather wait until they’ve got a serious problem before they talk to a counsellor… Or until they’ve flunked a subject before they get academic help… because asking for help is just too darn goosebumpy! To me, this sounds a bit like “I’ll wait until my arteries are nice and clogged before I get my blood-pressure checked” … still!

I know vulnerability is a timorous beasty, because I am one of those people who gets a little squeamish about the ‘V word’. I’ve never been great at baring my soul to people… except on the internet. (Funny that!) Often, my reflex is to close up and do an emergency subject change. A particularly embarrassing incident happened when a friend was telling me about their ultra-stressful week at uni. I wanted to tell them about my stressful week, too. Unfortunately, I panicked and did a complete 360. Mid-sentence, I fell into a bizarre rant about Australian bureaucracy. Though I made some valid points, the middle of a Dn’M isn’t really the best time to be talking about government systems… (I should say: I’m not usually this weird!)

Speaking from my utterly unqualified perspective, I think this share-o-phobia (hey, I invented a word!) comes from fear of rejection. In other words, we’re scared that, if they know the truth, other people won’t like us anymore. The funny bit is that the best friendships I’ve had began when I opened up and said something more meaningful than just, ‘Hey, I’m good thanks! How are you?’ The same goes for getting support at university. Though they’re brilliant, staff on campus have not yet got a Bachelor of Telepathic-Communication under their belts. (Appalling, I know!) They won’t know that you need help unless you TELL THEM! (Or maybe if you stand on top of the Chem building, naked and waving a red flag…hmmm)

Here then, is a shout-out to all those people who occasionally get a bit cringey about the ‘V word’! I know you’re scared. I realise that years of guarding your inner-selves with a bicycle lock and chains has made you, shall we say, a bit emotionally constipated.

For goodness sake, take a deep breath…… and SPEAK UP!

You’ll probably find that everyone is eager and waiting to listen.


Third Year Update!

I’m a little bit late into the party, but hello once again, everybody! This is probably the first time that ‘Back for Seconds’ has invited third year blogger(s) into this blog community. So, I am very delighted to be back here writing in this blog site again! I will be writing occasionally in this blog site, as I have a very busy year ahead, but I’ll try my very best to keep you guys updated.

These past few months has been a bit crazy indeed. I started third year early by doing a summer intensive like what I did during second year. I had a career crisis on what I want to do after I finished my undergraduate studies. I had a lot going on. It was a bit overwhelming, but I managed to get through it by getting through my day as best as I can, with the support I received from my friends, family and even my career’s advisor from the con. During the hard times I had, I wasn’t feeling very well in terms of mental health. I started feeling sad, and was not like myself pretty much. I guess it was because I had a bit of issues with work, MSS committee, and a few other things from uni that was a bit stressful. It was hard to deal with. I felt like things were being thrown on top of myself. Don’t worry, things are a bit better now when issues from work, and a few other things from uni has been subsided. There are still a few little things hanging in the air, but I’m trying not to worry about it very much, as I have an essay due the week after. I’m trying to take control on what matters at the moment, rather than let other things drag myself down into a black hole.  The most important thing I find when things are thrown at myself is that, I just need to try and keep going, and take care of myself the best as I can. Doing something that makes me happy that is not reminding myself of my studies is one of the best cures.

I brought cheap croissants, and pastry down for my family and I to share on Elizabeth St near Collins St for $2 or $3 each! So go there after 4 or 5 pm, and you’ll get fresh, cheap, yummy deals! There’s also a great magazine, stationery, and gift store, and a little coffee place down on Elizabeth St too! It called magazine, (haha, I know, how ironic, but I love the vibe there). Best exploring I have done after my day of uni!

Anyways, I have really great news! Since MSS Mentoring Networking Program was going into its second year, and has gain great recognition from the MCM community, one of the staff from my faculty wants to make it even bigger and better! So, I had a meeting with the program officer from my faculty early in the semester, and are really interested in being involved in it. So, I’m very excited indeed. I guess I won’t be able to leave the con just yet! Haha!

My third year experience as a music student has been a bit interesting, in terms of finding myself on where I really do want to go. So, I hope you’re keen to find out on my third year journey too.


A Guide to Figuring Out the Rest of Your Life… (Aimee)

Image result for the rest of your life

Hello to you, my lovely reader pals! An official welcome to *trumpets and fanfare* Year 2!! (The second series; the sequel, as it were!)

Let’s plunge straight into today’s topic: life decisions!!

During Year 12, I had this whacky but rather wonderful Lit teacher. I remember, during SAC prep, a well-meaning boy with awful study habits came up to her and said, “Miss, can you give me some priorities?” I think he meant ‘study’ priorities. However, my teacher, in her usual eccentric way, replied: “Priorities… right! Pass your exams, go to uni, get a job, get married, have some kids and then you’re done!” This week, I’m hoping to give you some advice on the same subject. (Though, I’m not going to tell you what to do with your love-life… Frankly, my explaining powers don’t extend to the unexplainable!)

From what I can tell, life is like that Coles-Myer gift-card which you unexpectedly get for Christmas. It’s a pretty neat present. The problem is: it has a ridiculously short expiration period, when there are so many things you could spend it on! Quite often, you leave it in your wallet until the last minute, whereupon you ask yourself, “Well, what on Earth am I supposed to do with this!?”

Being a pre-crastinator (if there is such a word!!) I had my mid-life crisis twenty years early and was, for a while, downright confused about what to do with my existence. A lot of people kept mystically repeating, “Follow your passions!” (Makes you want to break out in song, doesn’t it?) I don’t know about you, but this advice never helped me one bit! What do you MEAN follow my passions!? I have lots of passions! One of them is organic low-fat cocoa and hazelnut butter! Should I therefore devote my life to it?!?

Instead, I did the whole life-decision thing more scientifically. I picked a career which sounded vaguely interesting – speech pathology. I did some work experience. Then, I did a summer course and got a job – as a carer/speech-worker with autistic kids. By Day 2, my nerves were being mightily tested! I had to take non-verbal clients to the bathroom, prevent road accidents AND deal with all sorts of bizarrely unthinkable complications on the way. On one exceptionally hot day, a client and I were sitting by a fountain. Next to us, a homeless man was happily swimming in his birthday-suit, having left his clothes on the footpath. Before I had time to react, up jumped my client! He grabbed the poor man’s shoes and, with great joie-de-vivre, chucked them in the water. This is one of those situations that doesn’t (but really should!) come with an instruction manual. (I’ll spare you the details of me bending over sideways to fish out the shoes…)

What I learnt from this experience (apart from that Nike runners are extremely buoyant!) is that you rarely begin your chosen career with a passion. After all, how can you be passionate about something you’ve never done before? At the end of the day, passion comes from the knowledge that you’ve accomplished something which other people couldn’t/wouldn’t dare to attempt.

Here then, is my nugget of advice for the week: DON’T just follow your passions. Try things. If you can’t try yourself, talk to someone who already has.

Bon chance!






Going into the second year is a significant step for any Uni student, with experiences varying for each of us. That being said, most probably won’t have as turbulent of a shift as mine. Switching courses proved to be a challenging ordeal, but I’m glad to say that I’ve actually transferred, as of the start of this semester, to the Bachelor of Science. Continue reading “Switcheroo”

Second year begins (Raph)

Hi everyone!

Thanks for coming back to read more about second year at Back for Seconds! We have a shiny new website and three of us (Aimee, Eyre and myself) are continuing blogging from where we left off last year. I hope you enjoy reading about our adventures as we head further into our degrees!

It’s starting to get really serious for us second-years now, as we push on into harder subjects, and approach the mid-point of our course. For me it’s both exciting and daunting getting into harder material, with subjects teaching me more specifically about the science I’m really interested in, but also getting more complicated and demanding. It’s also very nice to have Thursdays off due to having fewer contact hours than last year; I have a bit more time away from Uni to balance my life. I’m working a little at a local Cafe, which is also a good change away from the books (in addition to having a bit more money to spend on Uni events!)

It’s nice to see the campus buzzing with new first-years, reminding me that it’s been a whole year since I was there, new and wide-eyed walking onto the grand campus we study on. I like to think that I’m still just as eager to study hard, only difference is I know where the buildings are much better now!

I know it’s taken me 5 weeks to find the time to write a blog post, but I’m hoping to post at least somewhat regularly to let you all know how things are going, hope you’ll come back and keep reading!

Have a great week,


The Tale of the Vacuum Cleaner, the Scorpion and the Scared Second Year (Aimee)

Image result for scorpion

9 am.

I’m seated in the MSD, watching my new lecturer have an argument with the projector. (Bet you anything, she’s a PC user!) To be utterly and completely honest… I’m sweating like a pig in a sauna!!

It may seem small, insignificant, a trifle… but the truth is, this moment is big, epoch-making, a whopper! In fact, it’s such a big deal that my hands are like Roger Federer’s after winning the Australian Open – and I haven’t even touched a tennis racket! Today is my first day of second year uni. It’s a big change… and I’m not sure I’m ready!

Of course, 2017 has already served up many changes. I’ve changed share-houses, been overseas for the first time and qualified as an ABA therapist. Still, it occurs to me that, this year, I could make the mother of all stuff-ups and the excuse, “Sorry, I’m just a poor helpless first year!” will no longer cut it. The idea is so terrifying that my sunglasses slip through my sweaty fingers and land squarely on my neighbour’s toe. She picks them up and hands them to me. Her smile seems plastered-on. This is the third inanimate object I’ve dropped on her foot since we sat down!

Even so, I think to myself, no change (however massive!) could be as scary as my sleep-over in the ancient Italian castle…

Said sleep-over happened in December. I was in Italy, with some Italians (how ironic!), Italian students and my two kooky Italian professors, doing a summer intensive. We’d arranged to spend the night in a medieval castle. Long ago, a noblewoman jumped out of a window there to escape a loveless arranged marriage. It’s said she still haunts the grounds. So far, the only supernatural encounter we’d had involved my nutty language professor, running around the castle with a table-cloth on his head, shouting ‘WOOOOO!’

That night though, our bedroom in the uppermost tower was invaded… by a blood-chilling, six-legged scorpion with pincers!!

At the sight of the intruder on our bedroom wall, all the girls screamed and ran to get help. Unfortunately, our professor was exhausted from all the castle-haunting and would not wake up! So, Jen (a third year) grabbed a vacuum cleaner from the closet and prepared for battle! Meanwhile, Tessa (from my class), jumped onto her creaky bed, i-Phone in hand. She wanted to film what she knew would be the last remaining minutes of our lives…! Everyone tensed. Jen switched on the vacuum and valiantly aimed for the beast. Her arm wavered with fear.

Suddenly – BANG!!! The bed broke. Tessa and her phone landed belly-up on the floor. Everyone, despite fearing for their lives, laughed. Jen tried again. She raised the nozzle, but the monster, clinging to life, started scuttling away! The moment was marked by screaming of over 150 decibels and then… the scorpion disappeared into the vacuum cleaner’s dusty depths!

Italian students cried, laughed and hugged each other. Then someone asked, “But where’s Aimee?”

I was still in bed. I’d slept through the whole thing.

Thinking back on the incident makes me smile. It had been a fear-filled experience, but with a little courage and a lot of bravado, we’d come through. Suddenly, I know that, in spite of my sweaty hands, second year uni will be the same!

Change is never easy. Sometimes, it’s as appealing as spending the night with an uninvited scorpion. Sometimes though, you just have to plunge in, armed with your vacuum cleaner, tennis racket or other weapon of choice, and get on with it. Chances are, you’ll live to tell the tale.

Welcome to Year 2 of my blog, my reader friends – this year’s shaping up to be just as funny, hair-raising and life-affirming as the last!


First_Year@UniMelb wants you!

First_Year@UniMelb is a blog by & for first year students.

We’d love you to contribute to the First_Year@UniMelb blog in 2017.

  • Do you like to write?
  • Do you want to help current & future students understand what uni is all about?
  • Do you want to be part of an online community, sharing advice (and getting advice) about how to settle into & succeed in first year?

The First_Year@UniMelb Blog is currently in its twelfth year of giving first years the space to share their experiences of starting & surviving uni with others.

Future students and fellow first years from Melbourne and around the world read the blog to find out what uni is really like, day to day.

In fact, around 2000 readers a month follow the latest happenings at First_Year@UniMelb.

Want to become a blogger?

Simply submit a 100 word mini-blog about why you would be a great first year blogger!

Be quick – applications close Monday 13 March, 2017.

Done… in more ways than one! (Bella’s last post)

Hello readers!

Not only am I done with second year, but this will be my last post on Back for Seconds.
Thank you so much for keeping up with my uni adventures this past year; and a special thank you to those who have been reading since I began writing on the first year blog! If only there was a ‘Third Time Lucky’ blog for third year, hahaha. I will definitely be keeping up with the first and second year blogs – make sure you check out the first year blog if you haven’t already, as there was a great team of writers this year.

I thought I would take the time to reflect on my uni journey so far – it’s safe to say that while I am excited for my career, I don’t want to leave uni any time soon – it’s way too much fun! It felt great this year not getting lost (unlike last year, when I spent the first 15 minutes of a French class trying to navigate through the John Medley building – with construction going on too!). I have enjoyed writing and sub-editing on another blog too – ‘Unimelb Adventures’ – you can keep up with me (and Nicole!) over there, now that we have sadly finished with Academic Skills. That blog is not organised through the uni, it is independent – but we love helping out our fellow students with uni tips and tricks. I’ve also written some pieces for the student magazine Farrago, and had a lot of fun volunteering in UMSU programs such as Destination Melbourne and VCE Summer School, and with the Melbourne Arts Students’ Society General Committee. I’ve been a part of the Student Advisory Group, Student Representative Network and the Library Committee for the Faculty of Arts. I’ve really enjoyed my studies as well; now that the psych majors are in second year, we complete two subjects per semester instead of one – it means we can explore different areas in more detail, such as cognition and development.

I am really looking forward to third year. I’ve already picked my subjects, and will be applying for a Diploma in French! I’m pretty set on a career in communications and marketing – so I’ve picked some related subjects. I’m super excited for those in particular.

Now it’s holiday time! I’ve done a lot of online shopping so far – oops (actually, when writing an essay in first year, I’d just finished some online shopping and I accidentally wrote ‘Missguided’ – my favourite online store’s name – instead of ‘misguided’! Hahaha). I have some projects to do: I’ve joined the gym, I will be practising my French (as you may remember, I couldn’t take French this semester as I was doing just three classes), and cleaning out all those textbooks/papers/highlighters on my floor from exams… there’s quite a pile. I am looking forward to preparing for Christmas and summer! It will be so good to catch up with my uni friends too!

I wanted to finish this post by thanking two very important people. Firstly, thanks to Nicole for being a fantastic blogging partner since first year! I’m so happy we have formed a friendship through our blogging and I love when I see you on the train to uni. Secondly, to Ariana. For those who don’t know, she organises the First and Second Year Academic Skills blogs. Not only could we not have done it without her, but she has been so supportive and inspiring! Thank you, Ariana, for this opportunity and for your encouraging words.

Well, that’s it from me. I wish everyone a safe and happy holidays. Thank you for reading my last post. I can’t wait to hear what the Back for Seconds bloggers get up to next year!

Signing off,

Bella 🙂

So Long, Farewell

Last week, brings an end to my second year journey, and also this lovely blog community, ‘Back For Seconds’. It has been a crazy year indeed, but it was so worth it. If I can summarise my second year life, it was a rollercoaster, yet again, both emotional, and physically.

I can strongly remember how much I wanted to give up in the first semester, because of my left wrist recovering from surgery. But I kept at it, with keeping faith and hope ahead, and of course, leaning on support from my loving mother. I remember having to go through a loss during the first semester, but healed eventually, as time goes on. It was a hard first semester of second year, but the experience and lessons I had learnt was worth it.

Second semester came along, and boy, I was anxious and nervous about recital preparation. Anticipation can be a blessing and a curse as a music student, but it depends whether you’d use it for good, or for the worse. There has been times when I was super worried, stressed, or wanting to break down. But it settles down when there’s always support in hand from your friends, and loved ones. A hug, and speaking out always counts to recovery.

Second year has been a challenging journey. It is slightly different from first year, indeed. It feels like I’m going up the pyramid ladder each year in my undergraduate degree. First year problems, correlates into second year, but you have new challenges that you can possibly solve, and you can think more logically than first year. That’s pretty much it.

Through my final exam of second year, which was my recital exam, shows how much I have improve tremendously as a performer. Today, I’m mostly looking back how much I have enjoyed my performance, the positive things that I did, my journey of achievements, improvements, and historical knowledge that I had learnt. This is always important to look back on the positive things, rather than mostly the negative things such as mistakes, stumbles and such. It’s always important as a music student to look for these things in a positive way.

I still have dreams of becoming a music therapist, but I think I have changed my mind a little bit. I’m going to be more open minded, and experience other pathways in the music industry. I’m planning definitely working with a community orchestra to work on my ensemble skills, accompanying for fun in concert class, maybe do some arts administrating in the summer, or teaching even! Seeing how much knowledge I had learnt through our MCM’s career advisor and its program, ignite lab, as open up my mind entirely, about how to be more involved in the music industry. Hearing stories from other musicians in a certain pathway is so knowledgable, and so inspiring. I would highly recommend for all types of music students to be coming to these events! Plus, free food when doing connections too! Double bonus!

If I have any advice to give to second years of 2017, I would be saying, this will be a great opportunity to be developing knowledge about career pathways in the music industry. This would be going to career development seminars, developing connections by going to career events (ignite lab), and talking to more music students around MCM/VCA whenever you get the chance to. It’s also a year that some things change again, but not too drastically. So, if something happens, make the right decision and choice based on your past experiences in life as a music student. Be smart, wise and nice to others. Being a music student is being a part of a huge loving family, please don’t forget about that.

Before I make my final farewell, I would like to say a huge thank you to the director of this blog community, Ariana. You have opened me up to loving blogging, welcoming my journey into both blog communities, First_Year@UniMelb, and Back For Seconds. I secretly hope there’s another series for third years. I’m hoping it would be called, Three is the Magic Number. Get it? Haha! I hope the readers understand the reference. It’s from the phone company that it used to exist called 3, or Telstra that used to have that slogan? They have that catch phrase at the end of the ads saying, “Three is the magic number.” Boy, I don’t think kids nowadays understand whenever I say three is the magic number during when I teach swimming. Ah well. Any ways, I also would like to thank my blog partner, Bella! Great girl to work with, especially when we’re also involved in UniMelb Adventures! And finally, the readers! From what I have heard from Ariana, I’m so thankful and privilege to be sharing my thoughts as a music student, and my journey so far as a undergraduate student! Thank you readers for reading through all my blog posts for the past two years! Wow! Two years! Apologies that I couldn’t write as much, comparing to first year. Second year was a very busy year, and there was a lot that happen this year such as new curriculum changes, the shift between two versions of Bachelor degrees, recovering from my wrist surgery, and so on. But, I’m more than surprised that I managed to survive second year. Another new year’s resolution being ticked off. Yes, that was one of my new year’s resolution, surviving second year. Maybe that could be your new year’s resolution, second years of 2017! Haha!

Thank you ever so much for giving me this opportunity! Have a good summer break!


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