Tuesday, 28 June 2011

You've got into your course - Now what? Part 2.

Part 2 of god-knows how long. I think I may make this the last of this segment. Onward!

So, by now you should have your accommodation sorted out for the next six months at least. If you've been smart, you've scored yourself a job to keep yourself afloat. The next two important things are actually to do with your study.

Firstly. You kinda need to get a timetable organized. This will be beyond invaluable when you start your semester, because trust me. College/university can and will crush your spirits with a truckload of assessment.

All due at the same time.

Daunting? Any sensible person would agree. And so, we come to the timetable. If you haven't already, you need to book your classes for the next semester, give your boss the heads up on your studies, etc. Following your class enrolments, you should draw yourself up/find on the internet an actual spreadsheet timetable (an ideal one would be a weekly Sun-Mon sheet, with hourly segments).

The first thing you're going to want to put in there is your class hours. Once those are out of the way, incorporate your work hours so that you can clearly identify when you're NOT available to study/enjoy life. Following that, you should make yourself a study plan.

The Study Plan
 1. Allow yourself up to 10 hours per week for your entire study commitment (can't remember if it's per class or your entire degree). 10 hours is possibly the bare minimum if you want to scrape by with good grades. Assign these hours split up amongst the week evenly. Studies (and myself) have actually proven that something is best revised the day after, giving the information a much better chance at being drilled into your long-term memory.
2. If you're really anal about when you study what, revise lecture notes a day after said lecture, and work on assessment at a later time in the week.
3. You do have the flexibility of choosing to study during your free time, or during specific study sessions (ie. substituting a revision session with an assessment session).

Now, if you're like a number of folk I know, study is possibly the least appealing thing to you when it comes to college. "I can get through college without studying! I did it in highschool!"

Well then sunshine. Prepare to endure months of possible guilt, meltdowns during exams, and nonstop pestering by your teachers as to why you didn't hand in an assignment. Not to mention you will fail your degree if you do not keep a certain grade average (which varies from course to course, I'd say). Do a study plan. Seriously, I've learned my mistakes, and a study timetable has made some amazing changes to my grades and general well being.

The Textbooks
So by now, you should have your classes enrolled, your boss informed, and a study timetable written up. Next on the agenda this week is textbooks. Hoo boy, doesn't the word just give that awkward shudder down your spine?

Toughen up, pumpkin. Unlike in highschool, your textbooks are going to be your gods for the next few years. Why is this, you ask?

The answer to almost any question in the majority of courses is going to be in the textbook. 90% of the time, the answer lies just beneath the surface of a jumble of words. Your textbook will always have a glossary. Find a key word within your assessment/question, look it up in the glossary/reference at the back, and you will be sent in the correct direction.

During exams, you'll be given study notes. Sometimes, if you annoy them enough, lecturers/professors will give out little nodes of information about what the fuck to study for an exam. So, with your textbooks, I can highly recommend finding Stickynotes or something and tagging important sections of your textbooks.

This can be achieved during or outside study/class hours, and will take a maximum of 30 seconds out of your busy life. This little technique is incredibly valuable, and a time saver for when you're in a pinch with your assessment.

As I said, textbooks are your best friend for this stage of your life. Next post, we get to the gritty-nitty part of university - maintaining a social life (if you have one, of course).


1. Before buying brand new textbooks, have a browse around the internet for a second hand version of it. More often than not, there's going to be a website set up for college students to sell their no longer needed books. And these are generally in very good condition for a much cheaper price. You could turn $400 into $200.

2. Study is hard. I can definitely agree with you on that one. But it's something you basically signed up for when you applied for the course. Bite the bullet, spend a small amount of time each week on study and assessment. Knowing you've done even a little bit for that day can make you feel much more at ease, and give you a much better chance at keeping reasonable grades.

3. Getting into a schedule can be very difficult as well. However, stick to it a couple of weeks, and it'll be ingrained into your daily routine. Take a gander at this link to get an idea of how to successfully get yourself used to your new timetable.

Tricks to help make a new habit stick

Next post will be covering the basics of your first few weeks at college, and in about a week, I'll be doing the first of possibly a few interviews on current college students, and their experiences are to be shared with you.

Later days!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

You've got into your course - Now what? Part 1.

Weeks of applications, emails and letters to colleges around your area/nation (if you're into that sort of thing), and you finally get a letter congratulating you on your acceptance.


...now what?

Well! Now you need to get yourself there, get youself stable and settled once your course starts! And first things first, you need to work out accommodation. You've got a few options here, depending on the location of said course. If it's a good 3+ hours away from where you currently live, you may want to start investigating into student accommodation/shared rent options (siblings can be extremely handy in these moments!). A lot of universities/colleges have "On campus" living options that are generally very cheap. They usually come with all your basic living requirements such as hot water, a toilet, bed and personal living space. It could be a unit-like set up (y'know, 5 student rooms with the shared living room and kitchen), or you may wind up sharing a room with someone. Not to discourage you, but try to avoid that. You shit goes missing, suddenly your jeans are theirs, and plates and food are left everywhere for weeks on end. Oh. Also. Please, never be that sort of person.

But please. Don't let that discourage you. Really. It can be cheaper, particularly if you don't feel like driving for 4 hours across the country to get to a one hour lecture.

Sometimes, if you're lucky/a lovely enough person, an elderly couple or some less elderly couple (provided they aren't serial killers - look into that) might be quite happy to let you use their spare room with a boarding fee (generally cheaper than typical $300 a week rent). You get home cooked meals out of this, often super fast internet, and most likely there will be almost no intrusion to your space. The cons to this set up? Most folk who kindly let a stranger sleep in their house for study purposes aren't very fond of house parties/copious drinking/drugs.

Finally. If you have the option to - keep living with your parents. If you can, pitch them even a small amount of money every couple of weeks to help with your own upkeep. Nothing is cheaper than bumming off your family. So long as you 'appear' to be keeping a good GPA and 'studying', you can get away with most shit. They might even let you house sit for the weekend. This generally calls for a house party.

With everything but the 'living with parents' option, have a look at community noticeboards around the area your college is in. Often people will put up notices looking for a room mate to help subsidize their rent, or the elderly couple I mentioned earlier are looking for a youthful energy in the house. Look for the cheapest options, then narrow that selection down by calling the persons who are concerned, get to know them, find out if they're going to shove pineapples up your arse or not in the middle of the night. If they're not, and they genuinely want someone to pay rent and to live comfortably with, you've got yourself a deal.

So. Basic living space ideals covered. Next, your biggest concern is going to be keeping up with that rent. This one's pretty simple.

You get a job. Yup. "Oh my god, but I've never had to work a day in my life so far!". Guess what sunshine? They day is eventually going to come where you'll be working behind a counter selling chicken. But again. It's money. You have to start somewhere. And whether you get government payments or not, having a bit of spare spending money is going to make your boring university life a lot happier. Trust me.

Extra little tips:

1. Don't forgo a week's rent for alcohol/drugs/a hooker. That's a bad idea. Seriously. Some places might be lenient about a week or so. But if you skip one week and get away with it, it'll become a habit, and suddenly you're 5+ weeks behind rent, and it's a scary thing, particularly if you have nowhere else to go.

2. If they say no drugs in the tenancy agreement, don't do it. Just not within the property boundaries/indoors. Seriously, that shit can get into the walls, drop into the carpet. And if they find just one reason to bust you on it, they will. If you're gonna go smoke a joint, go for a walk through the park or something.

3. Look for free things, free vouchers. Anything that gives student discounts. If you're bored, taking a huge dump, go to reward-giving survey sites, and do the surveys. It'll give you that little bit of extra internet cash or something. If you're patient, that shit can build up to $100+ so it's often worth it.

Any other tips/protips you want to add, I can pop it in my next blog. I might make a series of helpful hints. Dunno.

:) Until then, Later days!

Welcome to Utterly Ending

Here you'll get some tales and information about life as a fresh university student, and the ridiculous mood swings and hobby partakings you might get up to during the course of your life in third-level education. I've been toying with the idea of a blog/website to cover these issues. And what better way to do that than to begin it early on, when I can go through the experience with you?

A little bit about myself. My name is Endresca, End for short. I'm currently within my first year of (possibly) the most cruisy university course in Australia, studying Applied Media. I am Australian, I am female, and I am struggling with the concept of studying full-time for another three whole years.

Growing up in a combination of country and city has given me an... interesting concept on life. I have no solid beliefs in any religion (though I have respect for those who don't try to shove it down my throat), I'm both a gamer and I play golf. Endresca is my screen name for most of my videogame saves/characters (You might find me wondering around World of Warcraft), also under the title Squixel.

So, lets get this blog rolling. Over the next few weeks I'll be covering the basics of university/college life. Just what you can expect to become a part of, what you can be assured you will turn into, and the options available to you if you find yourself caught in a pickle.