First Year Experience

Over the course of last year, I got to experience a small little taste of what university was like, through the START Program, which had a bunch of pros and cons but was ultimately a really great time. Now that I’m just about to be at the half way point of my first full semester, I’d like to talk more about what it’s really like to be apart of university life and the first year experience (FYE).

Let’s start with O-week; something that came with promise of parties and celebrations, as well as important information on my degree. And it delivered! There was live entertainment, clubs to join and of course, the Toga Party!

There was also a few “compulsory” information sessions (personally I found these very general overviews of the faculty I’m part of) and chances to meet people involved in my degree. These information sessions were pretty uneventful, so I couldn’t wait to move on to the real deal!

Week 1

The real deal did not disappoint. After my first week of lectures I was so happy that my course was actually exactly what I wanted to be doing, and I was stoked to be around people passionate about the same things I was. Although I did feel a bit out of my depth in one of my units…

This had be worrying for a bit


… but I was excited about the challenge!

Week 2

This week I had all my tutorials, workshops and studios on. The real game had begun. Even though this did include a lovely 8am tutorial (just… don’t do it) most of the content covered was really interesting and fresh for me. Of course some of the tutorials were a bit introductory and boring, but that would improve, right?

Week 3

This week was a bit of a slump. My favourite lecturer quite suddenly left – half way through our lecture is when they broke the news to us. That lecture has never been quite the same. Other lectures’ content seemed straight forward, and one of which felt like it had no relevance at all to my degree, but it turns out that it has highly relevant to my 60% assessment. It’s important to pay attention!. The tutorials still managed to stay lively. There wasn’t any stress at this point, because I had ages do to stuff, and Easter break was in a week’s time!

Week 4

Same thing different week, then BOOM holidays! Or… not? During that small holiday, it felt more like a “catch up on everything you’ve not done that’s due when you get back.” Suddenly things piled on top of each other.

Week 5 & 6

This is where it really hits folks. Mid-semester assessment. You don’t see it coming. It’s like a lion in the bush and you’re the prey. If you took it easy over the break, well done, you probably needed the break. Unfortunately, this does mean that you’re now behind the 8-ball with upcoming assessment, which can be a source of stress.


So that’s the run down of my first few weeks. It’s way more fun than high school; and the work is rewarding and the lifestyle is much more enjoyable, but there’s still a long way to go.

How first year can feel

How first year can make you feel

When you go into your first year, just keep enjoying the ride and the freedom that comes with it. Yes, you’ll stress. But yes, you’ll also reach the end of the semester and you’ll be able to travel or better yet, just relax! Until it all starts again next semester…

May The 4th Be With You!

Semester 1
The year has begun. The student has travelled 
to the new world of University. With the teachings 
of the wise tutors and lecturers, the student will learn 
the ways of study and become an Assessment Master.

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The QCS Test, Oh No!

That’s right every body, it’s that magical time of year when the QCS test comes around to drain 2 days of your life. But that’s ok, because this is that step just before you reach the light at the end of the tunnel. Being a grade 12 student myself, my friends and I have been prepping for the 2 day marathon of tests so they’re slightly less painful. At our school a whole lesson is dedicated to learning how to answer various types of questions that could be on the test. I have compiled a list of tips I’ve learned through these lessons, and although I probably shouldn’t share them because the system says you need to do bad for me to do good (I know, I’m a pure genius), I will.


Austin's QCS Tips summarized!

Austin’s QCS Tips summarized!


The Writing Test

Personally this is my favorite part of the QCS, because it’s not all about abstract reasoning. For  the writing section of the QCS test, it’s important to remember the stimulus you chose, and always relate back to it through your story. To make this easy on yourself, when you first look at the different stimulus pieces you’re given choose the one that closely aligns with one of your passions. For example, if a piece of stimulus is heavily influenced by a subject you enjoy, use that to your advantage. Once you’ve chosen your stimulus piece, write up a draft. Sometimes it’s hard to begin, but just do it. This quote by Colleen Hoover  perfectly describes how you should write your draft. Plus, you have time and writing a draft will give you less time to sit there and do nothing. After your draft have a break, a drink, keep an eye on the time. After you’ve regathered your thoughts write your good copy. Writing test done!

The Short Response Test

This part of the QCS test is the most difficult, because it requires a lot more thinking than the others. I’ll use a simple process that I’ve been taught at school. The first step is read and highlight everything. The teachers at our school always drill this in when they are explaining the process we need to go through to answer a question on the QCS test. The very first step in this process is to actually understand what you are being asked. It helps if you highlight key words such as ‘contrast’ or ‘describe’, which will tell you how you should answer the question. The second step in this process is to write your answer. Yes, this is a very simple two step process and I promise it will serve you well, as long as you don’t miss step one.

The Multiple Choice

Of course the obvious technique for the two multiple choice questions you get after a writing test and a short response is the faithful  “A, B, A, B, wait, haven’t gone with C in a while”. Don’t do it. The multiple choice questions are not too challenging, and it should be an easy process of elimination. There’s always going to be two choices that seem obviously wrong, then there are the two that seem right. My strategy for making a choice is that if I can’t figure it out in a minute and a half, just circle the option that seems the most right. This will allow time for more questions to be completed and the possibility for more correct answers!

Now when September 1 and 2 come, we should all be set to go! It’s just 2 days that define your OP score, not your life. At the end of the day, it’s just a test, and you can always bounce back. Good luck to the class of 2015!

I’m starting university next year, how can I make it easier?

FiguresNow seems like a fantastic time to write to those of you in year 12 who are going to start university next year. I say “are” instead of “might” because the glass is always half full. You know you’re going to do well on the QCS test and you’re going to put the effort into your subjects to do the best you can. Why? Because you want to be successful in life. You have goals and dreams and only hard work and dedication are going to get you there.

Getting to university is only a small step in your bigger plan, however to set yourself up well for your first year and beyond, I have some tips to make life easier!

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Part I: The Final Weeks

So, we’re nearly finished week twelve of the semester. Isn’t that awesome? We’ve all made it through the majority of uni for the year and now there’s only another week, plus exams, left to go. The holidays are literally just around the corner, and we’ll finally be getting the break that we deserve. The only problem is, we have to get through the final few weeks before we can catch up on the sleep we’ve missed throughout semester. And sometimes, the last few weeks really do feel like they’re going to last forever. How exactly does one make it through these weeks without exploding from exhaustion?

Trying to stay awake for the rest of semester

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