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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Stressed? Anxious? Everything will be ok!

-By Erzsebet

There are many things in life that make us feel stressed, confused and insecure. I know, as a sufferer of mental health issues, that these can all become too much and it can certainly bring me down. The below is an account of me handling and resolving a tricky study situation in Trimester 3.

I remember, it was a Wednesday evening and I had been studying hard; so decided it was high time I finished up for the day and head to bed. I didn't retain too much information but knew that I will be able to revisit all that I had learnt in the morning. The next day, I awoke to find that my unit had vanished on CloudDeakin. Is this for real or was I imagining things? Shockingly, it wasn’t just a dream. It was real!!!

What was I to do? Should I leave my enrolment the way it is and dwell on the negative that I just wouldn't be able to take this unit in this trimester? No way. So first step: checked my StudentConnect as it could have just been an error on CloudDeakin. It was a good thing I checked because somehow I was removed from the unit! It told me that the enrolment quota had been reached?! What?! How?! I was the first person to enrol in this unit the day it was listed as being available in Trimester 3 so this was just not possible.

I was so overwhelmed, almost in tears and unsure of what I must have done to have this happen. I did not want to give up hope as I knew if I took the initiative to enquire further, it will all sort itself out. It may not happen straightaway but it will happen. So step two: I contacted my Student Adviser . She has always been so supportive of me and understood my problem and advised me to contact the Unit Chair. It made me feel a lot better to hear her kind and understanding words but unfortunately the Unit Chair could not be contacted either via phone or email because there had been a system failure. My anxiety just hit the roof!
I just had no idea what more I could do except contact my Disability Liaison Officer. She gave me additional tips on what I could do to ensure I don't fall behind.

It was the end of the week and I was so anxious. However, I cannot express in words how much difference it made to know that at Deakin I had all the support measures in place.

Thankfully because of the intervention and correspondence with my Unit Chair, DLO and Student Adviser, everything had worked out and by Monday, my enrolment was all rectified!

Moral of the story? Don't be afraid to ask for all the help you need. Deakin University staff are always willing to support you to the best of their abilities. In the end, it's all up to YOU. I could have just left it and enrolled in the unit next year if I wanted to. But my determination and strength to do well and continue my studies really paid off. I am glad to be back in full swing!

Friday, 15 February 2013

How a study tour will benefit your degree

The Shibuya District in Tokyo
-By Troy

As 2012 comes to a close I've been reflecting on what an amazing year I've had through my global experiences at Deakin. You may remember earlier in the year I travelled to Exeter in South West England for a semester abroad and blogged about some of the challenges and discoveries I made.

I'm still reaping the benefits nearly six months after coming home to Melbourne. Whilst abroad, I wrote and produced new work, made new friends across the globe (who I regularly Skype now), drank espresso in Venice and had creme brulee in Paris. In October I produced a show for the Melbourne Fringe Festival which was a direct influence from the exchange project and 2013 is already looking productive with new projects inspired from my time away.
Of course, a semester abroad is a big commitment and sometimes financial, personal or time contraints may impact on a student's ability to pack up and move away for such a long amount of time.

So another option that's worth considering is an International Study Tour. I've been lucky to have just returned from two and a half weeks in Japan on a
Graphic Design, Animation and Video Games study tour, which is facilitated through the Faculty of Arts and Education.

As a professional and creative writing major, I was not sure that I was even eligible however after checking the unit handbook I saw that any arts student could apply - And so I did, attended a brief interview, crossed my fingers and toes and got confirmation in September.

In mid November I boarded a plane for Tokyo with 17 other students and spent the next 14 days running on pure adrenaline. Japan is like nothing I've ever experienced and I daresay perhaps the best place I've travelled to.
The benefits of a structured academic study program meant that we were up and out the door every morning to see, taste and experience as much as possible. This included tours of the Studio Ghibli Museum, Marza Animation Studio and the 21-21 Gallery in Tokyo, the Manga Museum and Nishiki market in Kyoto and of course ancient temples and gardens in all three cities.

All up we visited Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Nara and spent a decent amount of time in each city. Culturally, Japan was so different: food is ordered via touch screens, it's taboo to talk or eat on the subways and its also the cleanest place I've ever been to as well.

What was extremely exciting was the opportunities to spend time with the local Japanese students. We were welcomed to several different universities whom Deakin is building strong relationships with. At
Ryukoko University in Kyoto we met lively students who were working on their English and were keen to learn about Australia and our culture. It was interesting to observe the cultural similarites and differences and they showed us around the city on our free day.

Deakin and KUAD Students from the Animation Workshops

At the Kyoto University of Art and Design (KUAD) we participated in a two day, 2D cell animation workshop, whereby we conceptualised character artwork and then proceeded to animate them the following day. I think we were all challenged by the language barrier and the work itself and so had to be creative in our problem solving and finding ways to communicate with these students, who were much more quiet and shy.

All of these experiences are so unique I think I will remember and draw on them for a very long time.

Japanese Maple in Kyoto

We landed in Melbourne on December 1st exhausted but content, yet the work does not stop here. One of the best things about the trip is that we all now have to produce creative projects which are informed by our time in Japan.

We held a presentation evening in Kyoto where everyone's ideas were discussed, which were specific to our craft; animation, to wood carvings to plush toy design, I reckon the results are going to be really interesting and will be on display in a special exhibition at the Phoenix Gallery in March next year.

I hope this gives you guys some insight into the trip, and I highly recommend going into the
Study Abroad Office ASAP and investigate if you can have some global experiences of your own, whether it be an exchange program or a shorter intensive study tour!

Happy travelling!

Friday, 7 December 2012

One step at a time

-By Aretha Zhen
This blog is for my fellow university students who feel unsure about their future
Today officially marks the start of my final step of university life. And I already have issues with my confidence and hopes of the future... another rejection letter came into my inbox… IT  SCREAMS 'BIG FAT FAILURE' IN MY HEAD... and yep, it worries me a lot.
Is it just my feeling ? Or the constant stream of rejection letters is a sign that I truly am a failure?
I digress...

Dinner was lonely, and I did not feel like eating anything. But I had already made eggs with rice. I don't know if I’m hungry or not at the moment. Well even if I am not hungry, I still need to eat something in order to survive yet another hopeless day.

One step at a time. Once, twice, or maybe many times - we have been told about this. Take slow, steady steps. 
But in my current situation as a university student, I keep wondering how to take one step at a time when everything around me is in chaos.

I used to think that university life would be a definite path towards future. Just like in a novel or a movie, we go to university, graduate and along will come the job.

But the reality is not like that. We study hard, gain good marks, but still it’s hard to find a job that we want or for that matter, any job. 

I feel so depressed and don't know what the future will bring
. But I will not give up. 

It is true what others have said: when life is hard, let’s just take one step of a time. Take time to enjoy life by doing simple silly things.

To all of my friends who are in a similar situation: let’s sing together, listen to music or just read books. Never give up, my friends. Enjoy your surroundings. Melbourne is such a beautiful city to live in , let's go to the beach or park and just enjoy our time for a second, a minute, and hour or a day.

Let’s just take one simple step today, or maybe just enjoy life as it is. The most important thing is never forget who you are! Never forget your dream and never let your failure change you into someone you are not.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Following my own desire

Even when I am so close to the end of my course. I keep asking myself why I am studying law. Why?The blog post from earlier this year on course transfers had me wondering. For all the study I have done in my life I feel I must not be too bright if I have only worked things out this week. 
You see I have the answer to why I am studying law. 
And it goes like this: I liked the sound of it, it impressed my family and even my sister started introducing me by my future career. It was akin to name-dropping. It made me feel accepted in my family.

At the beginning of the year I answered my lecturer with pure honesty when she went around the class asking who intended to practice law when they finished – all answered yes, but me. She told me a law degree was the new arts degree – it could take you anywhere. The other students looked at me like I was mad when I said I was planning to do a Master of Arts by research next year. 
But no education is ever wasted – I want that engraved on my headstone, by the way. 
Still, it is important to do what you want to do and not let your choices be influenced by what others think of them, you own those decisions and you have to live with them.
I like to write, to edit, and to read. This is what I do as a part time job. It is what I see myself doing forever, not law.

I met a man who went to university and became an accountant. He worked as one for as long as he could before he realized that it was botanical science that was his passion and now he is spending his time outdoors and studying with a passion he never felt with accounting. 
Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. From here on in, I am focusing on my desire; study can and should be enjoyed.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

How to write an essay at university?

-By Jodi

When I started uni as a mature aged student I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to craft a suitable essay. Now, I can’t say I’ve got it all covered, but there is a marvellous booklet that Deakin distributes called Guide to assignment writing and referencing. So when I had to write my first essay I kept this handy booklet beside me.

The Guide has advice and information on how to take notes, how to quote, use of language and style, and my favourite, referencing. Thanks to this information I’ve been able to write and submit essays that are acceptable according to the university’s standards. If you haven't got a copy of the Guide, you can access one online at the Study Skills website

On another note, a couple of other books that I’ve found to be useful when writing essays are Style Manual for authors, editors and printers (Wiley), and The Little, Brown Handbook (Fowler, Aaron).


These books cover an extensive array of grammatical and stylistic issues that are associated with writing essays. So when it comes to writing essays this trimester, grab your Guide to assignment writing and referencing and keep it close by.

Wishing you all the best with your essay writing this trimester.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Coming to university alone? Don't be afraid!

- By Erzsebet

When we were children, most of us went to Kindergarten before stepping into the big wide world of primary school. Although we would have been too young to remember what we did at that age, but whether we liked it or not, more often than not we found that the friendships we made at Kindergarten were no longer to be seen after we enter Prep. Entering a whole new world with several other young children around the same age as us sharing new life experiences. I remember starting school and knowing nobody. I can imagine what I would have felt: alone and lost. Reflecting on the years after Prep, I remember new girls coming and old ones leaving. I established a fairly good friendship with some of these girls but sadly, some of them had left before we reached the beginning of our secondary school days. I was fortunate in my educational journey to go to the same school for at least 75% of my school days.
Three years ago, I was in year 11. I was studying my Victorian Certificate of Education via distance education as I was too unwell to go to a mainstream educational setting. Despite there were teachers to guide you, and social networking chats, it was a really lonely experience after what I was used to! Looking back at it though, it was just what I needed. 

A lot of people I know go to university straight after they finish high school, others spend several years working before going back to pursue further studies. Many returning to study after several years have told me, and I am sure this is the case for some of you too, that you are coming to another phase in your life all on your own. You may not necessarily know anyone. It is really scary at first but I think you can get through it. If I could survive on my own to finish my high school days and two other tertiary qualifications alone, I know you can do it too! 

Coming back to study on campus was a real challenge but you know what? It is what you make of it! To ease your transition, go to orientation, you will meet people from your course or similar courses; you can meet people of all backgrounds at events that you probably never would go to under normal circumstances. You can even meet others from the different campuses! Go onto the universities Facebook page, introduce yourself; I am sure there will be other students who are just like you! You could always go to a DUSA event, and may even make a friend or two for life! The photo I have attached is of me with a friend that I made almost a year ago at a DUSA event! Ever since, we have been quite close despite the campus difference! So my advice: don't be afraid, just get out there, talk and meet people!!

Good luck!!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Friends: adding that extra zing to university life

-By Karen
Ann yeoung!
Xin chao!
Ni hao!
Ok, I think you get the gist by now. Those are just some of the "Hello"s of the world that I have learned so far in this journey called 'life'. The most awesome part about that is, I learned all of them from a bunch of amazing people that I had the privilege of meeting while at University.

If you're like me then you'll know that being so far away from home can really tear you apart, and that feeling can sometimes make the university experience much more daunting than it already is. I remember being so excited that I would start packing my luggage 1-2 weeks prior to the end of the semester (and this is coming from one person who hates packing with a passion!) And I did all of that just so I could board the next flight home as soon as the semester break begins.

But of course, this does not mean that I hated my time at university. I loved it and I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to chase my dreams. I am also grateful for the people that I've met along the way, and they are the reason behind my writing today. Being away from home and family meant leaving my bubble world and stepping out of my comfort zone. And the further away I was, the more desperately I wanted to keep my family close. Yes, there is a never-ending list of ways I can communicate with my family but it isn't the same as being "home". And it was times like these that friends played an even bigger role in my life. They became my comfort zone and my family while I was miles away from mine. Their presence added that extra zing factor to my achievements at Deakin University.

So here's ONE tiny advice I'm sharing with you today about surviving university life, especially if you're far away from home. Establish positive and meaningful friendships with those around you. The next time you're early for a lecture or tutorial, sit next to someone and say, "Hello". Chances are they will say "Hello" back! And by the end of the semester, you might have just extended your knowledge with a few new languages.

Here's a song that I would listen to on repeat for days when I'd feel extra homesick. A beautiful song performed by one of my favourite artists and from my favourite cartoon show. Don't judge me, but I still love my cartoons. Haha!

What are your tips to surviving life at university? Share it with me and everyone else in the comments section below =)

xx Karen

Friday, 3 August 2012

Shop till you drop

-By Edwina 
Shopping! Well who doesn’t like to shop? Whether you’re a boy, shopping for gadgets and gizmos, or a girl shopping for the latest fashion, shopping somehow plays an important role in our lives. Shopping can also be our companion at times when we are sad or depressed or even when we go through a break up! It's not called retail therapy for nothing.

Well! When I first came to Australia, and to be more precise, when I first went out shopping, I was in wonderland. The shops in the city, the mannequins, all wearing designer wear blew me away; it was as if I was living my dream, and I did not want it to end. But it did end once it hit 5pm at the shopping centers (still not used to the shops closing at 5pm)


Forever New was the first place I shopped since I needed a dress for a party, and honestly I had never shopped for party wear before; this was my first time which made it even more exciting. Till date it’s my favorite shopping destination. There is never something that you won’t like at Forever New. My cousin for her 18th actually bought everything the mannequin was wearing, because it gave her a complete look.
But ‘complete looks’ do cost a fortune and for me shopping at Forever New won’t be on a daily basis.

As I started getting used to the place, K-Mart and Coles, came to my rescue. I can shop for all my necessities from toothbrushes to make-up from Coles.And K-Mart of course is from where I get my basic T’s, singlets and even sandals. And not to forget jumpers from Coles, which are really warm and stylish as well, as I purchased one yesterday.

Let’s not forget shoes; well I still am aghast as I turn into every corner and there’s a shoe shop with sparkling shoes which look gorgeous from afar, but untouchable for me at this time of the year, but on sales days and especially on Boxing Day, it’s all mine. Boxing Day for example is a great way to shop from stores you have never shopped from before. On Boxing Day last year, I shopped from Myers, Just Jeans, Rubi Shoes, and Bardot - shops I could never think of shopping at on a daily basis, since I had just got a job and I didn’t want to burn a hole in my pocket. These brands were actually my incentive to work even harder. 
At the end of the day it doesn’t matter where you shop from, it doesn’t matter whether you paid 10 dollars or 30 dollars for the same item, all that matters is whether you feel good in what you wear. Its not about following fashion, it’s about how you can make a simple item like a tee and a pair of jeans into something fashionable that you feel proud of. I believe fashion is not about following the latest trends but what you feel comfortable in.