Monday, 22 September 2014

Week 8 Motivation

Week 8!!!



Feeling a little like the owl above? Phew, it’s good to see this two week break! Good work for making it this far. Yes, stop and congratulate yourself for your efforts this semester, you deserve it.

BUT before we hide our books under the bed, head outside, and give ourselves a ‘break’ for the next two weeks rethink it…wouldn’t this be a great time to do some study? Perhaps you found yourself chasing your tail trying to ‘catch up’ over the last few weeks which possibly resulted in sleepless nights, irritability, high levels of stress? If so, now is the time to make some dints in the weeks ahead, and avoid that high blood pressure for the rest of semester.

STAY MOTIVATED!

Yeah, right…it’s spring…so how?

Motivation is easy to lose…so remind yourself where your motivation came from. Getting back in touch with it reminds us of what we are working toward. Talk it over with family, friends, other students, your boss, or even the team here at mySupport.

Reduce stress. One of the mistakes students make is getting so overwhelmed with everything that is ahead. Break it down and cover one thing at a time. Smaller tasks are easier to commit to and more short term goals will make you feel like you are achieving throughout the whole semester.



Have a look at the results you have received in your courses so far. How are you going? Where can you improve? Have you surprised yourself and went better than you expected? Checking out the results of assignments and quizzes over the last few weeks will help you to understand where you are at in your course and set yourself a goal for what you can improve on.




Get Productive!


Establish a realistic schedule:
That’s right…a realistic schedule. Have you really dedicated enough time to each subject and not just the most interesting? You want to pass all of them, yes?
Ensure there is a balance. It is an overused word but so crucial to success at University. Maybe you need to get in and request time off work around exams. Also sometimes we just cannot get to every single social engagement. In the lead up to summer this can be difficult as getting outside is so tempting but make that part of your reward system. Do the work and then enjoy a day outside. Take breaks by going for a walk, do not sit inside all day everyday but make sure your study comes first. You can also use the break to cook up some delicious healthy meals and stick them in the freezer. A great time saver when you’re back to uni.



Remember to contact mySupport to talk to your Student Experience Officer if you are feeling overwhelmed or want to revisit your motivators – phone 49217494 or email mysupport@newcastle.edu.au!

Happy break!

Kind Regards,


mySupport Team

Monday, 8 September 2014

Kicking off on assignments

mySupport
Top Tips for getting assessments done!!
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6 weeks down….how many to go….?? Before we start counting down the weeks it’s time that those assessments are due….



Top tips to help finish those assessments –

  1. Just make a start! Getting through those assignments can only be done once they are started!
  2. We hear a lot about positive thoughts but do you apply this to yourself? Tell yourself you are making progress and doing the best you can when you are studying instead of saying “I cannot do this” or “this essay sucks”.
  3. Contribute something every day even if you cannot commit to too many hours – you will make a slight dint in your assignment even if you only have 30 minutes spare
  4. Break the question up into parts look for ‘instruction’ words like: Evaluate / Define / Examine – these words will direct the structure and layout of the question.
  5. Research with the question in front of you. As you research, continue to think ‘how can this relate to the question’. If you cannot find a relationship stop and revisit the question.
  6. If you feel daunted by the size of the written assignment break it down:
    Introduction = (approximately 10% of the total word count)Body = (Approximately 80% of the total word count)Conclusion = (Approximately 10% of the total word count)SO in an average 1,500 assignment, try working with this in mindIntroduction = one paragraph of approximately 150 wordsBody = 5-6 paragraphs of approximately 200 - 300 wordsConclusions = one paragraph of approximately 150 words
  1. Start by writing one paragraph - only 300 words or approximately 30 lines! Make sure that you start with a statement that highlights what you are trying to argue, then present evidence that both supports and contests that idea and then explain why one side is stronger than the other. Finish the paragraph with a sentence that sums up what you have said and provide a link to the next idea / paragraph. 
  2.  Always conclude by summarising the main arguments in the essay and try to add a new thought but not a completely new point. In other words, do not introduce new material into the conclusion try and build on an idea you have already mentioned. 
  3. Try to complete the assignment at least 48 hours before it is due….even make the due date 48 hours before it’s due. Completing an assignment at the last minute

 

Check out Learning Development!
Learning Development offer a range of online resources via Blackboard to assist with academic writing and essays, maths skills, time management, exam strategies, preparing for presentations and many other study skills. They offer Workshops during semester on a range of topics including: Essay structure, Planning your Work, Reading and Notes, Thinking Critically, Writing Critically and Presenting Perfectly - check the schedule via 'My Other Course Sites' in Blackboard. Learning Development also offer an econsult service where you can get individual feedback and advice about your work by emailing econsult@newcastle.edu.au, alternatively you can organise to have a one on one appointment with a Learning Advisor to help you with academic skills, writing or maths.

Good luck in your assignments!
mySupport team


The Masked Procrastinator

Welcome to Week 4!




Can you relate to the masked procrastinator? Maybe not protecting the city from crime and evildoers…..but what about that assignment?

I have taken a nap, cleaned the kitchen, rewarded myself with an ocean swim, watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy, made a snack and indulged in some tweeting today, but whatever my procrastination technique one problem remains…..the assignment is still there.

I have told myself for a while now that I work better under pressure…..but perhaps that is not the case. If I’m being honest I feel better once I actually start working on an assignment. It does not take long before some progress is made and I actually kind of begin to enjoy it.

In fact, once I get started, I even start to feel a bit smug that I am so fabulously organised and studious!

I have decided to dedicate this week to motivation, rather than procrastination. I am going to kick butt in that assignment – who’s with me???  

So where do I start?

Create a work space – create a space away from temptation that you dedicate to work. Internet blocking apps (such as Anti-Social) can assist in keeping the social media temptations at bay.

Schedule study like a job – arrange your breaks and work agreed hours (no calling in sick).

Take a look at upcoming assessments...

If you’re studying more than one subject, chances are you have a few assignments, quizzes and other assessable items coming up.

When is each assignment due and how much is it worth?

How long will each assignment take you? Not sure how to work this out – why not try using the assignment breakdown provided by Learning Development

How much revision do you have to complete before your quiz? How many weeks of lectures will be covered? Are there any practice questions?

The Learning Development team here at UoN have many online resources designed to help you stay on track this “motivation week”. Maths workshops, econsults and individual consultations are just a few of the services Learning Development can offer you. Check out the Learning Development Blackboard site for access to this support.

Break your assessments up into smaller manageable parts so you do not feel overwhelmed by the whole assessment.

Still procrastinating?

I know how hard it can be to stop procrastinating and start working... Next time you are putting off doing an assignment, why not read about some more practical techniques to stop procrastination: http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/docs/Procrastination%20Module%205_Practical%20Techniques.pdf

And check out this motivational clip for some extra inspiration!

If these tips haven’t helped and you are feeling really stuck, contact the Counselling Service on (02) 4921 5801 or counselling@newcastle.edu.au.





Reminder – Census Date August 31
Census date is the final date to withdraw without incurring the fees associated with your courses. If you feel you are not able to cope with the workload of the courses you are enrolled in please contact your Student Experience Officer here at MySupport to discuss your options. Send us an email at mysupport@newcastle.edu.au or call 49217988.


Final Exam Study Cycle

























We know how busy you all are so we will not hold you here for too long…..we do not want to be the reason for your procrastination! But we do need to send you some hints and tips to assist with your exam prep!

               Make sure you know the room and time! – Check this the night before

               Ensure that you are eating healthy – have a full healthy breakfast and/or lunch before you leave home – you do not want the hunger pains and distractions while the exam clock is ticking.

               Come in for your exam a little early just to be sure you make it. The last minute stress of finding a park or running for the train can be avoided.

               Bring your student ID!

Panicking because you missed the Learning Development exam prep workshops? We have attached some slides on exam preparation and time management to this email if you need a few more tips.

You can also check out this website http://www.newcastle.edu.au/current-students/support/new-students/surviving-first-year-exams designed for first year students but relevant to all!

Also our friends at Counselling have some great tips related to your overall health. If you are feeling stressed head to this website http://www.newcastle.edu.au/current-students/support/health-counselling-and-wellbeing/health-and-wellbeing-resources and click on the stress drop down. You will find some tips along with a meditation app to assist you in managing the intensity of this time of year.

It will all soon be finished for semester. Knuckle down now so you can be celebrating in the break!

We wish you all the very best for your exams and don’t forget to get in contact with a Student Experience Officer if you are feeling overwhelmed – T: 49217494 or E: mysupport@newcastle.edu.au.

Congratulations all!


mySupport team


Preparation in Week 12

Week 12 - Preparation




We are nearing week 12 which means assessments and exams, due dates and final lectures!! Good preparation, time management and balance are essential to this time of semester.

Get Ready

Make sure you are prepared for your exam – when is it? How much is it worth? What do you need to bring?

Students find practicing on old exams can give you an idea of what to expect and also if you time yourself doing the exam it can be good practice for making sure you spend the right amount of time on each section.

Many students find that making a study schedule can really help stay on track. Maybe choose one course to focus on per day. Set aside the hours you have to study and focus on this course and then factor in study breaks. Some students set aside more study time for the classes that they do not do so well in to give themselves the time they need to understand the content of the course. The schedule could include the due assessment items, exams, PASS, revision lectures and work commitments. Then you can see the places you can pop in your study. Create a to-do list prioritising your upcoming tasks which may include sitting practice tests, attending PASS, going over difficult content.

Ask questions! Your tutors are there for you to clear up those bits you need clarification on. The earlier the better!

Avoiding PROCRASTINATION

For some reason, many time sensitive tasks seem to come out of nowhere as exam revision is commencing! The house desperately needs a spring clean, facebook has many photos and articles you have never seen before, and those odd jobs that you have put off for 13 weeks are suddenly at the top of your priorities! Procrastinating can take up valuable study and preparation time. If you become distracted whilst studying, you might like to try the following:

-          Arrange to work alongside another student who works well
-          Take short, regular breaks
-          ‘Front-load’ your schedule – do more in the beginning – get to your study first thing. This gives you less time to procrastinate and more time to relax after you have achieved your study targets.
-          Use your ‘to do’ list – ticking off those little tasks can keep you motivated to continue with the bigger tasks
-          Make sure you are praising yourself for committing to study and your efforts so far – negative self talk is not helpful!

Balance

Balance can be difficult when you have various demands on your time but it is vitally important at this point in semester. Stress and overloading your schedule can lead to major burn out.
In your schedule make sure you allow yourself time to maintain the following aspects of your life which will not only keep you healthy but ensure that study time is worthwhile!
-          Eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water – what you’re putting into your body will help maintain the energy to continue with your studies
-          Make sure you are getting enough sleep – regular sleep routines will also assist with your schedule
-          Keep up your regular exercise – some students find that after an hour they do 15 mins of exercise to stay alert and keep motivated

Exam Study

Learning Development provide many resources to assist you with exams and they also run exam preparation workshops! Information is available on the Learning Development Blackboard site in UoNline.

Other mySupport tips for exam study include:
-          Check out the short loans library to see whether they have any past exams
-          Set your own practice exam questions and allocate time in which to complete them
-          Attend PASS exam revision sessions
-          Attend your week 13 revision lecture
-          Read the counselling service’s tip sheet for exams which can be found here.

Student Experience Officer
Feeling overwhelmed? Do not know where to go? Remember at mySupport there are Student Experience Officers here to assist. Please book in an appointment with your Student Experience Officer (http://mysupport.newcastle.edu.au/contact-us/). We can discuss your situation and work out what may help you best.

Best of luck in your final few weeks!

mySupport Team



Week 9 - Stress Reduction

Managing your stress with mySupport


Arriving at the end of week 9 we are getting closer toward the end of semester…..winding down??? No chance.
This point in the semester is usually a hectic and stressful time – getting assessments finished, starting exam preparation, remembering what you have learnt so far….you should know that most students are experiencing stress and you are not alone. A little stress is part of everyday life and you can use that stress to enhance your productivity and focus – but we need to manage the stress so it can create a positive momentum on your studies and not become overwhelming.


10 Tips to Stress Less
1.       Watch out for stress overload. Common signs are difficulty concentrating, irritability, anger, headaches, changes in sleep and/or appetite.
2.       Identify the causes and triggers of your stress and take charge of what you can control. You only have the ability to work on what is within your control.
3.       Keep active and exercise when you can. Go for a walk if you are feeling stress building up. Also relax – meditation and breathing exercises can really help you to cope with stress – find a method that is right for you.
4.       Avoid being overwhelmed – fretting about your entire workload will look massive. Stay in the moment and handle each task at a time. Develop a flexible schedule for the next month & set some priorities.
5.       Change the way you react and the way you see your situation in stressful moments. Stress is a reaction to events and you can get into a pattern of how you react to stressful events. Perhaps seek another person’s perspective on the situation.
6.       Be positive! Counteract the negative thought with a ‘coping thought’ that contradicts the negative, for example ‘I have got no time to do this’ change this thought to ‘I will make time to complete my assignment’ or ‘I just don’t understand this’ change to ‘I have understood more than this’.
7.       Be kind to yourself. Maintain a healthy diet & get some sleep. Take time out for rest & fun.
8.       Stay connected to friends & family & let them know your plan of attack.
9.       Ask for help from your tutors, peers & student support services.
10.    Use stress – if you cannot eliminate your stress make a mental shift from ‘negative and worried’ to ‘positive and concerned’ which will allow more productivity to come from your stress.




Relaxation Resources at UoN

The University Counselling Service website has many tip sheets aimed at helping you manage your success: http://www.newcastle.edu.au/current-students/support/health-counselling-and-wellbeing/your-mental-health/counselling/tipsheets. You can also check out the apps for meditation exercises: http://www.newcastle.edu.au/current-students/support/health-counselling-and-wellbeing/your-spiritual-health/meditation

Exams Looming?

Exams are just round the corner. Why not have a look at the ‘Surviving First Year Exams’ website (http://www.newcastle.edu.au/current-students/support/new-students/surviving-first-year-exams). This is a great resource for all students in preparation for the Semester 1 exams.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and would like some guidance or extra support, remember your Student Experience Officers are here! Contact us here at mySupport to make an appointment – 49217988 or mysupport@newcastle.edu.au.

Do not forget about the final date to withdraw from courses without incurring a fail grade. Although census date has passed, and you are liable for course fees, there is still time to avoid a fail grade by withdrawing from a course prior to the last week of classes.
Kind Regards,

mySupport Team

Week 7 - Productivity tips

Week 7!!!


Well done, it’s the end of week 7 and you have made it this far! Take a moment to congratulate yourself at this point. Remind yourself of your hard work and your achievements so far and remember to give yourself praise for your efforts. Well deserved.

But….even though you may not have classes over the next 2 weeks there is still study to be done and this is a great time to get the next round of assignments in order and organise yourself for the rest of semester…..

So, STAY MOTIVATED!

Yeah, right….how?
Motivation is easy to lose…so remind yourself where your motivation came from. Getting back in touch with it reminds us of what we are working toward. Talk it over with family, friends, other students, your boss, or even MySupport.
Reduce stress. Try relaxing whilst studying. A couple of deep breaths and saying stop to those anxious worrying thoughts can make a difference, maybe go for a walk and come back to help rejuvenate your forward momentum.
Avoid perfectionism. I am not sure if there is a perfect student out there. Remind yourself of realistic goals and schedules. Remember that you can only do your very best….setting sights beyond what you are capable of is always going to decrease motivation when you cannot maintain it so get out of your own way and turn yourself into your own friend.

Now that we have found that motivation again we can use this study break for some productivity (and reward ourselves with a few Easter eggs at the end of it)

Productivity Tips:

Establish a realistic schedule:
Do a realistic assessment of your time management. Have you dedicated enough time to each subject and not just the one you are most interested in or winning the distinctions in?
Are you balancing work and study life? Maybe you need to request some time off work around major assessments or exam time. You can also use this time to demonstrate your best inner Master Chef. Think of some healthy meal options and prepare them ahead of time. Pop in the freezer for when you do not have time to cook.
Are you more focussed on the other fun aspects of your life rather than study? Sometimes we just cannot get to every party on the weekend or the Sunday paper may just have to take second place to the textbook. Reconsider pulling out the bleach and mop each time study looms and leave the house untidy. Develop and stick to a schedule that fits around your study commitments, prioritising your study. 
Create regular breaks and rewards
If everything seems too big and overwhelming to deal with, break each subject into small manageable tasks. Try writing a checklist of what you want to achieve each week. Take a break in between each task, like going outside for 5 minutes. Reward yourself with a rest or something enjoyable if you finish all of your weekly tasks early! Limit your social engagements until you have finished your weekly tasks, this will keep you from getting sidetracked and also be a great reward for finishing your work. Doing something you enjoy after you have achieved reinforces the benefits of your study commitments.

Remember to contact mySupport to talk to your Student Experience Officer if you are feeling overwhelmed – phone 49217494 or email mysupport@newcastle.edu.au!

Happy break!

Kind Regards,


mySupport Team