AUT Uni Life

What I worry about as I graduate

2018-11-30

By Jessica Marshall

When I first started at AUT, as a Postgrad Journalism student, last year I was confident and cocky. I’d just finished my Bachelor of Arts, a semester early, and thought I knew more than I actually did. Since then, I’ve been knocked down a peg or two – learning can do that it turns out – and I’ve learned a thing or two.

In a few weeks, just over two actually, I’ll graduate from this place and head out into the big wide world of industry. I can’t be the only graduand who finds that idea genuinely terrifying.

The potentially eternal job search looms and I have to keep thinking of what I’ve done and learned over the past year and a half. In truth, I’ve probably learned a lot I’m just not sure what it is. It makes the job application and CV-writing process incredibly difficult. Turns out that the Employability team exist for a reason and I probably should have taken advantage of their services. The good news, which I’ve just been informed of, is that the services offered are available to students two years after graduation. Yay! I won’t be without help for forever!!!

Sorry, I got a little side-tracked. The thing is, though, in ten- or fifteen-years’ time, when I look back on my time at university (probably at a point where I’m deciding whether or not to do a Masters), I probably won’t be able to tell anyone what I actually learned. Given that my entire postgraduate diploma has been a largely practical course of study, I’m hoping that everything I’ll have learned will just be habit.

No, as corny as it sounds, I’ll have memories of people. I’ll remember the two best friends I made during my first year of undergrad, the two brilliant young women who I’ve been able to discuss everything with – from politics to more personal things – since very early on in our friendship. I’ll remember the times I went out for coffee with other friends and discussed books. I’ll remember music listened to and gigs gone to and shopping trips had. I’ll remember the drinks and dinner shared with my fellow postgraduate journos in this last year. I’ll remember debates with certain people over whether Trump is funny or not (they know who they are). I’ll remember the lecturers who helped me when they genuinely could have (and I’m pretty certain should have) given up on me. I’ll even remember the person who served me my coffee every day I was on campus and the people at Ubiq where I made an almost weekly stationery purchase.

I wasn’t aiming to be quite this corny but as I write this, I realise that the thing I’m most nervous about isn’t that I won’t be able to get a job in the field that I want, it isn’t even that I still don’t have the life skills that would make me capable of writing a CV (really should have gone to Employability about that one). No, I’m concerned that I’ll lose track of all the wonderful people I’ve had the very good fortune to meet and know over the years.

Exams are nearly over!

2018-11-09

What are you doing to celebrate the end of exams? Can I make a suggestion?

Exams are over, High Five!

Well, the Breakers are versing off against the Cairns Taipens in a Student Night on 9th November at Spark Arena. I know, it’s sports. Trust me, I’m bookish it’s not really my thing either but here’s the genius of it all: You don’t have to be a fan to go.

Amazing, I know! At its heart, this isn’t about the game. Think of it like a music festival – you don’t have to be a fan of Ed Sheeran to go to Glastonbury. Okay, here’s a better analogy: You don’t have to be a fan of any of the teams to go to the Sevens. Honestly, do you genuinely think that a whole bunch of drunk people dressed as mustard bottles are there to support the US team?

No, they’re there to have a good time. It’s about the spirit of the event, the experience of it, and just having fun. If you bring your friends along (and why wouldn’t you? You’re celebrating), it’ll be a great time, even if you don’t know where the ball is supposed to go. It’s supposed to go in the basket – I think, don’t trust me on that, I’m just making the assumption that, since the sport is called basketball, the basket might be involved in some way.

Person who has no idea - meme

So, buy your tickets now, today. You can buy them online at aut.ac.nz/studentnight for $10 if you use the promo code AUTSTUDENT.

How to have fun this summer without breaking the bank

2018-10-24

By Brooke Stevenson

Summer is fast approaching, and the excitement is real, but I understand it can be daunting trying to make the most of your summer on a budget. Especially as a Uni student, we have like 4 months of holidays to get through (I don’t even want to think about the amount of money I’m going to blow in that time). So, my advice would be to start planning, so you can get the most out of your summer!

Get a summer job.
Unfortunately, summer can’t just be about having fun until Uni starts. It’s probably smart to have a part-time or full-time job to keep you going through the summer break. By getting a job, you’ll be achieving two things; keeping yourself busy (cause lets be real, a 4 month break is a long time to be doing nothing) and you’ll be making money! It’s a win-win really!

Tag along on family holidays.
I don’t know about you, but my family does a camping trip every summer. So, I always plan around it (free week away, out of Auckland, you’d be silly not too.) And of course, it’s good to have some family time because life can get very busy. If you don’t live in Auckland, then going home to visit your family is the perfect excuse to escape and catch up with your loved ones!

Buy now, think later.
Now we all know big New Year’s festivals break the bank a little. It’s a bit late to follow this piece of advice, but you can always do it next year. The best thing you can do is start planning with your friends early in the year, cause the later you leave it, the more stressful and expensive it will be. So, once you’ve decided what you want to do; buy the tickets when they’re released and think about the rest later. It’s like ripping off a band aid, do it fast and don’t think about it. Spending hundreds of dollars is exactly that, just do it, don’t think about it and deal with the rest later! (Classic student mentality).

Day Trips.
Not everyone has the time or money to do big extravagant holidays, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of your summer! NZ is full of amazing beaches and secret spots that need to be explored! Get your group of friends together or your family, pick a destination, then get up early and spend the day in the sun! For us poor students, this is definitely doable. All you really need to spend money on is gas (which let’s be real quite possibly will break the bank but spilt amongst friends it shouldn’t be to pricey) and snacks, can’t forget the snacks.

Explore.
Above all else, just explore! Go on walks when you can, go to your local beach, spend your day under the sun. You don’t necessarily need to be doing anything to enjoy your summer. Spend days relaxing, catching up on work, tidying your room, washing your car. You will have nothing to worry about when you have time off over the summer, so use it to catch up on things you don’t have the time to keep on top of during the year. Get things in order going into the new working year, it’s the perfect time to feel refreshed and re-energised!

Enjoy your summer!

Maintaining motivation through exams!

2018-10-19

By Brooke Stevenson

As the end of the year approaches and exams are nearing, it’s more important than ever to stay motivated as we make it to the final stages of the year. Maintaining a motivated and positive mindset can be difficult when stress levels are high but having a negative mindset is only going to make it harder to remain focused.

When exams get closer, most people resort to studying from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep, with very little breaks. Although you might think this is an efficient way to cover as much ground as possible, it’s not.

Overloading your brain with 12 weeks’ worth of knowledge can become overwhelming, especially if you aren’t rewarding yourself with breaks to let that information absorb.

There are a few ways you can take a break that won’t lead to you wasting 3 hours watching your favourite Netflix show…

  • Go on a walk, run, meditate, kick the footy around. Basically, just get outside and stretch your body and relax your mind. Get your endorphins going in some light exercise, this will help you focus when you come back to study.
  • Eat brain food! It’s important to fuel your body with food that’s going to give you energy.
  • Study with friends, sometimes confiding in each other about how stressed you are and helping each other when you’re stuck is therapeutic and reminds you that everyone else is in the same boat.
  • Lastly, don’t forget that this stress won’t last forever. You’ll be enjoying your Summer antics in no time.

So good luck as you push through these last few weeks! Stay motivated and remain positive, it will all be worth it!

What you can do to help fulfil the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in the summer break.

2018-10-17

By Jessica Marshall

Woohoo!!! We’re in the home stretch! Freedom is near! Just a few more assignments and exams and then you’re good to enjoy that lovely, long summer break!!!

It’ll be gone before you know it, and if you’re like me and looking around for jobs during that time, then it’ll feel like it doesn’t exist at all. But, for those of you who do have that time, it’ll be great!

Sorry, that was really negative and not the point of this post. Anyway, I’m here to talk about something really cool: Sustainability – sort of. AUT is launching its Sustainability Roadmap on Friday, which you can watch on YouTube. It’s a part of the University’s commitment the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). So, I thought it’d be pretty cool if we could look at the – super easy - things you can do during the break to help fulfil those goals.

Donate some tinned food
Do you have a whole heap of tinned food that you need to be rid of? Seriously, did your mum give you a random tin of peaches in that load of stuff she handed you last time you went home? You’ve not used it, have you? I don’t blame you. There’s good news though. You can do something with it that isn’t a weird creation that you end up regretting almost immediately. You can donate it to a charity like the Salvation Army or the Auckland City Mission. The NZ Herald released an article last year on some of the things you could donate but, in all honesty, it’s really just a guideline. Just promise me that you won’t just go out to the supermarket to buy a bunch of things for the express purpose of donating it because, honestly, very few of us have a disposable income. But, there’s something you can do towards Goal 1 (No poverty) and Goal 2 (Zero hunger).

Sleep
See? I told you these would be easy to do. The UN’s third SDP is to promote good health and wellbeing and they actually say that one of the ways you could help achieve this goal is to get enough sleep. You know, so you don’t end up like this:

I mean, you could also read Arianna Huffington’s book on the importance of sleep, but where’s the fun in that?

Read
You’ll remember that last month I made the suggestion that to celebrate women’s suffrage, you should read up about feminism. I’m going to suggest that again but broaden the scope a little. I’m also going to make a few recommendations – none of these are terribly academic so, you know, they’re relatively easy:

  • Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
  • This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein
  • Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies edited by Scarlett Curtis (Included in the cost of this book is a donation to a charity called GirlUp who are doing some really cool things for young women).
  • When We Rise by Cleve Jones

There’s actually a tonne more that you can look for. Might I suggest checking out GoodReads for some really great lists – they’re so much better at this than me.

Report Online Trolls
Seriously, Facebook is notoriously bad at filtering this stuff out – and Twitter is just as bad - so you might want to take it into your own hands and just report the trolls. I’m not talking about reporting someone for every single microaggression because that takes up a lot of time, energy, and you know, it’s kind of annoying but, report the actual trolls – the ones who are using hate speech online or threatening people.

Read the News (or watch it)
I actually have an easy solution to this one because, let’s face it, not one of us wants to sit and watch an hour of news or read an entire newspaper. So, I have a really great solution: Comedy news!!!

That’s right! You can learn a heck of a lot from shows like The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight, Have I Got News For You, or The Opposition (Actually, that last one just makes fun of the Alt-Right and conspiracy theorists but, you know, it’s still funny). And, if you’re anything like me, it’ll stick in your brain a heck of a lot better.

So, there’s just a few things you can do. If you want a few more (because my ideas are incredibly limited in all honesty), you can check out this lovely Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World.

You need more than just a degree!

2018-09-20

By Brooke Stevenson

You’ve probably read the title and thought what?? Years of study and thousands of dollars spent and it’s still not enough? Yup you’re right… well kind of.

Having a degree is great and is ultimately what’s going to get you through the door. But if that’s all you’ve got to offer, then I’m afraid you’re in for a shock.

Don’t worry! To have what employers are looking for isn’t going to cost you anymore money, it’s just going to be a matter of getting involved and getting experience. I know we always hear things like “you need 5 or more years’ experience” or “sorry, you don’t have enough experience” and you’re sitting there wondering how you’re going to get experience when no one is willing to let you start somewhere? Well, I might have a few ideas that could set you in the right direction!

  • Being able to work in a team is a massive skill to have and you probably do it more often than you realize. Being a part of a sports team, choir, part time working in a team-based environment are all examples you can use to demonstrate that you have experience working with others.
  • Don’t be afraid to sell yourself in an interview. This is a moment where it’s totally acceptable to discuss all you have achieved and all your strengths. However, it’s also okay to be honest with what you’re not so good at, after all, you’d hate to get a job acting like you’ve got all the skills they’re after and then be left having no idea what you’re doing!
  • Studying is great and all, but they’re probably going to ask what else you did during your time at University. So, it could be a good idea to get involved in some Uni clubs or have a part time job! Something you could get involved in within AUT which looks great on your CV and teaches you so many skills before entering the working world is the AUT Edge Award.

A degree will only get you so far! Your involvement in other aspects of life and your character are going to add value to your degree. Don’t sell yourself short, apply for everything and get involved in whatever you can!

Three things you can do to celebrate 125 years of Suffrage

2018-09-11

By Jessica Marshall

Hey guys! Guess what? This year, this month in fact, is a big one if you’re a woman and you like voting. That’s right, the 19th September marks 125 years since women in New Zealand gained the right to vote!!!!

I get it, it doesn’t sound like much for those of you who’ve had the right to vote for the entire history of democracy. To you, it’s not a big deal, right? And, I suppose it’s not a big deal if you’re apathetic about voting. But, for those of us who’ve only had that right for 125 years and vote every time the opportunity arises, it’s actually a big deal – or at least, it should be, not least of all because we were the first in the world to grant women that right. Yeah, we were so ahead of the curve that it took our colonial overlords, Britain, 25 years to catch up.

A little while ago, I got the opportunity to attend the conference for the National Women’s Council, an organisation founded by the great suffragette Kate Shepard. If you’re unfamiliar with the different movements that have involved women over the years, it would be an eye-opening experience – actually, it’s rather eye-opening even if you’re familiar with them. It’s also pretty cool because former Prime Minister Helen Clark was the keynote speaker. The big message I got from that conference was that we’ve not actually moved terribly far in terms of women’s rights from the 19th September 1893. As Helen Clark put it at that event, women’s rights are always at threat of slippage.

So, what can you and I, all of us students on our limited budgets, do?

Educate Yourself

How many of us, in the aftermath of the first #metoo revelations, still aren’t sure what sexual harassment is? Or, how many of us knew that the sexist joke that bloke told us in the café took it a little too far? How many of us knew that sexual harassment doesn’t only affect women? Come on, you can put your hands up. There’s no shame in not knowing.

Huh, fewer of us might have been aware than we thought.

Okay, how many of us know what the gender pay gap is? How many of us think it’s a myth? How many of us have – at one time or another – blamed it on something like motherhood or a woman’s likeliness to be in part-time work? The gap is 12% here in New Zealand, and those excuses we use? Yeah, those only affect 20% of employed women, according to research from the Ministry of Women. For a break, here’s College Humor’s take on the issue:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm3YfMtgEdI

Did you know that Climate Change is going to affect women worst? Seriously, according to Ireland’s former President, Mary Robinson, “Climate Change is not gender neutral.” Women are, according to a report from the London School of Economics, more likely to die in a natural disaster than men. Why? Well, I can’t give you a definitive answer – I’m definitely not an expert in the subject. But, if you’re interested in the subject, there’s a great photo essay from UN Women you can look at.

Look, I’m not suggesting you spend hours upon hours reading feminist theory – as much as I love the subject, I’ve always found the theory a little heavy-handed and overly academic for my liking. But, you should definitely read up on some feminist issues – I highly recommend reading any of Jessica Valenti’s columns for the Guardian or the New York Times, or you can always read Roxane Gay’s book, Bad Feminist, for a basic and quick read.

Go to Some Events

It sounds like a pretty random thing to suggest but, in reality, this is a great way to show some support and/or interest. I’ve provided a short listing below (don’t worry, they’re all free events)”

  • Are We There Yet? – Auckland War Memorial Museum is celebrating the 125-year anniversary of women’s suffrage with an exhibition on the women’s rights movement and the treatment of women in New Zealand. It’s a really interactive exhibition too – and there’s a movie.
  • Wāhine Take Action – Another exhibition on women’s rights in New Zealand (I know, there’s a lot), this time run by Auckland Libraries in the Central City Library.
  • Sunrise Celebration – If you’re an early riser, or have some time to kill before that 9am lecture starts, it might be worth it to head to Aotea Square on 19th September for 7am. The Prime Minister will be speaking and there will be a performance from New Zealand Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh among others.

What Can I Do From My Couch (or Bed - Don't Worry, I Won't Judge)?'

You could write out a tweet. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more challenging, you could do what I’m doing now and write a blog post.

There are some pretty awesome films out there too. A few favourites? My Year with Helen (dir. Gaylene Preston), The Color Purple (dir. Steven Spielberg), Erin Brokovitch (dir. Steven Soderbergh), and there’s always Wonder Woman (dir. Patty Jenkins).

Or, there’s a really cool thing going on at the moment. The Women on Wikipedia Challenge urges you to find a woman – she could be a writer, an artist, a community figure, or an activist – and search her up on Wikipedia. If she doesn’t have a page, write one. If she does, then fill in the gaps if you can. Then, post it to the Facebook page so that everyone else can read it.

So, have fun celebrating these 125 years of suffrage, I know I will.

Getting rid of stress

2018-08-14

By Brooke Stevenson

So we are officially past the start of the semester and are creeping towards assignment overload (some of us are already there). This means that most of us will be starting to experience the stress and pressure that uni life as well as everyday life brings. It’s important in times like these to take a step back when things get too much and not let the stress take over. Easier said than done I know; but here’s a little advice that might benefit some of you and help you cope with it all.

Exercise

Exercise truly is the best way to clear the mind. Whether it be a 10 minute walk or
a 1 hour gym session, anything that gets the endorphins moving is going to increase your happiness and release some stress. Not to mention help you focus if you’re trying to write an assignment.

Talk about it

The worst thing you can do is bottle things up, there is only so much someone can take. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed the best thing you can do is talk about it with someone you trust. You could discuss it with family, friends or the trusted AUT Counselling and Mental Health Team.

Get organised

Buy a diary or a calendar because I promise you it’s going to become your new best friend.
Writing things down is a way of getting things out on paper and being able to visualise.
You’re able to see what needs to be done as well as when you have time to spare. Storing all that information somewhere other than your mind is going to give you a sense of relief and control.

Sleep well

I know its hard balancing day to day life and still managing to get enough sleep. They say the recommended sleep time is 8 hours, but sometimes that doesn’t seem possible when deadlines are nearing. All I can say is be kind to yourself, if you know you have an early start try set a reasonable time to get some rest
(even if that means missing out on watching an episode of your fave TV show).
You’ll be thankful in the morning that you had that extra hour or so to sleep and
you’ll be more energised and ready to take on the day.

Take care of your body, it’s the only one you have!

Finding the perfect work-life-uni balance

2018-08-08

By Loren Luisa

Hey all you students out there!

We’re officially four weeks into semester two. Congratulations on making it this far! Now’s the time to remind yourself that you made it through the first semester, and you’re almost halfway through the second semester. Make it through the next eight weeks and then bring on the Christmas break (unless you’re gearing up for summer school that is).

If you’re like me, then you enjoyed a nice inter-semester break and delved into your savings (eep!). So, now is the time you’re starting to realise that maybe that wasn’t the best idea. Well, there’s no time like the present to start raking in some more cash. Now you’ve got a good grip on your schedule for this semester, why not start thinking about how to get a good work-life-study balance? Or, if you’ve already got yourself a job, let’s look at ways to maximise your time so you can work, study, and maintain the social life that keeps us all sane.

Having a job while balancing uni can be stressful at times. That’s why I’ve got a few top tips on how to create the perfect work-uni (and social life) balance to help you breeze through the rest of this semester, and save some moolah for the summer break.

Plan it out
For those of you who aren’t familiar with a schedule or calendar, now’s the time to really get to know each other. I guarantee you that your calendar is going to become your best friend, your lifeline, and the one thing you can depend on to keep your life in check. My advice would be to print off a weekly planner, fill in all your classes (the days and times) and then look at the gaps you have in your schedule and see if you can work a job into those hours. This way you won’t have to worry about having an overlap of classes and work. For those of you who are already ahead of the game and have a great job already, use your calendar to plan out your classes and work hours. Look for the gaps in your schedule you can dedicate as time for studying, catching up with friends, or even just having that well-deserved ‘me time’.

Stay on schedule
I can 100% guarantee you that getting behind in uni is one of the worst things to ever happen to a student. My biggest tip for all you students? Stay on top of your workload. Speaking from experience, realising that you have a massive assignment you haven’t started is due that week (or even the next day) is an added extra stress you definitely don’t need in your life. Going home at night, writing up your notes, or planning out the first draft for your assignment that’s due soon, even if it only takes five minutes, can be such a help in the long run. Trust me, when those due dates start creeping up on you, you’ll be thankful that you started planning early.

Know your limits
One of the biggest struggles you can have in uni is knowing what the right balance between work and study is for you. Making sure you don’t over-commit yourself to working those long days or late nights is key. Set aside time in your schedule to go to class, study at home, and also make that moolah, but make sure you know your limit of how many hours you can handle working each week. If you don’t, finding that perfect balance will definitely be a struggle. Once you’ve mastered the art of organisation and you’ve found your perfect balance, I promise your life will get much easier.

Follow these three simple tips and you’ll find your work-study-life balance in no time.

Be smart about your procrastination!

2018-08-02

By Brooke Stevenson

I think it’s safe to say at one point or another, we have all been guilty of procrastinating. In our everyday lives we put off things like going to the gym, cleaning our rooms or booking those appointments we dread because our mums always used to do it for us. However, there’s one thing we always find ourselves guilty of time and time again, and that’s procrastinating every single assignment. I mean, you’d think we would’ve learnt the first time round that maybe leaving it to the last possible second isn’t the best idea; clearly not.

I’m not here to judge, procrastinating is the norm for me, so I get it. However, if you think you’re becoming a serial procrastinator like myself, then I suggest you keep reading because I’ve got a few tips that will help you embrace your procrastinator side and make meeting those last minute deadlines a whole lot easier.

Tip 1: Go onto the library website and print off the APA referencing guide, it is so easy to follow and will literally save your life. If you feel like that isn’t enough, the library also has APA referencing workshops that you can book into. They have lots of sessions to choose from so you can easily make it fit in with your timetable.

Tip 2: AUT peer mentors are a great service that AUT has to offer. Peer mentors are senior students who are available to tutor you in a specific subject to help you prepare for an upcoming assignment or exam. All you have to do is book an appointment through the AUT website and you’re good to go.

Tip 3: This may sound obvious, but make sure you know the date and time your assignment is due. It is so easy to get it confused, you don’t want to leave something so last minute that you completely miss the deadline. So make a note of when it’s due and keep referring back to it, you don’t want to lose marks over something that could have been avoided.

Basically, we are all guilty of procrastinating to different extremes and sometimes that habit is hard to break. So instead of trying to fight it, just be smart about it. Make sure you know everything about the assignment and understand all of the requirements. If you know you’re confused about something get on top of it, so when you come to do the assignment whenever that may be, you are fully prepared and that late night cramming won’t turn out to be as late!

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