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June 2013

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I'm a 4th year Vet Science student at Sydney Uni, and a few weeks ago while casually scrolling through an email from a rabies control mailing list, I serendipitously spotted an essay contest offered by the Alliance for Contraception in Cats & Dogs (ACC&D). The notice called for veterinary students/residents worldwide to enter and compete for an all-expenses paid scholarship to the 5th International Symposium on Non-Surgical Contraceptive Methods of Pet Population Control - in Portland, Oregon! Unfortunately this exciting find occurred just days before the deadline…

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As part of my engineering degree, I have to do 3 months work experience with an engineer in the industry this summer. I was really worried at the start of the year – how will I get an internship position? What if I miss out? I’d heard stories from friends saying that they’d put tonnes of applications to companies, only to be rejected by a lot of them...

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Dear Sydney University,

I would like to receive a scholarship because it has always been my dream to attend Hogwarts. After being terribly disappointed in not receiving my Hogwarts acceptance letter when I was 11 years old (I’m sure they made a mistake!), I have now decided that my next best option is to attend Sydney University. This is a why I deserve a scholarship.

I hope I can bring my owl to class.*

(* My sources inform me that this letter may or may not be an actual scholarship application received by the university.)

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My sources inform me that the scholarship money may or may not be secretly guarded by dragons in a vault beneath the Bank Building.

What type of ships are worth a total of $65 million, don't not sail on water but will help you immensely to navigate through the high seas of higher education?

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If my life is anything to go by, exam periods create a cycle that repeats year after year. My room turns into a bombsite, and I feel as though I’m under house arrest, guilty of sacrificing an entire forest for paper. Each semester, without fail, I think to myself “never again will I leave my study this late!” but old habits die hard...

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In preparation for writing this month’s Sydney Life column, focusing on STUVAC and good study habits, I managed to clear out my inbox, answer a few pointless market research surveys, wash my dishes and make a cup of tea. Which, if you looked up the Oxford Dictionary, is pretty much the definition for procrastination.

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It has been a while since I was in Year 10, but something I'll never forget was how stressful it was deciding what subjects I'd pick for the impending HSC. Not only was it time to actually start thinking about what I wanted to do with myself*, but it seemed like there was a new language to become fluent in too. Words like “ATAR” and “scaling” were casually tossed around, yet seemed key to being able to do what I wanted. All of a sudden I had to start making some big steps, but was scared to step anywhere for fear of jeopardising it all. So what should you do?

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Last Tuesday night I won the AMP AMPlify Festival's Bright Sparks Competition. 19 finalists competed for $5000 towards their PhD. And I won. It was such a shock and an honour! So how did anonymous mimes and a Facebook post help me win the cash?

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Journalist. Politician. Lawyer. As professions go, these are some of the least trusted and most hated of all in society – and I happen to study all three! So why pick these subjects, and why study a combined degree?

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Week 13 just rolled past and suddenly STUVAC (the study vacation) has come knocking. If it's your first semester at Uni, you might find yourself facing final exams with scarily high percentage values, a few less-battered-than-they-should-be textbooks, and the classic "how did this happen?" moment. If you're a seasoned second or third year (or even fifth, like me), chances are you've just been hit by that horrible "how did I let this happen again?" crisis.

But by using the STUVAC burst of adrenalin, one week of intensive study can actually be incredibly productive. As Leonard Bernstein said: “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.” so here's my tip for surviving STUVAC:

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“I’ve never really left poetry, I think if I did it would shift my entire being”, Luke Davies says, reflecting on his life and writing with the reissue of his first collection of poetry, Four Plots for Magnets.

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Image: Flickr/happy.apple, used under the Creative Commons licence

Lauren Beukes is a South African novelist, scriptwriter and comics writer. Her latest novel, The Shining Girls, involves time travel, a ruthless serial killer, and an inexorable young woman who will stop at nothing to hunt her killer down. Most recently, it was announced that the book will be adapted for television. I spoke to Lauren at the Sydney Writers’ Festival 2013 about the art of storytelling and its role in her life.

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“I was told that every day you should write down something from the five senses,” says Craig Taylor, handing down this writing advice for me and other like-minded young writers, like a well-kept secret.

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