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July 2013

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Image: students, staff and alumni pack birthing kits in the Great Hall, for distribution in Africa.

Many students enter university with the desire to save the world – by no means an easy feat! There are countless issues, from human rights abuses to environmental concerns, and the scale of the challenge can sometimes cause starry-eyed idealism to diminish.

But student life offers some great ways to make a difference...

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Joining the stampede of uni students on eastern avenue for a mid-year start can be a profoundly daunting prospect. However, if you apply critical thinking (which you'll be doing for the next 3 to 5 bliss-filled years of your degree, so you might as well start on Re-O Day), uni is essentially a revolving door. Each semester is a refresh. A clean slate with new subjects, new teachers and new classmates. The nature of the beast means that you probably won't feel as new as you anticipate, but instead you'll have a pretty seamless transition granted you keep a few things in mind...

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Student prize winners (from left) Scott, Louise, Andy and Vanessa with ASA president Andrew Hopkins. [Photo: Bryan Gaensler]

The Astronomical Society of Australia’s Annual Scientific Meeting is an opportunity for the Australian astronomical community to gather for a series of talks and meetings about all the great astronomy that has happened, is happening, and is going to happen. It's a fantastic experience for a student, because you gain exposure to diverse and pioneering research taking place as well as having the opportunity to network with students and researchers from all over the country. This year I was also fortunate enough to have the chance to present my work, which was a great honour and thrill!

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Arriving back in Australia last week (after almost 30 hours in transit!) marked one of the most amazing experiences of my life coming to an end. I have to say, however, that topping off my amazing time on exchange in Glasgow with a few months of travelling around Europe isn’t the worst way to finish!

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It’s not everyday you’re given the opportunity to present your findings in an international conference – especially as an undergrad student – but I’ve just returned from presenting at one in New Zealand about improving the experience of first-year uni students.

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Joining us in Semester 2? In an expensive city like Sydney, finding secure off-campus accommodation can be stressful and difficult. Here are some tips from my own experience:

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Exams are over! Time to hit the beach and enjoy the great weather Sydney is having! Or, even better, to jet off to Italy!

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Everything you ever wanted to know about uni but were too afraid to ask....
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