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Study tips

Driving into the 320 hectare estate that is Batamindo Industrial Park, it was hard not to be impressed by the sheer scale of the operation and the presence of well-known global companies like Schneider, Rapala, CIBA Vision and Shimano.

First stop was the operational headquarters, where the presence of multinational banks such as HSBC hinted towards the diversity of the services this all-encompassing industrial park offers. We enjoyed a presentation by an employee from the marketing division of Gallant Venture, the investment holding company that runs the industrial park. Following this presentation and some questions from the fellow students, we were provided with a tour of many of the facilities and services within Batamindo.

The industrial park is a haven for employers, with its custom built factories, human resource recruitment services, all-inclusive facilities and capacity to house employees on-site. This strips away many of the operational costs and sometimes challenging logistical management required with sourcing workers, facility security and maintenance and transport.

Before we crammed back on to the bus for the grand tour, we were invited to peruse the pride and joy of the operation headquarters, Round Room 1. The room is the trophy cabinet of Batamindo – displaying many of the products recently manufactured within the industrial estate walls. The centrepiece of the room was a well-lit, colourful Lego playset. In a scary way, gazing upon the giant plastic scale model made us feel like wealthy foreign investors, casually picking out a location for a factory within the industrial park grounds.

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Considering there are living facilities, malls and food halls located within the park, production line workers rarely need to leave the park. But, unfortunately, many of them find their employment to be extremely monotonous and repetitive. Later in the week, we had a chance to talk to some of these workers to discuss their origins and opinions. Workers had travelled from other places in Indonesia, including Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi looking for work. Many of the workers within the Industrial Park were young females, who worked on the production lines of the electronics factories. They said that Batam was not their final destination, sharing with us their hopes to work for a number of years here before moving on. All of the workers that we interviewed were very friendly and willing to share their stories and experiences.

In retrospect, our visit to Batamindo was an incredible place to start our experience in Batam. Our first impressions here contextualised the enduring battle between employer and employee in the face of pressure to minimize costs and increase efficiency. It left us with many questions regarding the role of labour unions, employer associations, governmental responsibilities and the implications of their interactions. Time has flown since this initial visit as we have continued our adventures searching for these answers.

By Harry Agnew and Brendan Dobb

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It’s exciting knowing that you’re so close to the finish line you can almost taste that liberating summer heat! Then you slowly turn to find absolute chaos on the surfaces of your bedroom walls, desk and floor. It’s somewhat depressing knowing you have all these assessments due when all you want to do is... well, nothing. It becomes easy to hate the rest of semester. Here are some ways to avoid this dire situation.

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Research degrees provide access to like-minded peers and a very deep understanding in a very narrow field. However, the ability to express our ideas in an engaging way outside of our fields, or to think about our research in professional or even commercial contexts beyond academia, are areas that are often neglected. But where do we find the training resources needed to hone these skills, and how do we find the time to practice them?

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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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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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So it’s that time of semester when you really start to dislike 'past you' – who took so long to open up those textbooks, didn't take enough notes in lectures and misspent the entire mid-semester break indulging in chocolate and TV. Fortunately, all hope is not lost when it comes to preparing for mid-semester exams and assignments: Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) are available in the Business and Law Schools.

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You can be forgiven for mistaking the new Learning Hubs for café lounges, what with the bean bags, zigzag sofas, boutique tabletops and whiteboards sharing floor space with the conventional computer desks.

That’s not to say you won’t find any computers around; they’re still readily available for all things research and beating assignment deadlines. But you ought to visit these hubs for the customs emerging outside the computer. Whether it’s the club executives making bulletins of the whiteboards, or the engineers casually dining and playing cards, or the weary first-years enjoying Sydney’s skyline from Carslaw’s windows, there’s a livelihood in these hubs that was sorely missing from the old access labs they replaced. Less than a year after launch, students have made these hubs a wonderfully unique space.

It’s clear these hubs were destined to become that 'third place'. That place you could frequent to get work done, hang with friends or just unwind. The choice is yours. See what these new hubs can do for you.

You can check out the PNR Learning Hub on weekdays between 8AM and 6PM, and Carslaw Learning Hub is now open 24/7.
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Learn more about student IT services.

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Starting University is a pretty damn exciting time in one’s life. For me it was such a mix of emotions. I cried at enrolment and nearly exploded with excitement at 0-Week. At the time, I had spent a year off from study, travelling and working so I was very ready to learn.

If I could go back and tell 19-year-old me a few things, what would I say?

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It’s exam time again! Time to lock ourselves to our desk chairs and jam our heads into textbooks. We won’t be coming out of our study shells for a few weeks; it’s amazing that we don’t run our brains into the ground.

We all have our ways of staying sane during this time – some study outside, some reincarnate their notes into art and some just don’t study at all. I, for one, have my music to fall back onto.

Whilst I don’t listen to music during my study (it’s far too immense a distraction), it does form a great part of my breaks, whether they come after ninety minutes or two-and-a-half. It is the best escape from the toil I’ve just put my mind through, and the dread of what it’s about to go through.

Regardless of my state of mind, there are some artists that always make my list. The crashing crescendo’s of Coldplay for when I need inspiration; the lyrical genius of Snow Patrol for when I can’t remember what to write next; or the high tempos of The Wombats or The Arctic Monkeys when I really need to just forget the attachment sites of Tibialis Anterior for a while.

These are the ten songs that will always make my playlist:

The Wombats – Our Perfect Disease
Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good on the Dance floor
Arctic Monkeys – Red Light Indicates Doors are Secure
Snow Patrol – Make This Go on Forever
Coldplay – Charlie Brown
Florence and the Machine – Howl
Joshua Radin – Don’t Look Away
Death Cab for Cutie – Marching Bands of Manhattan
Fall Out Boy – Sugar, We’re Going Down
Paramore – Let The Flames Begin

Good luck with exams, dear students, and have very happy study breaks.

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As we approach the pointy end of semester when major assessments, exams and all that other good stuff is due, there’s one thing we all have to learn to master; good self-control. And as this just happens to be my thesis area, I’ve been reading up quite a bit about this tricky skill.

Self-control basically involves overriding one behaviour (usually an impulse or urge) in favour of another. Poor self-control; choosing to go to the pub the night before an assessment. Good self-control; going home to study instead.

Some researchers have shown that self-control behaves a lot like a muscle that depletes in energy. When you use self-control in one task, you have less of this energy available for the next task.

This means that after exhausting your self-control throughout the day – when you choose the healthier option at lunch, when you go to your stats lecture instead of taking a self-awarded early mark – by the time it gets to deciding between going home to study for your assessment or going to the pub, you’re much more likely to say, “Bring on Hermann’s!” than “Bring on the books!”

The good news is there are ways to increase your self-control. Practicing self-control regularly makes the muscle stronger. Increasing your motivation and using if-then statements (for example, “If I study first, then I can go to Hermann’s”) also works. But your best option is probably to boost your blood glucose levels with a good glucose containing food, as this actually restores your self-control to all its muscular glory.

So, before deciding whether or not to blow off this evening’s study for the pub, have a good hearty meal. You’ll be better equipped to show self-control and nail that distinction average that all good little uni students dream about.

Meanwhile, here's some Uni resources to help with self-control and other student life challenges.

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It is always a lot easier to talk the talk than walk the walk when it comes to study. I have come to realise that although I work hard when push comes to shove, it still takes a lot for me to actually settle down and hit the books. But you know, there are plenty of things that I know about studying and how to maximise a study session / essay writing session that, when I do put them in practice, are very effective. Obviously I am, at times, too lazy to put them in practice - which leads to assignments being handed in just in the nick of time (or a little late... oops! don't do this!) - HOWEVER I do this knowing that I could have followed my easy steps towards effective study / essay writing, and consciously ignoring these easy steps means that I only have myself to blame for a dud mark.


So.


Let me teach you how to study, when you can be bothered...

Highlighters and biros are quality gear in the world of study
study time

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Last year, the real question on everybody's lips was whether to embrace the turtleback or go for an off the shoulder bag / tote. The ultimate showdown of 2009 looks instead at merits of taking paper or a laptop to class.

PAPER v. LAPTOP

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Mm don’t we all love crunch time? Knowing that even though we have no class, we have to wake up to sit at a computer all day and churn out essays or study notes? I’d like to ask – who decided that all assessments should happen at the same time? And for me, on the SAME day!!!!

Yep, because I’ve got no exams (you’re allowed to hate me), I had the joys of over 9000 words due on the same day! So for a long time, getting out of bed with the only plan for the day to write yet another essay was my life. Exciting! So because my crunch time is over, I thought I’d put down 10 very useful procrastination tools I used to inspire (cough cough) my uni work!

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This blog comes a little late this time – I've been considerably bogged down with numerous assignments, assessments, not to mention a veritable host of personal issues that have absorbed a great deal of my time and enthusiasm. Nevertheless, I'm back with another blog that will, with any luck, give you just that little bit extra background before you choose to come to our University.

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Dear Denial,

I have written you a thousand love letters, why don’t you write me back? Sometimes- when I am waiting in line at the supermarket, feeding my dogs or even in that fractional moment of repose between the sentences of a stream of consciousness rant- I find myself longing for your sweet embrace. As clandestine as our relationship is, this infatuation is not borne of a crazy, fumbling un-buttoning of a new sordid affair. No, this is comfortable love. Steady. Consistent. A rock solid, enduring, enveloping love. I think you are my safe place. It is undeniable that you have loved me too, Denial, I mean… I have always found you popping up, showing through, proving yourself to be the reaction I no longer bother registering. You lure me to a place that is so much nicer than The Everyday. You make it beautiful, you make it okay.

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To continue for a bit on my theme from last entry - the joys of living out of home - I would like to recount the saga of the mouse.

When I moved in to Maison d'Erskineville, the guy whose room I was moving in to while he jetted around the world for six months hadn't quite left yet, despite the fact that he was no longer paying rent and I was living in his room. That is, his stuff was in our dining room in boxes and he was sleeping on the floor. He was having trouble with visas and stuff like that so we were cutting him a lot of slack, but despite all of this, it was becoming increasingly annoying having boxes of clothes, food and other things (?) in our eating space, looking ugly.

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Dear friends, followers, and esteemed colleagues,

Every semester for me begins the same way. False promises of a fresh start study regime. “This semester:

I will not procrastinate.
I will keep on top of my readings.
I will begin essays
before the day before they are due.

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After goodness-knows how many years attempting to perfect the technique of studying, I have finally mastered the art.

Read on for my words of wisdom (if you can’t guess what it is from the title of this post).

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Want proof? I’ve made a comprehensive list of all the different types of procrastination you can partake in. And then I wrote a blog about it.

So...

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I don’t know about you guys but I’m feeling a little frazzled. Week nine at uni, like a monsoon rain cloud, hits right on time with the same intensity every semester. You know it’s coming. You can feel it in the air. Suddenly computer labs are at breaking point, all the good books are due back in June and four hours sleep becomes the new ‘eight.’ Regardless of preparation, it’s impossible to stay completely dry under that umbrella when the rain falls in sheets from every which way.

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Exchanging Manning for the dusty corridors of Fisher, I've sublimated all urges into some long overdue research for an Art History essay. My old habit of leaving things to the last minute seems to have followed through from high school, but this time round, I'm not so sure I can pull it off like in the good ol' days.

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You may hear a term being thrown around during the first few weeks of uni... and it’s actually WebCT.

Not too sure what the CT stands for, but here’s the lowdown nonetheless.

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Water, water all around, so let’s all drink... something else.

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As my exams creep up and I hand in the last of my assignments for the year, quite a few people at college have gone home for the study vacation to avoid the rampant (and highly contagious) college procrastination syndrome. I, in what may [read: will] prove to be a less than wise decision, have decided to stay and sit out the most dull and uninteresting study-filled *!* week of the semester... and rather than studying hard I find myself hardly studying. So while I hardly study I thought I’d do something remotely productive and add to Asako’s Wandering Thoughts with a list à-la-Letterman of my absolute Top 10 “To-Do”s [read: displacement activities] as an expert college procrastinator (in ascending order)...

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For our last Psych lecture in the cognitive processes stream, our lovely lecturer Caleb gave us some study tips that actually fit in with what we were learning. So I’ve decided to pass them on. And writing this is actually studying for me! Yay!

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The HSC. All the previous moments (hours...) where you have been studying like crazy, stressing, worrying perhaps, and its now its here. The HSC has begun. And for my part, I cannot believe it has been a year since I last sat in that exam hall. I remember it exactly like it was yesterday and how I almost wasn't allowed in to the examination hall…

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As I write this, you are all sitting in your various school halls / libraries / exam centres; full of jitters, nervous, about to vomit. Aka, about to sit English Paper 1.

I am feeling for you, I really am. I actually have that pre-exam nervous flutter in the pit of my stomach, for you all.

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AHHHHHHHH! BLAST OFF! Yep! It’s begun! You’re in it. Dead set, it’s the HSC. First exams are down, that’s one less to go. Don’t forget, keep studying! It’s really important. I’m sure you’ve heard this all before, all the time, for the past two years: but study is the key! The HSC is unlike anything you’ve ever done before, and for most of you, anything you’ll ever do again. It’s tough, it’s rough, and it takes no prisoners. But never ever make a mountain out of a mole hill!

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That’s right, it’s crunch time. As I’m writing this, it’s no more than two weeks until the HSC begins, and I’m sure you’re gripped with nerves. Asako’s already given you some tips on how to study in STUVAC, and rather than copying her, I thought I’d give you some tips, from an HSC veteran, about how to handle the actual exam period, and the exams themselves. Keep in mind, I only did artsy subjects (so that’s why I went and did arts at Sydney uni!) but there are some basic rules that are true across the board. So, here are my top tips:

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For the purpose of all you HSC doers out there, I attempted to cast my mind back to what I actually did during the procrastination-filled potential disaster that was the 3 week stuvac break. Problem was, I couldn’t actually recall any events from the time. So, I cracked open my diary to this time last year to see what I was thinking. Here is an extract from the night before my first exam (as is, no edits):

“So it’s getting real soon. I’m... freaked out, but it really comforts me when I know that we are all going through it, together. It’s all a learning experience, a journey that we take as individuals, whom are part of a collective. We are enriched with this voyage toward the end,.. OH MY GOD WHAT AM I SAYING?!”

Another interesting thing to note is that our grade’s message board peaked the night before our first exam, and this continues to be the “most people online” timeframe. Anyway, what I do remember from Stuvac are some study techniques that really helped with specific subjects. Read on for English, Maths, Japanese, Art, and some other general tips....

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Just the other day sitting at my desk, with my mango & pineapple scented candle burning, and RHCP’s new album playing, I realised I had inadvertently recreated the exact environment in which late last semester (read: the dwindling hours of Stuvac), I was studying dreadfully hard for my final biology exam.

Instead of causing me to uncontrollably twitch or splutter expletives at the traumatic memories elicited by these familiar smells and sounds, it made me realise: if I can get through biology, I can get through anything (academic-wise). Furthermore, if I managed to beat biology to a pulp (ok fine... it got away with a gentle slap on the hand), you can definitely get through your HSC in one piece. Read on for the How To Survive Stuvac Guide:

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If your school has decided to hold Trial HSC exams, chances are, they are coming up in just a few weeks.

So if you’re in Year 12, and facing the prospect of these dreaded exams (which are, I’ll let you know, much more difficult than the actual HSC exams…not that this fact makes the actual exams any less painful: an unpleasant Catch-22), then here are some wise words from a girl who has lived through it…

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When you were a child and someone asked you "what do you want to do when you grow up", did you ever answer: "I want to change the world"?

I have. And one thing you quickly learn about social change is that sometimes the biggest changes happen because of the actions of a small few...

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Yes that's right my friends, in 5332 words time I will have finished all my work for semester 1. Easier said than done unfortunately.

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Procrastination may come naturally at first but will eventually, and quickly, evolve and adapt to new environments and study habits.

It starts out as simply avoiding work but eventually becomes a point of doing work to avoid doing work.

To reach your full potential takes many many years of practice and implementation. Personally I'm not there yet but I'm well on the way to the pinnacle!

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Getting ethics approval for your Honours thesis is serious business. So is finding a solution to procrastinating...

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If there was a class on Procrastination, I'd be topping it. In fact, I'd probably be teaching it. During exam time, my room has never been cleaner, my family never better-fed, my CD collection never more alphabetised.....yep, I am a world-class delayer of major tasks. Including studying. I'm actually meant to be starting to research for my Honours thesis right now...and what am I doing? Procrastinating, of course. So here are some of the best study tips I've received - make sure you let me know if I've missed any!

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