Samantha Shannon: On the Roots of Chaos 

Samantha Shannon: On the Roots of Chaos - What do students and readers think of Priory? ...
(Samantha Shannon, speaking at the 2024 Sydney Writers’ Festival, with Shelley Parker-Chan. Photo credit: Nataša Aster-Stater)

The Roots of Chaos event, which was held at the Sydney Writers’ Festival on May 25th, showcased the author, Samantha Shannon, speaking to a large crowd about her novel, The Priory of the Orange Tree, and how representing strong female characters in epic fantasy has been a dream come true – for both her and readers. 

Student Symphony Chakma, who is part of the Western Sydney University Queer Collective team as well as The Book Club, and enjoys reading fantasy, says: “The reason why I loved The Roots of Chaos so much was the versatile characters and the diverse cast of female women. I particularly enjoyed the representation of Sapphic main characters in The Priory of the Orange Tree”.  

(Symphony Chakma loves reading fantasy. Photo credit: Symphony Chakma). 

Author Shelley Parker-Chain, who interviewed Shannon, asked her what surprised her most about both Priory and it’s prequel, A Day of Fallen Night, and she said how well-received both books have been by readers: there’s representation of LQBTQ characters and, at its centre, there’s a lesbian relationship with two of the main characters, Ead and Sabran.  

Shannon also credits social media platform, TikTok – in particular, BookTok – for helping to spread the word about Priory, and get the story into the hands of many more readers: as a result, Priory went viral, several years after it was first published in 2019:  

“Priory was suddenly everywhere again,” says Shannon to the room of eager readers, laughing, when referring to the confusion about the sudden resurgence of love and interest regarding her book. She adds how it was fellow author, Adam Silvera, who also writes fantasy as well as Young Adult LGBT, who told her the secret to Priory’s second bout of success: TikTok.  

Shannon says how Silvera then remarked how much readers are loving Priory.  

And they do: Dominika, WSU student and fantasy lover, says:  “I feel like Ead and Sabran break the mould of traditional female roles in fantasy. They showed me that strength comes in many forms, such as physical skill, intellect, and determination.” 

She adds “Reading Samantha Shannon made me feel empowered. She told me women can be heroes or leaders or revolutionaries in change. In my opinion, Shannon showcases diverse female voices and shows us our ability to shape and redefine the world.” 

(Entrance to the Sydney Writers’ Festival 2024: authors at events helped readers “Escape into a World of Books.” Photo Credit: Nataša Aster-Stater).

Like many books, Shannon’s stories help readers’ inhibitions fall away, as they’re transported to another place, often one that represents their dreaming. It seems also fitting, then, that the Sydney Writers’ Festival – which first began in 1997, and which had more than 300 local and international guests in 2024 – had the theme “Take me away” this year. 

There were many other events and stories at the Sydney Writers’ Festival which celebrated the LGBTQ community, such as Queerstories, and Queer Love and Longing, which told tales of heartbreak and true diaristic journeys of six writers, such as Maeve Marsden and Christos Tsiolkas.  

“Seeing representation in queer love stories and the normalisation of queer relationships in books and mainstream media is so important,” says Chakma. “It’s finding similarities with people and characters who share experiences like yours and realising you’re not alone in your feelings, which is incredibly empowering.” 

W’SUP news would like to thank the Sydney Writer’s Festival team for providing the opportunity to attend events media personnel and for hosting such incredible sessions. We hope to continue collaborating in the future and bring these important conversations to Western Sydney University. 


Cup49 makes DIY bubble tea a reality

By TILEAH DOBSON With Australia being a multicultural country, it was only a matter of time for Taiwan’s boba tea to make its way Down Under. With t...


With Australia being a multicultural country, it was only a matter of time for Taiwan’s boba tea to make its way Down Under. With the rise of franchise chains like Chatime, Gong Cha and Sharetea, bubble tea has become a popular beverage.

Prompting some health benefits through their various black and green teas, the customization and overall taste are why this beverage is immensely popular with residents, particularly university students.

Despite its immense popularity, the constant cost of buying one individual serving can add up over time. Thankfully, a rise of small businesses that can cater to the bubble tea need has emerged. One such local small business is Cup49.

Based in Melbourne, this small business is run by Serene Lim and was established in 2019 by Lim and her friend. Loving bubble tea but hating the plastic waste from the cups, Lim and her friend began their business by selling reusable cups.

“It all started when I saw the photo attached on Facebook of a large construction bin overfilled with plastic cups from various bubble tea brands. I love bubble tea and treat myself weekly but have never thought much about the consequences of my bubble tea addiction, until this photo,” Lim said.

“From our research, on average, a bubble tea store in Melbourne sells about 48 cups of bubble tea per hour. That’s 48 plastic cups, 48 plastic straws, 48 plastic lids and 48 plastic bags that will end up in our oceans or landfill. We decided on the name Cup 49 in hopes that our cup will be the 49th and forever reusable bubble teacup.”

What started out as a way to sell reusable cups, Cup49 has grown significantly. Photo: Supplied.

“We then expanded our range to DIY bubble tea kits because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were in lockdown and couldn’t get our bubble tea fix without breaking the bank. I remember uber-ing a single bubble tea and paying $15.49 for it! So I thought there must be a way for all of us to make bubble tea in the comfort of home, customised to our preference without going broke.”


What started as a small business had quickly grown into a bubble tea enterprise, largely thanks to loyal customers. A small team of nine, Cup49 aims to ensure people can get their delicious tea whilst keeping the planet cleaner.


Lim sympathised with university students who often spent money on bubble tea and encourages Western Sydney University (WSU) students to check out her website.

“I remember not having much money back in university and would have really loved a cost-effective DIY bubble tea solution. All those late nights studying for exams in the law library with massive uncurbed bubble tea cravings because there were no bubble tea shops near me,” Lim said.


Ideas for new products is a combined effort from Lin’s team and her community of loyal customers, affectionately nicknamed Boba Baes. While still working on getting halal certification for customers, Cup49 products are vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free. There are plenty of fruit teas available for those who cannot handle dairy as well.


Lim is continuously grateful for the support from not only her customers, but her team, family, and friends.

“We get heaps of support from family and customers. My dad folds our blue tissue paper, my mum helps with accounts, my in-laws and siblings help pack orders when we need the extra hand. My husband pretty much supports me in every aspect, mentally, physically, emotionally,” Lim said.

Cup49 offers two base teas for customers to pick and enjoy, Jasmine and Black tea. Photo: Supplied.

“We have the best customers ever; they’re always telling their friends and family about us and raving about our products on social media. You can see heaps of customer stories that we re-share on our Instagram cup.49. That’s not it, we’ve got customers who choose not to use a discount code just to support our small business. Like who does that!”

“It can get lonely and stressful running a small business yourself so I am so grateful to have the best support system.”

Lim’s large following on social media platforms such as Facebook and TikTok has helped her business immensely. On her TikTok, she shows complete transparency with her followers on how orders are packed, what the warehouse looks like and even shows how to make various kinds of teas.

With bestsellers such as are Brown Sugar Milk Tea Kit, Ultimate Fruit Tea Combo Kit, Trio Popping Pearls and the one that started it all, Reusable Bubble Tea Cup Set, Lim and her team have a bright future ahead.

“I just find it interesting that we’ve been making tea, coffee, smoothies at home but making bubble tea at home only became a thing in the last 1-2 years. Now we have access to premium bubble tea ingredients with easy, quick recipes to make our perfect cup of bubble tea, wherever, whenever,” Lim said.

For more information about Cup49 or to place an order and support a small business, go to cup49.com.

Tileah Dobson is an editor for W’SUP and the news editor for the Sydney Sentinel.

P.S. If Cup49 wants to sponsor me, I won’t say no 😉


Lithgow Campus: Reimagined for 2021

What happened to the Lithgow Campus and where is it now?...

Lithgow Campus: Reimagined for 2021

What happened to the Lithgow Campus and where is it now?

The Entrance of the Lithgow Campus Indicates its History

Photo Courtesy of WSU


Do you remember the Lithgow Campus? Did you know that it closed? Do you know that it’s back? Many students remember the Lithgow branch of Western Sydney University as The College, but this simple campus has had a world class revamp.


The Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra Lithgow Transformation Hub is the newest addition to the university’s portfolio of campuses. It is designed to allow for collaboration between the Lithgow Community and Western Sydney University. It is located in the Charles Hoskins Memorial Institute building on Mort Street and has opened to the public in May of 2021.


“Lithgow is only 1hr 15 mins by car from our Penrith or Hawkesbury campuses or a two-hour train ride from Penrith.”- Deb Barton


A photo from the opening of the Western Sydney University Transformation Hub

Photo by Sally Tsoutas via WSU


Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO mentions the meaning of the campus, “In Wiradjuri language, Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra translates to ‘Workmanship together, side by side’ – a fitting name for the Hub, given its intent to create a space where the Lithgow community can continue to come together with the University, share knowledge and resources, and work together towards a sustainable and thriving future.”


Associate Professor Crabtree-Hayes states the future for the hub, as they mention “In the Hub, we envisage a space where local students can come to use our state-of-the-art technology or Wi-Fi, or find a co-working or study space; while professionals and business-owners can use the Hub for their conferences, gatherings, meetings, events, residencies, exhibitions or pop-up labs.”


© OpenStreetMap contributors


Deb Barton is the manager of the the Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra Lithgow Transformation Hub.


“Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra is a Wiradjuri term which broadly translates to Working together side by side. This reflects the purpose for the Hub which acts as a place for the Community, Governments, Business and Industry to come together to explore the range of possibilities for the region as it starts to make the transition to a low carbon economy.” says Barton.


She additionally mentions that the goals of the hub include: “Gateway to Wiradjuri, education for life, health and wellbeing, and the Lithgow Sprint.”


The Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra Lithgow Transformation Hub is Located in Lithgow

Photo Courtesy of WSU


Many students wondered about the campus’s disappearance and re-appearance. Deb Barton informed W’SUP News that pathway courses stopped at the end of 2018, and that there was community consultation as to what they wanted to see operating out of the space in 2019. The opening of the Hub was delayed due to COVID-19 but was eventually able to open in early 2021.


Student may also be wondering “Why choose Lithgow?” Deb Barton informed W’SUP that there were opportunities for the University to continue add value in Lithgow and it has the space that leant into the concept of Transformation. Although Lithgow is a regional community, it has recently started to economically align itself with Western Sydney. There are also many academics already working and researching in the area.


Barton assures readers that “Lithgow is only 1hr 15 mins by car from our Penrith or Hawkesbury campuses or a two-hour train ride from Penrith.”


Exterior of the Lithgow Campus before it was turned into the Transformation Hub

Photos Courtesy of TKD Architects


When asked what she would like students to know about the hub, Barton said: “We would love for students to engage with us as Ambassadors to raise aspiration for people of all ages in the Lithgow region about the value of undertaking tertiary education.

Alternatively, we would like students to consider coming to Lithgow for their work placement activities or considering the area as part of research they are undertaking.

If (university) students are in the area – call in and say hi, we would be happy to show you around.”


Deb Barton would also like to re-enforce that the campus is also accessible to the wider community. “The Hub is a safe and welcoming space for all community to come together. For any students living locally and studying on-line we have some computers and spaces available for quiet study or to connect face to face with other people.”


If you plan to travel to the campus, secure parking is available on sight. Additionally, Lithgow Train Station is nearby, with the 200 Bus taking you directly to the campus.


The Lithgow Hub is currently seeking expressions of interest for collaborations. It is currently located at 154 Mort St, Lithgow NSW 2790 and the contact number is (02) 6354 4505.


Editor’s note: Thank you to Deb Barton for her interview and for all her work with the Lithgow Campus.


A university of the people: the 200-year story of Parramatta campus

A trip down memory lane as we continue to rebuild and celebrate the history and culture of Western Sydney University....


A university of the people: the 200-year story of Parramatta campus

Story by Sarah Cupitt


A trip down memory lane as we continue to rebuild, immortalise and celebrate the history and culture of Western Sydney University.


If you’ve ever stepped foot on Parramatta South campus, chances are you’ve seen a few historical landmarks. Mainly the old orphan school building, which usually has a ton of fancy vintage cars parked outside when an event is happening. Though for most students (thanks to COVID-19) chances are, you’ve been online for the majority if not all of your degree.


So, I hope this interactive story makes up for the lack of face-to-face interaction and provides a source of comfort and curiosity for all of you returning next semester. Plus, a few fun facts up your sleeve don’t hurt if you need some small talk conversation starters about the weather.


WSU celebrated 30 years in 2019 (a young and proud overachiever). However, the university itself is a holder of memories built over two hundred years of history and community impact, deeply rooted in the region’s exceptional development and prosperity.

“Our successes and aspirations reflect those of the region and its people. Not only is Western Sydney University a world-class teaching and research institution, but it is also a thought leader; a knowledge and employment generator; and a catalyst for the region’s economic and social prosperity,” said vice-chancellor and president, professor Barney Glover to the WSU News Centre in April 2019.


10 things you might not know about WSU by Sarah Cupitt. Source: W’SUP Spring Edition 2019.


The history of the Parramatta South campus

The Female Orphan School building has witnessed some of Australia’s most profound societal shifts. Over the two centuries that this hidden treasure has stood on the banks of the Parramatta River, the structure has influenced thousands of lives. The structure is of enormous significance to Australia’s social history, being both one of the few large public structures that survived the early colonial period and additionally is Australia’s oldest three-story building, predating even Hyde Park Barracks.

Parramatta South is home to many historical interactions over the past 200 years as a place and keeper of collective memories. Infographic: Sarah Cupitt.


Its original purpose was to house, educate, and train Sydney’s “orphaned” children. It then functioned as a psychiatric hospital, and its varied usage over the next 100 years represented society’s increasing understanding of mental illness. By the mid-1980s, the philosophies that the building represented had become obsolete, and the structure had fallen into neglect and decay.


Watch: If Those Walls Could Talk – A History of the former Rydalmere Hospital (Sept 1999)



Acknowledging the building’s historical value, the University of Western Sydney (now Western Sydney University) began a series of restoration work in 2000. The Female Orphan School was resurrected as the university’s campus centerpiece for Parramatta. In addition, the Whitlam Institute, which presently inhabits the building, is dedicated to preserving it as an open, public, and democratic environment for future generations to admire and enjoy.


“Being able to study at the Parramatta South campus, knowing that there is so much history there, makes me feel honoured. I feel a sense of pride that I have been able to contribute to that history and culture,” says third-year Bachelor of Arts student Lauren Rainey.



The Whitlam Institute: facilitating bold and transformative discussions

The Whitlam Government passed 203 bills in its first year alone, more than any other Federal Government had achieved in a single year. Not only did Gough Whitlam transform Australia’s laws and institutions, but he also changed the way the country views and defines itself.

Leanne Smith has led the Whitlam Institute as its director for the last four years, having previously held the role of associate director since March 2017. The result has seen a renewed strategic direction for the Institute, fulfilling Gough’s wish that it would “… help the great and continuing work of building a more equal, open, tolerant and independent Australia”. Under Leanne’s leadership, the Institute has produced policy research (including with international partners) on topics from access to education and disability discrimination, to the protection of Indigenous cultural heritage and international best practice in sustainable development goals implementation.


“What I’ve worked hard to do, is to connect our local communities and local issues of concern to national policy debates, for example by hosting the 2021 Refugee Alternatives Conference …


We have worked with WSU students offering internships, placements, consultancies and volunteer opportunities around our research, exhibitions and events and the incredible Prime Ministerial archive collection at the Whitlam Institute,” said Leanne Smith.


Embedded video of Leanne talking about the history of the building https://youtu.be/WkSKsnOrJr0


“Last year we opened a beautiful reading room, named in honour of our Distinguished Fellow, The Hon Susan Ryan – this room is intended to bring students and scholars into the Female Orphan School where we work to learn about the Whitlam legacy,” says Smith.


Take a digital look around Australia’s oldest three-storey building here.


At WSU students and staff are proud to have such historically significant campuses, including South Parramatta, where the Female Orphan School is located. For Leanne, bringing that history to life is a real joy for staff and volunteers.

“One of the most wonderful moments during my time as director was hosting the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr Michelle Bachelet, as our 2019 Whitlam Oration guest speaker. Dr Bachelet has been an inspiration to me since we worked together at the United Nations, and it was an honour to have here with us in Sydney, honouring Gough Whitlam,” she said.


Photos supplied by Sally Tsoutas


Leanne will be leaving the Whitlam Institute to take up the position of chief executive of the Australian Human Rights Commission, with her final day as the 29th of November. However, she will continue to have a relationship with the University as an Adjunct Professor at the School of Law.

Adjunct Professor Eric Sidoti will take up the role of interim director of the Whitlam Institute whilst recruitment for the substantive position is progressed. As well as being adjunct professor at the university’s Institute for Culture and Society, Professor Sidoti is a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow and was previously the director of the Whitlam Institute between 2007 and 2017.


Expressions of Interest are now being received for Whitlam Legacy Essays by November 28.


From bird to shield, blue to red – Western’s courageous rebrand

The University of Western Sydney rebranded in August 2015. It was the first identity shift in over a decade. WSU’s makeover symbolised the university’s commitment to its community, putting Western Sydney first. Combined with a more relevant brand attitude and voice for the upcoming wave of students and an international audience, the aim was to reflect the changing landscape of Western Sydney, which is now the country’s fastest expanding region, with an enormous amount of investment in infrastructure, innovation, and the arts.


Some students started a social media campaign called “Save the Bird” in an attempt to save the then-UWS logo, which cost a whopping $20 million. The campaign resulted in students wearing blue ribbons in support of keeping the bird, others signing a petition with over 2500 signatures, and finally – bold students taking to Twitter the frustration of zero student consultation.


Read More: University Of Western Sydney Spending $20M On “WSU” Rebrand, Bird-Less Logo


It’s from this point that the “student voice” changed at Western, not only in terms of diverse student leadership and thought – but also the rebrand of Cruwsible to W’SUP News (the student publication of Western Sydney University).


For third-year nursing student and SRC international student representative Loore Muravu, The Whitlam institute has shaped her values and taught her to be culturally aware and to value diversity and people’s opinions.


“I believe diverse student representation and leadership helps to give students a voice because it breaks the silence and allows students to feel recognised and appreciated. For instance, as an international student like me, I never thought that I could raise my concerns and be heard until I became part of the SRC team and learnt about my rights as a student,” says Loore.


A university of the people

Students, staff, and volunteers hold memories of the beloved Parramatta Campus before the COVID-19 lockdown; these are some key moments of inspiration to drive change, leadership, and community when you return to campus next semester to build your story.


Crystal Ram (SRC ethnocultural representative) is inspired by the new generation of creators, innovators and leaders; having a strong foundation enables newcomers to grow and fuels ideas, “In Australia, we are so fortunate to even has access to tertiary education, when I reflect and recall what individuals like my grandparents and mum went through it gives me the motivation for continual improvement everywhere I go,” she says.


Jacki Montgomery (Director of Academic Program – Creative Industries, Communication, Screen Media) echoes the culture at our university for innovation and collaboration.


“We are so fortunate to have one of the most diverse cultural cohorts of any university in Australia. Our students bring many different perspectives to their studies, and we see wonderful collaborations and expressions of culture in their creative outputs,” said Jacki Montgomery.



Next, we have Razin Polara, who says studying at the WSU Parramatta South campus is one of the best experiences he’s ever had. He’s proud of the development of student clubs that organise events and activities that have impacted the student community in a broader range – additionally as the SRC Parramatta South Representative (no bias to the campus of course) and a leader of several student clubs, he believes that driven young students will make Australian youth stronger and powerful –  and bring change to the WSU community.


“Studying here for four years, I have made many incredible memories: the chit-chat at the Oliver-Brown cafe before lectures, challenging mates in video games and playing Football in the field are some of the unforgettable memories. From this, I can say that Parramatta is one of my favourite campuses,” says Razin.


Finally, we have the director of W’SUP News, Ishmamul Haque, who’s studying a double degree consisting of a Bachelor of Information and Communication Technology and a Bachelor of Business majoring in accounting. He’s had the honour to be an advisor to the Vice Chancellor as a member of the Vice Chancellor’s International Student Advisory Committee and has worked in different roles across the Department of Project Management, Student Experience and the School of Nursing and Midwifery.


“I think the best memories at Parramatta all revolve around the many events I have attended on campus since my first year. My particular favourite was the trivia night which was my first time at a trivia and my very first experience of interacting with a person in drag. The make your own taco bar should have become a permanent fixture at Parra South!”


“The people is what makes WSU. It hosts some of the most inclusive people and organisations I have come across as a student. I have left every on and off-campus event with more friends than I had started off with. The range of perspectives and the collective experiences of the people I have interacted with, have crafted the essence of my personality as an adult.

We have the most multicultural student population in Sydney as well as students coming from low-ses backgrounds, refugees and first in family to study at uni. The people at WSU, the staff, the students and all the friendly faces whose names I am yet to discover, will be missed the most when I graduate,” says Ishmamul.


Western Sydney has so much to teach Australia and the world and this University has an important role to play in making sure their voices are heard,” says Leanne Smith, director of the Whitlam Institute.


If you want to share your student experience with W’SUP News, reach out to the team via wsup@westernsydney.edu.au or check out the submissions page for more information


How to deal with university when you’re burnt out

University can get pretty overwhelming sometimes. Here are some practical ways you can curb the often-overwhelming feeling of burnout....

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash


University can get pretty overwhelming sometimes. You’ll find that your typical university student is trying to balance full or part time university, working, taking care of physical and mental health whilst maintaining a social and family life. Most of all – life happens and gets the best of us sometimes.  So, it is natural to feel a little burnt out sometimes, especially in the midst of being loaded with assignments and exams. Here are some practical ways you can curb the often-overwhelming feeling of burnout.


What exactly is burnout you may ask? According to HelpGuide, burnout is a “constant state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you are overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to meet constant demands.”.


So, what can we do?

Get your health in check

First thing we want to do is assess our physical and mental health. Are we eating regular meals? Are we taking regular breaks and scheduling time for things we enjoy? Have you been exercising? (even if it is one round of Just Dance)? Your health is a priority, and just as important to maintain and check your physical health, apply the same standard to your mental health.

WSU has plenty of support services to help you succeed and they can point you in the right direction when things get tough. These include free and confidential counselling services, disability support, student welfare support

Note: You can get special consideration if you have had a major life event or illness that is affecting your studies, provided you have supporting documents.

Email your tutors

Keep your tutors in the loop and contact them – they are likely to experience burnout too. Send them a quick email (you don’t have to go into detail if you don’t want to) and ask for some help catching up and keeping up. They are usually pretty understanding.


Break it down, compartmentalise and take it one step at a time

Sometimes you just have too many tasks to complete in a short period of time, and you have no idea where to start. Add all of your tasks into one big list (intimidating I know) and break those tasks down into smaller pieces.  You can categorise your tasks by priority, and putting the most important tasks at the top, or highlighting them in a different colour.

When beginning any task on the list, it may again, look big and hard to achieve. You probably won’t get started because it will feel like too big of a task. We want to break it down so that it becomes easier to achieve.

Example: Completing a 1500-word essay


  1. Intro (150 words)
  2. Paragraph (400 words)
  3. Paragraph (400 words)
  4. Paragraph (400 words)
  5. Conclusion (150 words)

Follow this method for all of your units and then assign them to a day. You can also assign your other task to these days too. For example:


  • Complete intro for Unit 1 essay
  • Tutorial 1 prep work


  • Complete paragraph for Unit 1 essay
  • Attend tutorial 1
  • Tutorial 2 prep work


  • Complete paragraph for Unit 1 essay
  • Attend tutorial 2
  • Tutorial 3 prep work


  • Complete paragraph for Unit 1 essay
  • Tutorial 3
  • Tutorial 4 prep work


  • Complete conclusion for Unit 1 essay
  • Edit Unit 1 essay and finalise to submit by (X) date
  • Tutorial 4

And continue with each subject to slowly space out your work so that it feels less overwhelming.


Do things out of ‘order’

You don’t have to attack the first thing on your list right away. Just start with the task that interest you the most. You’ll find that the hardest part is getting started, and just taking that simple but difficult step to get off TikTok and get onto your tasks. That simple gesture of opining up your laptop puts you in the mindset to work, and oftentimes, you find that you can keep going.

You’ll find that when you write the introduction, the feeling of achievement will make you keep going and it ends up creating a domino effect of productivity.  But if you can’t keep going, you’ll at least know that you checked off your to-do list. Sometimes, I even just makea blank word document with the title of my task just to get myself started!


Think of it like having multiple tabs open in your browser. Switch between your units when the whimsey takes you. Doing a little bit of work is better than doing no work at all.


Schedule time for a break


When experiencing burnout, your body is obviously telling you that you need a break. I know breaks can be hard to fit into a university schedule, but make sure you section out time where you aren’t going to think about uni at all. For example, put your phone on silent and let yourself have an hour of your favourite video game. Or you could meet up with your friend for a coffee or wholesome tea break,  Just make sure you have some time to yourself to do things you want to do.


Go easy on yourself

I know this is easier said than done, but uni can be hard! You’ve being working hard this semester with a very uncertain world ahead of you. Keep pushing!


I read it so you don’t have to: how the FLY handbook can help broke uni students

Some books have the power to change lives - this is one of them....

Illustration by Sarah Cupitt

Some books have the power to change lives – this is one of them.

Once leaving the safety net of high school, you’re on your own. Whether you remain living at home with your parents or not, the only person in control of your future is yourself. University students are notoriously known to be broke, and adulting with its finances can inevitably begin to creep up on you with little financial literacy. After moving out of home at 18, I thought I’d save you guys the hassle of reading the 300+ page paperback by Marlies & Jai Hobbs and see if it’s worth your time, and of course, chat with the authors themselves.

“Much of FLY and the contents came about from our personal life and business experiences. Jai and I came from different backgrounds, careers and upbringings, we married young in our early 20’s, and as we approached our mid-thirties – we both felt there was plenty we wished we had learnt in our high schooling years about financial literacy and life skills. These could have seen us avoid many costly mistakes and stressful situations. Instead, we learnt things along the way, often through trial and error. Fortunately for us, Jai always had a passion for finance and has worked in the finance industry for over 17 years, and his knowledge helped us immensely throughout our journey.”

The book incorporates a range of essential topics: earning money, tax, budgeting, tertiary study, credit record, significant purchases, property, investments, and more. I especially admire the guide because it runs through the basics and explains their importance, and branches into the niche of finance topics such as degree fee structures, micro-investing, and how to make a will. And if you want to plan and protect your financial future – it runs through financial hardship, how to start your own business, and setting lifelong financial goals.

Half of all Australians struggle with financial literacy.

“No matter what career you end up in, everyone needs a basic knowledge in financial literacy to ensure they make the most of opportunities, avoid costly pitfalls and set themselves up for their best possible future.”

“I studied accounting at high school and went on to include two years of Commerce as part of my law degree. Jai has been a mortgage broker since he was 19. Despite our financial educations and extensive experience in our careers and businesses, neither of us felt we received a well-rounded financial education at the optimal time in our [high school] life to help us with life’s important financial decisions and milestones.”

But isn’t all this information online?

Look, finance tips and tricks are all over the internet – it’s also hidden behind paid subscriptions and buried in pricey self-help books, scattered knowledge. After graduating high school, I went into a frantic hunt of searching up every individual finance topic and worst-case scenario I could come across. Not to mention reading about renting rights, living expenses, content insurance, youth allowance: EVERYTHING. I vividly remember the sleepless nights staring at the screen, copying and pasting any tips or resources I could find into a 50+ page word doc that ideally would make sure I didn’t screw up.

“During our brainstorming sessions in the early stages of FLY, we tracked back over our journeys and agreed on a logical sequence of financial milestones and helpful information that we felt should be covered in FLY. We wanted it to be comprehensive and all-encompassing, a one-stop reference guide in financial literacy. The information was a compilation of knowledge and research from Jai, myself and editor Cassandra Charlesworth, brought together in one credible and heavily referenced financial literacy handbook.”

There is so much potential for this guide to help young adults. So much more than maths in high school, learning how to manage a mobile contract and buying your first car. All the online research and stacks of notes I created barely even scraped the surface.

“We can’t define it any better, and we hope FLY is the perfect handbook to deliver this set of skills and knowledge to allow our youth to make informed and effective decisions with all of their financial resources, at a time in their life when it will make the biggest impact on their futures.”

Seven exclusive tips from Marlies herself!

  1. Consciously take responsibility for the future you
  2. Prioritise your financial literacy education to be empowered and seize opportunities and avoid costly mistakes.
  3. 50/30/20 rule: Spend – 50% on needs, 30% on wants, and save 20%
  4. Understand compound interest – how it can work for and against you
  5. Avoid credit traps that could jeopardise your future borrowing capacity/goals
  6. Limit personally borrowing money for depreciating assets: save and pay cash where possible to avoid hefty interest
  7. Don’t procrastinate with starting to invest: don’t overthink it, educate yourself, and start small. Whatever you do, just START!

To be successful, you need to want and embrace it.

Knowledge alone isn’t enough to improve your financial health; what’s important is what you can do with that knowledge – and the sooner you start using it, the better off you’ll be. FLY- Financially Literate Youth is the perfect handbook for every young person who wants to be armed with the financial knowledge and confidence to set themselves up for success as they chart the course of their life.