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As one chapter ends, another begins at WSU.

Tips for your new chapter as a student at Western Sydney University!...

(Credit: Pixabay | Pexels)

Welcome, all first-year students of 2024!

As expected, new students would probably feel extremely nervous about their transition from high school to university – and that’s okay! It’s a whole new world in university compared to high school, and it’s easy to feel lost and overwhelmed. But fear not, young grasshopper, because here are important tips for starting at Western Sydney University:

Introducing yourself to your classmates:

While settling into your new classes when the semester begins, try to get to know your peers; It can make a great difference to the enjoyment of your time on campus, and help broaden your social circle, where opportunities could then come your way such as: being involved in clubs and sports!

Now, if you’re a shy person and hate having to go up to someone to start a conversation, here’s some advice – it’s all about the mindset: when you go up to a stranger, you both already have something in common: neither of you knows what the other is going to say! So, say whatever interests you – and you might just find a common connection.

Join clubs around campus:

At Western Sydney University, we have a wide variety of clubs to choose from that are filled with creative, like-minded individuals. This can turn a bland year of assignments, exams, and stress into a colourful one filled with memories you can look back on and cherish, from attending events such as meetups, trips and more!

Some of the clubs on WESTERNLife are the Book Club, the Queer Collective, and The Western Run Club, as well as many others.

(Credit: Yan Krukau | Pexels)

Don’t overwork yourself – It’s not worth it:

While starting your classes and settling into university life, please don’t overwork yourself immediately.

It’s perfectly fine to take breaks from time to time and take a day for yourself, rather than burning yourself out from staying up till 4 am to finish a task; it can lead to burnout and lack of motivation in the long run.

Ask for help when you need it:

In university, things work a bit differently – unlike in primary school and high school, where there are teachers, at Uni there are tutors and lecturers.

However, tutors operate the same way teachers do, and help students in any way they can to better understand the subject’s content they specialise in. Remember though: it’s up to students to focus, plan and stay on track, asking for help is always so important.

(Credit: Yan Krukau | Pexels)

When you don’t understand something in the course material, speak up and talk to your tutors rather than struggle and try to figure it out for yourself, until it’s too late (where you must then resort to cramming everything into the day before an assignment or exam).

In short: asking for help when needed is okay – it means you’re determined and want to learn! It also means you’re ready to dust off the cobwebs of 2023 and start afresh in 2024: starting uni with the mindset that anything is possible, along with daily, mental reminders for yourself to keep a positive outlook.

After all, life can be deemed as one big book, filled with a million and one footnotes: now, with these tools, start a new page: Chapter One of WSU.

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Self-reflection, planning & habit building to conquer your 2022 goals

It's never too late to set (or adjust) your objectives and make a strategy, no matter where you are right now. ...

My favourite time of year is the beginning of the new year. I get that it has a poor reputation for being an arbitrary time of year to “transform your life,” and that New Years’ resolutions are notorious for failing by February. Maybe 2021 was a really good year for you, and you’re on a roll. Or perhaps you’ve had a particularly rough year and are feeling trapped and uninspired. It’s never too late to set (or adjust) your objectives and make a strategy, no matter where you are right now.

 

Success is never a by-product of chance; it is the outcome of deliberate preparation and concentrated work. You must plan for 2022 if you want it to be better than the previous year. For years, I’ve utilised a monthly system of self-reflection and planning, and it’s been crucial in helping me become a more thoughtful, focused, and happier person.

 

 

 

Look Back Before You Look Ahead

As we welcome the year 2022, I’ve put up a list of questions you should ask yourself to help you create realistic goals:

 

  • What can you do better in 2022?
  • What went horribly wrong in 2021, and how can you avoid it?
  • What limiting behavioural patterns did I repeat this year?
  • What contributed to your growth (even if it was just a little bit) in 2021?
  • Who boosted my energy levels most? Who drained my energy levels most?
  • What types of goals do you want to fulfil in 2022 (e.g. career, lifestyle, family, mental health)?
  • Which habits had the most positive impact on my life?
  • Which habits had the most negative impact on my life?
  • What’s the biggest realisation you’ve had in 2021?
  • What worked and didn’t work in 2021 and what needs to change to achieve success?

 

3 Steps to Setting and Achieving Your Goals in 2022

 

 

  1. Write down what you want to achieve

 

Do you plan on writing a book this year? Do you want to eat more healthily? Do you want to start meditating? Imagine having unlimited access to whatever you desire and only having to choose from a menu.

 

 

  1. Write down your next steps

 

After you’ve worked out what you want, write down what you’ll need to do next to get there. Start by asking yourself these questions:

 

  • What are my restrictive behavioural patterns and what can I do to fix them?
  • How can I do more of the things that have had a positive impact on my life?
  • How can I do less of the things that have had a negative impact on my life?

 

If you’re starting a new book, for example, the following stage may be to come up with some book ideas or write a page. Keep it brief and straightforward so that your next step is something you can do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

 

Don’t overcomplicate things; getting started is the key to achieving ambitious goals.

 

 

  1. Take action — starting today

 

It’s time to get started now that you know what you want and have your next steps mapped out. What five goals would you set for yourself if you had just one year to accomplish them? After you’ve selected your five goals for the year, prioritise them so you know where to focus your energy.

 

Here’s a pro tip: when something is truly important to you, go after it now – today.

Examine your to-do list and choose one item that you can start today. You’ll be astonished at how much progress you can achieve this year if you follow this approach consistently. Additionally, consider using a spreadsheet or Notion template to monitor your goals.

It doesn’t have to be grand; just do something to get you closer to your goals and resolutions for 2022. Want to exercise more in 2022? Do a 10-minute workout today. Want to write more for W’SUP next year? Write a 500-word article today. Want to read more books? Read for 15 minutes today.

Studies have shown that group study sessions can increase productivity. Photo: Tulane Public Relations/Wikimedia Commons, published under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

5 Daily Habits to Become a Learning Machine in 2022

Learning does not end when you acquire your formal degree; rather, it begins at that moment. “Wisdom is not a product of learning, but of a lifetime endeavour to acquire it,” Albert Einstein observed. I’ve discovered that the more I study, the sharper my thinking gets, the more opportunities I create, and the more meaningful my life becomes. This is why, in order to acquire as much wisdom as possible, I’ve set a few reading and study routines.

  1. Curate Your Online Media

Instead of serving as a source of inspiration and learning, most people’s social media feed serves as a source of entertainment and gossip. What if, instead of meaningless entertainment, you were met with inspiring accounts that taught you new things when you opened Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube? The average Australian spends about 1h 46m a day on social media. With so much time spent on social media each day, it’s a good idea to focus on self-improvement while curating your digital feed.

  1. Make Self-Education a Top Priority

I’m not here to criticise the tertiary education system; rather, I’m here to encourage self-education. Learning does not end when you graduate from TAFE or college or university; rather, it begins. You can acquire any skill at any time of day because of the internet’s abundance of knowledge. There’s a wealth of knowledge available at your fingertips, whether it’s through YouTube videos, blog articles, online courses, SkillShare classes, books, email newsletters, or podcasts. There are no excuses.

  1. 1 Hour of Entertainment → 1 Hour of Learning

I’m not suggesting that you eliminate all forms of entertainment from your life. You know you don’t have to live like a Spartan. That isn’t much fun in life. Do you, on the other hand, require 5+ hours of entertainment every day? What if you swapped an hour of Netflix or social media for an hour of reading, listening to a podcast, taking a course (on Skillshare or Coursera), or something else? This one modification in your daily routine will have a significant impact on your personal and professional growth. To put it another way, one hour of daily reading equates to 45–55 novels each year.

  1. Broaden Your Horizons and Stop Judging People

Everyone, in my opinion, can teach us something. Every individual, whether a janitor or a highly successful CEO, a criminal or a monk, has something to teach us. The majority of individuals, on the other hand, allow their egos, beliefs, and judgments to come in the way of keeping an open mind and learning from others. A spiritual person is labelled as a freak. A successful entrepreneur is labelled as a workaholic. They consider a wealthy investor to be a jerk. A closed mind is characterised by rapid judgement. Fixed beliefs are indicated by a closed mentality. They are an indication of someone who refuses to learn. What if you put aside your judgement and replaced it with curiosity? What if you began inquiring about other people’s opinions, habits, and day-to-day activities? This does not imply that you must agree with everyone, but it does imply that you must retain an open mind. Overall, let go of your ego, judgments, and beliefs so that you may broaden your horizons and learn from others.

While books have been slowly translating over to digital media platforms such as Kindle, nothing beats that antique book smell. Photo: Julia Spranger/Wikimedia Commons, published under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

  1. Read Books. Seriously.

Reading books is the biggest life hack there is. To no one’s surprise, the average millionaire reads more than 24 novels every year. Books have taught me more about entrepreneurship, marketing, and investing than my university degree ever did. Here’s what I recommend if you want to make reading a stronger daily habit: Make it a part of your morning or evening routine by scheduling it in your calendar app or productivity planner. Sign up for a free trial of an audiobook service to read on the move and most importantly, turn your ‘dead time’ into learning time (e.g., a daily 1-hour commute can be used to listen to audiobooks).

Also, if you haven’t read James Clear’s book Atomic Habits, I strongly advise you to do so. Here are a few inspirational phrases that have remained with me and will get you pumped for 2022:

 

  • “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”
  • “You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.”
  • “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.”
  • “Success is the product of daily habits — not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.”
  • “When you can’t win by being better, you can win by being different.”
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How to keep yourself sane working from home

Working or studying from home can be difficult, but here are some tips to help you. ...

Working or studying from home can be difficult, but here are some tips to help you. Photo from Canva.

 

Amid this coronavirus pandemic, you may have initially been thrilled about working or undertaking university from home to moderate the spread of infection. Saving on transport time and costs, and working from the comfort of your own home can sound appealing.

 

Yet, working from home may present you with various interruptions to your routine and demotivate you from getting things done. Regardless of whether you’re studying, working or trying to maintain productivity from home – here are some strategies to help reduce procrastination and keep on-track.

 

  1. Set up a clear work schedule

If you don’t have a structured workplace with a set start, finish and break time, then create your own timetable. Customise this to the work you need to complete, to add some structure to your day.

 

Set out tasks that you hope to accomplish by a set time. Whether you’re assigned to create spreadsheets, or write a 2000-word essay. Prepare a to-do-list to remember the tasks for the day or you can set reminders for yourself. In case you have to prepare a 2-pager article then try to break it down into sections and cover the sections at different intervals. There are many people find it difficult to concentrate at one go when working from home due to many distractions; here a time-table for the day can be more helpful. One can draw diagrams if needed and put up on the soft board.

 

  1. Split your work into chunks

 

Depending on the weight of the task, reasonably set out how long it should take for you to complete. Time yourself if you need to. Ensure you allow for breaks in between your tasks to revive and prepare accomplishing your next assignment.

 

  1. Dress for work

You may be tempted to stay in your pyjamas when working from home. But in reality, you’re more likely to be killing your motivation and productivity. Try to avoid wearing clothes that could make you lethargic. Wearing decent tee, pants is good enough. Also, it helps in case you are suddenly alarmed by a video call from work. It’s better to stay prepared zoom calls or check-in with colleagues. It also sets the right mood to complete work more efficiently. In general, most employers won’t care what you’re wearing when you work from home — as long as you get the work done. And besides, taking a few days to stay cozy can be good for your mental health, especially during these stressful times.

 

“We are all going through an unprecedented and stressful time in history,” said Rheeda Walker, a professor of psychology at the University of Houston and director of the school’s Culture, Risk and Resilience Lab. “If folks aren’t up for dressing for the cyber world as they would in the office, that is completely understandable. We can cut ourselves some slack if, mentally, we’re just not up for the pomp and circumstance.”

 

  1. Exercise regularly

Exercising naturally boosts endorphins – which increases happiness, enjoyment, and interest levels. All of the above are important for productivity. Regularly stretching or yoga helps you maintain great posture after sitting down all day. In addition, being active keeps you healthier, more energetic and hands-on when working from home.

 

Having said that exercising is great way to keep your body and mind healthy though it does get difficult for many to take out that little time from the busy schedule. However, working from home gives people the comfort of sneaking out little time for themselves as and when they need. It is a great way to give yourself that 10-15 mins quick bee stretches and get into a routine. Physical activity and exercise can have immediate and long-term health benefits. Most importantly, regular activity can improve your quality of life says Harvard Medical Institute Study. There are some incredible and inspiring bloggers you can follow-up on YouTube and social media- like Blogilates, Kayla Itsines, Chloe Ting & more, whom people follow and have proven results.

Reference: www.blogites.com; www.chloeting.com; www.kaylaitsines.com

 

  1. Eat healthy meals and snacks

 

Another work from home truth (and advantage) is that we have full access to the kitchen. It is however easy to gravitate towards whatever is easily accessible, regardless of the nutritional value. How easy is it to reach for that packet of chips, leftover pizza and two-minute noodles – and let’s face it, we’ve all been there. Eating a poor diet reduces physical and mental health because eating healthy allows people to be more active. Two-thirds of people who eat fresh fruit and vegetables daily report no mental health issues, as reported by the Mental Health Foundation.

 

To help you stay off the junk food, plan your lunches for the week ahead and prepare your grocery list with your lunches in mind. Likewise, refrain from purchasing snacks. If you do want to have the occasional treat, place them somewhere out of sight so you are not as easily tempted. Arrange cheat days for the week, preferably the weekend when you’re off from work. Give yourself some treat for a great work done.

 

  1. Organise

 

Start with your desk or working space. Is it spacious enough? Is there excess clutter you need to get rid of? Is it suitable for the work you do?
Next, make sure that you have everything you need within easy reach. Keep your workspace tidy.

 

Spend a few minutes at the end of each session sorting out things like paperwork or empty coffee cups to prepare yourself for the next day. Clear away as much of it as you can when you switch off for the day. Also, utilise your breaks or spare time to clean your closets and drawers. You often find hidden gems in your closet once it’s all cleaned and organised. Unless you’re living underneath a (very cluttered) rock, you know Marie Kondo is the ultimate organization queen. Her best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is jam-packed with tips that will turn your messy room into a neat, minimalist oasis.

 

  1. Build a habit

 

One can take working from home as an opportunity to create a new habit or learn something new. This time off can help you bring useful and impactful changes in your life. This may clash with some of the examples mentioned above, like a few people may take this as an opportunity to start a routine mild exercise of 15 mins at home, which was difficult before. Also, some can start with a morning meditation session for themselves to bring together their thoughts. When you do not have to spend that travel time, any time saved is time earned for your own self.

 

  1. Create a constructive morning routine:

 

Often we would wake up, shower, and rush to work- come back home and the day is over. The day often becomes blur and we never have time to sit by ourselves and reflect on the day. However, we all need some calm time to ourselves. Now is a great time for self-reflection, contemplation and relaxation. Create a habit of meditating in the morning just by focussing on yourself. By starting with thinking of how was your yesterday spent and how should today look like. Just a small change of spending 10 mins with yourself in the morning can become a good habit. No harm is trying for a few days and see how it goes.

 

  1. Avoid distractions

 

One of the biggest distractions of working from home is your phone, with the constant notifications and news updates. Keeping the phone aside while working is most important. Keeping it out of sight, or put it in the other room. Try to save those messages for when you’re done with the working day, or allow for a cheeky scroll on your break. This is one of the most important part of keeping yourself productive.

 

  1. End your day on a positive note

 

Just as you should start your day with a routine- create a habit that signals the close of the work day. It might be a sign off on business messaging apps, an evening dog walk, or a 6pm yoga class. You might have a simple routine such as shutting down your computer and turning on a favourite podcast. Whatever you choose, do it consistently to mark the end of working hours. Reward yourself with positive vibes and thoughts.