Weekly Article – Doing Master’s Degree in Australia

Are you planning to study in Australia? If so, you are currently in the right place. Australia offers a high-quality education for both undergraduate and postgraduate degree in various fields of study. By the end of this article, you will get useful tips for preparing your study in Australia, particularly from graduate student’s perspective.

Let’s start with understanding the type of degree itself. After finishing an undergraduate degree (bachelor’s degree), we can continue our study to pursue a postgraduate degree, such as Graduate Diploma and Master. However, there is a different type of master’s degree in Australia and Indonesia. There are two types of master’s degree in Australia: master by coursework and master by research. By doing postgraduate coursework, you will have a set of course program like an undergraduate degree but with a deeper understanding and critical thinking. The duration of study can be one year, 1.5 years, or 2 years, and will be started on February (summer intake), July (winter intake), or both. Meanwhile, you will have no lecture in postgraduate research (you can have some required classes, in some cases) because you will do your proposed research within a specific timeframe. Instead of studying for three or four semesters like postgraduate coursework, a student enrolling in master by research will have a different working schedule as approved by the supervisor. In addition, some coursework programs also offer project or thesis for those who want to do the combination of coursework and research studies.

After understanding the difference between postgraduate coursework and research, have you considered your choice? Along with the explanation about the types and duration of postgraduate degree, here are some great tips for you to consider before and during your master study in Australia:

  1. Read the university’s website thoroughly, especially about your program, course lists, duration of study, fees and scholarships, as well as entry requirements.
  2. For those who want to do master by research, start finding a research topic, write your proposal, and contact the potential supervisor. For those who want to do the combined master program, it is also beneficial to identify the topic and supervisor in advance.
  3. Once you arrive in Australia, take workshops to help you adjusting with learning system in Australia. Some sessions such as getting started at ‘uni life’, library tour, and learning tips from student advisors are recommended to do in your first week here.
  4. Almost all academic stuff can be accessed online, including learning materials, learning resources, and lecture recordings, so computer literacy skills are vital for your academic life in Australia.
  5. Attend and participate actively during lectures and tutorials, as well as finishing the reading list before the class will be helpful to get more benefits from your study.
  6. Plan and revise your schedule. Once you enrol for your semester, you can access the complete class schedule and the list of your assessment as well. You can start planning your learning schedule based on them.
  7. Balance your life. Allocate your time to be away from your learning materials and assignments, then choose activities as your interest. In Australia, you have plenty of chance to do volunteering, travelling, networking, even getting a part-time job (please refer to your student visa for the working hour limit). Don’t forget to include these activities in your schedule.

It is widely known that doing a master study is demanding, but trust me, it is manageable.
Make a study plan, get involved in leisure activities, and enjoy studying in Australia!

Writer : Hesti Retno Budi Arini

Treating Stress as a Friend

Have you ever felt anxious one day before your exam or got stressed when you have to submit many assignments in a week? But do you know what is ‘stress’ and how can they occur? In biological terms, stress refers to the effects that a person feels after failing to respond to an event properly. The after effects can be physical, emotional, or combination of two. Furthermore, a report from the Government of South Australia (the Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology, Multicultural SA, and the Department for Health and Ageing) described some issues related to international students’ the determinants of stress. They mentioned problems in financial, accommodation, and employment can cause health issues in international students. Academic issues, language difficulties, and discrimination also significantly affect students’ well-being.

Stress is not a spontaneous thing, but it is developed through three stages: the initial alarm (producing more adrenaline), the resistance stage (trying to cope the stressful event), and the exhaustion stage (the first occurrence of stress’ symptoms). Loss of concentration, headaches, and elevated heart rate are the common symptoms of stress. Some people also have a short temper and loss of appetite when they get stressed. Moreover, the untreated stress is a potential factor of long-term diseases because the unbalanced hormone levels may induce depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and gastrointestinal problems. So, how can we deal with stress? Let’s try these three sections!

General Tips on Stress Management

Stress management can be done through a set of habits, as mentioned by the Health Service of the University of Michigan and the Stress Management Society:

  1. Do mind relaxation and treat yourself well

Allocating your time to do some hobbies and listening to your emotions are the basic things to start managing your stress. By listening to our emotions, we will be likely to calm our mind and identify what kind of action that we need to deal with stress. Having a proper rest (including sleep as well) and do some social interactions are also useful for helping our mind works properly. Mind relaxation can also be achieved by doing meditation and prayer.

  1. Be positive!

A negative way of thinking will be an obstacle in our normal thinking and decrease our self-esteem as well. So, instead of criticising yourself, look at your work and list some possible solutions, then start finishing them.

  1. Build some activity plans with realistic goals

The list of academic activities (and assessments, too!) is usually delivered at the beginning of the semester, which is helpful to set a weekly plan. This plan should be flexible and manageable, otherwise you will be trapped in a tedious life. Your plan should not include only academic stuff, but it’s better to also put ‘road trip’, ‘volunteering’, or ‘watching a movie’ in your plan. Don’t forget to consider your professional goal of life and your capability in setting your academic goals, since the realistic goals will help you to reduce stress.

  1. A healthy life is essential

Having a healthy eating pattern and doing some exercises are the basic healthy lifestyle to maintain body and mental health. Avoiding alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes are also recommended since they are likely to exacerbate your stress.

  1. Seeking help

Once you feel the stress’ signs and symptoms, get help from the appropriate care. Australian Medical Students’ Association has listed some mental health services available at universities, such as mental health monitoring program and mental health first aid.

Healthy Diet Plan

The Stress Management Society described several poor eating habits that commonly follow a stressful life, including skipping meals, fast food consumption, and excessive food picking. These habits can induce more stress and bring adverse health effects since they can disrupt hormonal balance, cause weight gain, elevate blood sugar, and lowering body immune as well. So, what kind of food that is helpful for avoiding (and managing) stress?

  1. The first principle: fulfil the necessary nutrients

Your body needs a range of nutrients to be healthy; however, no single food that contains all nutrients. Thus, you need to consume various foods that provide energy and macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins), and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well.

  1. What’s next: try to be balanced

A balanced diet is not merely completing all kind of nutrients, but also considering the food quantity. Nonetheless, it is usually uneasy for students to consume a nutritionally balanced diet. So, the first thing to do is managing your eating time become three times a day with two or three snacking times. This diet management will provide adequate nutrition and prevent you to consume extra foods when you get stressed. In terms of food type, complex carbohydrates (e.g., grain, pasta, vegetables) and proteins are the recommended energy sources, while fruits and yogurts can be the healthy snacks.

  1. Here are some nutrients that can reduce your stress
  • Vitamin B (a range of food types including meat and poultry, dairy products, soy, and vegetables)

All types of vitamin B are essential for the metabolism of your body and controlling your nervous system.

  • Proteins (both animal and vegetable proteins, e.g., meat, dairy products, and tofu)

Protein is important for body tissues, immune systems, and other metabolic functions.

  • Vitamin A, C, and E (a range of food types including dairy products, colorful fruits, and vegetables)

These vitamins are antioxidants that can minimize oxidative stress inside your body.

  • Magnesium (dairy products, meat, fish, and green leaved vegetables)

Magnesium is needed for muscle relaxation and regulating heartbeat, both in a normal situation and under stress.

  1. Start lowering your consumption of caffeine, trans fats, and sugar

A small amount of caffeine (e.g., coffee, carbonated beverages) may stimulate your brain; however, too much caffeine is associated with stress and anxiety. Moreover, consuming caffeine under stress will drain your B vitamins. Meanwhile, excessive consumption of fats and sugar is the determinant of obesity and noncommunicable diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

  1. Again, leave your cigarettes and alcoholic beverages

Some people argue that smoking can reduce stress; however, the disadvantages of tobacco products are related to numerous adverse health effects. Similarly, a small amount of alcohol is also believed as a heart protector. In fact, consuming alcohol under stress will trigger the release of adrenaline, causing nervousness, and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Managing Your Study Life

It is not uncommon to face a lack of motivation and get stressed during your study. However, it is still manageable, and you can try these tricks provided by Oxford Royale Academy and Youth Central:

  1. Read with purpose

When finishing a stack of reading materials, set a couple of questions so you will have something to get from that reading. Writing a synthesis based on your reading will also help you to revise your reading.

  1. A study group is beneficial

Studying with some friends will be a good place for discussion, sharing information, and social interactions as well.

  1. Learning is a process

It means that you need to do learning regularly as your habit in a well-planned schedule, instead of revising all learning materials only during the SWOT Vac. Also, managing your learning stuff (e.g., recordings, notes, lecture slides, and past exam papers) can help you to find it easily.

  1. Try a range of different learning methods

A certain way of learning may be suitable for your friend, but it could be ineffective for you. Instead, it is recommended to find your own method. You can try studying with the help of your favorite music or listening to the recording of your lecture while traveling around. Both tips no. 3 and 4 will be the best way to keep your study motivation since you can identify your best study time, the time limit of your focus, and your favorite way of learning.

  1. Knowing all about your exam

To reduce stress during the exam week, you have to read thoroughly the description of the exam itself. For example, the type of your exam, the covered topics, even the date and location of your exam.

  1. Asking questions

Once you get issues while studying or preparing your exam, see your lecturers to clarify your confusion or contact the learning advisors to assist you.

  1. Do the exam carefully

You have already revised all learning materials and brought all the required stuff, so the only thing you need to do is finishing your exam. All good exam preparation that you have done will help maintain your concentration and stay calm during the exam. Start your exam by reading the instruction and all questions carefully, answering the questions that you’re convinced first, and allocate some time to review your answers.

To conclude, stress is a common thing in study life, but it is also manageable. Stress does not occur spontaneously, so you can minimize it by managing your academic life and leisure time. Consuming a nutritionally balanced diet and maintaining mental health are also important. Lastly, a set of good study habits will help you to treat stress as a friend.

 

References:

  1. The Stress Management Society and Bodychef. Combating stress with a balanced nutrition diet. 2009. Available from: http://www.mhit.org/assets/combat-nutritional-stress.pdf
  2. Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology, Multicultural SA, and the Department for Health and Ageing. International student health and wellbeing: a health lens project. The government of South Australia; 2013. Available from: https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/c6a74e00408cbd439e18be222b2948cf/International+Students+Health+Lens+Project-Final+Report-PHCS-HiAP-20130730.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE-c6a74e00408cbd439e18be222b2948cf-lSjWj2u
  3. AMSA Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Committee. Current university student mental health interventions: a global perspective. Australian Medical Students’ Association. 2013. Available from: http://www.amsa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/AMSA-SMHW-Global-review-of-Student-Mental-Health-Interventions-Report.pdf
  4. University Health Service of the University of Michigan. Ten things you can do for your mental health. University of Michigan; n.d. Available from: https://uhs.umich.edu/tenthings
  5. Oxford Royale Academy. How to study when you’ve lost motivation: 8 sharp tips to get back on track. Oxford Royale Academy; 2017. Available from: https://www.oxford-royale.co.uk/articles/tips-studying-motivation.html
  6. Youth Central. Top 10 exam tips. Youth Central; 2018. Available from: https://www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au/study-and-training/help-with-study/how-to-study-better/top-10-exam-tips

 

The Annual General Meeting of UQISA 2018

The University of Queensland Indonesian Student Association (UQISA) held the Annual General Meeting (AGM) last Sunday (16 September 2018) with two main agendas: the report from the former president and the election of the new UQISA president. According to Fajar Anandi, the head of the election committee, there were four candidates of UQISA President in this AGM: Ferry Apriadinata (Master of Environmental Management), M. Syaikh Rohman (Master of Economics), Rosalia (Master of Animal Science), and Arimbi Mardilla Ashany (Master of Applied Linguistics and TESOL). The election began by means of a consensus decision-making and consultative discussion by the candidates. However, it was continued with voting by 72 participants of AGM as the candidates did not reach an agreement, which resulted in Arimbi Mardilla Ashany (a.k.a Bea) being elected as the new president of UQISA for 2018-2019 through voting.

Bea, who proposed “Happy and Productive UQISA” as her vision, was voted by approximately 50% of the AGM’s participants. That meaningful vision was created to make UQISA become the place for all Indonesian students at the University of Queensland (UQ) to stay happy and keep being productive as well. In her presentation, Bea proposed some programs, including the “Aspiration Box” and the “Academic Assessments and Academic English Support”. The “Aspiration Box” will be conducted regularly either online or through face-to-face discussion, while the academic support will focus on sharing some valuable tips and tricks in doing assessments as well as to improve students’ Academic English.

In addition to Bea’s vision, there are some expectations from Fendi Widianto (the former president) for the next UQISA’s committee. His first wish is that the next president can maintain the essential programs, such as panel discussions and Indo Day (Independence Day), as well as to maintain engagement with potential stakeholders including Indonesian communities in Queensland. Particularly, Fendi also suggested the improvement of collaboration between UQISA and PPIA by holding online discussions or other related activities.

 

Writer : Hesti Retno Budi Arini

Springnation 2018 Award Night

Springnation 2018 has been successfully held by PPIA Deakin Uni at the Melbourne City Conference Centre on Saturday, September 8th, 2018. Springantion is an annual sports competition held by PPIA Deakin. This year’s Springnation was different because it’s the first time for Springnation to have an award night.

This event started with the student performances and a speech by the representative of Indonesia Consulate General Mr. Prima, and continued with the speech of the president of PPIA Deakin University and the Project Manager of Springnation 2018.

There are several students performances, such as AAA, Ajoy, and Klaudspirits. Singing performance by Irene and dance performance by People’s Face, which made the event full of music.

Then, there are awarding session for the winner of Springnation’s sports competition, such as soccer, badminton (men’s and mixed doubles), esports (FIFA and Dota 2), and basketball.


After that, the most awaited performance of the guest star : Wira Setianegara and Dodit Mulyanto. Which each performed a stand-up comedy. During his session, Dodit Mulyanto did a stand-up comedy on his first time travel to Melbourne. He also asked one of the audience to do a duet with him, they sang Yura Yunita’s song Cinta dan Rahasia. The guest stars made the audience laughed during their performances.

After the guest star’s performance, then Klaudspirits took the stage again with their performances, and the audience had the chance to take a photo with the guest stars. Overall speaking, Springnation 2018 award night is an enjoy able night full of music and laughter. Can’t wait for Springnation 2019!

 

Writer : Levina Tabita