Serena Dong Author

How to deal with a bad score?

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

huge TOEFL envelope arrives in your mailbox. You rip open the seal, hands shaking and heart racing. There’s your score but you stop breathing:

I got a bad score?!

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From a college entrance exam to a high school test, we’ve all received frustratingly bad marks. It’s easy to let the mark prompt rash actions or lower self-esteem. So as the master of bad marks, I have discovered the best three solutions and the worst three solutions to deal with a bad mark.

Top 3 Solutions

RUSH HOUR, Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, 1998, (c)New Line Cinema/courtesy Everett Collection

RUSH HOUR, Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, 1998, (c)New Line Cinema/courtesy Everett Collection

Socialize

Reach out to a friend and confide in them. Chances are you will feel better letting out your emotions than withholding it. Once, I received a terrible mark and almost went to accuse the teacher on a personal level. Thanks to the words of wisdom from my friends though, it snapped me out of my anger and motivated me to work harder to prove I am better that mark.

With friends as your best support network, your thoughts on that bad mark will drift away. Perhaps you need a new swimsuit for summer or your gals want to try out fine dining. Whether it be arcade or movies, engaging with your pals is a reassurance that you have a whole group supporting you and chances are definitely that friends can relate. You might even find friends sharing funny stories on their stupid test mistakes.

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Exercise

Stop sulking in bed and grab a punching bag to let out that steam. If you aren’t a gymmie, play your favourite sport or do something fun like trampolining at Sky Zone Alexandria. Exercise can be as intense as rock climbing or simple like walking your dog. If you feel restless in bed from the thought of that bad mark, what exercise does is that the endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—improve sleep, which in turn relieves stress. Hence, if construction kept you up all night before the day of the exam, throw a good punch and get a good nights sleep after.

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Reflect

A must to do after receiving that bad mark is to reflect and improve. Why did you receive this low mark? Was procrastination at its finest or was your study approach inefficient? If possible, find out the correct answer sheet, even better with explanations, and pinpoint where the mistakes were. This way on the next time round, your new study methods and exam habits can improve you chances of a high distinction.

Worst 3 Solutions

giphy (10)Long hours in front of the screen

As much as we would love to binge watch the Harry Potter series or Orange is the New Black, excessively watching movies, playing video games or surfing the Internet are temporary fixes with risk factors in the long run, such as Internet addiction disorder (IAD).

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Take drugs, pills or alcohol

Sure we could all do a chill night at the bar during Happy Hour with friends but it’s easy to lose sight of how many shots you’ve taken. As if a bad mark is not good enough, you might find yourself dealing with drugs or pills to ease the pain away. The more you look to drugs, pills or alcohol as your solution to deal with a bad score, the more attached you will get and end up causing more harm to you.

giphy (17)Lash your anger out on others

When something bad happens, it can become responsive to lash out on other people. While your roommate might have played the music too loudly during your study hours, the test was still taken by you after all. Do not let the anger bubbling inside translate into irrational actions such as writing a hate letter to the board or engaging in physical violence on others. Keep calm and carry on.

At the end of the day, a bad score is not the end of the world.

Mistakes are there for us to learn from on wrongdoings and work on our improvements. Don’t seclude yourself because of that one bad mark; there are plenty of chances in the future to improve. Move forward with a clear idea of what you need to do next.

Photo: Thuy Le

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Start New with Week Two!

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

“Couldn’t find a lecture hall and came in half an hour late with students all staring at me? Check. Stuttered when the tutor asked me to introduce myself? Check. Made zero friends? Check. OMG I checked off the entire list of what could possibly go wrong during my first week of uni. My life is over.”

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Okay, slow down there partner. Before you bawl your eyes out and live life as a hermit crab, it’s not too late to turn things around and start over. There are plenty of ways to get you back on track again

University is not high school.

Lectures are larger and professors pay less attention to students as individuals, such as your attendance. This is not to say that arriving to a lecture late is okay since some courses take attendance of lectures more seriously than that of others. As a comforting note, while you might see all eyes on you when you enter that creaky door, students will forget about you in the blink of an eye and therefore will not label you as “the-one-who-was-late-thirty-minutes”. More likely than not, other students will arrive much later than you did.

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Tut-tut

Tutorials often seem intimidating because of the small class size or the sharp eye of the tutor or you might see yourself as he only dumbo who doesn’t know the answer. But you don’t have to feel that way. Tutorials are designed to challenge your critical thinking. Chances are, many other students in the tute are as intimidated as you. Doing tute-prep, participating in class, paying attention and taking notes are the best ways to sit through tutorials feeling confident.

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Hello, it’s me

Making friends is completely up to you. Just be friendly and be yourself. Sounds simple right? Then again there’s that fear of rejection or paralysis of approaching people. Having the butterflies in your stomach is a natural reaction when meeting new students but it’s important to go outside your comfort zone. Honestly, the girl sitting next to you is just as nervous as you are. Break the ice with a friendly greeting and keep a conversation flowing. Who knows? Maybe you two study the same major, share three classes and enjoy the taste of kebabs. Oh, and don’t forget to ask for their Facebook.tumblr_nzqechQVBB1uhps0bo2_400

The Socialite

One last important thing I cannot stress enough – get social! Make the most out of the clubs you signed up (and paid for) during Orientation Week by attending weekly meetings, keep in the loop by following their Facebook page for special events. Maybe you might have missed out on their meet-and-greet but better now than never. And don’t worry if you didn’t get to Orientation. There are faculty camps that are wonderful bonding experiences, on-campus social parties to meet new people and Facebook pages for each club or society. It will be the best decision you could ever make.

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So what are you waiting for? Your first week might have been bad, but learn from your mistakes. Start fresh. Start new. Guaranteed you’ll find university life one of the best times of your life.

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Finding the right accommodation 101

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

Accommodation can determine life in Sydney. As international students, individual circumstances factor into the process of choosing the right fit. The research process is tedious and often overwhelming, given the handful of options available. So allow me to provide a guide to finding the perfect home.

Accomodation

Residential Colleges

Designed to cure homesickness and ensure you’ll feel loved, residential colleges are equivalent to the Houses in Harry Potter (but without the moving staircases and talking paintings). Think cafeterias, entertainment lounges, galas, etc! Endless college-held activities guarantee students the time of their lives at the uni. Each college carries a different vibe, ensuring no one becomes a misfit. Best part: strangers become homies for life and loneliness becomes the past.

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Student Apartments

These are similar to residential colleges, but are designed for students of a single status or otherwise to live independently. Choices of 2, 3, 4, 6 and even 8 bedroom apartments are offered, with the kitchen, bathroom and living room as the communal area. It is another way to build life-long friendships while living in a supportive community.

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Studio Apartments

Like student apartments, studio apartments can be located inside or outside the campus, allowing students to be a part of neighboring suburb communities if they are not fond of university student life. A studio is fully equipped with one bedroom, kitchen and bathroom for one person and one person only (law states so). For international students who prefer to live on their own , studio apartments are the most appropriate decision.

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Temporary Accommodation

Thank goodness universities have not forgotten about the international students on exchange or for (emergency) short-term stay. Budget-friendly hotels, hostels and serviced apartments are good for having shelter while scrambling to find a real place to settle in. Vacation rentals are also up for grabs as well as a few campus accommodations that offer housing for that short period of time needed.

Private Accommodation

Most university websites establish a separate site for independents, or “indies”, to post their advertisement specifically tailored for students’ needs e.g. close proximity to campus, easy access to transport and safe environment to live. Indies include landlords looking for tenants, home owners looking for an extra roomie or local families looking for another member to join their family. The crucial part that cannot be overlooked is to physically house-hunt and meet future landlords or roommates before moving in (it is illegal not to so as well).

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Accommodation must follow legal housing practices and, more importantly, match its description and picture. Private accommodation requires in-depth knowledge of housing practices to ensure nothing is put against you illegally.

Homestay

Among the array of options for private accommodation, homestay is not a bad choice if you are lucky enough to be offered a loving household. Living with a family means you have a new support network to keep you going. . The University of Sydney even partners with the Australian Homestay Network (AHN), which is a network that aims to ensure the well-being of students in the welcoming houses of friendly families.

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Boarding Houses

Last but not least, a choice more popular in the inner west of Sydney is to live in a boarding home, often run by a church or humanitarian group. Almost like residential colleges except off-campus, boarding houses carry students of diverse backgrounds to engage with each other and make the most of their living in Sydney

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One last reminder…

QS Top Universities, Mercer and The Economist all regularly rank Sydney as the top 10 most student friendly cities in the world. But(there’s always a “but”) pricing wise, students are looking at $200+ rent per week without utility bills and meals. As far as roommates or apartment neighbors go, reality could turn into a nightmare. And for students on campus who want to study ? Word of advice: earplugs and coffee will be your new best friend.

At the end of the day, choose an accommodation that you believe best suits your requirements to call a place home.

 

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V-Day: The Singles Way

Written by Entertainment, Student Life

It’s the day all singles are dreading— drumroll please— it’s Valentine’s! On this day you notice more couples holding hands than usual and shout at couples to stop with PDA. Believe me, I have been there for 19 years. Although I might not be in the position to talk about celebrating Valentines the “singles way” now that my status is taken, 19 years of loneliness on February 14th has gained me enough experience to teach you how to take your mind off the lovey-dovey side of Valentine’s and embrace the benefits of living single.

Pinterest: Émilie Asselin

Pinterest: Émilie Asselin

1. Attend Sydney Events

You’d be surprised how many events or promotions Sydney has in store for Valentines as a single. For one, head to the Keg & Brew in Surry Hills for a once in a year Anti-Valentines feast that features BBQ ribs and sticky date pudding to ensure that while you might feel lonely, at least your stomach won’t.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/182185968811024/ for some more Sydney events.

http://2hungryguys.com.au/2016/01/26/keg-brew-surry-hills/

http://2hungryguys.com.au/2016/01/26/keg-brew-surry-hills/

2. Movie Screening

Sick of staying in bed watching movies all the time? Get your lazy ass out of bed and head off to Event Cinemas on George Street to join other singles like you (around ages 25 to 45 as suggested) for the screening of Zoolander 2. Come simply for the company of other singles or in search of your Knight in Shining Armour or Damsel in Distress.

Try out https://www.rsvp.com.au/content/event/nsw/valentines+movie+date/66903.jsp

Pinterest: Playbuzz

Pinterest: Playbuzz

3. Netflix and Chill… by yourself

There is no shame in binge watching episodes of Empire. Sit back and watch some romcoms with some discount chocolates and scented candles but don’t torture yourself by watching The Notebook or creating a romantic atmosphere just to make you feel worse. Take it slow on the calorie intake too.

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luxy-paradise.tumblr.com

4. Hold an Anti-Valentines Party

Credits to the idea in the movie Valentines Day, why not invite friends and acquaintances as well as their friends and acquaintances to a party celebrating the holy benefits as a single? Why not buy a huge piñata in the shape of a heart or play a collection of games (think UNO or even spin the bottle) plus a few drinks to get the atmosphere going. By the time the music is played and the pizza is delivered, your worries of dying alone forever will disappear.

http://www.someecards.com/cry-for-help-cards/someone-i-can-share-entire-life-alone-funny-ecard

http://www.someecards.com/cry-for-help-cards/someone-i-can-share-entire-life-alone-funny-ecard

5. Reunite with family

Valentines is not restricted to couples, as it may seem to the world. It’s a day to celebrate the love that keeps people united and happy. Why not spend V-Day with the people who love you unconditionally: your family? Take a weekend off to see your mum and dad as well as your other relatives for a classy homemade dinner, sitting at the dinner table laughing and sharing good old memories.

Nicolette, Powerful Mothering

Nicolette, Powerful Mothering

But, whoever and however you spend your Valentines is not particularly important to be honest. There are billions of single men and women in the world and while you might feel especially alone on this particular day, you really aren’t.

Mr. or Mrs. Right probably took the wrong train or walked the wrong trail on his or her way to find you. February 14th is a day that recognises love, any type really, so there is no need to sulk. After all, you have love and support from friends and family that will always stand by you no matter what. Cherish the love you receive and never take it for granted.

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The Perfect Gift For Her on Valentine’s Day

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

Desperately in need of gift ideas for the 14th? While I can’t imagine how buying gifts for females is difficult, here is a guide to finding the perfect gift for your other half. Before getting into the specifics, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the five types of females out there:

1. The Practical

She expects gifts that are of use for her life, something she lacks and could really use to make life easier or a.k.a a need. Generally these girls are thankful for the new necklace you bought her for the third time in a row but they will be over the moon when they see you bought a new vacuum or phone case to replace their broken one.

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http://art-actually.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/diy-pinterest-challenge-birds-nest.html

2. The Materialistic

The opposite of practical, she prefers gifts from Louis Vuitton or online boutiques to satisfy her desire to possess items just for her indulgence. Hopefully you have a big wallet for this girlfriend because you’ll be burning your money faster than you know it. But your girl is worth it.

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3. The Modest

She is considerate about the money aspect that goes into your gifts as opposed to the want or the need part. Gifts worth 200+ dollars aren’t her thing. Sometimes those gifts make her feel guilty and like she may need to return the favour. Girls like these will set a reasonable prince range for gift spending to be fair to both parties. At least with a girlfriend like this, you can have a peace of mind with the money in your wallet.

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4. The Satisfied

If you have a girlfriend like this, make sure you keep her. She does not care if your gift is a necessity, a desirable item, an expensive luxury or even nothing at all (although it’s best to still give something from the heart). They are content with anything and even if they aren’t, they won’t show it. This may come as a disadvantage however because you could be doing something wrong but you won’t be able to tell.

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5. The Picky

Beware, this type of girlfriend is the hardest to deal with, for she is hella particular in what you get her. You get her a Samsung microwave but she actually wants a Bosch. You buy her a Chanel hand purse but she really wants Dior. You present her roses when she actually wants lilies. Keep your receipts because you will find yourself heading back to stores returning items to make sure she receives that particular gift she requests. It will require attention to her as a person and while it sounds tedious, hopefully it will pay off at the end. Could you classify your girl under one of those categories? It might be tricky because girls are often a mixture of a few. Some broad ideas for gifts include…

– Large bouquets of flowers (make sure she doesn’t have asthma or allergies)

– Hand-written letters or cards

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– Small gestures that show you care

– Necessities eg: buying groceries for her empty fridge, doing a full scrub of her house or buying a parking spot to save her the hassle or finding a car space at work

– Romantic Dinner (and maybe something special after if you know what I mean)

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– An item she has been dying to buy

-DIY calendar, scrapbook or craftwork (Pinterest has amazing ideas for reference)

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Flickr: apairandaspare

– Secretly surprise her with decorations in her room of candles, balloons and rose petals

In the end, Valentine’s Day is about loving each other and not all about the gifts. Don’t forget to love your partner every second of any other day, not just February 14th.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

by MIT

by MIT

Featured image: trendhunter.com

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Say NO to Labelling

Written by Editor’s Picks, Student Life

Article 6

“Yeah, I own a rifle for shooting.”

When my partner told me about his hobby of shooting guns, I slightly panicked — panicked at the possibility of him owning a gun illegally, for I understood little about the legal terms of gun ownership, as well as usage, in Australia. My wild imagination extracted all the horrific scenes from movies and unfortunate events from reality, creating the image of a cold-hearted and recklessly-wild shooter.

Bad stigma is attached to gun shooting — the activity itself and the participants themselves. Think about the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “guns”. If you type the keyword into Google, several of the results are news articles on victims shot by gun holders. Therefore, it can assumed that people who are unfamiliar with guns will associate it with being a weapon that only kills, and sees the people in possession of a gun as the villains of society.10615975_723406217706611_6632300862141484194_n

I too saw guns in a negative light but all that changed on a trip to a shooting range with my partner and his mates. The trip was a life-changing experience. It proved that people who own guns aren’t killers, nor have intentions to shoot people. I met so many kind people who taught me how to hold a gun, how to shoot it and how to reload. Their patience and encouragement eased my nerves, plus I made friends with many of the young female shooters tagging along with their partner (like me!) When I came home from the trip I realised that shooting is just like any other hobby and that these people should not be discriminated for enjoying a sport they love.

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Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

 

The distorted stigma made me think of the stereotypes about international students. Particular ethnicities are sometimes so pigeonholed into a specific point-of-view, people even forget that not everyone embodies the stereotypes. For example, students with an overseas background. I, for example, am ethnically Chinese but do not fit a large number of stereotypes. My time in two different Western environments has changed a lot about me. Most foreigners expect Chinese people to excel in Maths or Science, but I shine more in the Arts and Social Sciences, specifically writing. Personality wise, I am bold and open, not traditionally shy and reserved. Furthermore, I do not always eat rice as I have preferences for the hundreds of other options available. Therefore, one might be from Germany but is not a beer drinker and another might be Latino but is not good at salsa dancing.

There’s a common phrase: “everyone is unique”. But, as much as people embrace their individual personality and style, not the same applies to countries, ethnicities or religions as a whole. With stereotypes attached, your view of a person and their actions will differ greatly if the person were to have originated from some other ethnicity. This is one of the most influencing factors on your treatment and engagement with them. It is therefore important to start engaging with someone by looking past the outside to the inner person. Labelling throws all equality out of proportion.

As they say, “What matters is on the inside.”

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Spooktacular Halloween in Sydney

Written by Entertainment

Believe it or not, Halloween is not considered novel. Records say the tradition goes back centuries, with strong influences from Celtic-speaking countries. Guising, better known as trick-or-treating has been around in the United States for around a century while only recently has Halloween saw a rise in celebration in Australia. It is a rare sight to see houses decorated with spooky cobwebs or children in costumes knocking door after door down streets, saying “Trick-or-Treat” hundreds of times, eager to fill their bags with candy (or whatever some households offer) in a competition to see who got the most. Instead on this continent, we find house parties where you have to dress up, theme parks that have their special night of horror or just a regular day to be honest. If you want to find an excuse to catch a breather in your studies, use Halloween as your excuse. Here are some events wrapped up for you for Halloween of 2015.

Event Cinemas— Zombie Movie Screenings

A big fan of horror movies? Get your butt to Event Cinemas Myre Centre for their special Halloween screenings of Shaun of the Dead (MA15+) on October 30th and Zombieland (MA15+) on October 31st. If you’re in the mood to dress up, come at 6:30 p.m. before the screening at 7 p.m. for the Frightful Zombie Party and put on your best look for a chance to win a prize awarded to the best-dressed.

https://www.eventcinemas.com.au/EventsFestivals/HalloweenZombieMovies

 Luna Park— Halloscream III: Curse of the Forgotten Funfair

If you love a great scare, Luna Park will not fail you. For two nights, Luna Park will transform into an abandoned amusement park with plenty of good eats, special attractions and spooky rides. Best dressed prizes will be awarded that night and special family package deals are also available. So whether you are a chicken or a ghost hunter, there is bound to be something for you to enjoy.

http://www.halloween.sydney/

Ivy— The (under)World Unites

Voted one of the best parties in the world by multiple alcohol brands, the biggest Halloween party in Australia comes back for another year of games, dancing and of course, drinks. Have your face (and even body) painted before hitting the bar for Halloween cocktail specials and later grabbing some chilli dogs. The party takes over every inch of Ivy, as people from all countries come together and celebrate more than just Halloween, but what they share in common.

http://merivale.com.au/whats-on/event/halloween-international-the-world-united

 I Heart Uni & Voodoo’s Mega Spooky HALLOWEEN PARTY

The largest and most reputable university network is hosting another intervarsity Halloween party this year! With a huge venue capacity no short of DJs (you have 30+ DJs playing across 3 Level Dance Music Arenas) and Halloween acrobats, I Heart Uni’s Halloween party is the best great way to meet students from other universities who share the same spirit.

https://events.ticketbooth.com.au/event/iheartuni

Our Joint World Record Attempt: The Largest Gathering of Skeletons

Be a part of history by joining the Guinness World Record attempt to have the largest gathering of skeletons. By registering, you get yourself a free skeleton onesie to wear while making your way through the haunted houses or enjoying live entertainment, as well as the food and drinks and etc. More than just being a part of history, be a part of this good cause that is raising awareness and donating funds towards vital research on arthritis and osteoporosis, both of which are commonly found in children and adults.

http://ourjoint.gofundraise.com.au/cms/home

The Halloween Cruise (hosted by UNSW ProjectHope)

In collaboration with UTS HKSA, USYD CSA, MACQ RiderMQ, ProjectHope (a UNSW student-run organisation which raises money for the education of disadvantaged children in China) is hosting a Halloween cruise on the night of the holiday. There will be 3 levels of fun, with constant flow of food and drinks, costume competition, free photo-shoots from professional photograhers and much more. Prizes will be handed out all through the night and raffle tickets can be bought to win huge prizes.

https://www.facebook.com/events/539395246214234/

 Jurassic Lounge at the Australian Museum

This is the one time of the year when the Museum is transformed into an adults-only party, filled with alcohol, DJs, performers, and our fav: dinosaurs. Visitors will have special after-hours access to exhibitions that showcase precious gemstones, large dinosaurs and the new Wild Planet gallery that features over 400 animals. With 60 impressive Jurassic Lounge events, it has attracted over 68,000 visitors and you better be one of them this year.

http://www.jurassiclounge.com/

Sydney Zombie Walk 2015

Ever watched The Walking Dead imagining what life would be like as a zombie? Amen, God has answered your prayers with the Sydney Zombie Walk that takes place on October 31st. Go full out with your costume and walk the streets of Hype Park with other zombies. That’s right. I’m talking ripping shirts, covering your face with tomato cause, putting on that best groan you let out from uni assessments and drag yourself around like you do to a 9 a.m. lecture. No, we are not recreating The Walking Dead series but rather raising awareness and fundraising money for the Australia’s Brain Foundation. 100% of proceeds go to the foundation to research Australia wide into neurological disorders, brain disease, and brain injuries for advance diagnosis, treatment, and patient outcomes. Who knew being a zombie could do so much good?

http://www.sydneyzombiewalk.com/

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Celebrating the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

Written by Entertainment, News

The Mid-Autumn Festival has always been a huge holiday in China. In fact it is the second most important holiday behind Chinese New Year. On the 5th day of the 8th lunar month with the arrival of autumn and appearance of the full moon, this festival originally celebrates gratitude for good crops and harvest, explaining its importance to the large farmer population in China.

“Legend has it that Hou Yi, the powerful hero who shot down nine of ten suns, received an elixir that has the power to send him to heaven and transform him into a god. He secretly gave the elixir to his kind-hearted wife, Chang E, for safe keeping, unaware that Peng Meng saw it. Once Hou Yi went out hunting, Peng Meng rushed to Chang E and demand she hand it over. Refusing to hand it over yet knowing she wouldn’t win, she swallowed the elixir and immediately flew up into the sky. It was her love for her husband, however, that drew her towards the Moon, the nearest place to Earth. Devastated by what happened to his wife, he offered her favourite food on the altar as a sacrifice . After hearing that Chang E became a goddess, folk people have since offered sacrifices to Chang E to pray for peace and good luck”

The festive atmosphere starts as early as one-month prior  with lanterns decorating the streets, vendors in markets selling moon cakes and families beginning to prepare for gatherings.  However, decorations aren’t a common sight on the streets now; only certain areas hang lanterns or  red banners with yellow Chinese characters saying “庆祝中秋”(Celebrating Mid-Autumn).

In addition to lanterns on the street, occasional street performances can be seen featuring the vivacious dancing dragon, the rhythmic drumbeats and loud golden clash cymbals.

During the days leading up to the festival, moon cakes  are the most popular item in a supermarket (and often the most common gift my dad received from his colleagues).

Traditional moon cakes consist of a soft pastry with a chewy, flaky or tender crust,  chewy, flaky or tender, enveloping a type of filling inside.

  1. On the top: an imprint on the crust with Chinese characters meaning “longevity” or “reunion”, designed with additional fancy prints around the characters.
  2. Inside the moon cake:
  • various fillings, but lotus seed paste (with or without egg yolk)
  • red bean paste
  •  jujube (dates) paste
  • five kernels (walnuts, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, peanuts, sesame seeds, or almonds) held by maltose syrup have remained as the four classics.

Today, a wide range of exotic options exist such as fruit, ice cream and even seafood fillings!

My fondest memories are of my dad coming home with boxes of moon cakes in which my family and I would indulge in (my favourite were, and still are, red bean, egg yolk and pork fillings).

Moon cakes have always been a staple of the Mid-Autumn Festival and eaten to experience this holiday in the traditional style. .

Of course, there are more to just moon cakes on this special occasion.

The most important aspect of the Mid-Autumn Festival is family, cousins, uncles and every family member unite at the same place, same time to celebrate in their own fashion. Families that are more into tradition might light incense to pray to the gods before heading outside to sit on wooden stools and chatter under the goddess Chang E  living on the round, silver moon. Families of the new generation like mine look forward to preparing a big celebratory feast at home or finding a nice restaurant to enjoy.

Fireworks and lanterns light up the skies while large light figurines of dragons or lotuses float on small bodies of water. Families go out together to appreciate the scenery, yet still others  choose to stay at home on the couch and watch the Mid-Autumn Festival Gala while eating sunflower seeds.  Some may find the gala  a bore, but it’s one of those traditions that complete the festival in a way.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of Chinese holidays, seeing the banana that I am, but the Mid-Autumn Festival has got to be one of my favourites. As I grew up, my celebratory traditions have changed, but one tradition remains the same: family gathering.

My family might not be in Sydney with me to celebrate, nor are my senses able to pick up any of the usual Mid-Autumn festiveness in China but I have my new family of friends to eat moon cakes and attend the Cabramatta Moon Festival to feel at home with.

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Soccer – a bridge between NSW police and International Students

Written by Entertainment, News, Student Life

The NSW police force held a friendly Beach Soccer Tournament at Coogee in competition with international students last Sunday as part of a mutual bonding experience.

The multicultural-themed tournament started at 8:30 am with almost 200 students of all genders and ages from more than 37 countries hitting the sand and playing matches in a round-robin fashion.

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“Soccer, the world game, is a terrific way to celebrate different cultures and what they bring to the Australian community, while promoting social awareness and inclusion,” said Corporate Sponsor for the Safety of International Students, Detective Superintendent Gavin Dengate.

Despite poor weather conditions, thousands of spectators showed up with high spirits to cheer on players and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere full of music, food and dance.

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The day concluded on a great note for the Chile team, after an intense grand final match against the police team, with Chile taking out the competition 1-0.

The event showcased a great deal of multiculturalism amongst students representing Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines, India, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, all of whom study or studied at schools, TAFE colleges, English language colleges, universities and other educational institutions in NSW.

“I got to know different cultures and made some friends from Columbia, India and Malaysia,” said Bangladeshi graduate of the University of Western Sydney and winner of the tournament’s Strongest Display of Community Spirit and Support Award Anup Sarker.

“They’re playing in a different team but it’s nice that we are connecting [with] each other [from] all over the world. This type of event actually brings all the people under the same umbrella and we can connect so quickly and easily because we don’t have our families here so friends become family.”

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With a high influx of international students studying abroad in Australia, the police force priorities student safety as number one but given that many international students fear police officers based on personal experiences in their home countries, the NSW police aims to build trust and partnership with the culturally diverse communities.

“[For] a lot of the contestants we have here, [the police] in their home countries are not always the people you would go to when you are in trouble… The beauty of this event is we [police force] can show the students that we are approachable,” said Office Dean Lindley.

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“If they are in trouble, they should come to us; we’re not going to extort them for money or anything like that. It [the tournament] just breaks down the barriers between students and if they get into any trouble, they can come to us.”

This free, culturally-friendly Beach Soccer Tournament at Coogee of 2015 was the biggest and best tournament police have ever hosted since 2013.

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“We really appreciate the support from the local community, as well as the educational institutions, Randwick City Council, event sponsors and local business, all of whom played a part in making the day such a success,” Dept Supt Dengate said.

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Once Upon a Time on an App Called Tinder

Written by Entertainment, Student Life

If someone told me a year ago that I would be dating a guy from Tinder, I would have laughed my ass off.

Having spent more than half my life in China, I accepted the friends-crush-date-couple-lose virginity sequence. However, after four years in New Zealand and another ten in Shanghai, studying at an American International School (it’s complicated I know,but bear with me), I became open to “new options.”

16219770871_7fb4c8a9ac_kFor a while, I embraced the single life— drinking at bars, partying at clubs and making out with schoolboys. Then I started to feel a bit lonely. Don’t get me wrong, I had the best friends in the world who cared about me and made me feel loved; but there was something, that special love from that special someone, missing in my life.

My bestie recommended Tinder but I opposed social media dating at the time. Then one night, I saw Tinder was one trending search on the app store. I found my finger tapping the app and looking over its summary.

I can get shy when it comes to approaching guys, especially attractive guys, which explains why I only had four guy friends. I’ve stopped drinking and clubbing too so I don’t get out there as much. But I thought, “It doesn’t hurt to try… right? After all, it’s just a platform to flirt around with, not like anything serious would happen”. Impulsively, I tapped “Get” and in 10 seconds, Tinder was on my phone.

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Tinder turned out to be fun to “play” with. In order to create a Tinder profile, it must be connected to my Facebook, ensuring legitimate identity of the person, .I chose my range in age and distance, and set my preference to view males only. Then came the fun part: the profile picture and bio. I chose the best picture I had of me on Facebook and a few other photos that were genuine and free of edits or (excessive) make-up. I knew a funny bio would be a big boost to my profile so I wrote “I’ll give 35% of a shit for your appearance and 65% of a shit for your personality. Sound fair?”. That sure got a lot of my conversations going, and it was the starting point for my relationship with my boyfriend, who I matched with early June.

Yes, it’s possible to find a boyfriend on Tinder. I am living proof. We have been dating for almost two months now, still in the honeymoon phase. I feel happier than ever and everyone around me sees the glow. I never believed in perfection, but he’s the closest thing to it.

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I know every Tinder story doesn’t end up like mine but isn’t all that bad. Sure it seems superficial because your swipes are based on appearance and a short bio, but in reality, we judge a book by its cover without knowing it. In a sense, Tinder actually cuts those boundaries because your personality might stand out as you engage in conversations with your matches. Your match might take your appearance less into account when he or she finds out how awesome your personality is during your date.

So give it a go; it doesn’t hurt to try.

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