The Things You REALLY Learn at University

University. That big scary thing that you’re expected to go to once you finish school and you want a good job. After deferring my university offer for my amazing Gap year in London, I was really torn between returning to Oz to go to that big scary place or stay in London. And tah-dah, I was university bound. This has honestly been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I had my time in London, and now it was time for something equally new and exciting. I’m nearly finished my first year of International Studies/Communication and Media Studies at the incredible University of Wollongong. This year I lived at a college, International House (iHouse) and learnt a lot more than just course content. So these are some of the things to expect when moving into a university college.

University of Wollongong!
University of Wollongong!

You’ll Learn to Love Goon (for those of you not in Australia, goon= cheap, cask wine) – Let’s get the alcoholic part get out of the way first. Us cheap uni students love a good bargain. And with a First Choice Liquor store about 500m away from your doorstep, cradling $12, 36 standard drinks goon… what choice do we really have? Unless you peaked on your eurotrip, then the hangovers just get worse and you start thinking ‘i’m getting too old for this shit.’ (How I Met Your Mother Reference).

giphy

You learn your limits – O Week anyone? You go out a few times a week, spend a few too many days at the beach to suddenly realise that you’re absolutely hammered. And after a few too many hangovers you realise that maybe you should steer clear of tequila. Learning my limits is something I’ve been working on throughout the past two years, and regardless of how many times others tell you ‘don’t do that’ you will never really learn until you experience them for yourself. Which leads into my next point…

You learn about yourself – I know this is incredibly cheesy but hey, who doesn’t love a bit of cheese? You try new things like going to the gym, you learn new things like how to navigate around building 19, you meet new people from across the globe… you put all these pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle, hoping they’ll fit together into the person you want to be. I’m always growing and learning, trying to become a better person and uni definitely helps you put the pieces together.

You can get involved in some pretty awesome stuff – This year, along with some friends of mine, we created the UOW Skydiving Club (I have some other posts here about it). There’s countless opportunities to volunteer, become an activist, help, donate, support towards everything! It’s a great way to meet new and like minded people but also work on things your passionate about and help create positive change in the world.

Singing petitions at uni - Don't Risk the Reef
Singing petitions at uni – Don’t Risk the Reef

You learn how to balance – Literally! I’ve been going to yoga classes regularly for about 3 months and it’s INCREDIBLE!!! I walk out feeling rejuvenated, relaxed, free and like I can accomplish anything. Definitely the best stress relief! And also figuratively balance. At uni you’ve got so many things going on; actual uni work, social life, keeping fit and healthy, watching latest episodes of Walking Dead, sleeping, relaxing, beaching… sometimes it can be a challenge to manage it all. I must admit, sometimes I spend too much time doing all of my assignments being a good uni student and not enough time outside at the beach (OK you got me, I’m always at the beach), but if you surround yourself with like minded people who are as determined to succeed in many aspects like you, you can do it! Making timetables, reducing time on Facebook and monitoring how much time you spend streaming can help you stay organised.

You learn how to become an owl – Literally. You become a little bit older, a little bit wiser and if you go to sleep before midnight and wake up in time for breakfast at 10am… it’s officially a miracle.

You suddenly acquire some really nice clothes – At college this year we’ve had 6 formal-ish events involving open bars and getting dressed up. And of course it calls for a new outfit each time right! And open bar!!! No more goon for a night!

Friends and I on the iHouse Sydney Harbour Cruise!
Friends and I (the far left) on the iHouse Sydney Harbour Cruise!

You’re going to meet people from across the globe – Literally from EVERYWHERE! We even had an Icelandic exchange student here! You learn so much about different cultures and might even find a French boyfriend to help you with your French grammar 😉

You make some pretty amazing friendships – And this is where I get all sentimental but everyone I’ve met at college/uni this year are truly inspiring, unique and driven people. I’m so glad to have you in my life, if we stay friends for this year, the next 3 years or the next 20 years, you’re each as special and dear to me.

So…. first year (nearly) down, 3.5 to go. It’s been a pretty exciting and crazy ride however if this year is anything to go by, I eagerly look forward to it!

xxx A

Some more friends at another fancy event (I'm in the pink dress)
Some more friends at another fancy event (I’m in the pink dress)

Reaching New Heights – UOW Skydiving Club’s 2nd Tandem Event

On Friday the 12th of September, the UOW Skydiving Club held their second tandem skydiving event, with six brave individuals taking on the challenge. We met at 9:30am at Northfields Avenue where the Sydney Skydivers bus picked us up. Once we clarified numbers we were on our way. We chatted with students from across the globe, all with a nervous yet excited smile across their faces.

The girls all geared up
The girls all geared up

After filling out a few forms, the student were quickly suited up in the ever so glamorous jumpsuits! The boys jumped first with the rest of us searching up in the sky to see their parachutes emerge from the clouds.

The boys sailing down through the clouds
The boys sailing down through the clouds

Whilst visibility was quite low due to cloud coverage, they got to experience the wonder of falling through clouds. High above the clouds, they jumped from the plane, the sun shining and wind rushing up against their screaming faces, falling into what looks like an ocean of clouds. According to the UOW Skydiving Club’s President who has completed over 140 single jumps says ‘It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.’

Adrenaline infused smiles
Adrenaline infused smiles
And the smiles and laughter continued
And the smiles and laughter continued

Once all the students were back down to earth, exchanging stories about flying through the clouds, we had a wonderful BBQ, included as part of the UOW Skydiving Club experience.

Can't beat a sausage sanga after a jump!
Can’t beat a sausage sanga after a jump!

After we filled our stomaches, our cheeks hurt from laughing and smiling, and we were coming down from the adrenaline rush, we were back on the bus and headed back to the university. It was a great day for everyone involved.

***

FOR FUTURE EVENTS AND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE UOW SKYDIVING CLUB, PLEASE CHECK OUT THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE https://www.facebook.com/UOWSkydive

AND CHECK OUT THIS EXCLUSIVE VIDEO OF WHAT IT’S LIKE TO FLY THROUGH CLOUDS!

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=681679941909858&set=vb.588704077874112&type=2&theater

Group 2 - 2nd Tandem Event
Group 2 – 2nd Tandem Event

Bring Back Our Girls, Bring Forth Your Support

#Bringbackourgirls

Bring Back Our Girls has been a twitter phenomenon, capturing global attention on the 234 Nigerian school girls missing due to internal terrorist regimes. This horrendous incident occurred on the 15th April, taking a few weeks for awareness to capture the world. I became aware of this movement a week ago and have since actively followed, retweeted and researched the development of the #bringbackourgirls.

Sourced from http://rosearomas.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/mala.jpg?w=529
Malala Yousafzai showing her support. Sourced from http://rosearomas.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/mala.jpg?w=529

I personally support and participate in this online ‘clicktivism’ because being a young woman in the 21st century, I know and believe that education should be granted to all, regardless of race, religion, culture or gender. With the admiration of activist Malala Yousafzai and her powerful words “Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons,” (Yousafzai, 2013)I hope to one day be an activist involved with human and especially women’s rights. 

Clicktivism is the online activity of sharing, liking, commenting, retweeting information about a concern or cause, whereas activism is the physical act of doing something such as protesting. (thetrashlab, 2013) Despite the criticisms of clictivism being ‘slacktivists’, activism would not be possible without the online support of the clicktivists.

However, here I am, sitting at my computer screen, here in Australia, and not in Nigeria protesting and pressuring the government on a physical level. But does that mean that my support is insignificant? Despite the fact I may just be involved in the ‘clictivism,’ creating awareness is the biggest and most difficult step in order to make a difference. That’s why the involvement of high profile celebrities (as pictured below) furthermore perpetuates awareness and involvement.

 High profile people showing their support and creating global awareness, such as Justin Timberlake, Drake and Bradley Cooper Sourced from http://blog.lib.umn.edu/isoke001/gwss1005-2014/rmdbg.jpg
High profile people showing their support and creating global awareness, such as Justin Timberlake, Drake and Bradley Cooper
Sourced from http://blog.lib.umn.edu/isoke001/gwss1005-2014/rmdbg.jpg

 Whilst I might not be able to make a physical contribution to the issue in Nigeria and I am absolutely privileged to have the freedom, rights and opportunities to attend university (which is even financially supported and encouraged by the government), I am able to fully appreciate and maximise the chances I have here in Australia. The youth of the world are the future, (Strauss, 2011) we have power and we have the ability to make change, whether it be online or in the real world.

 

Further Related Readings/Videos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsB2qtDaiRw

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-grant/are-you-a-slacktivist_b_4390258.html

 

References

Yousafzai, M 2013, ‘Our books and pens are the most powerful weapons’, transcript United Nations, The Guardian, 12 July, accessed 07/05/2014, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/12/malala-yousafzai-united-nations-education-speech-text

thetrashlab, 2013 Slactivists vs. Activists (online video), 15 April, viewed 07/05/2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EQFKKJBjwE

Strauss, J 2011, Youth movement in a culture of hoplessness, Aljazeera, 8 October, accessed 07/05/2014, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/spotlight/occupywallstreet/2011/10/2011107172820297149.html

 

 

 

A Girl in Many Worlds

Sourced from http://images.toywizard.net/0001/barbie-R9912-basic-asst.jpg
Sourced from http://images.toywizard.net/0001/barbie-R9912-basic-asst.jpg

Transmedia Storytelling is the communication of a story across various platforms such as movies, social media, comics, video games and books, each of which explore a unique part of the story. When all different stories from all different platforms are combined, we have a more detailed and thorough understanding of the text as a whole. (, 2011).

Sourced from http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_2Zagr98fpzY/TEafyCW2ZVI/AAAAAAAAAlM/8TnqiMxWUqM/s1600/BB.JPG
Sourced from http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_2Zagr98fpzY/TEafyCW2ZVI/AAAAAAAAAlM/8TnqiMxWUqM/s1600/BB.JPG

Mattel’s Barbie Franchise, is an example of transmedia storytelling due to the many unique platforms, ideas and concepts generated. The original form was a doll, designed for children to dress and roleplay. Generated from the Barbie doll was a whole world. There are various characters (Ken, Skipper), which live in different worlds (Fairytopia, Under the Sea) which are developed by various technology platforms (website, movies). Where people are used to consuming multiple aspects on a daily basis. (Jenkins, 2003) They are all interconnected and tell different parts of a worldwide story, relying on collective intelligence to produce a world in which everyone can immerse themselves.

Sourced from http://img.wonderhowto.com/img/33/70/63493530208432
Sourced from http://img.wonderhowto.com/img/33/70/63493530208432

Because of the restricted nature and current hype of Tinder, it would be difficult to generate storytelling transmediality. However, using some imagination, there is definitely potential to create an encyclopaedic aspect of Tinder. Perhaps a movie of what occurs after someone is matched? Or a television series of different characters and their interaction with others because of Tinder? Perhaps the ‘swipe’ action could be adapted into other media technologies like Facebook or on television. There are already various Youtube videos which outline people’s unique interaction with others and many memes have been generated.

Sourced from http://smashmoose.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/3tufz6.jpg
Sourced from http://smashmoose.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/3tufz6.jpg

Transmedia storytelling “is a fantastic spine around which to build a more intensive interactive experience” (gauravonomics, 2013), in which it is expected more company’s and individuals will need to embrace in order to maximise audience engagement and participation. Personally, I am drawn to things which contain Transmedic Narratives because I feel apart of the action and accepted within a wider community with similar interests and values. It allows me to immerse myself in another world which I can access anyway I want, anywhere I want, which in today’s consumeristic society, is the expectations. 

References

Future of Engagement #7 : Transmedia Storytelling, People’s Insights Annual Report, MSL group, http://gauravonomics.com/transmedia-storytelling/,  written 11/03/2013, accessed 15/04/14

Henry Jenkins, Transmedia Storytelling, MT Technology Review, http://www.technologyreview.com/news/401760/transmedia-storytelling/, written 15/01/03, accessed 18/04/14

The Audience Takes To The Stage

Tinder’s life source is its audience. Without its active prosumerism and participatory culture, it would cease to exist. Participatory Culture is defined, “where members feel some degree of social connection with one another” (Jenkins, 2006). The audience feel apart of a larger community as well as deep connections to other users they interact with. “In terms of personal development, identity, expression and their social consequences– participation, social capital, civic culture- these are the activities that serve to network today’s younger generation” (Jenkins, 2006)

Sourced from http://webbusinessagenda.com
Sourced from http://webbusinessagenda.com

Relationships are formed with Tinder and through Tinder. The user exerts a sense of hope and faith within Tinder, they are optimistic, excited and Tinder delivers. The user then creates an interaction with another user, heightening their experience and creating a dependency/sense of community with the app for social reassurance, “We have become a culture of people that are almost completely dependant on technology. The technologies that started out as aides to our existence have become vital to our everyday lives” (Digital Trends Staff, 2003). 

10B6FCB4E0074D64B031A86C08D752D5

Tinder was designed a dating app, with Co-Founder, Sean Rad, describing it as a “digital extension of our instinct to connect on a deeper level with one another” (Shandrow, 2014).  However, audiences share the ideology of using it for casual hook ups. Tinder “opens up chances to meet guys that you wouldn’t have had the chance to otherwise” (Declamatory, 2014). The target audience is for young adults who are mature enough to make sensible decisions, however, you only have to be 13 years old to register for the app (Tinder Terms of Use, 2013). Users interpret Tinder differently than anticipated and has been dubbed nothing more than a ‘shallow hook up app.’ “People don’t think of [Tinder] as online dating, they think of it as a game,” (Sandrow, 2014), never the less, did not alter the success of the app, due to audience engagement.

The success, ideologies and distribution of any technology is up to you, the audience, because without us, they would cease to exist.

References

Henry Jenkins, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture:Media Education for the 21st Century Part 1, http://henryjenkins.org/2006/10/confronting_the_challenges_of.html#sthash.gaqNUjWI.dpuf, 20/10/06, accessed 3/02/14

Declamatory, Reddit, http://www.reddit.com/r/AskWomen/comments/1xdbg9/why_do_you_use_tinder/, March 2014, accessed 1/04/14

Kim Lachance Shandrow, Entrepreneur.com. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232211, 17/03/14, accessed 2/04/14

Tinder, Terms of Use, http://www.gotinder.com/terms/, last updated 26/03/14, accessed 2/04/14

Digital Trends Staff, “Dependency on Technology,”  http://www.digitaltrends.com/opinion/dependency-on-technology/#ixzz2xiNyG3FQ, written 2003, accessed 2/04/14