Daily Archives: January 21, 2014

Struggle of Studying

Studying is a struggle that students have to deal with everyday. A lot of people, older and younger, underestimate how hard some classes and concepts may be in college. I feel like sometimes adults laugh at me and say “I wish I was still in college” and for some students college is a breeze but I have had a struggle. Adapting to college was not hard for me but rather the studying and prioritizing is what I struggle in. Studying animals is a lot of fun but it is also a ton of work as well and some people take advantage of that. I do projects to help our agricultural society which helps people manage farms and the animals better which in turn is where your food comes from. Anyway, I will stop rambling because I am extremely passionate about what I study and could write 100 more blog posts about it. The main point of this blog is to give some tips that I have learned over my time here in college and what has helped me succeed as a busy, overwhelmed student.

  • Pay attention, take notes, and go to class. There is nothing more important than actually listening. I have gone to classes and played on my phone the whole time, and then two weeks later I was cramming for the exam. It is not worth the stress.
  • Don’t cram! Everyone has there own way of studying, and figure that out ASAP! For me I have to study two weeks in advance for an exam and I have to rewrite EVERYTHING…it is so time consuming but it is the only way I learn it.
  • Take notes, take more notes, rewrite those notes in an outline, and say those notes out loud. Sometime flash cards help too!
  • Take the practice exam. If one isn’t available make your own.
  • Read the book. Most professors assign chapters to read all the time…I don’t do this because it is really hard to do that for every class but if you have some free time before class while you are waiting for it to start just skim the chapter so you understand the lecture that day.
  • Ask your professor questions if you don’t understand something. If you are in a huge 500 person lecture then wait until after class or email them. Most professors are extremely nice and love when students want help.
  • Go to your professor often, not just before an exam. I honestly think I passed one of my classes just because I went for help all the time. Professors remember you coming into their office while they are making final grades.
  • Prioritize. If you have homework, haven’t worked out yet, are exhausted, need to eat, and have two club meetings at 7pm write a list (if you can’t tell this is my everyday schedule) and figure out what is more important to you. For me I would do my work first no matter what.
  • Make lists. I have hundreds of sticky notes around my desk and I also have the stickies app on my computer. I make to do list a week in advance and add to it as my week goes on. I make sure I get what needs to be done first.
  • Do not underestimate your grades. My biggest mistake was that I did not think how much my grades mattered and how they were weighed. For example, if you have a 1 credit class and a 4 credit class you should be focusing on your 4 credit class more. That does not mean blow off the 1 credit course because that can take you from a 3.5 to a 3.6 gpa so it is important to know how it works.
  • Do not underestimate your homework, smaller assignments/quizzes, and attendance. It can also take you from a B to an A, trust me it has for me.
  • Let loose and relax. Having fun is also important! Last semester I found this a struggle. My freshman year I did this very well. I would do all of my work nonstop throughout the week and have fun on the weekends but on Sundays I would go back to studying. This fall I tended to study all day every day and I had multiple mental breakdowns and anxiety attacks. I formed my anxiety last semester and it sucks so don’t kill yourself studying either.

There are so many other things I can add to this and if I think of more I will but to my future friends/family coming to Penn State (my cousin Allie!) congrats but don’t underestimate anything. It is all worth it in the end. Especially when you finish finals with above a 3.5 GPA! I know this might not seem to make sense with a blog about Australia but it does. The reason I am in Australia is because of my success in college. I had to apply and be interviewed for this trip and getting good grades and being able to adapt to different environments and situations is very important. Right now as we speak I am studying for my big exam over here. I am so nervous because I just don’t feel prepared and it is because I did not prepare myself the right way. That was my motivation for this blog! To be able to research for the Animal Science department, get abroad opportunities, internship opportunities (I have one at the Lehigh Valley Zoo this Spring), and to hopefully get into vet school I must stay on track!

What’s the difference between a kangaroo and a wallaby?

Kangaroo’s and wallabies are easily mistaken. Some people think that the difference between the two are the sizes but there can be kangaroo’s the size of a wallaby too.

Take a look at this photo and try and find the difference: 

Wallaby on the left and albino kangaroo on the right
Wallaby on the left and albino kangaroo on the right

So what do you think? Is it the way they hop? The food they eat? The places they live? 

Check out their tails. It is a very small difference but the wallaby on the left’s tail lays like a dog tail where as the albino joey’s tail is bent and flat on the ground. That concept is not the easiest to explain but basically the kangaroo’s tail is like a fifth limb. Kangaroo’s can actually balance on their tails, lean backwards, and kick their hind legs at an opponent. The other main difference with the tails is that a wallaby can actually sit on their butts but the kangaroo has to lay down because their tails cannot go under their butts like the wallabies. 

Notice the tails
Notice the tails

The kangaroo on the left is laying down and the kangaroo on the right is not sitting on its butt rather using its tail for support.

Wallaby sitting
Wallaby sitting

Here the wallaby is actually sitting on its bottom and the tail is out of the way.

I hope that was informative enough and you learned something new about the differences between species. My mom doesn’t know it yet but my next pet will be a wallaby and I am not joking! My mom will probably kill me! She has had to deal with hamsters, birds, rabbits, lizards, frogs, cats, dogs, fish, and any other animal that I could afford. I would come home with a different animal from Petsmart every month!

If anyone has any other questions or suggestions about other animal or Australian related topics let me know! I would be happy to inform you in a post about any other cool stuff about animals here, especially since that is my specialty! Look out soon for a blog post about animal research done here at the University of Melbourne and my research study I will be conducting back at Penn State! 

What does your nation’s flag mean to you?

What does your nation’s flag mean to you? In many countries it is a symbol of pride and significance. The American flag, for example, is a symbol reflecting nationalism representing the formation of an independent nation. The thirteen stripes signify the thirteen original colonies that were the foundation of the land and the fifty stars symbolizes the fifty states that make up the new, independent nation. Many people are proud to be American and the flag is an indicator of this. Soldiers are proud to die under it, people aren’t afraid to wear it (I have American flag converses of course), and even other countries look to it as a sign of freedom. 628px-Proud-to-be-an-american-flag

One of my assignments this week was to explain a question that was given to each student. My first question was “If not the current flag of Australia, then what?”. I am going to explain the significance and foundation of the Australian flag and what is happening in Australia currently to change it.

Australia is a fairly new republic. The separate states became a federation on January 1st, 1901. In America it is similar to Independence Day but the Australians did not have to fight for it, rather they became a federation gradually because the British did not really care about keeping them under their wing. The Australians and the Americans did one thing similar and that was to go against the norm and to not follow what the British told them to do but of course the British fought the settlers of America and not the Australians. Therefore, when the Australian flag had to be created after the federation, the government held a competition. Four people won the competition because they all had the same flag drawn:


Three main elements consist of the Australian flag:

  1.  Union Jack- the upper left corner consist of the British flag or Union Jack. This denotes that Australia has historical links with Great Britain.
  2. Federation Star- The star lays directly under the Union Jack with seven points. The six stars represent the states and the seventh point signifies the federal territories constituting the nation of Australia.
  3. Southern Cross- The Southern Cross on the right side with five stars representing the constellation that is only seen in the southern hemisphere. 

Recently, there has been debate as to if the flag actually represents Australia or not. In my opinion it is sort of a random assortment of figures that have meaning but not strong significance to the country and I think that is what other people are arguing about as well. The AusFlag organization has been created to form a new flag of Australia. The arguments of the committee are:

  1. It is not distinctive of Australia because it contains a flag of another nation.
  2. It is similar to other nation’s flags such as New Zealand (and for some reason Australians don’t like New Zealand and I have not figured out why yet!).  nz flag
  3. It does not accurately display independence.
  4. Red, white and blue are not even their national colors. They are green and gold.
  5. The Southern Cross is not only significant to Australia, it is seen in other countries below the hemisphere such as Brazil and New Guinea. 

There are a lot of other arguments as to why it should be changed. The AusFlag organization wants to represent:

  1. “Our nation and its people”
  2. “Our past, present, and future”
  3. “Our land”
  4. “Our equality and diversity”
  5. “Our achievements” 
  6. “Our hopes and aspirations”

“We can do much better. Help us create a flag that tells ‘our’ story, not someone else’s.”- AusFlag website 

This music video is also from the AusFlag website http://youtu.be/Wvd2L1tHdkk it is actually funny to watch!

The next Australian flag may consist of a kangaroo, an Aborigines symbol, or something completely different. The United States has done a great job at representing pride and originality and Australia is striving to do the same. Although they have independence from Britain, they still want to change it for pride in Australia’s “new” country so to speak (newer than America at least!). I think the new flag only needs to consists of something simple symbolizing the federation, not other random symbols as well.