Sunday, March 30, 2014

10 Tips from a University Student Veteran


You could say I am some-what of a University Veteran. I have been a student for longer than I'd like to say *cough* 5-ish years; and with the long hard yards of being a low-income student up my sleeve, I would like to tell you my best university survival tips that I personally live by.


1. Research EXACTLY what you want to study
Whether you are transitioning straight out of high school, or a man in his mid 40s wanting to gain those extra set of skills; you need to do an extensive amount of research. What exactly do you want to do? What exactly do you enjoy? You really need to find that passion. If you can't umbrella that passion and don't mind doing the extra mileage of studying? Research whether it's suited for what you had in mind and in your future career prospects. I thought Information Technology would be a good career path; however I got bored of it and ended up entering a Business degree as well. Get into the nitty-gritty side of the research and look at the exact subjects in the course outline and even talk to a guidance officer. Don't be scared to ask... because remember, you're going to be stuck studying that subject for the next 3-5 years of your life!

2. Make some friends the SMART way
Make friends at University; friends you feel will stick out the studying to the end. Friends that don't mind ditching late night parties for some late night study sessions amongst rows of dusty textbooks in an overly quiet library. Friends are going to be like your new family. They will help and share valuable information with you = a must. Friends are a huge aspect of university life and can be a constant motivator to keep you coming to your 9AM lectures. On that note; try not to enrol for early lectures/classes - because if you're like me and love to sleep, you'll never make it.

3. Ask QUESTIONS like there's no tomorrow
Try break out of that shy comfort zone. Don't be scared to ask questions if you're struggling through the content. Whether it being your lecturer, tutor or a guidance officer; ask those questions to gain those answers you need to know. They get paid to help you and realistically, have heard every question out of the book. To them - there is no such thing as a 'stupid question’; they've seriously heard it all. If you're struggling badly, it's not the end of the world. There is help out there for you; you just need to initiate it.

4. Food is FIRST
Being a student can be very hard financially and the effort of having to buy lunch every time you visit campus grounds can be sore for your pocket. If money is hard to come by; when it comes round to cooking dinner; cook a little extra and have it in a container for tomorrows lunch. You can then take it with you to university and heat it up in the microwaves provided instead of pinch penny-ing your pocket every day for a $10 meal you cannot afford. It can be very expensive! And you'd rather spend your money on more valuable things like... alcohol (if you're of age). Oh yeah, and don’t skimp out on that meal. Even though you know you'll just be sitting around studying all day, keep your energy levels up because your brain is constantly draining those valuable levels to keep you focused. You don’t want to end up hangry (hungry + angry) like me!

5. Every CENT COUNTS even for buying TEXTBOOKS

Especially in my first year, the amount of times I've bought a textbook I didn't even really use. From my personal experience, I advise you to attend you're first lecture - listen to what the lecturer has to say about purchasing 'that' textbook and decide if buying the textbook is worth it. There are multiple times where buying the previous version (older version) of the textbook is a reasonable option to consider. I have bought older versions of the textbook I needed - simply to save money on several occasions and have been fine with the content learnt; if needed, the university library always has a copy of the most recent textbook to read. Also, if you can grab a copy of a second-hand textbook, TAKE IT! You usually safe half the cost by buying older textbooks which is a BIG deal when being a financially poor student. 

6. Keep ORGANISED
Have some sort of diary. Not like a 'dear diary...' diary but an organisational diary - whether it be a paperback diary or a diary app downloaded on your phone! In your diary, make sure to write ALL the due dates for assignments and exams that you'll have for the semester. It's important to organise yourself around mid-semester and end of semester because that's when the big assessments will hit you with no mercy!

7. Preparation notes is KEY
I am not in any way suggesting to leave studying or assignment writing to the last minute; but if for some unfortunate reason your life has led you to this unpleasant moment, preparation notes provided for the assessment piece is killer! Go through the practice/preparation notes the lecturer/tutor has provided for you. They have not merely provided it to you to waste your time. They have provided it for you to help you pass! The amount of times the actual questions on the practice exam notes have appeared in the REAL exam is some-what scary. In one proper exam I recall, the last 6 questions were exactly the same to the practice exam questions and to my luck, I had memorised those answered therefore gaining those valuable marks needed to pass.

8. If you have time, gain some WORK EXPERIENCE
I cannot stress this enough. This is something they should enforce more seriously to students who want to find a job fast after graduating. In today's society, the amount of jobs I've seen on job seeking websites that actually require prior 2+ years of experience as well as some sort of qualification on paper is a joke. Not only are students now required to gain a comfortable job by gaining a degree, they now also need to do some work experience as well. But if that's what the job market wants, then that's what you need to provide them. Find some work experience or do an internship in your targeted field because without a doubt, it will help you gain a job a little easier against competing graduates who haven't.

9. Find your MOTIVATION
This is probably the biggest killer that will sometimes want to drown you. At some point of your university life, whether it be after your first year or during your final year, the lack of motivation will bring you down. When you lack motivation, ask yourself why you started it in the first place. Ask yourself why it's so important to finish and why it's so important for your future. Imagine yourself standing up on that graduating stage receiving that paper with your name on it. How proud it will make your friends and family and ultimately, yourself. But if it is more than just finding motivation, don't lose hope. If it gets too tough, or simply doesn't interest you anymore, you can always take a leave of absence or study part-time and achieve those other things that you have more motivation for and come back to studying when you're back in that studying mindset. I personally did this myself and decided to study Film at a different institute. You don't always have to stick to the one path; find the path that is right for you.

10. NEVER leave assignments to the LAST MINUTE
Never ever EVER leave assignments to the last minute. Don't ever do it. It's never worth it and you'll hate yourself for doing it. When you procrastinate to the max like me, set yourself small tasks and stick to them, for example. I have a research assignment and I need to find 10 journal articles to relate to the topic. Break the 10 into 5, and give yourself 30 minutes to find 5 articles. Then have a 30 minute break, and then give yourself another 30 minutes to find the next 5 articles. Setting smaller goals is more achievable and less daunting to start. No matter how small the tasks are, reward yourself with a break. Rewards are a good thing.

Good luck and happy studying!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Blog 1)

To kick start my gaming adventures for the New Year, I've decided to dive into the wonderful world of Animal Crossing: New Leaf. After reading around and actually playing it for a bit, I've noted that Animal Crossing is the sort of game that cannot be finished within a week. It is one that you slowly build a relationship with over time and learn to love. It is jam packed with little goodies, gifts and surprises to be uncovered through the months of caressing it - and at this point in time, I like it a lot.

So what did I do within the first week?

These group of silly animals thought it would be a good idea that I become
Mayor of Jenkvale. Whose idea was this?!
Celebrating a New Year... by myself. Alone...
Felicity the Cat invited me over to her house...
... why is there outdoor furniture inside?
Living in the beautiful outdoors in a terrible yellow tent.
Oh yes, let's tell the world the Mayor lives in a tent shall we?
Oh great, this town is already infested with a rodent.
By the name of Limberg... he's actually not bad.
How cute is Snake? I'm pretty sure he's some sort of adaptation
from the Metal Gear Sold series Snake. Scary house though.
Got beaten up by some Snowmen.
WHADDUP WORLD! There's a flying present in the sky.
That's one way of delivering mail.
Chilling at Whitney's House. She has the cutest 'Chic' furniture EVA!
WOW! Look at this little cutie that moved into town. My sweet Henry.
Yes, I guess you could call this a date under the Aurora Borealis!
Speaking of Aurora... I haven't met you yet, but I don't like you already!
What's wrong with his eyes?!
A cat called Moe moved into the hood. Your house looks like a hospital room.
Redd... (insert What Does the Fox Say? joke here).
I wonder what they are building here.
Umm... Whitney? Stop looking at Henry's doodle!
He gets all the ladies!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pokemon Y: The Journey Begins! (Part 1)

Let me tell you, I was super-bloody-duper excited when I first heard the announcement of Pokemon X and Y, but the week before the climactic entrance of this devilish game to temporarily rule the gaming-minds of millions - I just... dropped my excitement dramatically. Why? I'm not entirely sure but I think it had to do with trying to keep a some-what low expectation to brace the impact of the possible hit-in-the-face of meh... (mediocre Pokemon gameplay).

After about 8 hours of gameplay, not including the amount of soft-resets I put myself through, I would have to say that this game is far away from the land of meh... and even the kingdom of bleh! In one word, I would have to describe this game thus far as fan-fucking-tastic!

Aquacorde Town is so shabby shic!

I feel a bit weird typing about this but hey, I want to be honest, so being the Pokemon OCD freak that I am, I cannot have a Pokemon living in a Pokeball that doesn't match in colour scheme. OK, so this is what my brain is thinking during the process of selecting my starter, "Fennikin is part fire, fire is red, the generic Pokeball is red and white, red red yep I'm going with Fennekin". I'm that crazy... So naturally I just had to start with the cute little Fennekin. If there were to be a green Pokeball for Chespin and a blue Pokeball for Froakie I think I would still choose Fennekin. It just looked super adorbs.

I named my Fennekin Sunny and... I soft reset till I had my desired nature blablablablaba. After completing the la-di-da intro battle bits and such, I started Super Training it - maxing out it's EV's in Special Attack and HP before it even stepped foot on a fresh piece of wild-battle grass. Positive aspects of Super Training is that it's super simple to EV train, introducing more casual players into the scene of raising elite Pokemon - whereas back in the other games it was so damn painful to EV train with only those with patience or obsessiveness or for battle needs stepping on that long dark lonesome road. And what about IV's? Well, that's just genetic, some Pokemon have to be goofier than others right? -- I just tell myself that so I don't cry myself to sleep at night for not having perfectly raised Pokemon.

The biggest obvious stand out in this game is the change of graphics. Dear Lord it is beautiful. It's such a step up from its previous Pokemon game. Especially the ability to change ones appearance. I can actually look like myself now, woohoo! I am also genuinely happy at the variety of Pokemon that can be found in this game. Like, Pokemon from each generation? It's madness! I could potentially have my perfect dreamt up Pokemon team in this one game! But so far... with a evolved Fennekin = Braixen at level 28, it's still the only Pokemon in my party. I threw my Kanto starter in the PC like it was trash. Sad face. I love you Charmander, I will see you again in the distant future! The biggest let down I find in this game so far is the lack of new gen Pokemon. I heard there's only about 70 of them. Say whut?! Nyawwww, I thought they'd have more but no but yeah but no. Maybe they're all hidden in some grassy null at the end of the game.

Parfum Palace looks like Buckingham Palace!
My first gym battle was way too easy. My fiery Braixen against a gym full of bug Pokemon was like lighting a tissue on fire. Now you see it, now you don't. I fired up a storm! Eheh eh...

So what of my future in Kalos region? I need a bloody panda bear Pokemon - that's what.

Here is a message for the Pancham I will catch:
"I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for a ransom, I can tell you I don't have poffins. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skill I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for Pokemon like you. If you let me catch you now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will catch you."

Taken anyone?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Review: Borderlands 2 Demake

If you're a Borderlands fan or an old school 16-bit fan or just love playing free flash games, then you must try this free-to-play Borderlands 2 Demake! And guess what? It doesn't have those disgusting pop-up ads covering your screen or must-buy-weapons-with-RL-money crap.

The control functions are simply great, arrow keys to move around and the space bar to shoot; even a 3 year old could play this game. The first thing was to select a character, and each character had different stats. I preferred using Axton as he had the best overall stats that worked well for my noob gaming-ness.

Borderlands 2 Demake character selection screen

The objective of the game was to shoot incoming enemies which looked like 16-bit psychos and skags which were pretty sweet, level up some and upgrade your weapons along the way. Actual gameplay I found was a bit stressful (but some-what in a good way).

One thing that pissed me off in the game was the random guns; any gun that has the word random in it. Do not pick up the random gun! I repeat, do not pick up the random gun, it will make you die! I picked one up, started shooting up some skags and the gun literally had bullets flying in random directions. What the feck? Made me run around like a chicken with no head and drop dead because I couldn't kill anything. The game developer probably just put it in there for shits n' giggles.

Upgrading weapons in Borderlands 2 Demake

So, would I play this game again? Yeah, if I was bored shitless at work or wanted to listen to some old school ear raping sound effects.

Lastly, click the link to play the Borderlands 2 Demake! http://www.wubwub.eu/demake.php

MY RATING: 3.5/5

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Problem with Nintendo 3DS Wireless

Last weekend, I discovered a problem with my Nintendo 3DS's wireless. 

Y U NO WORK 3DS WIRELESS??!

Here were its sickly symptoms:
  • I couldn't open the eShop, it would instead - freeze the whole console if I tried to close it
  • The internet browser wasn't working
  • Green wireless light was still flashing
  • It could still pick up wireless network connection points
  • StreetPass still works
I tried a few different methods to try and fix it. Re-entering my home network password, standing closer to the wireless router, turning the 3DS off an on, looking online for other solutions to fix the problem... nothing worked really. But I was convinced the wireless in the 3DS wasn't kaput. It was still green with life! The 3DS just wasn't connecting to the internet for some strange reason! 

My boyfriend suggested that I ring up Nintendo Support. As I was about to, I thought, what if... I just reboot the wireless router? Five minutes later. Success! I couldn't believe this fixed the problem. I found it just bizarre that I needed to do this to make the 3DS wireless work again. 

Oh technology, how you boggle my mind.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Review: The Walking Dead Social Game (Open Beta)

AMC series The Walking Dead has newly introduced their open beta staged game to Facebook. I am a fan of the TV series so I just had to test out this game to see if it's any good. Fingers crossed.

My characters FACE looks worried... AS IT SHOULD BE!
It is a Zombie Apocalypse after all.
The game starts off by allowing you to customize the appearance of your character. Customization wasn't too detailed... but that's probably because the game simply, does not need it. Just enough to get you feeling some-what attached to the character. Perfect.

The game is set in chapters and the chapters as well as the in-game characters, are related to the actual show. To progress through the game, certain missions given by the NPC's at base camp had to be carried out, such as "get more water supplies" or "check if the premises is clear" to progress through the game; and by progressing through the game, more money was earned, experience grew resulting in new levels, character skills upgraded and more random unknown people would join your camp to  help you in future missions.

The mission objectives is what makes The Walking Dead Social Game have its title for being a game. It allows you to run around (turn-based, player versus walker) collecting the desperately needed supplies or stab the guts out of an unwanted walker; which sometimes was your Facebook friend, for the LOLZ. Being a turn-based game, strategizing the shortest route and using the smallest amount of stamina... oh, don't get me started on the stamina; is vital, as stamina is the factor that allows you to even play the game further on - or not.

The Walking Dead Social Game: Chilling in base camp

The stamina bar was like the fuel to a car. If you didn't have any stamina left, you literally couldn't play the game anymore; unless you fork out more stamina energy drinks - with real money - or wait with real life time, to venture further into the game. Neither of which, I was happy to do. Stamina energy drinks could be given out as a gift by your Facebook friends but would be near to useless as it would only give 1 stamina increase. Bleh.

Weapons were mediocre in this game. To hit a zombie with a weapon, simply just press 'x' at the precise moment it swivels and turns red on their rotting body. I also found that guns are a no-no as it attracts a lot of unwanted walkers... So I stuck to my handy-dandy axe; but my axe kept breaking so I'd have to wait with real life time before it was mended again. On top of that, unfortunately like the stamina, lot of the weapon upgrades can only be bought with real life money. What a bummer but I guess, understandable in a way. Developers need to make money too, right?

Character skills were upgradable from time to time but it didn't make much of a huge difference really... however I advice you to put your stat increase to stamina so you can actually play the game for more than 2 minutes at a time. GOOD ONE (insert rage face meme here).

The music was um, like one song that I can recall... Nothing memorable at all here.

On a more positive note, with every successful mission you do, people in-game start finding their way to your camp. These random people can be used in a strategic way within a mission to help save your health and stamina! And the graphics and artwork are appealing to my eyes. I like its grungy style.

On a mission with a complimentary character. The Walking Dead Social Game.

Overall I feel like there's a lot more work that still needs to be done to the game - to make it more like a game. At the moment I get about 1-2 minutes of actually playing time out of it... and I would love to play for even longer because I like the whole idea of the game as well as it having some sort of positive potential - but the stamina regenerating situation is just a bit off-putting for me. I don't like spending money on Social Facebook games, so you'll really need to grab a good one out of your bag of tricks for my 2 cents. Just my opinion.

Here are things I suggest for its improvements:
  • Instead of pressing 'x' to kill a zombie, maybe use a combination of keys to make it more challenging; even on expert mode it's still a little too dull.
  • Come up with another way of regenerating stamina! Spending money on a game like this will not tickle everyone's pickle. And waiting for stamina regeneration for ages to play only 2 minutes of The Walking Dead? It's simply painful. Maybe watch more 'advertisements' - like the get-more-ammo concept you already have in place?
  • You need more creepier sounds effects. I should be shaking in my seat ready to piss myself when the DANGER sign awakens.
  • Walking around base-camp shouldn't use up stamina at ALL.
  • K, I understand the real life money for better weapons deal, but I'm hoping there is armor included in the Inventory > Items section once that's released because losing the recruited people is very sad and makes me want to cry go punch my pillow.
RATING: 2/5

*Note: I am only reviewing the Open Beta version of The Walking Dead Social Game so the actual proper release of this game may change drastically, resulting in this review to be utterly useless.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mutant Mudds Demo

When sifting through the demos in the Nintendo eShop, I came across this adorable little platformer called Mutant Mudds. From the screenshots shown in this post, you can see that it has a sorta; cute retro feel about it. It's a generic platform game, no doubt about it, but the way it's played and how the controls are designed and handled; you could say, Mutant Mudds was built perfectly for the 3DS.

This game - even though a demo, was one of the first games I've played that was better off being played with the 3D turned on. Better with 3D turned on?! Chaotic! Yep, this shocked me too. 

Mutant Mudds Demo
The game consisted of the usual platform normality to it... but also contained a foreground platform and a background platform you could jump across to! 3D being turned on (for once), really helped on distinguishing the placements of the monsters and the different platforms. If the monsters were right in front of you - you can blast them away with your bubble looking gun or jet-pack your way over them, but if in the background or foreground then, they were not to be worried about.

On each level you start off with 2 extra lives. It actually shows 3 hearts... but you die if you lose the 3rd heart life - so that's freaking weird. And... the game has a time limit to make it extra more challenging. The perfect amount of challenging-ness in my opinion. On the fourth level, I learnt to not collect all of the diamond looking points because there was simply not enough time to collect them all and stuff around on the annoying disappearing yet reappearing platforms.

Waving in Mutant Mudds

The Mutant Mudds soundtrack from what I've heard so far is just pure bliss! Great melodic tunes and not too over the top. Old school gaming music makes me a little moist in the pants, LMAO! Besides that, it costs about $13.50 AUS so it a little bit pricey for an eShop game but... It's a great game! So I think I just have to buy it. I'm hoping the full game contains a gazillion more levels, more fantastic music and more awesome mutant surprises.

A great demo I say!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mario Kart 7 Winning Guide

In this post, I'm going to try and write a type of guide on things you can do to come first in Mario Kart 7 (MK7, no I am not referring to Mortal Kombat 7). I'm no pro at this game; just an everyday player, that managed to get the three stars next to my name, so don't get all rage face on me if you've read this and are still losing. You simply just need to practice more or - settle on being a gaming noob in general. Jks.

Drifting
Firstly, I'm new to the "Mario Kart" saga and I've notice that drifting or um, power-sliding around a corner in-game can sometimes be difficult and be a pain in the butt hole if you have bad handling. Drifting however, is something you really really need in Mario Kart and need in nearly every other racing game. It gives you boost - which can lead you to victory. Drifting in MK7 I've noticed, can takes you far wide. On a regular noob occasion, you drift, and end up sliding out far too wide and off the track. It sucks bad. What you need to try and do is give yourself enough space to let a fart drift out. If you try to drift and don't think you have enough track or feel like you're going to hit a wall, then simply don't drift, just steer normally. Hitting a wall or falling off a track is worse than not having boost after a drift. Remember, if you can let an occasional drift out and succeed in doing so, you will pwn over others.

  1. Drift for 3-ish seconds (till exhaust sparks blue) and you will get a small-ass boost.
  2. Drift for about 6-ish seconds (till blue exhaust sparks red) and you will get a slightly bigger boost.

Jump Boosting
I say, do it at every jump possible. Every ledge, every small ramp, every boost ramp thingy or whatever it's called - just do it. But before you do it, make sure you're facing the right way, because sometimes it's hard to control yourself in mid-air without a glider, epecially on the Rainbow Road track (that track sucks balls). To boost after a jump, simply press R-button quickly straight after the jump. It really helps. Really.

Coins
Collect the damn coins when you can but leave them if you feel like you're going to crash into a wall doing so. Collecting coins can increase your base-speed and help you un-lock kart mods and characters to use in-game. It's a win win.

Items
Make sure to always drive through the item boxes. And if you feel adventurous enough, knock out 2 item boxes at the same time, so the opponents behind you get squat. Every item is important; shrooms to boost, the weird looking squirrel tail to knock out opponents as well as hitting unwanted shells (excluding blue shell) away, bananas to slow your opponents down and a silly little green turtle shell. Even if you're in first place; you can shoot the green shell back in-case there's a red turtle shell heading your way. And so on.

Snake
When I first played MK7 online, I was wondering what the eff people were doing when they kept drifting left to right to left to right. I soon discovered they were snaking (which is just constant drifting from left to right). Yes, snaking can benefit you by getting boost, but I personally believe it's not that beneficial at all. Bumping into things, falling off tracks and getting hit by other players and their annoying items are hard enough. Let's just stick to drifting corners when required.

Glitches
If you feel like being a total ass to other players, for the sake of winning, feel free to use MK7 glitches to your advantage, and yes, I'm talking about the Wuhu Mountain Loop glitch.

Shortcuts
Ok, so now I'm not referring to the shortcut glitches in the game, I'm referring to the legitimate ramps in the middle of the grassy nulls or the path that randomly veers off to the side.

I personally didn't use these shortcuts often, usually because the kart I'd choose to race with would be shit in a shortcut circumstance; plus it would only save you a second or two which didn't really bother me. However, if you feel the need to take a shortcut, go right ahead, or left - whichever way it goes.

Character & Kart Statistics
Choosing your character and kart mods will totally depended on your driving style. It'll take a few races and modifications of character/kart selections to properly figure out your true driving nature.

I used to think it was all about the speed, however selecting a speed character meant slower acceleration and un-easy handling. I was struggling to win any 150cc races - due to getting hit by items and or crashing into walls frequently, so I tried a character and kart with better acceleration and handling. To my surprise, these stats were perfect for me. I was able to come first in 150cc races 80% of the time. In my personal opinion, acceleration triumphs over speed.

Map Screen
Eyeball the map screen like your eye-balling some hot bikini babe. Simply just, glance occasionally at it to see if the opponents behind you have little nasty nuggets for you like a blue shell up their sleeve. Then plan your strategy to avoid it accordingly.

Time Trial
Rainbow Road was a track that I struggled on. Sometimes it wasn't worth going through the whole Cup Tournament knowing I'd fail on one particular track. So what I'd do is, perrrfect.. racing the track through Time Trialling. Practice makes perfect right?

Driving
Last but not least is the way you drive in Mario Kart 7. Run over every boost pad, take every short cut possible, boost over jumps - just boost in general... Avoid grassy sections if your kart is built for on-road only, drift around corners narrowly, avoid touching other karts if your kart is weak. Common knowledge stuff. All in all, good luck!

Some of the stuff I've written above may be a little wrong but all the stuff I've written above is from my own personal experience, I hope it helps! If you have any more great tips in beating Mario Kart 7, feel free to post them in the comments.