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To share or not to share

Posted on Nov 26 by

Image credit Duncan C Flickr

Moving out can be a crazy time. It’s not just about physically packing up your gear and transferring it to another (sometimes very far) building, but also about majorly readjusting to your life of independence. Even if you have already lived out of home, moving house can mean adjusting to new suburbs, figuring out how everything works…..and then there is the issue of who to live with.

When I finished year 12, I needed to make some decisions. Regardless of what I was planning on doing, all my options involved moving out of home due to the fact that I’m from a rural area. Once I decided to go to university, the next issue was figuring out where to live. Real estate agents, finding housemates, – so many issues. Each housing type has its advantages and disadvantages – while not all are listed here, this list may just give you a couple of ideas that I found I needed to consider when trying to sort out my accommodation (as compiled from a number of sources over the years):
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House Rules

Posted on Nov 26 by

Image by Brian Smith at Flickr CC

I am almost positive that at least once throughout your student life you will get to experience living with housemates.

Before moving the States I had been sharing with some friends of mine from high school and things weren’t too bad, yes we had our ups and downs but we made it work. This year however I found myself picked up and prodded into provided housing that included two complete strangers that I would now call my roomies. To be honest, at first the thought kind of worried me, I mean moving into an apartment with two people I don’t even know half way across the world? I don’t know about you but that didn’t sound very warm and inviting to me when I first discovered that the housing here was shared. But after second thought it was comforting to know that they were international students just like me and were probably having the same worries. There was only one thing left to do, and that was to meet them!

So I arrived a couple of months ago, and met the two girls that I would be sharing with. Both the same age as me and both from New Zealand. At first everything seemed to be fine but after a few weeks things started to get a little unorganised. One housemate was more than happy to help out with chores, engage in conversation and was always polite, while the other barely talked, was happy to leave her dishes out and had very little common courtesy when it came to noise levels when the rest of us were trying to sleep. Awkward much? I mean, the last thing you want is to be coming home from a long day at work and have tension in your household. It sucks!
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How to Survive a Break Up

Posted on Nov 24 by

In today’s post, our blogger Sara giving some advice from the heart and experience about how to survive a break up.

Image by missteee at Flickr

Unfortunately, most of us will experience an emotional relationship break up in our late teens or early adulthood. The good news is, you will get through it. The bad news is, it won’t happen overnight. After experiencing a couple of these emotionally painful break ups, and watching my friends (male and female) go through the same, I have decided to share with you our mistakes and the things that helped us to move on.

1. Accept that time will be the only true cure.
It’s better to accept that you are going to feel down for some time than it is to fight it and try to create false happiness. The sooner you let yourself grieve for the relationship that you have lost, the sooner you will start to feel better.
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The Gift of You

Posted on Nov 19 by

Something I have learnt lately is that you never really discover who you are until you are completely removed from the comfort of home and placed in an entirely new reality. For the past four months I have been living in the United States and working for one of the most prestigious companies in the world: The Walt Disney Company.

Early last year if you asked me what I planned to do in the next year, never would I have answered being a performer half way around the globe, but yet here I am in Florida surprising myself every single day. Let me tell you now, picking up my entire life and moving it half way around the globe was not an easy thing to do. I left behind my family, friends, my job and my studies, to take a chance one a once in a lifetime opportunity to become part of an entirely new culture. And if any experience has helped me clarify what I want for my future, it has been this adventure.
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Self respect and setting boundaries in friendships

Posted on Oct 22 by

Ang's talking box!I think the only time parents and other adults used to talk to me about self-respect when I was younger was when the word ‘sex’ was introduced into conversation, or even ‘ relationships’. For that reason, I always thought that self-respect and setting boundaries were only something you did when you were a bit older – a bit more experienced in the world of relationships.

Well, if you share this view, I’m here to tell you that it’s just a little wrong. Okay, a lot wrong. Self-respect definitely doesn’t just come into things when you reach sexual maturity, and setting boundaries are things that you do not just in romantic relationships, but with friends, with your family, and with strangers. And they’re kind of all tied up in the same general thing – self-love.

When you respect yourself, you are just a short step away from showing yourself compassion and love. And when you love yourself, you show that by setting boundaries.
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The Kinsey Scale

Posted on Oct 13 by

Image by John A. Mozzer @flickr

Did you know that sexual orientation doesn’t fall neatly into the categories of “gay” or “straight”? Sexual orientation (that is, the gender that a person is attracted to) is often conveniently thought of in binary: you’re either one or the other. You either like boys or you like girls, and depending on which one you like, it means you’re either heterosexual or homosexual. In actuality, there are many different ways that you can classify sexual attraction: there’s bisexuality, pansexuality and asexuality,  just to name a few. But for the purposes of this blog post, I want to talk about the two most common forms of sexual orientation: heterosexuality and homosexuality. And for simplicity’s sake, I’m also going to make the generalisation that people either identify as male or female (although in reality there are a large number of people that don’t identify with either of these labels).

Alfred Kinsey is widely considered the grandfather of modern sexology. He had some pretty radical ideas which are well summarised in the excellent film Kinsey (2004), starring Liam Neeson. For me, the most valuable idea that Kinsey put forward was the idea that human beings are not exclusively homosexual or heterosexual. That is to say, he rejected the idea that you are one or the other. Instead he proposed that there is a scale, ranging from 0 (Entirely heterosexual) to 6 (entirely homosexual), and that most people are somewhere in the middle.
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Voluntourism

Posted on Oct 01 by

Image credit Paul-W @ Flickr

When I was originally asked to write a blog on my experiences in going to Uganda, Africa, for a short-term missions project, I started writing about organising flights, raising money and the like. After I couldn’t find the right things to say, I left it temporarily – and in the meantime, have had my perspective on overseas missions completely shaken.

I don’t know how many of you have ever heard of the term ‘voluntourism’. It refers to the positive intentions of untrained ‘do-gooders’ from Western society who travel to developing countries to join short term mission projects, but instead end up doing things that would be more cost-effective and beneficial if the money was simply donated to locals to complete the same task themself. When I first read this article on voluntourism, I was offended – all I ever wanted to do was help people, and now I was the bad guy? Was I really just spending a whole lot of money on something that wasn’t really benefiting the community in order to uphold a ‘white saviour mentality?’ This just didn’t add up, and this resulted in much debate with colleagues and friends regarding the role of us as Westerns in society.
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100 Happy Days Challenge

Posted on Sep 24 by

The breathtaking view from an unexpected walk

In this post our blogger, Xin, tells us about undertaking the 100 Happy Days Challenge.

A little while ago I completed the 100 Happy Days Challenge. The idea of the challenge was to post a picture of something that made you happy to social media, or if you didn’t want to publicise it you could email it to the Foundation privately. “Cool idea,” I thought, “But not really something I’m interested in.”

Then I opened the website and the first thing it said was “Can you be happy for 100 days in a row? You don’t have time for this, right?”

And they were right on the money. Somewhere deep down, my attitude was reflecting the idea that I had more important things to do than express happiness. In a way, I was saying I was “too busy to be happy”. How crazy is that, right? I mean, if you can’t be happy now, when can you be? Sometimes no matter what’s going on in life, we just have to take a moment to smell the roses. (Especially when we think we’re too busy.

I decided to post my photos on Facebook, using my phone to take the photo and uploading it with the hashtag #100happydays. I was really excited to do it, and I made the resolution to take photos of both objects and experiences that brought me joy in every day life. It did get a little uninspiring after I’d been doing it for a while, but I’d made a public commitment so I kept up with it. And do you know what I learned?
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Addiction to Online Gaming

Posted on Sep 15 by

Image by Peter the Repeater @ Flickr

Xin gets us thinking about addiction in this blog, and when a passion has started to negatively impact on our lives.

In 2003, I started playing an MMORPG called RuneScape. In case you’re not familiar, MMORPG stands for Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. This is a game where a large number of people can go online and play together, often in a fantasy/adventure setting. World of Warcraft (WoW) is probably the most famous of them, but there are plenty of other ones out there at the moment.

As I was saying, I played RuneScape quite a bit in 2003 when online gaming was just starting to flourish. I enjoyed it so much that I played it at every spare moment of the day, and often in moments that weren’t spare at all. I’d log on to kill greater demons for 20 minutes after breakfast, or set my alarm for 3am so that I didn’t have to share the computer with my brother. In one instance when one of my friends was having a bad day, I chose to stay home from school and go questing with her to cheer her up. I poured hours and hours of my life into the game, and almost as much into the clan (community of players) I was part of, posting on the forums and trying to maintain dozens of friendships. Eventually I couldn’t keep it up, and I finally realised what I had long suspected: that I was addicted to RuneScape.
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Image Expectations

Posted on Jul 31 by

With Fresh Faced Friday coming up on the 5th September, Bethwyn gets us thinking about image expectations, both the ones we place on ourselves, and ones people place upon us.

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You're one of a kind - that's a good thing. Image Credit: net_efekt @Flickr

During the end of Primary School, and all of High School, I convinced myself that I was ‘average-looking’. This may not sound too bad, but, for me, being ‘average’ was absolutely awful. It was a truly awful word that I hated, and yet I used it often to describe myself.

The thing was, I was surrounded by friends – both male and female (mostly female) that I considered more attractive than myself – and quite a few of them were smarter than me, as well. At the time, I felt like you were either beautiful/attractive, or you were smart. There were a few that had both, and a few that had neither. I felt like I was in limbo – not quite anything. It wasn’t pleasant, to say the least.
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Yep, you’re smokin today

Posted on Jul 31 by

Friday 5th Sept is Fresh Faced Friday where you are invited to ‘tear up’ talk about negative body image and help everyone realise it’s okay to love their bodies! In celebration of this, this blog is about a time I looked in the mirror and recognised myself as a beautiful person. I hope that by talking about it, more people come to recognise that it’s okay to feel good about who they are and the way they look, ’cause baby let me tell you: you look smokin’ today.

So a little while ago I had just finished a morning exercise class where I had gotten up at ungodly time of 5:15am to run and pull and jump and swing. I had worked really hard that morning, pushing myself until I was glistening with sweat, yet smiling in my heart for how healthy I felt. I got back to my girlfriend’s place and jumped in the (cold shower, and when I got out to dry myself, I was caught aback by my reflection. In all humility, I had never seen myself look so beautiful in all my life. I stood there for a long moment, amazed at how young and fit and healthy I was.
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