Shane: One eventful week at a USQ Res School

USQ blogger ShaneShane studies a Bachelor of Engineering externally with USQ. He’s a proud father and lives in the mining town of Mt Isa in northwest Queensland.


Attending a Residential School was my introduction to the bricks and mortar of USQ, having never set foot on campus before in my whole time as a student. It was a big experience and interesting to say the least.

As part of studying my engineering degree online, I was required to complete Res Schools on-campus to meet the practical requirements of my courses. My first week-long res school was at USQ’s Toowoomba campus and held during September. Through the whole process of enrolling to attend and getting prepared to go I didn’t really consider what the weather might be like. However, coming from the dusty, hot mining town of Mt Isa in northwest Queensland to Toowoomba in what I refuse to call spring (due to the extremely ‘winter-y’ temperatures) was one mighty shock to the system!

First thing’s first—the place is huge! I had to go for a walk around campus the day before we started just so I knew I’d be able to find the lecture room for the next morning. My experience was made all the more interesting by my discovery that I’d left all my stationary, books and subject information 2,000 kilometres away in my study room in Mt Isa!

This leads me to my second notable discovery during Res School: the campus stores. The on-campus Post Office was a lifesaver that first morning, with some very handy pens and pencils, and an extremely stylish kangaroo pencil case! And The Hub coffee shop in the Refectory was a lifesaver every single morning that week! Of course there are many stores and facilities on campus, so I won’t bore you by naming all of them, but I just need to reiterate… The Hub is your friend.

The college rooms are great: a little home away from home, uni-style. I even found a handy timeline on the wall behind the door in my room detailing who had stayed there going all the way back to the 80s! I didn’t add to the graffiti on the wall (I swear!) but I was impressed by the age of it all the same. Given my other uni commitments during the res school week, it was great to have a little place to call my own where I could continue studying for my other subjects as well.

Another great part about the Res School week was the fact that I managed to meet some of the people I’d been speaking to online through the USQ social media groups and even in group work subjects themselves. It was awesome to meet some really cool people and put faces to the names I’d been speaking with over the last year and a half. It was a good reminder that those ‘names’ I’d typed messages to were real people, balancing work with a family and study just like I was.

This is one of the things that makes being a USQ student so great. Sure, you get the opportunity to learn some pretty awesome stuff and gain a degree that you’ll use for the rest of your life (definitely not trying to undersell that!), but you’ll also meet a lot of awesome people over the years who are all trying to achieve the same goal and are all enduring the same struggles, such as trying to find the ever-elusive work-study-personal life balance that all us off-campus students strive for.

While it wasn’t without its surprises, I really enjoyed my time on-campus at Toowoomba and hope to have the same experience at all my Res Schools in future.

If you’re heading to campus for some hands-on learning, take the time to get prepared (remember your stationary!) and make the most of your Res School experience!


Related:

How to make the most of your USQ residential school experience

An online student's guide to an on-campus experience

Shane: 4 tips for tackling study as new dad