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Resilience in Law

Failure. A seven letter word which holds the power to overshadow our achievements and nullify any progress. A word so significant that it may leave a lingering, overwhelming, anxious feeling which can lead to self-doubt and deter one from achieving their ambitions. From this outlook, failure has the potential to alter and reverse every positive effort into a negative outcome.

However, the consequences of failure can change by simply shifting our perspective.

Let me elaborate…

Law school can seem like a daunting place amidst the numerous assignments, coffee runs, countless readings, law competitions and work. You may be constantly surrounded by peers who are juggling numerous extra-curricular commitments with work, or who are seemingly excelling in both their personal and professional lives. Consequently, we may fall victim to comparison and measure our success by other people’s achievements, because we expect to have the same experiences and accomplishments. Shakespeare wisely noted that “Expectation is the root of all heartache.”

In the moment you feel defeated by a job rejection, disappointed by a mark, betrayed by a friend or disillusioned with any other aspect of life, it may be difficult to see a path forward. Sometimes we may also lose sight of the fact that everyone fights a hard battle, and may struggle in some way. Some directly express how they feel, whilst others will mask their concerns.

But, how can we be resilient?

Daily reminder: never doubt yourself or your potential. You are unique and amazing, no one else could be you.

Rather than focusing on other people’s lives and accomplishments, utilise that time by focusing on your life, work towards realising your full capability and engaging in experiences which will enhance your personal growth. Positive thinking and actions can have a transformative effect. Some helpful strategies I’d recommend are:

  1. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support, whether that may be a friend, family member or counsellor – there are many people who are here for you and happy to help.
  2. Surround yourself with people who are encouraging and supportive of your goals and ambitions.
  3. Write out a plan of attack which may detail what actions or experiences you seek to achieve
  4. If you have a big goal, work towards achieving it through breaking it down into smaller more manageable tasks.
  5. Reward yourself along the way – this could be a sweet treat or night out with friends, you always deserve a break and taking time for yourself.

There is no right solution but rather shifting your perspective to realise your potential is the best way to move forward. At this semester’s UTS LSS Smile Week we will be running a Resilience in Law session with speakers from UTS counselling, representatives of the Law Student’s Society and UTS Batyr. Come along to CB05C.01.020 next Tuesday 27th September at 5:30pm for some light refreshments and engaging discussion on such an important issue. Find out more details of the event here.

Emotional Intelligence: is it more important than IQ?

Our Student Wellbeing Advisory Group (SWAG) member and ongoing Wellbeing Blog contributor, Chanelle Nader writes…

The Two Aspects

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) embraces two fundamental aspects:

  • The ability to understand and be aware of your own emotions, goals, intentions and behaviour
  • The ability to understand people, their underlying motivations and how to work cooperatively with them.

The Five Key Areas

EQ was coined by Daniel Goleman in 1995 based on previous works developed in the late 1970’s and 1980’s by psychologists Howard Gardner, Peter Salovey and John Mayer. Daniel Goleman identified five important categories that encompass both personal and social competencies of EQ. These are:

  1. Knowing your emotions.
  2. Managing your own emotions.
  3. Motivating yourself.
  4. Recognising and understanding other people’s emotions.
  5. Managing relationships.

Why Does it Matter?

Developing the skills attached to EQ such as empathy, active listening, effective communication and resilience are fundamental in forming connections with others and how we connect with ourselves. Our EQ is influenced through our early childhood experiences and genetics however it is a life skill that we are able to continuously learn and improve.

Your Intelligence Quotient (IQ) determines the cognitive abilities of a person to learn, form concepts, understand and reason. Throughout uni we are repeatedly being tested on this in the form of assignments or exams. So where does EQ fit in? It enables us to effectively manage the stress and emotions we feel during exam week, work collaboratively within a team for a project or sport or listening to the concerns of a friend during a difficult time.

When it comes to happiness and success in our relationships, goals and careers, EQ is a skill that is worthwhile investing time and patience into building.

TED Talks on EQ

For further information on understanding what EQ is all about, check out these brilliant TED Talks!

  1. On Vulnerability
  2. On Compassion
  3. On Disagreement
  4. On Listening

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References: increase-your-emotional-intelligence-6-essentials


Stuvac Getaways

Our UTS LSS Student Wellbeing Advisory Group member and ongoing contributor for the UTS LSS Wellbeing blog, Karla Hart writes…

Half way through semester and with exams on the horizon, it’s important to take a break from the books to rest and recollect. While many of us find it hard to fit breaks into our busy lives, a quick getaway can provide the perfect escape to reenergise ourselves for the weeks ahead.

Some students may have a fabulous holiday already booked, but for those who can only spare one or two days off, the following Sydney getaways are sure to inspire and delight.

Day trips:

The Bondi to Coogee walk

For a few hours of spectacular views, head over to Bondi for the Bondi to Coogee walk. Alone or with a friend, enjoy some fresh air and exercise, reminding yourself of all the time you’ll have to spend at the beach in November!  The walk is 6km one way, with plenty of delicious cafes and a beautiful beach to relax on at the end.

The Royal National Park

45 minutes south of Sydney, the Royal National Park is a serene natural paradise. With stunning natural beaches and many beautiful bush walks, it is the ultimate urban escape. If you’re not up for a walk, take your fishing rod or book for the day. If you keep an eye on the sea you may even spot a whale! Try to plan ahead and take some barbeque supplies because there are many great barbeque facilities in spectacular locations.

Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden

This beautiful garden is the perfect place to take a picnic and book to relax. Only a 5 minute walk from Milson’s Point train station, the gardens have a range of sitting areas where you can relax after wandering the beautiful garden path. There are some lovely secluded and private sitting areas if you really want to escape from the world. With some of the greatest harbour and city views, you won’t believe how peaceful and detached the gardens feel from the rush of daily life.

One or two night trips:
Leura and Katoomba

Leura and Katoomba are beautiful Blue Mountains destinations to visit for a few days. Get your blood flowing on one of the many Blue Mountains bush walks, many of which can be accessed from Leura and Katoomba. If you’re not up for walking but love to be immersed in nature, enjoy the stunning views available in many locations or visit Scenic World where you can ride the railway or cableway down into one of the valleys. Stroll Leura Mall’s boutique shops for unique finds and have fun discovering food that gives Sydney a run for its money.

The Central Coast

For a sea change beyond your local beaches, head up to the Central Coast to relish some sunny days of relaxation. Terrigal and Avoca are popular destinations frequented by friendly locals. There are plenty of restaurants which cater to student budgets. The popular Terrigal Beer Garden has a great atmosphere on weekend nights.

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Our UTS LSS Student Wellbeing Advisory Group member and ongoing Wellbeing blog contributor, Diana Semaan writes…

‘Staying connected and having meaningful conversations is something we can all do. You don’t need to be an expert – just a good mate and a great listener. So if you know someone who might be struggling – start a conversation’ – Gavin Larkin

In the summer of 1995, the Larkin family were devastated by the loss of their father Barry. As with all suicides, Barry’s loss created a whirlwind of grief for friends and family and countless questions that could never be answered.

In 2009, his son Gavin Larkin chose to honour his fathers’ memory by promoting the one question we can always ask. ‘Are you OK?’

Joining forces with Janina Nearn to create a documentary, Gavin endeavoured to change the way Australians ask this question. True to form, a documentary wasn’t enough! Gavin endeavoured to generate the national campaign we celebrate today to acknowledge the power that simple conversation can have in saving lives. Gavin continued work on his legacy until his own unfortunate passing from cancer in 2011.

Why does the question matter?

We see the discussion of mental health and illness around us everywhere. Often it is in the form of discussions around budgets and resource shortages. But of all the ways in which we can attempt to achieve support in the world around us, taking the time to start a conversation is always the primary step. It can be done by anyone and it costs nothing more than a moments thought for the people we care about.

How can we ask the question?

We all know that one person who pats you on the back from afar with a broom handle when life gets you down. Everybody handles their personal struggles differently; likewise, everyone offers their help in their own way. RuOK offers a few helpful tips on taking a few simple steps in the right direction.

  1. Trust your gut instinct

Maybe something about the way your friend has been acting is not usual for them. Perhaps they seem out of sorts to you? You’re a friend; by starting a conversation about the changes you have noticed you may encourage them to open up. Even if you don’t think you’re seeing results, you help them feel like someone cares enough to ask.

  1. Getting ready to ask

Although seemingly trivial, the method of delivery in asking someone if they are okay may determine what happens next. Everyone who wants to have this discussion needs to stop and ask themselves a few things. Am I in a good headspace? Am I actually willing to listen to what might be said? Can I make time for a proper long discussion if necessary?

Further more, you may need to prepare yourself for the outcome. The person on the receiving end may deny any observations made, may refuse to address the matter, or may not want to talk to you about it. Don’t take this personally, if you’re a friend or family member you will most likely have the intuition that goes with preparation. Maybe they may also need to speak to someone else, maybe they just need a moment to take it all in!

Lastly, whilst it seems like every social event a student could have provides you the Dutch courage you need to spill your guts, there is a time and place for the serious conversations. There is a lot you can do to make a loved one comfortable and help them feel supported. Have you checked whether or not it is a good time to chat? Have you chosen a time when you are alone and they are not occupied? Have you chosen a quiet place?

  1. Having the conversation

Whilst it may be a mere assumption that you get along with this person most days, approach the subject the way you would on your best day. Ask them how things are going, what they have been up to. In appropriate opportunities, bring up what is concerning you about them lately …

‘You seem less chatty than usual … how are things going?’

More often than is expected, a person may shut down, pull back or become defensive. They may not want to talk about it. Again don’t take this personally; avoid confrontation and ask if there is anyone else they would prefer to talk to. Maybe ask if they are free to talk later?

If they are willing to talk, allow them to control the conversation, ask them to explain things if they provide vague answers about how they may be feeling. Respond often to acknowledge that you’re listening, and try your best not to interrupt or rush things.

I have asked RUoK. What else can I do to help?

Ask more questions RuOK is the first question amongst many. Try asking your loved one what they have done in the past to handle challenging moments. Allow them to lead the discussion in taking action. Try and bring up what they do to relax, what you do, what works and what doesn’t.

Professional and Community services Encouraging a loved one to seek professional help is always useful, you cannot expect to understand and grasp everything that can be happening in a single conversation. Seeking one of many available professionals, outreach programs and initiatives may just be what they need. Remember you’re where the help starts, not where it ends!

Check in regularly Checking in on your loved one regularly and in a positive manner always helps them feel less isolated. Even a quick catch up over the phone or coffee once a week could make all the difference in the world!

RuOK? and batyr

Amongst many initiatives available to students in particular is the unique initiative of the batyr Association. Founded by Sebastian Robertson in 2011, batyr has become a national initiative focusing on preventative education in the area of youth mental health. Not only does this provide opportunities for young people to receive training in sharing their experience in their community, it provides the actual opportunity for such stories to be heard. Conducting programs to educate, empower and engage students from the experience of others, batyr endeavours to make discussion of mental health our norm.

The unfortunate reality in Australia is that students experience high rates of mental ill health. While we may live in a less than perfect system to accommodate the needs for mental wellness, we possess the capacity to take the first step for ourselves and for others. The stories of RuOK, Batyr and other initiatives have their own origin stories, but all share the same message.

It starts with a conversation!

A photo by Julia Caesar.

Navigating your Mental Wellbeing

Our UTS LSS Brennan Program Director and UTS LSS Student Wellbeing Blog contributor, Alice Zhang writes…

Mental illness is something that’s very prevalent in Australia, yet we often forget that mental illness cannot be switched off while you work, study, etc. Here’s some tips and resources to help navigate tricky emotions and symptoms while in law school.

Background Noise

Setting up some background noise can help increase productivity and also help with insomnia.

Keep putting off studying?

Procrastination is just a way of coping with anxiety or stress about the task you are trying to achieve. Try and take a small break and revisit the idea of the task, or break the task down to make it much more accessible and seem less scary.

  • Go for a walk
  • Make a to-do list with small achievable goals
  • Set a very small goal to get started
  • Get the supplies you need
  • Turn off your phone and close any social media
  • BoosterBuddy Phone App
    • Help your buddy by helping yourself! This app is particularly good for mental illness. On bad days you can select what you are struggling with and the app will give you small tasks to help you feel accomplished and get you out of bed or motivated.

Trying some slightly more creative study methods than just reading can help your memory and learning while making study a little more fun. Things to try:

  • Mind maps
  • Flashcards
  • Colour coded highlighting i.e. titles, terminology, definitions
    • Also helps you see how the piece is structured
  • Try different styles of handwriting
  • Pretend to teach
  • Spend a bit of time before and after class reviewing the material, and in a week, and a month review it again to refresh your memory

Distract Yourself

If you’re feeling like your anxious or negative thoughts are snowballing, try distracting yourself for a bit with some relaxing activities:

Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness is a great way to curb unhelpful habits or ways of thinking! Try these free mindfulness and meditation apps:

  • Smiling mind
  • Stop, breathe, think
  • Digipill

Feeling low?

  • Compliment generator (refresh for more compliments:
  • The Dawn Room:
    • Be comforted by kind messages while the night sky turns into dawn
  • Interrupt your negative thoughts and try to bring it back to the task in front of you
  • Remember that you are your own parent – speak to yourself and take care of yourself like you would your child!

Remember to seek professional help when it all gets a bit much to handle on your own! There are great services around such as headspace and Kids Helpline which are specifically targeted for young people under 25, Lifeline, the UTS Counselling service as well as bulk billing private psychologists that you can visit for free with a referral from your GP under the Mental Health Scheme (10 sessions) or ATAPS (12 sessions).


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Protein Charged Breakfast

Being a student, we bet you’re often rushed for time in the morning. Come the weekend though, say hello to indulgent homemade brekkie. It’s just the best way to start the day. Sipping on a nice cup of tea or coffee, it gives you the perfect opportunity to have a nice chat with your family and friends, read your favourite magazine/book, catch up on the news, or just take time to relax.

Here’s a simple, classic bacon and egg breakfast idea with an added little touch to it. And for those who are not a fan of bacon, we have you covered with a classic yogurt and muesli recipe.

Let’s be real, you’ll definitely find the time to make a nice breakfast now.

Option 1: Good Old Bacon and Eggs

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  • Bacon (make sure it is free range).
  • Eggs
  • Mixed nuts to sprinkle on top (e.g. pepitas, cashews, almonds, etc.)
  • Baby tomatoes


  • Start by cooking your bacon on a high temperature. The trick is to flick it often.
  • Cut the baby tomatoes in half while the bacon is cooking.
  • Once the bacon is ready, cook up your eggs (should take about 3 minutes)
  • You can also cook your tomatoes at the same time as the eggs or you can have them raw, whichever option you prefer.
  • Once the eggs are ready, plate up! Sprinkle some nuts on top of it all for some added crunch and protein.

Option 2: Yogurt with Muesli and Fruit

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  • Natural yogurt
  • Fresh fruit (e.g. strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, banana, mango, etc.)
  • Toasted muesli (for our homemade toasted muesli recipe, click here)
  • Honey (optional)
  • Nuts (optional)


  • Cut up the fresh fruit.
  • Scoop out some natural yogurt into a bowl.
  • Sprinkle your toasted muesli, fruit and a few nuts on top.
  • If needed, you can drizzle honey on top of it all. Most muesli is actually quite sweet to begin with so you probably won’t need any added sweetness but it’s always an option!
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5 Fitness Apps to Get Motivated

Our Student Wellbeing Advisory Group (SWAG) member and UTS LSS Wellbeing Blog contributor, Chanelle Nader writes…

We all know how important it is to incorporate exercise into our daily routines but if you’re anything like me sometimes the closest I get to exercising is double-tapping a fitness post on Instagram.

So if you’re in need of a little nudge or inspiration for your workouts look no further because here are some great fitness apps to get you started. The best features of these apps are most of them are FREE, interactive and fun (yes, I do know the definition of the word).

 CScreen Shot 2016-08-17 at 3.54.39 PMouch Potato to Running 5K

Train over 8 weeks from Couch Potato to finishing a 5k
m run using interactive alerts and audio commands. You can also sync the app to your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.


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Nike + Training Club

Pick from over hundreds of different workouts for every fitness level from Nike trainers and famous athletes.


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Get amongst the fitfam community on this app which allows you to discover fitness topics, share progress photos and upload meal ideas. It also has great workout routines and lets you create your own workout.


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Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 3.53.51 PMMap My Run

This GPS Running and Workout Tracker gives you feedback and stats to improve your performance and personal best.


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Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 4.17.36 PMSweat With Kayla

The popular Kayla Itsines’s Bikini Body Guide is now in an app form which is highly interactive and quick to complete with 28 minute workouts.

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Beauty of a gram

Can your surroundings affect your mind and body?

This semester, the UTS LSS Student Wellbeing Blog would like to bring attention to how your surrounding, including how you use social media, can affect your mind and body. Our aim is to help you find balance and ground yourself.

To kick things off, our contributor Camille Maciejowski has written about the book Beauty of a Gram by P.Kern to open the door to this rather ‘difficult to talk about’ topic.

Now before we get stuck in, have a read of the following questions:

  • Do you ever scroll through your Instagram aspiring to be or look like some of the people you see?
  • Have you ever made comparisons between how you look and how others look based on what you see on the internet?
  • Do you sometimes feel like you’re numbing your brain or wasting your time by scrolling through Facebook with no real direction or meaning?
  • Have you ever felt like your life is pretty uneventful or that you’re not achieving much at all after watching numerous Snapchat stories?

These questions should have made you start thinking about (and maybe even reflect on) how you use social media and whether, in some instances, it actually makes you feel pretty crappy.

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Beauty of a Gram is about understanding the array of misleading attitudes towards diets, eating habits and distorted self-images that we are bombarded with every single day. It’s about helping you take a step back and understand the fact that, today more than ever, the media has instilled distorted self-images through unrealistic perfection benchmarks and ignorance of individuality. As a result, way too many people suffer from low self-confidence and negative self-talk, which can lead to serious detrimental consequences on both the mind and body. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Lucky for us, discussion about this topic is more and more common and it is through people like P. Kern that we can enliven the reality of what leading a positive and happy life actually means. Although Beauty of a Gram is mostly about dealing with negative body image and unhealthy vicious cycles of dieting, this concept is part of a much wider phenomenon.

As law students, we often set ourselves extremely high expectations whether it be getting unattainable high grades or slightly too ambitious career goals. Goal-setting is a great thing, but you should recognise when you are overstepping the mark and plunging yourself in an environment full of pressure. Thankfully, there is a way out! It starts with balance, being grounded and not letting social media or any of your surroundings push you over the edge of being unsatisfied with yourself.

We’ll bring you a number of other posts on this topic, so stay tuned!

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Berry Boost with a hint of Green

Confession: I’ve always been one for experimenting with ingredients, seeing what’s in the fridge & pantry and using it to create a new concoction! Sometimes this can end terribly, though not with this fool-proof recipe😉

Eating green doesn’t mean having green fruits or vegetables in every meal, it can be as simple as incorporating it into your favourite recipes. This refreshing juice with a hint of spinach can be the perfect morning snack or an uplifting boost after a workout session, simply follow these quick steps…

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1 cup of coconut water

1 cup of frozen berries

Handful of strawberries (fresh or frozen)

Half a banana (doesn’t matter whether it’s overripe)

Handful of baby spinach

1 cup of ice



  1. Cut all fresh fruit
  2. Place all ingredients into a nutribullet, juicer or mixer
  3. Combine
  4. Once smoothly blended, pour the juice into a glass or mason jar and enjoy!!

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Interfaculty Sports Tournament

The UTS LSS Sports Director and UTS LSS Wellbeing Blog contributor, Christian Bablanian writes…

Staying active is an imperative aspect of keeping both your physical and mental health in check, so making the choice to lead a more active lifestyle is a fantastic step towards improving your wellbeing. Getting involved in sport gives you an opportunity to stay active, take a break from your laptop screens, and have fun with your friends while you do it! The UTS LSS have teamed up with five other societies on campus to kick start your new active lifestyle with the inaugural UTS Inter-Faculty Sports Tournament!