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FEATURED BLOG POSTS

Sammi Morgan, Open2Study Officer

We are forever telling our students what a great opportunity Open2Study is. How you can use it to expand your knowledge, up your skills, put your certificates on your resume; but one of our students has done something much, much more spectacular. Nick Capper has created a Comedy Show 'Quantum Bad Boy' and it’s based on the courses he studied on Open2Study!

It’s kicking off here at the Melbourne Comedy Festival on Saturday 21st April 5.45pm and then on Sunday 22nd April 7:00pm at the European Bier Café.

It would be hard not to believe that we didn’t send Nick out as our own personal marketing ploy, having been seen on ABC TV, Comedy Central and heard on Triple J, RRR and The Little Dum Dum Club spruiking his comedy genius. It was actually Nick’s father that introduced him to Open2Study with a Mobile Robotics course, and he has gone on to complete many others – finding that not only did he enjoy the feeling of achievement.. but that he was able to acquire more and more laughs as he went on.

 

Nick has already graced Melbourne with his wit, but you haven’t missed out.. there are still 2 shows available!!

 

So, if you have some spare time, check him out. Or even better, let us know what you do with your Open2Study Courses that is out of the box!

 

For a quick sneak peak of Nick’s comedic gold – check out this article!

Peta Brady, Open2Study blog writer

Starting – or returning to – university is most definitely an exciting time for any student, but it can understandably also be a little daunting. In order to combat some of the anxiety that can arise at this time, it’s a good idea to be prepared for the work that lies ahead. Of course, preparation means different things to different people, so we’ve compiled some of the most effective ways to get yourself into a study frame of mind, before you actually hit the books.

healthy-person-woman-sport-starting-running-on-track

Get organised:

By making sure you have everything ready for the semester ahead. Make a list of everything you need and ensure you tick everything off – include everything from pens and notepads, to course reading material and your laptop. The simple act of ticking things off a list will fill you with a sense of achievement before you’ve even kicked off your course!

Get social:

Most universities, whether online or on‐campus, will have some sort of social media community that you can join to meet and interact with other students. Making a few friends before you start is the perfect way to eliminate, or at least minimise, any social anxiety you may be feeling.

Get healthy:

When your brain and body are working in harmony, you’re bound to get better results. This means stocking up on healthy ‘brain foods’, and ensuring you get enough sleep and exercise. Check out our Student’s Guide to Healthy Eating for some brain‐powering tips, and our Quick & Easy Recipes for the Freezer for some simple meals to keep you focused for longer.

Get reading:

It’s likely that you’ll receive a course outline and some initial topics for reading prior to your course commencement, so why not get a head start? Having an idea of what’s coming up is a great way to alleviate stress and help you manage your workload going forward.

Get the mindset:

Whatever you can do to put yourself in a positive frame of mind before you start studying is worth doing. This can be any activity that makes you feel good! Try yoga, meditation, listening to music, reading, sports, cooking – really, whatever works for you! If you start the semester feeling happy, you’re more likely to end it that way as well.

 


Peta BradyThis post is by Open2Study's blog writer, Peta Brady.

Peta Brady is a freelance copywriter, editor, social media enthusiast, and grammar pest.

Contact Peta at www.theword.bird.com.au or on Instagram @thewordbird_.

Peta Brady, Open2Study blog writer

Planning a Christmas vacation? Get your passport ready, because we’ve rounded up some of the world’s top destinations for viewing spectacular Christmas lights and decorations. All you have to do is decide which one to visit!

Rockefeller Center, New York City

For Christmas tree (and Home Alone 2) enthusiasts, Rockefeller Center is an absolute mustsee at Christmas time. The 80ft (~24m) tree was first lit in 1933, and is decorated with around 45,000 lights each year, providing the perfect ambiance for the popular ice‐skating rink beneath.

Rockefeller center xmas lights

 

Kobe, Japan

Each year the town of Kobe, Japan plays host to a spectacular light show, known as Luminarie. Now in its 21st year, the festival was first conceived as a memorial to the victims of the Hanshin earthquake in 1995 and continues to draw holiday crowds from around the world.

Kobe Japan Xmas Lights

 

Hong Kong, China

Christmas may not be a traditional Chinese holiday, but that certainly doesn’t stop Hong Kong from getting into the festive spirit. With hotels, shopping centres, and the city skyline adorned in decorations, you can take in the sites while enjoying delicious food, extravagant light displays, and celebrations around the city. Take an evening cruise along Victoria Habour for a truly magical experience.

Hong Kong Xmas Lights

 

Gothenburg, Sweden

Christmas in Gothenburg is like visiting a fairytale wonderland, with enough Christmas spirit to win over even the biggest Grinch. Old traditions seamlessly blend with new, and the streets are lined with markets and glittering lights, while the traditional songs of Lucia fill the air.

Gothenburg Sweden Xmas Lights

 

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Bring the kids and an empty tummy for this Christmas adventure, because Monte Carlo sure knows how to throw a party. With gourmet food, markets, and a delightful Christmas village featuring arts & crafts, regional produce, rides and a skating rink, the whole family can experience a very merry Christmas indeed.

Monte Carlo Xmas Lights

 

Carnaby Street, London, England

If you’re into shopping, Carnaby Street in London is the place for you this Christmas. With some of the most distinctive lights in town, you can take in the flamboyant decorations while maxing out your credit card at one of the street’s notorious shopping parties. Even better still, visitors are treated to a 20% discount at most of the shops in this highly fashionable district.

Carnaby Street London Xmas Lights

 

Berlin, Germany

Berlin is a truly wonderful place to soak up the Christmas spirit. Book yourself in for a tour and see many of the city’s landmarks in all their illuminated glory, including Brandenburg Gate, 16th century cathedrals, and Friedrichstadtpalast – the largest theatre in Berlin. Berlin is also well known for its vibrant Christmas markets, including the Schloss Charlottenburg, Gendarmenmarkt, and Potsdamer Platz markets.

Berlin Xmas Lights

Frankfurt, Germany

The Frankfurt Christmas Market is undeniably one of the biggest Christmas markets across Germany. Here the scent of baked apples, chestnuts and bratwurst sausages fills the air, and thousands of glittering fairy lights complete the festive setting. Take a stroll through the scenic light displays surrounding the Römerberg and St Paul's Square, and find the perfect one‐of‐a‐kind Christmas gift in the St Paul’s Church market.

Frankfurt Germany Xmas Lights

 

Bogota, Colombia

The Colombian capital really knows how to take Christmas to the next level. And as a predominantly Catholic country, it’s really no surprise that December is one of the most popular times to visit. In Bogota, you can follow the Ruta de La Navidad – or Christmas Route – which takes you on a tour of all the parks and plazas featuring an abundance of Christmas lights and markets. Make sure you’re hungry, because one thing Colombians really love to do at Christmas, is eat!

Bogota Columbia Xmas Lights

 

Are we feeling festive yet?

Happy holidays from all of us at Open2Study! 

Happy Holidays Santa Hat and snow by a tree

 


Peta BradyThis post is by Open2Study's blog writer, Peta Brady.

Peta Brady is a freelance copywriter, editor, social media enthusiast, and grammar pest.

Contact Peta at www.theword.bird.com.au or on Instagram @thewordbird_.

Peta Brady, Open2Study blog writer

guy-emailing-dog-watching

 

Given the amount of emails we send and receive every day, I am still surprised by how many of them are, well, terrible! Incorrect names, poor spelling, rude tone – the list goes on. And while I understand many of us quickly fire off emails because we’re busy, taking a little extra time before hitting ‘send’ can improve not only the response you receive, but also your relationship with the recipient.

 

1. Subject Line

Think of your subject line like the heading of a news article – you need to stand out in an overcrowded inbox, so write something attention-grabbing to compel the reader to open it. I’m sure we’re all guilty of the ‘as discussed’ subject line, which, when you think about it, is pointless. Your recipient has surely discussed many things with many people, so it’s better to be specific.

 

2. Be Polite

There’s nothing worse that opening an email only to find yourself immediately irritated with the sender. Maybe the tone is off, or their requests come across as demands. Whatever the reason, you’re annoyed and much less likely to respond straight away. This goes both ways! Just think, it’s actually rather difficult to be too nice… Start off with a simple, pleasant greeting. Make it personal, rather than a standard “hope you’re well” approach. If you have an existing relationship, something like “did you enjoy your weekend away?” will do nicely. If you’re emailing a stranger, a little flattery can go a long way. For example: “I read your article on part-time learning and found it very informative” adds a nice personal touch. There’s no need to go overboard, but it never hurts to start off on the right foot.

overloaded-truck

3. Resist Topic Overload & Oversharing

Wherever possible, try and cover only one topic per email. You’re less likely to confuse the reader, and sticking to one subject will keep your email at a reasonable length. No one wants to read an essay! It’s also a good idea to keep personal conversation out of a professional email. You never know who it might be forwarded to, and not everyone remembers to delete the conversation history. So unless you want the details of your weekend antics splashed around the office, maybe save it for another time.

 

4. Formatting and Punctuation

If you absolutely must cover multiple topics in one email, formatting is your new best friend. Slapping your recipient in the face with a huge chunk of unformatted text with no punctuation is not going to make them want to read it, and they will almost certainly miss an important point. Spacing out topics in separate paragraphs or dot points keeps things looking neat, and helps to convey your message and intentions clearly. You’ll also stand a much better chance of receiving a specific response for each topic. And in case there is any confusion, using ALL CAPITAL LETTERS is still (and always will be) the equivalent of yelling, which isn’t a particularly good look.

 

 

5. Urgent vs. Not Urgent

These days everyone thinks everything is urgent, but just because you’re facing a deadline doesn’t mean your recipient is on the same page. It’s important to allow them enough time to consider and respond to your email, and to bear in mind that their priorities are not necessarily the same as yours. If you do require a quick response, try to encourage, rather than demand one.

 

6. Closing Off

Closing off politely is just as important as your opening greeting if you want to encourage that response we’ve talked about. If you’re waiting on something, let the recipient know in advance that you appreciate their assistance. Sign-off with something simple like ‘kind regards’ or ‘with thanks’ followed by your name and email signature.

 

7. Proofread

How many times have you hit ‘send’ only to spot a glaring error after it’s too late? Argh! The worst! A quick read-through can save you from a world of embarrassment, and really takes no time at all. Get into the habit of proofreading everything you send – especially when contacting senior colleagues or managers, and for important matters such as a job application.


Peta BradyThis post is by Open2Study's blog writer, Peta Brady.

 

Peta Brady is a freelance copywriter, social media enthusiast, and general grammar pest.

 

 

 

Get in touch viawww.thewordbird.com.au or on Instagram @thewordbird_

Peta Brady, Open2Study blog writer

 

Who doesn’t love getting lost in a good book? Especially over summer, when the days are long and holidays are in full swing. No matter what your favourite genre may be, we’ve got you covered with these top picks for your 2017/18 summer reading list.

The Ready‐Made Thief by Augustus Rose

Thriller

Lee Cuddy is seventeen years old and on the run. Betrayed by her family after taking the fall for a friend, Lee finds refuge in a cooperative of runaways holed up in an abandoned building they call the Crystal Castle. But the facade of the Castle conceals a far more sinister agenda, one hatched by a society of fanatical men set on decoding a series of powerful secrets hidden in plain sight.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng 

Contemporary Fiction 

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz Contemporary

Fiction

A ghetto nerd living with his Dominican family in New Jersey, Oscar is sweet but disastrously overweight. He dreams of becoming the next J.R.R. Tolkien and keeps falling hopelessly in love.

The New Urban Crisis, Richard Florida

Social Commentary

Richard Florida, one of the first scholars to anticipate this back‐to‐the‐city movement in his groundbreaking The Rise of the Creative Class, demonstrates how the same forcesthat power the growth of the world'ssuperstar cities also generate their vexing challenges: gentrification, unaffordability, segregation, and inequality.

The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

Contemporary Fiction

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day‐ to‐day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn't quite work out the way Kitty had hoped.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Contemporary Fiction

To fellow mothers at the school gate, Bernadette is a menace. To design experts, she's a revolutionary architect. And to 15‐year‐old Bee, she is a best friend and, quite simply, mum. Then Bernadette disappears.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Teen Romance / Family

Theodore Finch isfascinated by death, and constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of hersister's recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it's unclear who saves whom.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Contemporary Fiction

Latin terrorists storm an international gathering hosted by an underprivileged country to promote foreign interest and trade, only to find that their intended target, the President, has stayed home to watch his favourite soap opera on TV.

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

Contemporary Fiction

An epic of contemporary love and marriage, comically and tragically capturing the temptations and burdens of liberty.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Motivation & Self‐Esteem

The Happiness Project describes one person's year‐long attempt to discover what leads to true contentment.

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Thriller

On a foggy summer night, 11 people depart Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs — the painter — and a four‐year‐old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

 

Peta BradyThis post is by Open2Study's blog writer, Peta Brady.

Peta Brady is a freelance copywriter, editor, social media enthusiast, and general grammar pest. She loves writing scribbles and correcting errors, as well as changing her hair colour every five minutes and eating all the foods in Melbourne.

Contact Peta at www.theword.bird.com.au or on Instagram @thewordbird_.

Peta Brady, Open2Study blog writer

Knowing how to handle yourself in a conflict situation isn’t always easy, and if you’re not careful things can become heated pretty quickly. Whether at school or in the workplace, maintaining a level of professionalism and coming to a resolution that works for everyone involved is key, and one of the best ways to achieve this is through negotiation.


But not everyone is a born negotiator, and that’s where we come in.

Open2Study’s free online Negotiation and Conflict Resolution course provides a solid foundation for successful negotiation tactics, and introduces you to a range of techniques for resolving everyday conflicts using a practical framework. Throughout the course you’ll learn how to navigate the different phases of conflict, apply communication strategies in a variety of situations, and explore the origins of human conflict. 

Requiring only 2‐4 hours of study per week, you’ll have the basics down in no time and be able to tackle common workplace and day‐to‐day life conflict situations with renewed confidence.

For more information and enrolments, head to our website: https://www.open2study.com/courses/negotiation‐and‐conflict‐resolution

 

 


Peta BradyThis post is by Open2Study's blog writer, Peta Brady.

Peta Brady is a freelance copywriter, editor, social media enthusiast, and general grammar pest. She loves writing scribbles and correcting errors, as well as changing her hair colour every five minutes and eating all the foods in Melbourne.

Contact Peta at www.theword.bird.com.au or on Instagram @thewordbird_.