BCM212 – Reflection

When writing any kind of project, report or essay, you’re always going to come across difficulties (and if you say you don’t, you’re lying to yourself). Keeping that in mind, I’d like to start this reflection off by saying that I am fully aware that my difficulties with this research project were mostly self inflicted. Personally, I believe two major factors contributed to my difficulties; I underestimated how difficult it would be to source primary (and secondary for that matter) data as well as the amount of time and effort that would need to be put in to completing this project.

Choosing such a specific topic as the role of Student Leaders in campus accommodation when we already had a limited number of people from whom we could source primary data was in no way a smart move. This choice made it incredibly difficult to get primary data, as I believe a lot of people saw the topic of my survey and research and were either confused by it or assumed it didn’t relate to them, so bypassed my survey. This meant that my primary research data was already very small, and with there not being a lot of primary research completed on my topic, a lot of what I was able to use for my opinion piece came from the personal experiences that I was previously aware of myself and my friends. If I was to do this project again I would NOT choose a topic remotely related to accommodation and instead choose something that most students have an opinion on, such as student wellbeing or services.

The second major factor in my difficulty completing this project was my personal motivation and time management. I am shocking at time management, and every time I approach a task such as this I tell myself I’m going to work on it over time and NOT leave it all to the last minute and every time I do the exact opposite of that. You would think after a year and a half of university I would have learnt my lesson but apparently not. Another factor in this was (ironically enough) my role as a Student Leader. This is the first semester I have been a Student Leader and while it has been incredibly rewarding, it has also been incredibly time consuming and exhausting and has definitely taken time away from university and assessments.

While I believe it is important to acknowledge difficulties and failures, I don’t believe there is any point dwelling on them and I will endeavour to take what I have learnt about research and myself as a researcher with me into the future as both a uni student and in the real world.

My Curiosity – Research Proposal

When approaching a research task with as broad a topic as ‘the student experience’, it can be easy to be absolutely confused, overwhelmed and a little bit hesitant. But the truth is that having a topic so broad is actually a blessing. As a researcher, it gives you the freedom to choose just about anything you’re interested in (ie. Social media, sport or food) and somehow twist it to fit into the topic of student experience.

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Personally, I was definitely feeling confused, overwhelmed and a LOT hesitant when first met with the task of researching the student experience. However, after taking the time to think about it for a few days, I have realised that there are so many aspects of the student experience that we tend to take for granted or ignore that would make incredible research topics to better understand the overall university student experience.

My initial ideas all tended to revolve around the central idea of campus accommodation. As a second-year student who has continued to live on campus for my second year when many students tend to find their own place, the reasons behind why people choose to live on campus or not is something that is not only highly relevant to me but also incredibly interesting.

But the super interesting thing about researching student experience in relation to campus accommodation is the fact that there are so many aspects of student experience that are affected or impacted by the choice to live in campus accommodation or not.

Academic performance, mental health and general wellbeing and economic stability are all aspects of the student experience that can be affected positively or negatively dependent on the student and their choice to live on campus or off. From experience, I have found that living in an environment surrounded entirely by other university students definitely has its benefits, in that we all (more or less) share a common goal and that is to attend university and (generally) do well. However, there are also disadvantages; being surrounded by 1000 other stressed uni students at exam time can drain your enthusiasm levels very quickly and enhance your procrastination skills, not the ideal mix when you have multiple exams in a very short time frame.

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Now I’d like to throw another ingredient into the mixing bowl that is campus accommodation; student leaders. You know, the people you ring at 3am when you’ve locked yourself out of your bedroom or the ones who are (undeservedly) given the title of party pooper when they inevitably have to shut down your rowdy wednesday night pres? Most student leaders in UOW campus accommodation sites study at university full time, work an (almost) full time job as a student leader, most likely work casually to be able to support themselves financially as well as finding time to maintain their own personal wellbeing and social relationships. It’s a lot, there’s no denying that. So what I would like to know is how does taking on the role of student leader positively or negatively affect their overall student experience as a student of UOW, as well as the experience of the residents that they are entrusted to lead.

Finding previously done research on the comparison between experiences of Student leaders and ordinary residents, is incredibly difficult. So I decided to slightly alter my approach. The role of a student leader can be described as many things, however at its core, the role can be seen a mentor position. When focusing on this ‘mentor’ aspect, it becomes significantly easier to find supporting evidence. A study conducted by the Peer Mentoring at University of New South Wales (UNSW), Rita Baterna-Daluz in 2012 outlines the goals of peer mentoring at UNSW in particular, as well as the training process undertaken by the mentors to ensure they are able to adequately fulfil their roles. In defining the idea of ‘student partnership’, the study highlights the fact that “it is not only the university staff who have the sole input for student experience.” I found this point (and study) highly useful in planning the remainder of my research, as it more or less summarises the whole point that Student Leaders have a profound impact on a resident’s experience.

A recent article published in the Port Macquarie News talks about the rise that Charles Sturt University in Port Macquarie has experienced in terms of students choosing to live on campus in 2019. The article largely attributes this jump to the provision of services available, including Student Leaders. In contrast, the article also interviews the head Residence (student) Leader, who acknowledges the challenges that leading and managing so many residents can pose. In terms of my research, this article has shown that Student Leaders are a crucial part of residence life and can make a substantial difference to a student’s experience, while also facing challenges of their own.

I’m excited to really get started with this research, stay tuned!

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

Bibliography

Baterna-Daluz, R. 2012, ‘Up-skilled, look : it’s a mentor. It’s a training facilitator. It’s a super mentor. “The benefits of student partnership”‘, JANZSSA, vol. 40 pp.1-6, viewed 20 March 2019 https://search-informit-com-au.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/fullText;dn=195078;res=AEIPT, A+ Education database.

Telford, L 2019, ‘Charles Sturt University Port Macquarie play host to over 200 students living on campus in 2019’, Port Macquarie News, 6 March, https://www.portnews.com.au/story/5937428/full-capacity-as-more-students-decide-to-live-at-csu/

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Making – The End…?

Despite what the title of this post may say, no this is not the end of Just Jess OR Just Music. It is however the end of BCM114, which means I need to reflect on my process, what I have learnt and where I intend to go from here. So here we go…

I’ve already spoken about some of the setbacks I have experienced throughout the duration of this project in my prototyping blog, so instead I want to use this post to talk about what I have learnt, both about myself and my own limitations and about media and what it takes to create content in a digitally saturated world.

Despite what other people might tell you (including everyone who tells you that a media degree ‘isn’t real’) creating engaging content regularly is HARD. After completing BCM112 in Semester 1 (with a somewhat failed DA), I went into BCM114 knowing that establishing and maintaining a Digital Artefact could be difficult, but I assumed that if I changed my topic and platform to something I enjoyed and understood more, it would be easier. Boy was I wrong.

In creating ‘Just Music’, I expected to be able to easily create content on (semi) regular basis because I was writing about something to close to my heart. While this may have lasted for a few weeks, the reality is that no matter how much you may think you will enjoy something, when it comes to actually doing it, it’s not as easy.

In terms of my own limitations, I think maintaining this DA has taught me that I need to consider other things going on in my life before I make a commitment to a work load. When I started the blog, I said I was going to make weekly posts on a Friday along with other posts when relevant things happened in the music industry. I quickly realised that saying you’ll do something and actually finding the time to do it are two completely different things and sometimes life just gets in the way. While I realise it’s important to maintain somewhat of a regular posting schedule, it’s also important to look after yourself and make sure you don’t commit to more than what you’re physically capable of.

Working in media isn’t something I’ve wanted to since I was a kid, like some people. This ‘dream’ has only developed in the last 2 years or so, and after (almost) completing my first year of the degree, I think I can safely say that I have made the right decision. I think I have learnt that while many people look at what people do in media and call it easy, it’s far from it and only with practice will it start to come easy to me. This year is only the start of the journey and I’m excited for where it’s headed.

So where to from here? I want to keep up Just Music, but for now, I’m not commit myself to a rigorous posting schedule. I’m going to write when I want to write and when inspiration strikes. If that’s once every three weeks, then so be it. Obviously, in the future I will more than likely (try) get back to a regular schedule, but for now I’m comfortable with posting when possible. Having said that, if anyone has any suggestions of any music related topics I should write about, let me know.

I guess that’s it for BCM114.

Catch ya next year?

Jess x

 

Anne-Marie @ Metro Theatre 15/10/18

Anne-Marie made her solo Australian debut in Sydney on Tuesday night to a sold out Metro Theatre. The rising British pop star is straight off the back of an extended stint as Ed Sheeran’s supporting act around Europe and America, but has finally made her way down under to perform two very special sold out shows, promoting her April debut album release ‘Speak Your Mind’

Her support act, Los Angeles based Australian duo NAATIONS, certainly got the crowd jumping early. Playing a mixture of tracks known to the audience and tracks they may not have heard certainly paid off as they built hype for the main act of the night. Their performance of their Duke Dumont collaboration ‘Real Life’ was a highlight of their set, as the crowd shouted back the chorus.

Following NAATIONS’s set came the main event of the night. Entering the stage to a crowd shouting her name, Anne-Marie opened her first Australian headline show with album opener ‘Cry’. Straight off the bat, she was jumping around the stage, interacting with the crowd. This was followed by one of her oldest releases, ‘Do It Right’, which proved that her fanbase has done their research as they shouted the lyrics back.

Her newest single ‘Perfect’ and last single ‘2002’ both had the entire crowd singing at their loudest, encouraged by Anne-Marie’s playful mannerisms. Crowd favourites throughout the night included  ‘Trigger’, as she taught the crowd the chorus and had them sing it back to her and ‘Bad Girlfriend’ which had Anne-Marie showing her skills as a ‘real musician’ (her words) by using a electronic sound machine. She took a moment to sit on the edge of the stage whilst singing ‘Then’, as she delved into what is arguably her most emotional song on her debut album, bringing herself and much of the audience to tears.  Her final song, her collaboration with Marshmello, ‘FRIENDS’ predictably had the crowd jumping and screaming until the very last moment.

Anne-Marie’s Australian debut was a high energy, interactive show, giving us just a taste of what the rising British pop star has to offer, as well as showing that the Australian support for her is only growing.

Anne-Marie will be back in the country next March and April, playing shows in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Tickets go on sale Tuesday 23 October, all details can be found here

 

 

 Enjoy some kind crappy photos from the night, taken on my phone

“Alexa, Play Smart House”

As a kid, I remember watching the Disney movie ‘Smart House’ and thinking how ridiculously crazy all the things the house could do were. 19 years later, and while not every feature of the house has become a reality, the rise of ‘smart house systems’ such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home systems mean literally every aspect of our everyday lives are more connected to the internet than ever before.

Let’s use the example of Alexa. Alexa can tell you the weather, place orders for you, connect to Bluetooth devices, set and stop your alarm, look up who’s the actor in that movie, when the movie you want to see is showing next, order you an Uber and the list goes on and on.

While not quite up to the standard of ‘Smart House’s’ self absorbing floors and full holographic screen walls, the advancements made in recent years in terms of the internet of things is remarkable and indicates that maybe one day in the not too distant future, ‘Smart House’ will become a reality.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

Like an Elephant, the Internet never forgets

As the internet becomes more and more integrated with our everyday life, it is important that we realise that the things we put on the internet are permanent. 

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Every single tweet, Facebook update, Snapchat sent, Instagram liked, Tumblr reblogged, YouTube video made is able to served by servers or by screenshotting. This means that even if you delete something at a later date, it will still be out there somewhere, floating around in cyberspace. And with the growing presence of the mobile internet meaning we are always connected, their is the potential for our each and every action to be captured.

This means that it is more important than ever to not make what is considered a mistake in the eyes of the internet (so defintely nothing racist, sexist, homophobic) because you can guarantee that it will come back to bite eventually.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

 

 

The Roots of Hacktivism

When we think of hacking today, most people would probably think of a nerdy, mid-20s guy, sitting in a dark room with a hoodie on, fingers moving across the keyboard at the speed of light (just like in the movies you know). In reality, this couldn’t really be further from the truth of the roots of hacktivism.

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Alan Turing was the creator of the first automated decryption device which was used to hack into and translate German messages sent using the Enigma. He doesn’t really look like hackers do in the movies does he?

The reason I think this is important is because it should be acknowledged that ‘hacking’ is not a dirty word. Hacking can be used in favour of activism, or hacktivism. And the sooner this stereotype is destroyed, the better.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

Prototyping – Singles and Albums and Artists, Oh My!

For me, two of the hardest things for me to maintain whenever I start a new project, have always been time management and maintaining motivation. Looking into the future, it’s easy to say you can do something, but actually doing it is a whole other story. Unfortunately, this has kind of been the case with my Just Music blog.

Don’t get me wrong! I’m still writing and posting music related blogs, just not as regularly as I would like to be. And this entirely comes back to my time management skills and personal motivation. But I have thought about this a lot, and I have come up with some ways that I can rectify these (and some other minute) issues that I have encountered. I am also 100% open to suggestions, so if after reading this you think “Hey, I know how Jess can motivate herself”, PLEASE let me know.

The pile just keeps piling up

The problem with university is that, generally, subjects don’t really interact with each other. This means that more often than not, you end up with 3 assignments, 2 presentations and an exam all in the one week. Add writing weekly blog posts to the mix, and the pile of work seems to be never ending. Time management has never really been my strong suit, but it becomes increasingly obvious just how much I suck at it when weeks like this happen. In terms of Just Music, this has mainly affected my intention of posting weekly ‘New Music Friday’ posts. Restricting myself to  posting on a Friday was my first issue; assignments are always due at the end of the week, so if I’m not rushing to finish an assignment, I’m probably driving home, meaning I lose basically all of my Friday. This makes it really difficult to write a blog post about the new music that has come out that day, considering music is not released until at least midnight, sometimes even later. I’ve decided that in order to rectify this problem, I need to not restrict myself to posting on a Friday, and potentially open it up to posting anytime over the weekend. While not ideal in terms of getting content out as soon after a release as possible, it’s the only real way I can commit to weekly content with my current schedule. I think it’s easy to say that my plan for ‘New Music Friday’s’ was definitely a case of Fail Early, Fail Often, but now that I have identified this, I can work on figuring out a way that works best for me. This part of my process definitely involves a fair amount of breaking; I need to essentially break what I have already created, take out the aspects that worked, and put them back together in a way that works better than the original.

 

Motivation, where you at?

When it comes to projects, I am always either SUPER motivated or completely disinterested, there is no in between. Writing for Just Music, I have at times found myself with zero motivation to write a post, mainly when it comes to my ‘New Music Friday’ posts. Personally, I think this is because I am not always interested by the content that is released in a particular week. Some weeks, there is more new release music than others, this is just a fact. The issue arises when the new music isn’t by an artist that I usually listen to or of a genre that I like. This actually arises a few issues; it is a LOT easier to write a review of an artist if you have somewhat of a knowledge of their background, their audience and their older music and the same goes for genres. This isn’t really an issue that I can fix through feedback loops, it entirely comes back to me having inspiration and finding the motivation to actually write the posts. Another issue with this is the fact that the music industry is not regular; events such as festivals, concerts and interviews are not something that happen weekly or on a regular schedule. This makes it difficult to formulate a regular posting schedule, as I can’t always predict what content I am going to be able to write about in a particular week. Unfortunately, there isn’t really a way I can overcome this, I just have to try and stay on top of new content and write and publish posts as quickly as possible.

 

Engaging Engagement

You may not have realised, but I have also created an Instagram account to promote and direct traffic towards this blog. While the aesthetic of an Instagram account is incredibly pleasing, there a few issues when it comes to actually directing the traffic. It’s not possible to include links in an Instagram caption, which means that I have to then direct readers from the original post in the news feed to my actual profile, where the link is then in my bio. The problem with this is, people like to mindlessly double tap on Instagram posts, but very rarely do they actually go any further. To rectify this, I want to start posting more regularly so that my account becomes a regular presence in both my followers feeds and in the hashtags. Another issue I have encountered is that while I am getting a decent amount of likes, people aren’t actually following me. This also makes it difficult to use the Instagram Story feature, as I don’t actually have that big of a dedicated following who have access to what I post. Going forward with this in mind, I would like to focus more on the blog aspect of my DA, building that up and regularly creating content, before focusing too much on the social media presence. When I do eventually start to focus on the social media aspect, I will need to experiment with

It’s not all bad…

Despite the setbacks I have encountered, it’s not all bad news. Following my original pitch, I was approached by ‘Volume Media‘ and asked to review concerts and events. While I haven’t written any reviews yet, we have a few in the works and they will hopefully be coming soon!

So while there has been a little bit of a lull in content, I am working on breaking and remaking the way I produce content to better interact with my audience. Just Music isn’t going anywhere and the only way is up!

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

#SocialRevolution

Social media is no longer just a place for holiday pics and #relatable posts. Many people, both celebrities and ordinary members of the public are using their social media accounts (primarily Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to throw their support behind ‘hashtag revolutions’.

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The above gif shows some examples of popular social justice hashtags which have generated significant support in the last few years. The thing with using these hashtags as a way of (and I use the term very loosely) revolution, is that you’re not really doing anything of great help.

Many critics of the phenomenon have referred to it as ‘slacktivism’, and honestly, they’re not far from the truth. Sure, tweeting about the #BlackLivesMatter movement shows other people that you support it and may encourage them to also support it, but really, in the long run, a few thousand tweets aren’t going to suddenly change the way black people are treated. People just like to feel like they’re doing something to help to boost their social conscience, when in reality they’re not really helping at all.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x

 

The (Unnecessary) War on Defqon. 1

Following the deaths of two people from drug overdoses at the Defqon. 1 music festival at the Sydney International Regatta Centre over the weekend, the NSW Government, headed by Premier Gladys Berejiklian, has vowed to do everything in their power to ban the festival. This is all well and good, except this war that they have decided to wage is going to do nothing to eradicate the actual problem, and that is the drugs.

Cancelling a music festival is in no way, shape or form going to stop people from making, supplying and using drugs. It only eliminates one piece of the chain. And where a piece is eliminated, another will quickly take its place. In 2016, there were 1808 drug related deaths in Australia. Guess how many of them were at Defqon. 1 or any other music festival for that matter? None! Since 2013, 9 people have died at music festivals in Australia as a direct result of drug use. Really, 9 deaths out of a potential 10 000 over 5 years is not a lot. So why aren’t they focusing on the root of the problem instead of banning what is a regular event on a lot of people’s calendars?

It’s an unfortunate reality, but drug culture has become a big part of all music festivals in Australia. Despite the best efforts of police, there is always a large drug presence at these festivals.  If the NSW government believes that banning  Defqon. 1 is going to reduce drug related deaths, does that mean that they’re also going to ban other music festivals like Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival? Not likely. There are so many other solutions that the government could initiate or support that would help reduce the use of drugs at music festivals rather than simply banning the festival. Drug education initiatives are nowhere near supported enough; if the government spent as much time putting money into educating the population about drugs and their effects as they did into changing their leader, we would have a lot less people dying from drugs. In an Australian first back in May, the Groovin the Moo festival held in Canberra offered free pill-testing. The trial returned positive results, with 128 people taking advantage of the service and up to 20% saying they were seriously considering disposing of their drugs. Young Australians (and those older, open-minded Australians) have been supporting the introduction of this service at other festivals such as Defqon. 1, with hundreds of comments on the governments social media in the last few days suggesting as such. If they can see it’s potential, why can’t those who are supposed to represent us see it and support it? Simple. Because we are still being ‘represented’ by a government that does not stand for the same issues as us and refuses to see our point of view. We are a (largely) millennial population, being led by a baby boomer government who are still stuck in the 60’s, and it’s just not cutting it anymore.

Transferring the blame to the organisers of these events is useless. There’s only so many times they can write “DRUGS ARE PROHIBITED” on their websites and social media. If a person chooses to take drugs into a festival with the intention of using without being fully aware of the potential effects, that’s on them, just the same as someone choosing to take drugs outside of a festival without knowing the effects is their own fault. Yes, they can hire all the security in the world, but if they don’t do their job properly and drugs get in, it does not become the responsibility of the organisers if drug users have an adverse reaction. It is an assumption going into an event like this that you need to have a certain degree of self care and responsibility, especially if you intend to use drugs; yes, there are first aid and security officers, but they can’t be expected to hold your hand the entire time.

Deaths at music festivals are as a result of drugs, not the festival itself. The sooner our government realises this and starts to attack the issue at its roots (the makers and suppliers), the better. This isn’t a war for inside a music festival, it’s a war for the streets, so do us all a favour and leave the festivals alone.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x