Dear Woroni

Dear Woroni: How do I get back into the groove of uni after two months off?

At the beginning of every year, aspiring students hoping for a fresh start flood into the gates of ANU. Many of us have expectations for budding academic success or otherwise. For most of us, however, these expectations are never met. But that’s why I’m here to help. Here is your guide to achieving everything you could possibly want at uni this year, and stepping out of your lazy holiday groove into a mindset built for success!

1. Go to Officeworks and splurge on stationery.
There is nothing better than dropping half your paycheck on unnecessary highlighters, notepads and coloured tabs to build your already stocked pile of unused highlighters, notepads and tabs from last year. Being well-equipped with stationery is your first step to getting in the right mind space to tackle your first week back. This will probably do nothing to improve your marks, but will definitely improve the aesthetics of your study notes! The prettier your notes are, the more likely you are to reread them – or at least, that’s what I tell myself.

2. Download your ‘Lost on Campus’ app again.
For those of you who aren’t fresh students at ANU, it’s probably time to re-download your ‘Lost on Campus’ app so that you can re-teach yourself the entire campus layout. In order to attend your lectures, knowing where they are is most definitely a prerequisite. Although you have probably been to the Manning Clark building at least 40 times, two months of drinking booze and sleeping can make your memory hazy.

3. Attend all of your lectures for at least your first week of uni.
In order to play the part you actually need to be a part of uni for at least a week. Go to all your lectures and tutorials for seven days and you will know everything about the introduction to, and guidelines for, all of your courses. This will prepare you for knowing what you probably won’t know by the time your end of semester exams roll around.

Getting back into the groove of uni after two months off is hard, but if you carefully follow these three steps, you will be on the right track to achieving all your goals this year!

Dear Woroni: Should I talk about politics on social media?

We all have that friend who unapologetically shoves 1,000 words of their opinion about politics down your throat via Facebook. Please, spare us.

Talking about politics on social media can do wonders, but we need to be careful about what we are saying and how we are saying it.

In light of the recent election and inauguration of Donald Trump, our Facebook news feeds have been bombarded with rants about anything Trump-related. For many of us, social media is our primary news-forum in one way or another. Each one of us is a member and contributor to a digital-news cyberspace. Often, Facebook memes or political rants can inform us of a globally defining moment that we knew nothing about.

However, at what point do our social media rants turn from informative and reflective to pretentious and obnoxious? How do we avoid sounding like a know it all? And how do we avoid misinforming people and shoving our opinions down their throats?

The key is to be succinct in what you say.

As well as that, make sure you fact check.

Just recently, Trump shared an article on his Facebook page which read, ‘Kuwait issues its own Trump-esque visa ban for five Muslim-majority countries.’ Sounds legit right?

Nope. Completely untrue. And what’s worse is that this didn’t come from some shady WordPress site, it came from ‘Trump’ himself.

Within 24 hours, this article had over 100k shares on Facebook. No doubt, many of us would have seen it too and probably believed it. Fake news stories cast doubt on the truth and allow us to believe what we want to believe.

In this generation, we are so lucky to have such accessible platforms to receive and disseminate political information. However, it is both a blessing and a curse. We have become so conditioned to trust what we see on social media, that we no longer actively seek out information on our own terms.

After first fact checking, you also need to stop and think about what you are about to write. Broadly consider if it is the right platform to share your thoughts? Will your audience be receptive? Is what you are writing respectful?

More specifically, you need to consider if your contribution is a: Relevant, b: Thoughtful, and c: Interesting.

If not, what you are about to share is probably a d: None of the above.

If, after considering these factors, you believe what you have to say satisfies the first three criteria, then go ahead – your opinion is most likely going to be received well. If not, then there really isn’t a place for you to be talking about politics on social media.