You’ll never walk alone…

Growing up in a family of die-hard Liverpool supporters is one of the reasons why I am able to call myself a ‘Scouser’. My cousins would discuss the different game tactics and player choices amongst one another in the hopes that their favourite players wouldn’t be benched for the big games.

Okay, I can’t say that I am a huge fanatic and that I watch every Liverpool game, because that would be a lie… And I have also only recently (about a year ago) come to understand the rule of offside. You do not have to be a professional coach to understand the game. Being the team’s coach, however, could give you the power to have some sort of say during the game 😉

Liverpool players celebrating a goal

Being a female does not take away from the fact that I appreciate sports… So here I am, writing this blog post in the hopes of educating my fellow females about the rule of ‘offside’ in soccer, which will not only score you extra brownie points with your boyfriend, husband or guy friends, but might just get you to watch the full 90 minutes!

Here it goes: In a nutshell, the offside rule was established in order to prevent players from hanging around the goal box area, waiting for a chance to get the ball and attempting to score an easy goal.

Offside Flag in Soccer

Looking at this rule in more detail, according to the FIFA ruling, being offside would occur when:

  • The attacking player is in the opponent’s half of the field.
  • The attacking player is nearer to the opponent’s goal line than both the ball and the second last defending player/opponent.
  •  The attacking player is directly involved in the play (interfering with the defender or the goalkeeper).

Offside Rule in Soccer

NOTE 1- The player cannot be offside if he/she is in his/her own half of the field.

NOTE 2- When the player is in an offside position, he/she may not interfere with play or with an opponent. The player also may not take advantage of this position (e.g. by attempting to score).

PS. This is the simplest way that I could attempt to explain the rule. Sorry that I was unable to incorporate a make-up analogy to make this easier.

Liverpool FC

Whether you are male or female,  College SA has the ability to make your dream of becoming a sports coach a reality by offering a number of introductory sports courses.

Why the Month of May is Awesome

April is a pretty great month: 3 public holidays and my birthday! It’s a tough act to follow for May, which usually only has 1 measly public holiday (this year, we have Election Day, too).

There are, however, some other things that make the month of May just as awesome, if not more awesome, than the preceding 30 days.

The merry month of May

First things first

1 May is International Workers’ Day. So take the 1st off to not work. This is meant to be a celebratory break from all that hard labour you have to perform every other day. Spend this time with friends and family, or just lazing about the house in your pyjamas.

Flower power

Did you know that in Hawaii, 1 May is also Lei Day? (A lei is the traditional flower necklace that you always see Hawaiians drape around tourists’ necks at airport arrivals).

So, on Lei Day, you must wear your garland of colourful blossoms the whole day! Though anyone interested in floristry will love this, there is a little more to Lei Day than the flowers.

Lei Day is meant to be a celebration of Aloha culture – a culture of peace, compassion, and mercy. I think celebrating these things is a nice way to start the month!

Lei Day flowers

Music month

In New Zealand, May is the month of music!

During this month, New Zealand radio stations all band together to promote local music over the airwaves and through special events:

 “With a bunch of new releases looming over the horizon, hundreds of gigs around the country, and media of all kinds gearing up to get behind NZ Music Month you won’t be able to miss it.”
(www.nzmusicmonth.co.nz)

If you want to do something like this in South Africa, why not go ahead and study radio broadcasting?

Celebrating music month

May the Fourth Be With You

Then there is also the ‘unofficial’ International Star Wars Day on 4 May.
Fans all around the world celebrate their love for Star Wars on this day. They watch the movies, hold festivals, dress up, participate in games, and greet each other with the phrase, “May the fourth be with you,” as a play on the famous movie-line, “May the Force be with you”. In his 2012 acceptance speech, the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, even greeted his English public with this phrase!

May the fourth be with you

Going Geek

Partly due to the Star Wars Day on the 4th, the 25th has become Geek Pride Day. So whether you are a Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, Star Trek, or Battlestar Galactica fan, this is your day!

The Month to be Happy

This is one of my favourite May-facts: In the United Kingdom, May is National Smile Month! So cheer up, smile, and be happy!

Smiling Dog

The Month of Great Achievements

A fun fact from history: On 18 May 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte became Emperor of France.During the coronation ceremony, Napoleon actually snatched the crown from Pope Pius VII’s hand, and crowned himself!

 

It might seem like Napoleon was being a bit rude (maybe more than a little bit), but the reason why he did this is actually quite inspiring. Napoleon wanted to show everyone that the success he had achieved was not something that was given to him – it was something he had to strive for, work for, and take himself! So, in fact, he deserved to be able to crown himself.

Depiction of Napoleon Bonaparte's coronation

As Napoleon has shown, May can be a month of success and self-realisation(May’s birthstone is, after all, the emerald – a symbol of success!).

So isn’t this a great time of the year to start your studies? May might even lead you upon a Napoleonic road to greatness. So let the self-crowning Emperor be your inspiration, and register for your course today!

 

May might not have all the public holidays April has, but it can be a month of awesomeness and great success nonetheless!

Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in

The definition of success…

Success is something we all want, something we all seek, and something that some of us work extra hard to get!

What is success? For most people, it would mean achieving some sort of goal that they have set for themselves. Achieving a goal is hard work. You have to put in the extra hours and be determined! But with every little bit of success comes a whole lot of envy, right? Of course!

Be the change you wish to see in the world

 

Okay, maybe not a whole lot, but definitely some. Instead of being happy for you for what you have accomplished, certain people will try to bring you down. In those circumstances, it’s important to have a strong backbone. Just remember that there are many people who appreciate what you have done and who are proud of you for working hard and for getting what you deserve.

To me, success would be measured by the good that you do and the legacy you leave behind. If you have had a positive impact on someone’s life, then you have succeeded. Whether it was just for that one day, or forever, you have made a difference in someone’s life.

No one can change the world in one go – we don’t hold that kind of power. Instead, the best way to change the world is to start with yourself. In the process of changing your own life, you could just change another person’s life for the better.

“The secret of getting ahead, is getting started” – Mark Twain

Accepting the things I cannot change

It has recently occurred to me that there are many things I cannot change – no matter how badly I wish to change them.

I could write long lists about all the things I want to change about myself and the world. For starters, I don’t think bad things should happen to good people. Also, I think dogs need to live longer – a 15-year average lifespan is too short!

I think, to some extent, we all spend too much time and energy focusing on the things that we are unable to change.

How many of us wish that our childhood or teenage years had been different? Wish that certain things hadn’t happened or wish they had happened in our lives? Wish that we had made different choices?

If we had to add up the amount of time we have spent wishing we had a different body, face, hair, nose, etc, we would be astonished at how much time we have wasted.

I have come to the conclusion that there are certain things in my life and certain things about myself that I simply cannot change. However, this does not mean that there aren’t things I can change. Knowing the difference between the two will help us immensely.

Just imagine for a minute that we all accepted the way we looked and just carried on with our lives. Imagine if we could all accept the things that were beyond our control and focus only on that which we are able to change.

Sometimes, worrying about all the things we cannot change clouds our judgment so badly that we are unable to see the things right in front of us that we can change.

This brings me to my next point: When it comes to education and your future, you can change that. You can decide to improve your life and follow your dreams by pursuing a great education. Don’t let circumstances stand in your way!

Let’s focus on the things we can change and stop focusing on the things that are beyond our control.

Although we can’t change yesterday, we can change right now, and start building and working towards tomorrow. Let’s build a future that we can be proud of – let’s start right now.

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” – The Serenity Prayer (Reinhold Niebuhr)

How to Study: Tricks, Tips, Techniques and Methods

It’s a couple of days before the exam (maybe even the Saturday before the big test on Monday) and you are staring at that thick textbook just lying there in front of you. The book seems like a slab of granite – immovable, oppressive, and weighing you down.

How do you start studying? How do you keep it up? How do you succeed, and how do you make studying more enjoyable?

I’ve been a student myself (a couple of times, actually). Studying is hard, I know. But you can make it easier for yourself.

I looked back at what helped me succeed. I searched far and wide and did some research, and I came up with a list of 10 tips, tricks and techniques that will help you get through.

So here we go!

  1. Make summaries

I know, it’s even more work that you’ll need to do. But you will be extremely grateful that you made the effort in the end! Summarise your course content using headings, subheadings and bullet-points.

Summarising will help you in 2 important ways:

  • It will help you internalise the work as you put it in your own words.
  • It will make it easier and faster for you to study the work, as you will have short synopses of the course content.

Make summaries as you go through the work the first time. Then, when exams come, you are going to have a much easier time studying and revising.

  1. Learn the concepts first

It is important that you grasp general concepts before learning the details.

If you try to memorise details without fully understanding how they fit into the theme or topic, you are most likely going to forget them!

Understanding the general concept first will allow your brain to remember the details and facts as they relate to it.

  1. Change location

This is a great tip that often worked for me. Tired of studying? Change your scenery. Go study in a park, at a coffee shop, or even just in another room. Go get some fresh air, and take your books with you!

Not only will this refresh your mind, but studies have shown that changing locations increases your likelihood of remembering things you learn. Memory is connected to environment.

This is also a benefit of distance learning, as it affords you the opportunity to study wherever you want and wherever you feel most comfortable.

Change your studying environment

  1. Study with someone

This is one of the fears that most correspondence students have: the fear of studying alone. But just because you aren’t in a classroom with peers, it doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from studying with someone! Ask a friend or family member to quiz you on your work.

And if you get stuck, College SA provides an excellent student support system that you can use: e-mail, Skype, or call your tutor for help.

5. Find your study method

I used to draw little pictures in the margins of my notes to help me retain the information. Some people benefit from drawing diagrams or mind maps.

Study methods - mind map

If you are struggling to keep the information in your head, maybe you just haven’t figured out which approach suits you best.

Remember: You aren’t necessarily bad at memorising things – you are mostly likely just using a study method that isn’t working for you!

6. Goals

This is a great motivational tool. Set yourself daily study goals. Then determine how many study sessions you’ll need each day, and how much you’ll need to learn in each session.

This will help you overcome procrastination, as well as allow you to pace yourself for greater ease and relaxation. You’ll feel much more prepared when you’ve got some structure in your study routine.

7. Reward yourself
If you keep to your goals, reward yourself. This is a great way to stay motivated and disciplined.

Studying incentive: When you reach a gummy bear, you get to eat it.

8. Take breaks
Don’t exhaust yourself in one session. The rule is 15 minute breaks every hour. But this rule is more of a guideline: you can make your own schedule. I used to take a 15 minute break every half an hour, in fact!

Just don’t fall into this trap:

Study for ten minutes. Reward self with two hours of pointless internet use.

Find a pace that works for you, and then stick to it!

9. Get enough sleep

Too many students cram for exams the night before. This is not a great idea, as the more tired you are, the less information your mind will retain.

Make sure you get enough sleep during your study time, as well as the night before the exam.

And again: don’t only sleep! Remember to stick to your study schedule.

10. Enjoy it!

I’ve been roommates with a number of different students – all studying an array of different courses. One thing I noticed is that studying was easier for those who enjoyed their subjects. This is why you should choose a study direction that you are actually interested in! What is the point of studying a subject if you don’t actually enjoy the work?

Do you really want to make a career out of something you don’t like? You don’t have to! Find your passion, and studying will become much easier.

Once last thing…
Don’t stress so much! Stress will not only hamper your memory retention, but will often paralyse you when you actually need to be studying.

So, take a deep breath. Relax. And remember:

Everything will be okay

When I grow up, I want to be…

Piano music plays in the background as two hands appear in the shot and prepare a typewriter. As these hands settle on the keys, words begin to appear on the blank page.

This was the opening scene to Murder She Wrote.

Murder She Wrote

The show revolves around the day-to-day life of a retired English teacher, widowed in her early fifties, who becomes a very successful mystery writer.

What got me hooked was that this little old lady was not only a successful mystery writer, but all of her stories were actual crimes that she solved on her own. You’re never too old to get your hands dirty!

Like CSI, NCIS, and other shows following the same genre, the show starts off with some kind of crime being committed – most popularly, murder.

For the next 30-45 minutes, Jessica Fletcher (the little old lady) follows clues, and interviews different suspects in order to nab the culprit.

CSI

If you are someone who enjoys murder mysteries or crime shows, I’m sure that, at some point, you too have daydreamed about being a Jessica Fletcher or Horatio Caine, or even a member of the gang from Scooby Doo (with the talking dog).

Imagine being the one who solves the mystery of the missing sock, or discovering who actually killed Cock Robin! It would be as if you were a real life superhero, but without the cape, mask and superpowers.

Investigating does not always have to be about murder. Think Mystery Inc. from Scooby Doo – they solve supernatural mysteries. In the show White Collar, they concentrate on white collar crimes, such as bank fraud, embezzlement, and counterfeiting. Investigating can take on many forms.

And I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids!

So if you do find yourself pretending to be a character from CSI, White Collar, NCIS or Scooby Doo – then follow the clues all the way to a programme that will help you fulfil that childhood dream…

I just can’t guarantee that you will get a talking dog.