Who says you can’t take a fun selfie with a stranger?

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Our chat with Bilal was definitely the most fun and carefree out of all the ones we’ve had so far. There was no need to constantly ask questions to try keep the convo going (read more on how to avoid awkward silences here). Best part was that it wasn’t planned, so I guess because it just happened, nothing felt forced. And believe it or not, we had a solid 15 minute conversation on cameras! haha a pretty random topic but Bilal, our video director, Leo and I definitely bonded over it very well.

We met Bilal at UNSW’s quad food court and found out he has a passion in photography (of course!). He owns a sony point-and-shoot camera at the moment; and after laughing about the difficulties of taking phone selfies, he shared that he would really love to invest in a Go-Pro.

This cheery convo with Bilal on a late(ish) Thursday was my daily highlight for sure. Sometimes after a long day of classes and assessments, a good laugh always does the trick – but better yet when it’s that raw interaction between you and a stranger. Considering we’re so used to reverting to our phone after a tedious day, it was really refreshing to have that face-to-face communication with someone new.

We had a really great time chatting with you, Bilal. Hope you get that Go-Pro soon! 🙂

P.S. He also really liked our director’s camera (Canon 650D)

Have you ever had a really enjoyable unplanned conversation with a stranger? Please let us know in the comments below!

‘Phone Crack’. Are you addicted?

Are you using your phone because you need to keep up with a million things at once, like keeping up to date with emails and maintaining contact/relationships with others? Or are you just simply addicted to having a phone in your hand?

Without a doubt, our phone has definitely helped us keep up to date with our busy schedules. But be honest, do you really NEED to constantly check your Facebook notifications or if your friend has responded to your text? Probably not. I know I’m guilty of this. I have my phone in my hands whilst walking to the station to check the time, when I’m wearing a watch. And so many times I’ve looked at my phone screen to check the date/time without actually registering anything and needing to check again. Like what?

Here’s a skit comedy regarding this issue by Just Kidding Films:

 

We talk and joke about it, but we don’t really think about how much this impacts us negatively. We’ve already begun to see that long line of people standing on the station platform staring down at their screen, or been with that friend that cannot leave their phone alone for 10minutes when you’re trying to have a conversation with them.

So please, take a minute to appreciate what’s happening around you and who’s around you.

Would you say you’re addicted to your phone? If so, why? We would love to hear your stories! 🙂

How to avoid awkward silences

Admit it, it’s happened to you before – the dreaded silence that feels like it can last a lifetime. But don’t fret! Next time you’re in that cringing moment, consider these tips.

1. Ask questions
Obvious right? But there’s actually an art behind this, and it’s not asking them whether or not they like cheese. Ask them things that will spark interest. For example, ask about them (where are they working?), their experiences (where have they travelled to?), their interests/passions (what do they enjoy doing most?), hopes and dreams (future plans or goals?)

2. Think back on previous topics
Make the effort to listen to what they’ve been talking about. If they went on a trip around Europe, ask them where they went or if they would recommend any particular places. But of course keeping in mind whether or not that topic interests them. If they seemed bored talking about their job, don’t bring it up again…

3. What do you mean? Could you elaborate?
Ask them to explain themselves a little more. Why do they find their job boring? This is a simple way to keep the conversation going, and you might be able to pick up on a few traits that you could ask afterwards!

4. Don’t conduct an interview
When we say ask questions, we don’t mean in a scripted manner. Make sure you throw in some comments in between and put yourself in the picture. If they loved Frozen, share how much you liked it too! Or if not, maybe your friends watched it a dozen times. Communication is a two way street and as much as people enjoy talking about themselves, they also don’t want to be the ONLY one talking.

5. NEVER comment on the awkward silence
That’s it. There’s no saving it from that point. I trust I need not elaborate…

6. Don’t end with a statement
Although this is fine with people you’re close with or know well, with someone who you’ve just met or aren’t familiar with, it doesn’t provide much room for a response. Make sure to finish with a relatable question to keep the conversation flowing.

If you’re in one of those moods where you’re not really keen on listening to them talk, then just politely excuse yourself. Tell them you’re meeting someone or you need to be somewhere. But if you’re in one of those situations where you kind of HAVE to make small talk, then consider the above tips. Who knows, you might find out some common interests and having a really amazing conversation!

For more details, you can read about David Morin (Social Life expert) and Viktor Sander’s (Behavioural Scientist) article here

Tatiana, the Landscape Architect

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“I have no idea what to do with my life”

This is probably one of the most comment statements that pops into the mind of a university student, if not everyone. However, here’s the story of how we met Tatiana, and it might help guide you in the right direction!

In the Q-Lounge food court of UNSW on a late Thursday afternoon, I caught this lovely lady sitting at a table by herself, scrolling on her phone. I was always under the impression that people who are on their gadgets perhaps don’t want to be disturbed. But after having done several approaches, I felt like I was up for the challenge.

This is Tatiana, a first year landscape architect! Now I’ll be completely honest, Tatiana was a bit hard to crack. She was a little skeptic about why I was talking to her and what I wanted out of it. I don’t blame her for being on a bit of the defensive though. I would’ve reacted the same and I know many people out there would as well. I mean, more often than not, when a random approaches and tries to strike up a conversation out of no where, they’re probably trying to sell us something.

I explained the campaign to her and that put her at ease (probably knowing I wasn’t trying to ask for her money). Instead of having her constantly listening to me talking, I asked her about her interests and passions. (Tip: this is a great way to smooth out any awkward conversations. Try to get them talking instead of listening!) And whatdaya know, our conversation started to flow more smoothly!

I found out that she had previously studied Business Admin at Macquarie University and hated it. Everything was really dry, especially finance and accounting – however she did particularly like HR! So how did she switch from business to architecture you may ask? That was exactly what I wanted to know; they’re such different areas.

Like most of us, Tatiana had no idea what she wanted to do with her life. She didn’t have a particular degree in mind nor did she have anything she was particularly passionate about to form a career around. Luckily for her however, she had a friend in Tasmania who was really into Landscape who recommended her to give it a go. Although hesitant at the start, eventually she figured there wasn’t much to lose. And guess what? She really enjoyed it!

Tatiana’s story really shows us that we’re all going to be a little lost in life at some point but that’s perfectly fine and perfectly normal. This period is the best time for us to explore and figure out our likes and dislikes. Try a different area, do things you’ve never done before. Figure out what you’re good at and where you suck miserably. But most importantly, don’t let fear hold you back. If you don’t go out there and try new things, you’re always going to be stuck in the same position.

Thank you so much Tatiana for sharing this insight with us. I really do appreciate you taking the time to chat with me because I know how tired and drained you were that day! 🙂

Have you been completely lost in life before? How did you overcome this hurdle? Please comment below, we would LOVE to hear your story!

 

Social media: for better or for worse?

The issue of social media and its effects on our lives has been (and still is) a pretty controversial topic. Some stand firm that social media has greatly improved our standard of living, provided us with endless opportunities and given us the ability to do things we never thought were possible. Others say that it’s ruining our lives, causing us to become ‘robotic’ and no longer living the way we should be, no longer enjoying life itself.

Check out these conversations and thoughts on social media/phone use below.

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1. Twitter posts on our page

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2. Comment on video, ‘Can we Auto-correct Humanity’ by PrinceEa

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3. Comment on ‘Look Up’ by Gary Turk on Youtube

These are all great arguments but very different perspectives.

Instead of hearing our views this time, we want to know what do you think. Is it technology that are to blame or is it our lack of self-control?

We all started as strangers

Do you have that one best friend you can’t possibly imagine life without them anymore? You practically know each other inside-out, back to front and they know all the embarrassing and humiliating stories about you. She’s your partner in crime or the brother from another mother. But the best part is that they probably know you better than you know yourself and they can pick you back up in any time of doubt.

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Believe it all not, this amazing person used to be a complete stranger to you. It’s hard to imagine that once upon a time, the two of you were in two completely separate worlds. If it weren’t for high school, or that party or going to uni, you never would have met. No matter what the setting, this valued friendship wouldn’t have taken place if neither of you plucked up the courage to say hi. And guess what? Because one of you did, you’ve changed each other’s lives for the better!

How did you and your best friend meet? Share your story with us below, we would love to hear about it!

Aleksa and Dan

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Aleksa and Dan, both studying international studies at USYD

During the rush of students hurrying to leave campus on a Thursday afternoon, we saw two guys sitting by the oval of USYD playing on their guitars. Already, this fact alone was screaming to us that these two must be very interesting people. So we steered away from the crowd and introduced ourselves.

Indeed, their stories did not disappoint. Aleksa (left) and Dan (right) met on their exchange to Columbia. Yes, despite having classes on the same campus and studying the same degree, they met half way across the world! They both play classical guitar and have been playing as a duo for about a year now. In their final year of international studies, Aleksa and Dan look forward to and hope to perform at gigs together in the future. We hope to see you playing one day as well!

If you would like to see a little bit on how our approach went with these young chaps, you can check out our promotional video here.