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By Muireann Murtagh

Well, not literally.  However, it is Halloween, so the library café – of which I have become the resident ghost because I’m here far too often – is full of people making plans for Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night, talking about the costumes they’ll wear and where they’re going out.  Nightclub promoters have been haunting (hee hee) campus dressed as superheroes, ghosts, and fairy-tale characters for the last 10 days.  Sadly, the scariest thing at the moment is not all Hallow’s Eve or things that go bump in the night, but midterm exams and deadlines.

Yes, boys and girls, it’s that time of year again – Christmas seems oh-so-far away, summer is but a half-remembered dream, and no-one knows if it’s going to rain today or not.  It’s autumn, and that means midterms, deadlines, and seeking comfort in the hot chocolate in Scholars when everything gets too overwhelming.

Luckily, I’ve only had one midterm, but I had two deadlines and the menacing shadow of the FYP looming over my shoulder is getting more and more solid as each day passes.  Finding a seat in the library is proving to be a real challenge these days, and getting there before 11am seems to be a good solution.

It’s a stressful time of year, and it really only gets busier from now on.  Just when you need to treat yourself kindly, it’s harder to a) find the time to do it because you have so much to do and b) justify it, because you have so much to do!  Therefore, I have made this helpful feelings chart, so that I and anyone who needs it can use it to make decision-making easier.

What should you do next? Don't think for yourself, decide with this helpful guide!
What should you do next? Don’t think for yourself, decide with this helpful guide!

It can be hard to maintain a balance between getting work done and taking care of oneself.  I’m trying really hard to eat properly and to bring food from home for lunch or snacks whenever I can, but occasionally it’s just not possible and I have to eat on campus instead.  Even so, I always arrange to have lunch or breaks with friends.  As much as possible, it is important to socialise with others and avoid talking about all the work you have to do all the time.  Honestly, it’s not going to make anyone feel less stressed or worried about anything.  I’m also trying to be motivated enough to go to the gym or for a run, but like most people, I enjoy walking up, hitting the snooze button on my alarm, and rolling over for a second sleep.

Some days, I have my lunch ready from the night before, I go to the gym at 7am, and I bring both a flask AND a water bottle along with my packed lunch.  Most days, I manage the flask and the water bottle.  Every day, I try to be kind to myself.  We’re all just little humans trying to do our best, and in stressful times, that’s both the hardest and the most important thing to remember.

muireannMy name is Muireann Murtagh, and I am a fourth-year student of Applied Languages. I am 21 and I am from Longford. Despite the long journey that divides my two homes, I am so happy to study in UL. I really enjoy my course, in which I focus on French and Spanish, because it is everything I ever hoped it would be. It has given me the chance to work in Paris and to study in Spain, it has given me amazing friends and incredible memories, it’s challenging and it pushes me to work hard and learn constantly. It’s exactly what I wanted.

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