By Lyndsey Hall
With the end of May comes last classes, exams and final papers, but if like me you are completing an MA in UL, the work is not over yet! The summer is when postgraduate students like myself must complete their dissertation or thesis, so as mine is due in September, I am not done with UL yet, and will be studying on campus for the summer months. However, completing a thesis over a lengthy period does not have to be stressful. After completing my final essays, and taking a week off, I have returned to campus and am once again putting in long hours in the library, but there is a different feel in the air this time around. I can work at a leisurely pace, and the work itself is stimulating. I can also spend my days in more relaxed, communal settings such as the study labs UL has to offer, enjoying the company of my friends and allowing ourselves to chat to each other and discuss each other’s work, as well as motivating each other to get stuff done.
So overall, spending your summer in UL writing a thesis can be a relaxed experience, which allows for many study breaks, and the UL campus has a great deal to offer in terms of places to go and things to do on these breaks. When the sun shines in Limerick (and it does sometimes over summer!) there is no better place to be to enjoy it than the beautiful UL campus. I’m here to tell you 5 ways to spend your summer study breaks in UL while you complete your postgraduate work.
Take a walk along the Shannon
What better way to clear your mind and take a relaxing break from work than a walk along a scenic nature trail? UL has plenty of beautiful walking trails on offer. Grab a friend, or go alone and listen to some music, and head off along the canal walk when your thesis is frying your brain. I would recommend starting off at ‘Kilmurry Beach’ (an affectionate name for what is really a small sandy strip by the river) and walking along the river banks, stopping to inspect the historic ruins along the way. You’ll pass under The Living Bridge, which you can hop onto if you need to head back to your study spot and do more work!
2. Sun bathe at the Boat House
Hopefully your study spot has some nice big windows for you to enjoy some of the gorgeous views from the buildings in UL, but if the sun is shining, the beauty of a sunny UL campus will inevitably be too much to resist! Besides, sun should not be wasted in Limerick, and hopefully you will have a good few opportunities to soak it up while you are here for the summer. If you do, you’ll find a perfect spot in the pier by the Boat House, one of UL’s finest facilities. Enjoy the walk up by The Kemmy Business School and beyond the main carpark (or drive if you can’t wait to get relaxing) and you can pick your spot on the little pier that stretches into the River Shannon: lie out, dip your feet in and relax. Look out for swans!
3. Take your work outside
During the teaching year in UL, you can expect to see students flocking to the many expansive grassy areas on UL campus at the first sign of sun. The campus obviously goes quiet during the summer, as only postgrads and staff are left hanging around, so if you want to get outside and clear your head, you can easily take your work with you and enjoy some peace and quiet outdoors. Print off whatever article your reading, grab your book or even take your laptop with you, and set up shop on one of the lawns in UL, perhaps by the fountain behind The White House, or on Plassey Lawn by the Michael Warren sculpture ‘Salmon Fall’. Speaking of sculptures….
4. Enjoy the campus art
Now that your work schedule is slightly more leisurely than it might have been during term time, why not explore the UL campus further by taking a closer look at the art features available all around you. You may have passed by Brown Thomas and fountain sculpture every day during term time , but why not seek out the ‘Swimmers’ sculpture by Louise Walsh in Kilmurry Village, or James McKenna’s limestone piece ‘Resurgence’ by the Schrodinger. You’ll also have time to check out the portraits on display in the Foundation Building: be inspired on your study breaks!
5. Attend, or present at, an academic conference
Another way to get inspired while you take a break from your thesis writing would be to go to an academic conference, and there is usually some great ones held in UL over the summer. You could also present your own research at either a dedicated conference or the general postgraduate ones that are held at the beginning of the summer: great experience for your CV! So, take advantage of the events and talks held in UL over the summer, and allow yourself a break in order to broaden your mind and experience some of the new research from UL and elsewhere. Also, you’ll get free tea or maybe even lunch out of it!
Overall, you are in for a fun and relaxing time on campus if you are here in UL for the summer months completing postgraduate work. As long as you are making steady progress with your research, you can still allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy UL’s beautiful campus (weather permitting). So take some extra-long study breaks and soak up everything UL has to offer before you have to leave in the Autumn!
My name is Lyndsey, and I’m a Masters student here in UL, studying Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies (it’s a mouthful!). I started this Masters immediately after my undergrad degree, which I also did in UL. So clearly, I love this university!