Blog

Why I chose to study at UL

By Sarah Talty, 4th year Journalism and New Media

OpenDays

To be honest with you I didn’t like UL when I attended the open day in Leaving Cert. I had just been wowed by how pretty and ancient UCC’s campus was and UL just seemed too green and brown for me. Weird I know. It was a sunny day and I remember thinking God with all these brown sombre buildings if I’m in college here and it rains it will make it a hundred times less appealing.

Now I’m in my final year at UL and I know that’s ridiculous. I chose UL initially for my course, followed up by how close it was to Clare. I have friends from different colleges all around Ireland and now I don’t even think my once coveted UCC campus holds a light to UL.

UL has a real community environment. We have shops, pharmacies, off licences, a cinema and plenty of restaurants and takeaways right on our doorstep. Even if we do want to venture into town the 304 can collect us right on campus or at a bus stop five minutes from our house or apartment.

Then there’s the actual campus itself, I’ve experienced campuses in Cork, Sligo, Dublin, Galway and Barcelona and there’s really nothing like UL. It really is like a little town with our market every week, our shop, the little cafes and restaurants and bumping into people you know every five minutes.

The Stables is an amazing feature of UL too, it’s great to have a casual place to hang out with your friends if you don’t have the energy or the funds for a proper night out. Sometimes a night in Stables ends up being one hundred times better than getting all dressed up and going into town.

Our transport is great too! It’s so handy for me to be able to get the green bus home to Clare or up to visit my best friend from Dublin, all from the Stables bus stop. I think the Dublin Coach only started running a few years before I started college so I got very lucky.

I’m so happy I decided to come to UL and that it proved my first impressions to be so very wrong!

Advertisements

Make sure you embrace and appreciate college life

By Marisa Kennedy, BA in Journalism and New Media, University of Limerick

020910 ULcampus 59

It’s said that your student years are the best years of your life. What should be added to that is, they are also the quickest. One minute, you’re following around an Orientation guide like a lost puppy trying to drink in this enormous campus, then, in the blink of an eye, you’re rushing to meet Final Year Project deadlines and choosing graduation outfits.

As I am writing this, I have just finished my first month as a fourth year student. I have spent the past year away from campus on Co-Op and Erasmus, and it made me realise how at home I feel here in UL and how I’ll have to fly the nest very, very soon. It’s incredible how the past three years have just merged into one big blur. All those 9am starts, last minute assignments, three-hour labs, they occupy a very small section of my memory.

What stand out are the memories created with my friends, the chats in Subway or the Stables, the ‘Friends’ marathons in front of the fire, the late nights spent talking about goodness-knows-what on ULFM, the nights where I would half freeze to death watching UL GAA matches in December, the meals cooked (and burned) and the takeaways subsequently bought. They may have seemed insignificant at the time, but now that I’m getting nearer and nearer to finishing up, I find myself reflecting on them a lot more.

2

If you’re the type of person who spends all their time focusing on lectures, tutorials and readings, you’re not really experiencing college life. Likewise, if you’re concentrating solely on, shall we say, life outside of the classroom, you are missing out on equally as much. College is the whole package and all aspects of it need to be embraced for it to be appreciated.

If I could go back to first year and do it all again, maybe I would do things a little bit differently. I like to tell myself that I’d do my assignments straight away and not leave them to the last minute. That I’d return that library book in time. Maybe that I’d come home at a reasonable hour from a night out on the town and be fresh in that lecture the next morning. Then again, maybe not!

Now that I’m in fourth year (have I mentioned I’m nearly finished college?), I’m trying to pack in as much into my final months as possible. As well as doing my college work, I’m hitting the town, taking part in clubs & socs, volunteering and doing journalistic work outside of class (it’s all about gaining experience in our game). How long will it last? I’m not sure. Come back to me in Week 11 and I will be more than likely, a burnt-out mess.

But I don’t think I’d mind that. What I would mind is if I stood up on that stage in August, accepted my scroll and left the Concert Hall with regret because I wasted the precious time I had as a student.

Another thing people say is that college isn’t for everyone, and that’s true. But once you have committed to going to college, you owe it to yourself to try everything, to embrace everything, every aspect. Take it from me, it’s four very short years. Four years that will shape you as a person. Have no regrets.

 

My First Attempt at Surviving Alone

By Simran Kapur, Grad Dip/MA in Journalism, University of Limerick

IMG-20161101-WA0002As soon as I touched down at Shannon from India, I had a weird an unnerving feeling in my stomach. This would be my home for the next one year. I will no longer be guarded by my mother’s love and sheltered in the comfort of my house. I had freedom, yet I had a hoard of other responsibilities that fell down upon me as hard as the rain that night. Scrambling with my luggage I made it to guest house, my first night in Ireland was unbelievable a few hours ago.

The next morning sharp at 11:45 am we set down for the Plassey Student Village, it wasn’t a pleasant walk with having to drag suitcases filled with special treats my mothers had packed for me, uphill. If only I could pack her up and get her along with me, one could only wish.

Walking all that distance with minimum amount of sleep to charge me up I was a miserable wreck at the reception, hoping to speed things up a notch and get to my room. All that effort and immense amount of cardio with the suitcases was all worth it the minute I stepped into my room. In years, that is if you have a sibling, I had a room to myself. I could decorate it any which way I wished to and for heaven’s sake it wasn’t pink to begin with.

Gradually my fellow roommates trickled in and by the end of the day I had a greater problem in hand than the great mathematician, Aryabhatta. I was outnumbered and by a huge deal, seven boys to one girl was not a ratio anyone would expect. Thus began my adventure.

My first day at Limerick and my first attempt at independent living, started out with pouring rain. Yet when we all sat at the common room stuffing our faces with pizzas, this beautiful sense of acceptance washed over me. I had a home away from home, and nobody could take that away from me. I had arrived.

My Erasmus experience in Belgium

By Roisin O’Donoghue, BA New Media & English, University of Limerick

This time last year I was on my Erasmus in city of Ghent, Belgium. I lived and studied there from the 20th September to 23rd of December. Much like my Co-op it was an experience that I will never forget. The upsides were getting to travel to other cities and neighbouring countries. Then the downsides were living with others and studying. So much studying.

Belgium was not my first choice for Erasmus nor was it my second or even my third. However, it was pretty much my only choice because the other destinations I had in mind were taken up so Belgium was kind of a last resort. Three of my friends from my course were also going so at least I wasn’t alone. It was still a year away at this point so I didn’t really think that much about. At the same time, I was preparing for my Co-op in France in the same year. Yet as the summer of 2016 dragged on and I was trying to organise the necessary documents and choose my modules for the university I began to feel the excitement. I didn’t feel nervous or stressed unlike how I felt about Co-op because I had experience of living away from home now and I wasn’t going to be on my own. I felt that it would be the amazing, must-have experience that others made it out to be.

We travelled from Dublin airport to Brussels airport on the 20th September. When we got there, we were a bit confused as to what trains to get to Ghent and ended up missing the first one. When we finally caught the next one we had the immense task of hauling our luggage onto the train which took some serious teamwork. When we arrived in the city of Ghent we then had to find our way to where we were going to be staying for the next few months which took up more time and by the end we were all exhausted. Once I got to my room all I wanted to do was collapse onto the absurdly squeaky bed and sleep for a week. I couldn’t though as we had to get food and explore the city a bit.

I loved Ghent, it’s so beautiful with the castle, church and river running through it. Plus, the shopping was great too! Our student accommodation was near the city centre so we could walk in and out as we pleased. The accommodation itself was fairly basic but I still loved my room it was like a small apartment. The modules we studied were Masters Classes and they were tough but we got through the exams (5 of them, most I’ve had since Leaving Cert) and I was so relieved once they were done. They stressed me out but I felt a great sense of achievement for doing them.

The best thing about Erasmus for me though was getting the opportunity to travel. When I was there I visited Antwerp, Leuven, Bruges, Luxembourg and France. These are all wonderful places to visit and I would highly recommend them. One of the biggest downsides was living with others. I lived with other people when I was in France but I didn’t spend every day with them. My friends and I spent a lot of our time with each other as we lived on the same floor in the same building and had all the same classes together. There were times when we got kind of tired of each other but we came out of it still as good friends. So overall it was an incredible experience and I’m glad I did it although I do wish I prepared myself a little better I wouldn’t change it.

Co–op: An Eye-opening experience

By Roisin O’Donoghue, BA New Media & English

My Co-op experience is one I don’t think I could ever forget. I can still remember going to the seminars and signing up for an international placement. This was very unlike me. I had never been abroad by myself before and knew nothing about booking flights or searching for accommodation. I don’t think I gave it a lot of serious thought just the idea of living and working in another part of the world seemed so sophisticated and amazing and I wanted it to be something I could do.

The whole process of Co-op was quite stressful but also exciting. Being interviewed by international companies felt like an introduction to the real world for me. I was kind of worried that it would take forever to get a placement or that I wouldn’t get accepted for one at all. However, that was not the case as I was accepted after my second interview for a magazine located in the south of France. I was delighted with this as it was the kind of job I was interested in and in the south of France no less!

As my placement drew nearer and nearer I began to feel the panic. I kept asking myself “what have I done?” I had little French and knew nothing about living alone without my parents being close enough to rescue me if something went wrong. Part of me felt that the whole thing was going to be a complete disaster and that I was going to hate it there. All my friends and family kept asking me what exactly was I going to be doing and all I could say was I’d know when I got there and the more they enquired about it the more stressed I got.

On my first day, I explored the city of Nice where I was going to be living for the next few months. At first, I was incredibly lonely which I thought was strange as normally I really enjoy time on my own. There was just nothing and no one familiar around me and this really knocked me for six. I can remember one night in my second week of Co-op and my mam sent me a snap of my two dogs. It only hit me then how alone and homesick I was. However, once I settled into my accommodation and into my placement I felt so much more comfortable and the loneliness passed. I also enjoyed my work with the magazine, Riviera Insider, too. It had content I was unfamiliar with as it was quite high-end like Michelin star restaurants, operas and luxury vacations. It was a broad range of topics so I really learned a lot about different ways of writing certain articles. It was stressful sometimes but it was still an amazing feeling to see my name printed under an article I had written.

I’m really proud of my time in France and although it had never been a place I was particularly keen to visit before Co-op it now holds a lot of significance for me. It was where I learned to live with people I wasn’t related to, where I learned to grocery shop for myself and where I did work that I enjoy and want to pursue a career in. Basically, it was where I learned about what I could achieve in life and that is an experience I’m grateful for.

 

Why living at home for University isn’t the worst

By Derval Cleary, 4th year BA Arts (Joint Honours)

When deciding to write a blog post I decided to write something I know about oh too well and something I wish I had available to me when I was filling out my CAO and when I began my studies at UL. I’m from Limerick and I study in Limerick so I’m going to tell you all about why living at home in a time of a rent crisis and high living costs isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Simpsons-dog

1. The dog. This is probably my favourite thing about living at home as there’s nothing better than coming home after a stressful/not so good/good day and being given unconditional love and cuddles from someone who’s happy to have you home. (Plus pets are great stress relievers, I study psychology so it has to be true 😉 ) Poppy is a PhD (Pretty human Dog)

02e3d574c5f6d03e558747a810967c7a--vintage-humor-retro-humor

2. Home cooking. There is nothing better than coming home after a long day (or a short day) in college and having dinner waiting for you it honestly makes life so much easier. Plus happy stomach means happy human.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

3. Fully stocked cupboards. As part of my degree I lived abroad for a year and I cannot talk about how depressing my food cupboard looked in comparison to my parents’ one. Food shopping on a budget can sometimes be hard (especially if you’re crap at maths like me) and I found (and still find) my parents food cupboards to be a luxury, want some pasta/curry sauce/cereal/chocolate digestives? They’re all there and they’re all FREE! (Love you Mum and Dad :P)

0fxy30JgcG2pjUtSh

4. Savings €€€. In preparation for my year abroad I got a job in order to have a bit of money in the bank which would allow me allow me to go travelling, because I lived at home and didn’t have to pay rent or buy my own food I was able to save almost all the money I earned that semester and as a result I was able to have some pretty cool experiences.

Self-Esteem-Self-Confidence-Healing

5. It builds confidence. When living at home for college it can make creating new friendships hard as you may not have the “built in” friendships that can happen with housemates. When I started in UL it was something I was terrified of as I’m a shy person but I chose to use this to my advantage. I forced myself to say hello to more people in my lectures, to join societies and to get a little bit more involved with campus goings on. As a result my confidence has flourished and I’m not the shy first year I was when I began, I’m now the semi-shy final year with a wide array of friends.

Living at home isn’t without its downfalls either there’s long days in college, having to tell your parents where you’re going and when you’ll be home and of course having to commute and use the 304 (if I had a euro for every time that bus made me swear I’d be rich, just saying) but I chose not to focus on those because I believe that the positives of living at home are just a tiny bit better.

I hope that this blog post has helped those who aren’t necessarily the happiest with living at home for college or even those who needed a reminder about why they chose to live at home for college and maybe I’ve convinced a few of you to look at living at home for college in the future. Who knows?

P.S Thank you to my Mum who proof read this while she was tumbledrying my clothes :op

The Big Bad Post Grad: first day worries

Rachel Loftus

By Rachel Loftus, Grad. Dip./M.A. Journalism, UL 

Walking into my introductory lecture I couldn’t help it. Despite the fact that I was a Big Bad Post Grad, I felt my knees quaking just as they did on my first day of being an undergraduate. Sure, this was a new college, but what of it? I was older now, far more mature, with four years of study in NUIG done, dusted and under my belt. I was a post Erasmus student for goodness sake! This should be a piece of cake. And yet, here I was, tongue stuck to the top of my mouth, afraid to say boo to a goose and desperate to get back to the safety and familiarity of my house.

Despite our expectations and despite our rationality, there’ll always be an aspect of fear and an aspect of hesitancy about putting our first foot into the unfamiliar. It can range from starting school, to starting college, to starting a new job, to moving country, to moving to the next town even. We could be as prepared as we like, and yet, place any single one of us in a situation in which we are out of our comfort zone and we shrink. We take a step back. We take a step back until somebody reaches a hand forward to help us through.

I’ll concede, that very morning of post-graduated introductions, the very first day I sat in the Concert Hall? I wanted to leave. I wanted to give up before I had even began because I was so outside my realms of comfort. To my dismay, before I could make my great escape we had been ushered into our various classes for a tour of the college. And what a blessing in disguise that was. As our 4th year guide brought us around the Main Building and became increasingly puzzled as to which way we should have been going and eventually had to ask for directions, a thought struck my mind. Nobody really knows it all. You can be prepared as you might like and you’ll still be thrown a curve ball. You’ll still need help.

Awkward and meek conversation grew into awkward and hesitant laughter which grew into earnest laughter amongst our group as the day progressed. The fear that was initially there evaporated. We were all new. We were all just as lost. We were all on the same page. And despite what various educational courses and backgrounds we had come from, we all needed to accept the help that was on offer to us. Help from other UL students when we became lost. Help to access the library. Help on where the best places to eat were. Help on where the best coffee was located. And yes, in the melee of corners and crevices in the Main Building, even help to the nearest bathroom (Which FYI, was obviously built by someone who wanted to trap a person in its confines for eternity.)

So, here I am, the Big Bad Post Grad, who is anything but. First year, Erasmus student, Masters student, Ph.D student, new lecturer. We are all equal in that we all need that little bit of help on our first day. We all need that helping hand. And despite our best efforts, despite our preparations, it’s ok to be absolutely terrified out of your wits. Because each and every person before us has been in the exact same position. Every single person in UL was once there on their first day, and you can bet your socks they were once just as out of their comfort zone as you were. I’m even looking at you Dr. Fitzgerald.

Final year: Thoughts and dreams for the future

By Roisin O’Donoghue

2367287894_88f1d817f8

As the summer of 2017 came to an end I couldn’t help but realise a very big thing, I was going to be a fourth year. This both excited and terrified me, because while I am excited to be finished with essays, readings and exams I can’t help but feel that I am not ready for the real world.

I can still remember my first official day here at UL. I was in kind of a fluster with trying to find rooms and figure out my timetable and I don’t think I really managed to feel the excitement and the nerves that someone generally feels on their first day at university. However, apart from being a bit frazzled I was also immediately taken with the campus and all its features such as the Brown Thomas statue. As the week went on with classes and introductions I knew that I was going to really enjoy my time here.

As for my final year, what can I say except oh wow. I’ve made it. Through exams, co-op and Erasmus, I’m here. Every year since I began I always felt like things were starting to get serious which they were but they weren’t quite as serious as they are now. This is the year that will decide the rest of my life which is a terrifying thought and quite an extraordinary one. The realisation that this time next year I will no longer be a UL student but an adult living and working in the big wide world is difficult to process. To think that I won’t get lunch with my friends in Paddocks or go to International’s Night on a Friday or have a lecture in the labyrinth that is the main building, is really quite a shock to the system. It will hit me even harder when it finally happens and I know that while I’ll be relieved that its over I will miss it dearly.

As for the future, well I hope to do incredible things. I want to travel, establish a career, fall in love, and generally just continue to create myself as I have been doing for the past three years. I hope to be successful in as many aspects of life as I possibly can. Right now, I may not feel ready for it but I’m just going to take it one day at a time.

A warm welcome to our new students

IMG_9244

Last week we welcomed our new 1st year students to the Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences. We are particularly pleased to see so many students on our new LM002 Bachelor of Arts course, which is new for September 2017. This year, LM002 is the highest general-entry arts course in the country with 360 points. A huge amount of work has taken place in the last two years to get this course up and running, so it was wonderful to meet our new students and hear their questions.

Thursday 31st August saw all our new students meet in the University Concert Hall to hear welcome talks. This was followed by a campus tour, and course talks.

IMG_9234

On Friday we held subject taster sessions for our LM002 Arts students, where lecturers spoke about what’s involved with studying each subject. We also welcomed Faculty from Mary Immaculate College to discuss the subjects being taught there.

IMG_9280

Welcome to all, we hope you have a happy and productive time at UL.