How to have a productive day at the library

UL Bolton Library 13
01.02.2016 Bolton Library, Cashel Co. Tipperary. Picture: Alan Place/Fusionshooters

By Sarah Talty

The semester weeks are finally in the double digits and dread has started to creep in. Whether you’re cramming for exams or trying to meet deadlines, it can be hard to get focused. Some people are lucky to have the motivation to study at home but for the rest of us only the library will do. There’s nothing like holding a coveted seat in the library and powering through all your work. For many of us though, distractions get in the way and we find ourselves leaving mentally drained with little done.


To combat this we’ll pinpoint the main things that get in the way of being productive and how to overcome them:


Bring lots of snacks and water and also pack a lunch for yourself. There is no faster way to decide to leave the silence of the library than having your stomach demonstrating a whale call because you haven’t fed it in hours.

Your phone

Phones are the worst! You decide to scroll through your phone for a few minutes and before you know it you’ve wasted half an hour. There are apps that can block certain sites and apps on your phone or just lock it completely for a certain period of time. My favourite app is one called Dinner Mode, in which you choose a period of time to not pick up your phone. If you pick it up before the minutes you chose have passed then you lose. Very simple but effective if you’re as competitive as I am. It’s a great way to give yourself time periods of working hard with no distractions before taking a break. You could just leave your phone at home too, up to you.


When your friends want to hang out it can be hard to say no when you’ve been staring at figures and essays for hours. We’re in the last few weeks though and your friends should be studying too so they’ll understand when you say no. Plan breaks to meet your friends so your brain doesn’t explode, or turn to mush four hours in of looking at a computer screen.

23.09.14           University of Limerick Supplement. Picture: Alan Place.


Come early to get a good seat and don’t lose your precious seat by taking breaks longer than 45 minutes. Also if a friend has a class to go to or is leaving the library for good have it arranged that you text the other in advance to see if they want to come in and take your seat.


‘By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail’

Take 10 minutes when you first get into the library and spend it planning what you want to achieve that day. Write out a to do list and tick each task off, even if it’s just something small such as completing a recommended reading. It will help you get more done and give more structure to your day so you can get the best out of your day.


Being tired is one of the main ways to kill all productivity at the library. If you’re too tired in the morning you won’t get anything done and if you’re too tired in the evening you’re likely to just give up and head home. Make sure you get plenty of sleep, especially if you’re trying to hit the library for the whole day. Pack your bag the night before so you can give yourself an extra 15 minutes in bed in the mornings.

Newsroom 2



What To Consider When Choosing Where To Go On Erasmus

By Sarah Talty, 4th year Journalism and New Media

ErasmusWe are very lucky that the University of Limerick is one of the best colleges for allowing their students Co-op and Erasmus opportunities. UL are linked with many fantastic colleges all around the world and when the time comes to finally choose where to go on Erasmus it can be very daunting. Here is some advice from one veteran Erasmus student:


Language is one of the main factors we think about. If you want to improve on a language you’re studying then you should go to the country. If you’re thinking of taking up Spanish and want to get some real practise in then head for Spain. If you’re heading to a very touristy city then most people will speak English, but if you don’t have a language but English do some solid research into how easy it will be for you to live there.


Make sure the place you’re going is easily accessible. As well as flying to and from the place you also want to check that an airport near you has relatively cheap and frequent flights to other countries. Most Erasmus placements are five or six months. That’s a long time to be away from home and it’s likely you’re going to want to go home for a few days and make sure your dog still remembers who you are. If the place you choose for your Erasmus is a paradise but you can’t travel anywhere else in the six months or afford to go home or nobody can afford to come visit you, it might be worth looking into somewhere else.


Sometimes we become so swept up in the idea of living in a foreign country that we forget we’re actually going there to study. Look up the college’s website and see what modules they have to offer you and if they’d be something you’d be interested in and are worth your time going there.


Do some proper research into the college you’re thinking of attending and look up it’s academic timetable. See what dates the college is starting and finishing, if you have plans for the summer, like a J1 job lined up, this could be affected. Also check what holidays you get from college, this could be a great time to nip back home or go travelling.


Being from Ireland the weather is something we’re constantly thinking and talking about. Depending on when your Erasmus is taking place it’s worth looking up the average temperature for the months you’re going to be there. You might find that a country you think of as being hot is nearly the same temperature as Ireland in November.

Things To Do

Make sure there are things to do in the country you’re going to. It might be great to wander around picturesque towns for the first few weeks snapping pics, but if there aren’t any cinemas showing movies in English or proper nightlife then you’re going to get bored fast.


You probably think I’m going to tell you to try to pick somewhere your friends are going so you’ll have someone to help you through this rough transition? Wrong. It’s scary to go somewhere different to your friends but at the end of Erasmus you can look back and feel more confident that you’ve survived Erasmus all by yourself. It forces you to put yourself out there and make new friends from all around the world. It’s also a positive because you’ll have to expand on your go to topics of conversation such as mutual friends, nights out and sports because your new friends wont have a clue what you’re on about. Another plus is that if your college friends all go different places for Erasmus then you’ll have loads of different countries to visit, all with free accommodation and a built in tour guide.


Why I chose New Media and English at UL

By Roisin O’Donoghue

I have always been a reader and a writer. From as far back as I can remember I loved the written word. In primary and secondary school English was always my best subject, the one I spent most of my time on and the one I enjoyed the most. I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do for a living when I was older but I knew it should involve writing. So it would only make sense that I study this in university.

The course of New Media and English is the perfect choice for me. It involves a lot of reading, writing and researching. Plus it covers many different fields such as sociology, cultural studies, technical writing and film studies. I have been introduced to so many new theories and ways of seeing the world which I owe to doing such a varied course. Through this course I have met some amazing people as the modules tend to interlink with different courses within the university. I have also discovered that you are allowed to disagree with theories and beliefs that other scholars write about and that your own opinion does matter. The lecturers are passionate about what they teach and that encourages me to be passionate too.

I have come to love the act of learning and no longer feel self-conscious about speaking out in tutorials when asked a question. This semester I have chosen subjects relating to film studies, cultural studies and literature based on contemporary women writers and modernism. I chose these based on my personal interests. I love movies and want to learn more about to talk and write about them. I love literature that centers on women and which makes me think differently about my own identity. I like being challenged and debating the world around me and I believe that the subjects I’m studying are perfect for this as they involve many ways to see the world and the people in it.

Mid-semester study tips

By Alison Mitchell

Hey everyone! Just as assignments are starting to build up and I’m sure a lot of you are already beginning to study for exams, I decided to write this short blog post to share some useful study tips with you!

 Make use of the library hours/facilities.

We are very lucky in the University of Limerick to have such an amazing library facility that is open from 8:30am – 11:00pm Monday to Friday, 10:00am – 7:00pm on Saturdays and 11:00am – 6:00pm on Sundays. These library hours are amazing and I would definitely recommend getting in all the library hours you can, especially in the days leading up to an exam/assignment. The facilities are there for students, they should be used!


Make a plan.

Plans are so important while studying for an exam or working on an assignment. If you make a checklist of things you need to get finished by the end of the day, stay off your phone and focus, you will manage to get the list completed (as long as you make it realistic of course!) and you will feel great once it’s all done!


Be organized.

This pretty much ties in with the previous tip but I cannot stress enough how important it is to make sure you have everything before you sit down to study. Make sure you have all of your notes, a pen and notepad if needed, any books you might need and anything else that comes to mind!


Look after yourself first (mental health, eat well, be well rested).

Even though study is important, you are more important. Before studying make sure you have eaten well and are well rested and remember, if you’re not feeling up to it, that’s okay too, your own mental health and wellbeing is a lot more important. So, look after yourself and the rest will follow!


Don’t try to cram everything in the day before.

Make sure to spread out your assignments so you don’t have to them all in one week, you’ll end up over-stressing about something that could’ve been fixed with a bit of planning. Study your notes over longer time periods, don’t start reading them the night before the exam and expect to know it all by the next morning, it won’t happen. So, spread out the work over time and it’ll all be stress-free!


Those are all of my study tips, good luck in all of your assignments and exams and thanks so much for reading!

Why I chose to study at the University of Limerick

By Kayley Hardiman, 2nd year Journalism and New Media

kayleyI decided to study the Journalism and New Media at UL because of the opportunities that existed here that weren’t anywhere else. The main things that attracted me to the course were the co-op and Erasmus in third year which I have yet to do.

Journalism students have a full year off campus in third year to gain experience in the working world and build up our portfolios for future prospective employers. The opportunity to do Erasmus and work placement did not exist anywhere apart from UL so it had to be number one on my CAO form. Erasmus enables us to live and study abroad for a semester learning more about the culture, history and people of a completely different country. We also get the chance to see how a similar degree is taught abroad and can learn from journalism students on the course. Of course, if you’re unsure about heading off abroad for 6 months you can always study in England or Scotland which are only a stone’s throw away.

We get to study an elective as part of the course too which is similar to a specialism that we will have for our working career. The options include English Literature, Sociology, History, Languages, Economics, Politics and Public Admin and Law. So, there is something to entice every kind of student. I chose Spanish for my elective as I am interested in going to Barcelona for my Erasmus which marries my love of Journalism and Spanish all in one even when I am not at UL.

Studying a language can provide you with more options when you consider where you would like to study abroad because it can be difficult to study in a different country when you don’t speak their native language. This means that I am confident enough that if I do study in Spain I will have a good understanding of the language and have the ability to talk to the locals.

Advice for your next semester

By Sarah Talty, 4th year Journalism and New Media

Every year the same thing happens. We put off our deadlines, don’t attend lectures and tutorials and fail to study for exams in time. Every year this happens and every year we tell ourselves, ‘next semester will be different’. Well this is a warning to you right now while you still have time to turn it all around!

  • Go to all your tutorials.
  • If you don’t go to some lectures at least get the notes off Sulis.
  • Skip one or two nights out in favour of a late night in the library and clear head the next day.
  • Start your assignments at least three weeks before the deadline, not a few days before.
  • Keep a list of all your deadlines on your bedroom wall or in the front of your notebook and tick them off as they’re completed.
  • Attend the free workshops, classes and help advertised in your student mail such as citation workshops.
  • Figure out if you work better in college or at home so you know where to study for study week.
  • Go to classes even if your friends aren’t going.
  • Spend a few hours in the library every day and work steadily, rather than just letting all your work pile up to the last minute.
  • Make a reasonable study plan and stick to it.
  • Get the Writing Centre to help you with your essays now instead of rushing in minutes before your deadline.
  • Organise your notes as you go along so you’re not panicked searching for them during study week.
  • If you’re having trouble in a module go to your lecturer’s office hours and ask them for help.
  • Trade being relaxed after tests you’re almost sure you’ve passed for a few weeks of stress and worry now.


Why I chose to study at UL

By Sarah Talty, 4th year Journalism and New Media


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!

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.


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.