Postgraduate Study at UL: 5 Ways to Spend your Summer Study Breaks on Campus

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.

  1. Take a walk along the Shannon

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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

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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

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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

Alex Wjech
Geometric Forms, Alexandra Wejchert. Located in front of the Robert Schuman Building

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

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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!

lyndsey-hall

 

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!

 

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Final Year Projects

By Lyndsey Hall

fyp-banner3Week 4 of semester 2 is upon us, and for many 4th year students, the Final Year Project due date is looming! As a Masters student, I can happily say I have ‘been there, done that’ and lived to tell the tale. I can’t quite believe that this time last year I was handing in my own FYP. It may sound unbelievable to current 4th year students, but the day I handed in that beautiful bound copy of a year’s worth of work was one of the best days of my whole undergrad experience!

For my undergrad, I studied Arts, with English and New M10922686_10152851186429807_1816070513157731626_nedia here in UL. Coming in to 1st year, the FYP seemed like a lifetime away, but soon it starts to become very real and very terrifying. However, with an interesting topic and a good supervisor, the process of writing the FYP can be extremely rewarding and exciting. It’s your first chance to produce a totally original and substantial piece of work that is entirely your own, and when you finally see it in its physical form, you can’t help but feel very proud of yourself!

As far as interesting topics go, I definitely had one. I actually got to bring my lifelong obsession to the next level, and study the Harry Potter series. Writing about something that you are genuinely interested in means that you will be motivated in your research and unlikely to get absolutely sick of your subject (I can happily say I am still a Harry Potter fan, maybe even more so!). Whatever topic you are interested in, I can guarantee you there is potential within it for an FYP, and there will almost certainly be a supervisor in UL who will be more than happy to help you with it.

Here in UL, we are blessed with amazingly long Christmas holidays, and in that month of January after the first semester of 4th year, I was able to get my entire FYP done, and at a leisurely pace! So, when the morning of submission came in Week 4, the only feeling I had was excitement at the prospect of heading into town with my friends to print off the fruit of our labours and head back to UL to hand them in (see picture of me looking delighted with myself). This was followed by celebratory waffles in The Stables, and luckily for us, UL was also kind enough to organise the Tri-Faculty ball on the same night! What an amazing way to cap off what felt like the penultimate day of my undergrad!

So, here are my things to take away:

The FYP doesn’t have to be terrifying!

  • Choose a topic you love, don’t be afraid to suggest something you are interested in to a potential supervisor!
  • Use that month off in January UL has kindly given you to get work done, and then there is no need  for the weeks leading up to the due date to be torture!
  • Enjoy it and be proud of the significant work you have produced!

Visit www.ul.ie/artsoc/content/fyp for more help with your FYP

lyndsey-hall

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!

Erasmus: an experience for the faint-hearted!

By Lyndsey Hall

Hey everyone! 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, but another major factor in my decision to stay in UL is my very real fear of change! So for this blog post, I’m going to write about my experience of Erasmus, from the point of view of someone who was absolutely terrified of leaving UL. If the idea of Erasmus is daunting for you, then hopefully I can alleviate some of your worries, because the truth is, Erasmus was one of the happiest times of my life and definitely on the best things I’ve ever done.

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Like I said, I was none too thrilled about the prospect of heading off to another university, let alone another country. For this reason, I chose to stay close to home when choosing my destination, so for that reason my top three choices comprised of universities in the UK. I ended up putting Leeds Beckett University as my first choice based on student reports from previous years, so I would definitely recommend taking a look at these when making your decision. Honestly, I was very nervous about going, even though I was heading off with a good friend of mine for company, and we would be linking up with two other girls from UL when we got there. However, pretty much the minute I arrived there I knew I was at home. Erasmus is an amazing opportunity to spend some time in a new and exciting city. It’s a chance to put your studies in the back seat for a little while (they are still important!) and just focus on life experience. College for me in Leeds were certainly not heavy duty, and I only had classes on Monday and Tuesday, so the rest of the week was spent travelling to nearby cities, taking in everything Leeds had to offer and just enjoying my new home. I truly did not want to leave when the semester was up; even some tears were shed! I felt like the three months had absolutely flown by. When I first arrived, I put up my calendar on the wall thinking I would be counting down the days until I got to go home, but in no time at all, I was watching the weeks slip away with mounting sadness!

However, coming back to UL for the next semester was amazing, and there was definitely a much happier feeling in the air, as my fellow students and I were totally refreshed and ready to continue our degree in UL having all had the time of our lives for the past 3 months.

So if you are a home bird who is a bit nervous about the prospect of Erasmus, I’m here to tell you not to worry and that you should believe everyone who tells you that Erasmus is one of the best opportunities UL has to offer, and you will count yourself lucky you had the chance to do it!

Good luck guys!

lyndsey-hall

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!