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.

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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.

 

Final year: Thoughts and dreams for the future

By Roisin O’Donoghue

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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.