A warm welcome to our new students

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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.

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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.

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

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Arts degrees and your future career

By Sarah Talty

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Sometimes I feel like the world is divided into two types of people: people who think it’s okay to study Arts and people who don’t. But a lot of the time these people are misinformed or their career route is so straightforward they can’t see past a college degree. If you’re doing something like nursing or teaching, the thoughts of finishing a degree, like a BA in Arts, and not having a set title might terrify you.

But an Arts degree gives you a lot of freedom! I know that seems like just something people say at open days to try and entice you into their course but it’s true. When you graduate with a Nursing degree, you’re going to go to a hospital and be a nurse. And that’s great if you want to be a nurse. But if you don’t really know what you want to do an Arts degree can be a great way to learn some valuable skills while you figure it out. But with the likes of an Arts degree, a lot of the time, it’s what you make it. With a journalism degree you can become a Journalist, Editor, Technical Writer, Public Relations, TV Journalist, Broadcaster.

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That was a big thing for my dad when I was trying to decide what to do. I didn’t really have a head for maths or business or science. I went through the whole prospectus for UL, trying to find the course for me through the process of elimination. Eventually I found myself mostly left with the Arts section. I was looking at doing a BA in Arts, English and New Media, Journalism and New Media or Business. Dad’s question to each of these was: ‘what are you going to be after?’

He wanted me to say I’m doing Law so I’m going to be a lawyer or I’m going to be a primary school teacher. He didn’t get it. I actually went for Journalism in the end so when I graduate technically I’m going to be a journalist. But simply having a degree doesn’t make you a journalist. Having articles regularly published, loving writing and having an interest in what’s happening in the world around you does. Just because you have a degree as a primary school teacher, doesn’t automatically mean you have a steady stable job out of college. There’s a certain amount of work that goes into trying to sculpt a career for yourself after college that everyone has to go through no matter your degree.

Here’s a list of successful (American) people and art degrees they hold:

  • Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO: B.S. in Communications, Northern Michigan University, 1975
  • Andrea Jung, Former Avon CEO: B.A. in English Literature, Princeton University, 1979
  • Michael Eisner, Former Walt Disney Company CEO: B.A. in English Literature and Theater, Denison University, 1964
  • Richard Plepler, HBO CEO : B.A. in Government, Franklin & Marshall College, 1981
  • Carly Fiorina, Former Hewlett-Packard CEO: B.A. in Medieval History and Philosophy, Stanford University, 1976
  • Susan Wojcicki YouTube CEO: B.A. in History and Literature, Harvard University, 1990
  • Conan O’Brien, TV Show Host: Bachelor of Arts in History

All college degrees are hard work, no matter what they are. You could be whizz at an Engineering course but struggle to get through English & New Media, simply because your strengths don’t lie in understanding literature. Everybody is different and if everyone was the same the world would be a boring place.

Find out more about our courses at www.ul.ie/artsoc/future-students.

Details of our new BA can be found at ul.ie/arts.

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Sarah Talty is a 3rd year BA Journalism & New Media student at the University of Limerick. From Clare, Sarah loves books, chocolate, Netflix, napping and writing, not necessarily in that order.

Choosing Arts subjects

By Cassandra Murphy

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An arts degree can be a scary thing. Your options are endless and every class looks as tempting as the next.  You go in knowing exactly what you want from your degree and come out after the four years with a completely different outlook. For me, all of the above is true after just two years. I went into the joint honours programme at UL with a plan almost set in stone, but everything changed. That is the beauty of the degree.

I started in September 2014 with the notion of becoming a psychologist. All that was left was to choose what I wanted to do with it. I knew I wanted to do a language. I always loved the thought of being able to communicate t was now a case of deciding on which one. I had a love-hate relationship with French throughout secondary school.  I loved the language, but the teaching and examination methods were not for me. I knew I was behind the others and I was not prepared for the anticipated humiliation in the class. So next was Irish. I walked into the lecture hall with my roommate and we took our seats. After five minutes of non-stop Gaeilge I decided it was best for me to give it a miss and ran from the class as fast I could. I didn’t even consider German. It was a language I could never find time for. Japanese didn’t appeal to me in any way. Which left me with Spanish. So I ran with it.

Both Sociology and English made sense for me. Sociology complimented Psychology. Each helps you understand the other. English on the other hand complimented me. It was always one of my best subjects so it only made sense to keep it on. It meant it would lighten my workload throughout the year. The continuous assessment and lack of an end of term exam was also a huge bonus.

I had one class left to take. I considered the many options. Mathematics, public admin, media, Irish music and dance. All things that appealed to me. In the end it was Criminal Justice that won me over. I was hooked. I had a slight bit of knowledge about everything else. I came to UL to learn so that’s what I was going to do. I knew nothing in terms of the Irish Legal system. It was going to be interesting. I planned on making it one of my minor subjects and only doing it for a year. I was aware it was a time consuming subject.

Plans change though. Now in my third year of my degree I can happily say I am working towards a degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice. Where I want to go afterwards? Who knows! I like challenges and changing my opinion. That’s why I decided to spend a year of my degree in France. Give myself a chance to learn something different and fix my relationship with the French language. Arts degrees do not tie you down. Instead they help you find your wings.

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About Cassandra Murphy:

I come from a little island off the South West coast of Ireland but moved to the big city of Paris for 6 months of coop. Normally I study psychology and criminal justice but at the moment I’m in France for Erasmus trying to string together a few sentences of French to avoid dying of starvation. It’s safe to say I like a challenge.