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.

 

Advertisements

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.

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!

My last first day

By Muireann Murtagh

Monday of Week 1 was… weird.  I was busy, which was good.  I had been working with the International Education Division, welcoming new international students the week before, and I was continuing to work at their information desk in week 1 (so far, on Wednesday of Week 1, it’s still going fine!).  I had to be there at 9am so my last first morning was an early one.

Then I had class, followed by coffee-and-chat with one of my best friends, then we were back to class for another few hours.  I returned home for a late lunch and spent some time chatting to my housemates. Another couple of classes meant that my academic day finished at 6pm, which I can already see Future Muireann detesting over the next few weeks.

However, I wasn’t done yet – I had to lead an International Society committee meeting.  I became president before Christmas and since then it has been a hectic whirlwind of planning, organising, and yet more planning, with a little bit of panicking over things that could go wrong added in just to make the whirlwind more interesting.  That took just over another hour.  The meetings are always fun, and there’s always a check list of things to do afterwards, which took up much of my evening.

It was such a long last first day, which meant that I really got to live every moment of it.  Over Christmas, everyone I met asked me what I wanted to do when I left college, and I gave them the usual ‘Oh I’m applying to loads of places’ spiel that we all give to people when we don’t want to break down on their shoulders at the thought of leaving college and having to actually step out into the world.  Honestly, I feel so sad at the thought of leaving UL.  I remember finding my course online in my 5th year of secondary school and reading all about it, and thinking of how amazing it sounded.  I remember going to my first open day and knowing there and then that I loved UL.

I have been saying goodbye to UL since last September, like a guest leaving a house; from ‘Oh, I must be going soon! It’s been three years!’, to ‘I’ll just get my coat.  I can’t believe how much everything has changed!’.  That was last semester.  Now I’m standing in the metaphorical hall, and it is the beginning of the end.  I need to start making my goodbyes – ‘You must come and visit me soon.’ – and send on all my regards to everyone who I’m leaving and who will be hear after me – ‘Mind you do that, and give me a call when you need me.’.

Luckily for me, there’s a few more steps to go before I step out through the door and into May, and freedom that I’d happily forego.  I’m going to savour every millimetre of these last steps on my UL journey.

muireannMy name is Muireann Murtagh, and I am a fourth-year student of Applied Languages. I am 21 and I am from Longford. Despite the long journey that divides my two homes, I am so happy to study in UL. I really enjoy my course, in which I focus on French and Spanish, because it is everything I ever hoped it would be. It has given me the chance to work in Paris and to study in Spain, it has given me amazing friends and incredible memories, it’s challenging and it pushes me to work hard and learn constantly. It’s exactly what I wanted.