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.

Glucksman_Library

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

Hunger

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.

Friends

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.

Seats

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.

Planning

‘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.

Tiredness

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

 

Advertisements

Week 8, and the library is full of zombies…

The-Zombies-shaun-of-the-dead-1355838-1500-987

By Muireann Murtagh

Well, not literally.  However, it is Halloween, so the library café – of which I have become the resident ghost because I’m here far too often – is full of people making plans for Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night, talking about the costumes they’ll wear and where they’re going out.  Nightclub promoters have been haunting (hee hee) campus dressed as superheroes, ghosts, and fairy-tale characters for the last 10 days.  Sadly, the scariest thing at the moment is not all Hallow’s Eve or things that go bump in the night, but midterm exams and deadlines.

Yes, boys and girls, it’s that time of year again – Christmas seems oh-so-far away, summer is but a half-remembered dream, and no-one knows if it’s going to rain today or not.  It’s autumn, and that means midterms, deadlines, and seeking comfort in the hot chocolate in Scholars when everything gets too overwhelming.

Luckily, I’ve only had one midterm, but I had two deadlines and the menacing shadow of the FYP looming over my shoulder is getting more and more solid as each day passes.  Finding a seat in the library is proving to be a real challenge these days, and getting there before 11am seems to be a good solution.

It’s a stressful time of year, and it really only gets busier from now on.  Just when you need to treat yourself kindly, it’s harder to a) find the time to do it because you have so much to do and b) justify it, because you have so much to do!  Therefore, I have made this helpful feelings chart, so that I and anyone who needs it can use it to make decision-making easier.

What should you do next? Don't think for yourself, decide with this helpful guide!
What should you do next? Don’t think for yourself, decide with this helpful guide!

It can be hard to maintain a balance between getting work done and taking care of oneself.  I’m trying really hard to eat properly and to bring food from home for lunch or snacks whenever I can, but occasionally it’s just not possible and I have to eat on campus instead.  Even so, I always arrange to have lunch or breaks with friends.  As much as possible, it is important to socialise with others and avoid talking about all the work you have to do all the time.  Honestly, it’s not going to make anyone feel less stressed or worried about anything.  I’m also trying to be motivated enough to go to the gym or for a run, but like most people, I enjoy walking up, hitting the snooze button on my alarm, and rolling over for a second sleep.

Some days, I have my lunch ready from the night before, I go to the gym at 7am, and I bring both a flask AND a water bottle along with my packed lunch.  Most days, I manage the flask and the water bottle.  Every day, I try to be kind to myself.  We’re all just little humans trying to do our best, and in stressful times, that’s both the hardest and the most important thing to remember.

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.

My first year at UL!

By Sarah Manifold

Screenshot_2015-10-09-13-53-54Hello there! Whether you have found this page by accident or you are interested in studying at the University of Limerick I would like to welcome you to the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences blog page. Hopefully this page will give you a clearer insight into what it’s like to be a student and study in UL, voted the top University of 2015 by the Sunday times (I’m not trying to brag or anything).

My name is Sarah Manifold and I am a first year In UL. Unlike the majority of the bloggers you will come across on this site I am not studying in the AHSS sector, I am currently studying Business with Japanese and it is the language side that I will be talking about and addressing on this page. I am a lover of old 80’s films and their amazing soundtracks, and enjoy taking part in singing classes and competitions in my free time. This year I will be taking the exam for my teaching diploma in classical and musical theatre.

Studying at the University of Limerick:

Like many of you who reside in Limerick or are living on the outskirts of the city I wasn’t a huge fan of the idea of studying in Limerick for another 4-6 years and wanted to move out as soon as possible and explore another part of the country or even the world. Looking back I realise it would have been a huge mistake and I probably wouldn’t have lasted very long. We take it for granted what an amazingly facilitated university we have just on our doorstep and I never would have had the chance to experience UL in all its glory if I hadn’t had changed my mind. UL’s campus is by far the most modern and dare I say beautiful campus in Ireland or maybe even Europe. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m still in Limerick while walking through the huge campus as I sometimes feel I’m in another country. UL offers a vast majority of not only academic facilities but also ones for your leisure throughout the campus; these include the fully equipped Glucksman library, a vast majority of computer labs situated in several buildings across campus, the UL sports arena, the UL student union and many places to eat and have a few drinks with your fellow students after lectures.

Japanese at the University of Limerick:

The main factor which aided my decision to study at the University of Limerick was my love for the Japanese language. Japanese at the University of Limerick is studied at beginner level, so those of you who are interested in the language but feel they should have prior knowledge of the language there is no need to worry as the majority of the class will be in the same boat as you. It was a little different for me seeing as I had studied the language since transition year and had the wonderful opportunity to attend a secondary school in Japan for a month. There are so many wonderful facilities outside the classroom to help you with your study of this wonderfully unique and special language. The languages at UL society run group discussions for a wide range of languages that can be studied at UL. This is a great way not only to meet students who are from that country but also interact with them and others who are studying the same language as you. If you would like to further immerse yourself in the language one-on-one classes are also available. The library offers many textbooks on the numerous writing systems and can also provide you with useful tips on how to remember certain characters.

Your new life as a University student:

The idea of starting University is a daunting prospect for anyone and we have all been through it. Whether you are worried about making new friend, finding your way around such a large campus or struggling with your course, we are here to offer some advice to all of you thinking of applying to UL. Moving away from home and your friends can seem rather scary, the idea of going to a new place where you know nobody and have to make an effort to meet new people may not seem that appealing to you. The best piece of advice I can give you is put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. There is no better time to do this than orientation day when you are separated into groups based on your course. The people that I met the day of orientation are still my closest friends today. Another way to meet new people is by joining some of the clubs and societies that are offered in UL, whether you are interested in jumping out of planes or sitting down for a chat with a hot cup of tea there is something in UL for everyone.

It can be very easy to get lost on campus and I still do sometimes but don’t worry because the University offers what they like to call ‘The First Seven Weeks Program’. For your first seven weeks of college there will be fellow students stationed around the campus with the sole purpose of helping you find your way around and answering any questions you may have regarding certain buildings and rooms, so make sure to avail of this wonderful service as you won’t find it anywhere else!

This is just a snippet of what is to come on this site so look forward to more posts! I hope I could answer any questions some of you may have had and even helped you make up your mind on whether or not the University of Limerick is the right place for you. The only thing I will say is you won’t regret picking the University of Limerick, I sure haven’t!

-Sarah