Why You Shouldn’t Worry If You’re Going Into College Alone

By Sarah Talty, 4th year Journalism and New Media

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There were roughly 1,200 students in my year at secondary school and only about 16 of us went to the University of Limerick.

None of my friends were going to UL and anybody I did vaguely know going to UL was commuting. Essentially I was starting over at UL alone. My dad reminded me that I was as nervous going into primary school where I knew nobody at all and I was fine. Then again he reminisced I was nervous going into secondary school alone too, when all of my other friends went to another all girls secondary school in town and I was fine. I reassured myself with the thought that I had made a lot of great friends on both occasions but it didn’t stop me from feeling any less nervous.

My poor mother. I was so incredibly nervous going to UL, to move into my new Plassey house full of strangers, that I did not speak to her the entire car journey. Any attempts at conversation were met with a tight-lipped grunt. She drove me into the car park in the middle of Plassey Village where my little house was located. Students were already walking around in pairs and groups and I felt utterly alone. I looked up at the windows of my house ablaze with light, indicating some of my housemates were already there. I had dropped off most of my things a few days ago with my parents and sister in tow. We met two other girls who were living with me who were lovely but also best friends from home. I knew they wouldn’t be down that night anyways, they had told me that. Suddenly I couldn’t talk to my mother enough, I just wanted to stay in that car

I need not have worried. I tentatively opened the door to my house and a tall boy appeared before me. He informed me he was one of my housemates and they were all going to Stables and I had to join them. No I couldn’t, I told him. I wasn’t really planning on going out with orientation the next day, I had nothing to drink or to wear, but my excuses fell on deaf ears and I was swept upstairs to my room. I met a new housemate, a girl this time, who promptly lent me shoes and swapped makeup tips. Some of my nerves dissolved as I was swept up into the giddy excitement at my first taste of proper freedom. My parents never would have allowed me to go out when I had something as important at orientation at 9am the next morning. But I was in college and all of my decisions, good and bad, were now my own.

Over the next few days, through housemates and orientation and nights out and meeting all the kind, interesting people in my course, I made lots of friends. Just like my dad knew I would.

Bottom line is please don’t worry if you’re going to college alone. Okay I won’t tell you not to worry because of course you will, just as I did. I will tell you just know that you will be fine and standing on your own two feet and starting fresh and having to lean how to make new friends just like you did when you were 5 and 12 is just as exciting and rewarding at 18. Hopefully you will make as an amazing and solid group of friends as I did and can count them as friends for years to come.

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Making friends at University

By Jane Vaughan

 Making friends at college was probably one of my biggest worries coming into to college. I was so nervous walking in by the flag poles on the day of orientation but looking back I need not have worried.

The key thing about making friends is in your orientation group, this group is filled with about 10/15 people who are all in your course, you spend the day being shown the campus together by your guide. I met some of my best friends on orientation day. After the day was finished we all exchanged numbers and decided on a place to meet on the following Monday, for our first day of college. We were all afraid of getting lost but once you’re in a group at least if you get lost, you all get lost together.

Being a part of two very popular subjects can make it had to find out who is actually is your course so me and two of my friends (from my orientation group) decided to make a Facebook group for our course and one by one we eventually began to know who was in our course. Year by year you get a lot more closer to those in your course.

Tutorial groups are also a very good way of making friends as a lot of the time you get put into even smaller groups for team work. You are meant to go to the same tutorial group every week so it’s no harm in befriending people so ye can all help each other out with readings and work.

If you are willing to make friends in college you will have no problem doing so as everyone else around you wants to do the same thing.

janevaughan

Jane Vaughan is in her fourth year studying English and History at the University of Limerick. She is 22 and from Limerick. You can read her personal blog here  and follow her on Twitter at @_PaulaJane. Here she talks about making friends at UL.

My adventure of a lifetime

By Muireann Murtagh

Despite the long journey that divides my two homes (I’m from Longford), 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.

This time four years ago, I was preparing for a journey to UL for one of the open days. My parents, who met at UL and who had brought me here on previous journeys to Limerick, drove down with me one Saturday morning in October. My first impression was, “Wow, it’s really brown.” My second impression was simply, “Wow.” We walked around campus, we attended some course talks, I collected a prospectus and a few information leaflets, and I looked around at the people who were my potential classmates and friends. I was far too shy to speak to anyone. No-one from my school was even considering coming to UL. Nevertheless, the course was perfect, the university was beautiful, and the city was cosy – what more could I want?

Then, I didn’t even know all the other wonderful things about UL and Limerick. It took a few weeks to settle in, but the things that helped me were such small, simple little actions. I started going for coffee with people from my course, who turned into my best friends. I joined a host of clubs and societies, and the people I met there turned into more wonderful friends. I pushed myself to venture outside my comfort zone – and soon enough I was wearing a onesie outside the library, in the middle of the day, standing with two fellow International Society committee members who were dressed as animals, and we were offering free hugs to students in order to encourage them to vote in the student referendum. Soon, I was seeing faces I recognised and remembering names. In a matter of weeks, UL changed from a university into a community, and I loved it.

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Morning mist on the Shannon, seen from the Living Bridge

My year abroad was an incredible adventure, full of travelling and exploring. I became an honorary Parisienne and Salamantina, walked every inch of Paris and tried as many varieties of macaron that I could, fell in love with the cobbled streets and living history of Salamanca, and promptly infuriated my friends and family with stories that started “When I was in Paris/Salamanca/Toledo/Madrid/Frankfurt/Berlin/Milan…” (Warning alert here – if you’re going on Erasmus, it’ll happen to you! I ended up telling people that I couldn’t help it if I had had an amazing year, and sorry-not-sorry for telling cool stories.

UL is awesome, I’m so incredibly glad that I came here, and if you do… you’re in for the adventures of a lifetime.

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