The Big Bad Post Grad: first day worries

Rachel Loftus

By Rachel Loftus, Grad. Dip./M.A. Journalism, UL 

Walking into my introductory lecture I couldn’t help it. Despite the fact that I was a Big Bad Post Grad, I felt my knees quaking just as they did on my first day of being an undergraduate. Sure, this was a new college, but what of it? I was older now, far more mature, with four years of study in NUIG done, dusted and under my belt. I was a post Erasmus student for goodness sake! This should be a piece of cake. And yet, here I was, tongue stuck to the top of my mouth, afraid to say boo to a goose and desperate to get back to the safety and familiarity of my house.

Despite our expectations and despite our rationality, there’ll always be an aspect of fear and an aspect of hesitancy about putting our first foot into the unfamiliar. It can range from starting school, to starting college, to starting a new job, to moving country, to moving to the next town even. We could be as prepared as we like, and yet, place any single one of us in a situation in which we are out of our comfort zone and we shrink. We take a step back. We take a step back until somebody reaches a hand forward to help us through.

I’ll concede, that very morning of post-graduated introductions, the very first day I sat in the Concert Hall? I wanted to leave. I wanted to give up before I had even began because I was so outside my realms of comfort. To my dismay, before I could make my great escape we had been ushered into our various classes for a tour of the college. And what a blessing in disguise that was. As our 4th year guide brought us around the Main Building and became increasingly puzzled as to which way we should have been going and eventually had to ask for directions, a thought struck my mind. Nobody really knows it all. You can be prepared as you might like and you’ll still be thrown a curve ball. You’ll still need help.

Awkward and meek conversation grew into awkward and hesitant laughter which grew into earnest laughter amongst our group as the day progressed. The fear that was initially there evaporated. We were all new. We were all just as lost. We were all on the same page. And despite what various educational courses and backgrounds we had come from, we all needed to accept the help that was on offer to us. Help from other UL students when we became lost. Help to access the library. Help on where the best places to eat were. Help on where the best coffee was located. And yes, in the melee of corners and crevices in the Main Building, even help to the nearest bathroom (Which FYI, was obviously built by someone who wanted to trap a person in its confines for eternity.)

So, here I am, the Big Bad Post Grad, who is anything but. First year, Erasmus student, Masters student, Ph.D student, new lecturer. We are all equal in that we all need that little bit of help on our first day. We all need that helping hand. And despite our best efforts, despite our preparations, it’s ok to be absolutely terrified out of your wits. Because each and every person before us has been in the exact same position. Every single person in UL was once there on their first day, and you can bet your socks they were once just as out of their comfort zone as you were. I’m even looking at you Dr. Fitzgerald.

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Erasmus: an experience for the faint-hearted!

By Lyndsey Hall

Hey everyone! 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, but another major factor in my decision to stay in UL is my very real fear of change! So for this blog post, I’m going to write about my experience of Erasmus, from the point of view of someone who was absolutely terrified of leaving UL. If the idea of Erasmus is daunting for you, then hopefully I can alleviate some of your worries, because the truth is, Erasmus was one of the happiest times of my life and definitely on the best things I’ve ever done.

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Like I said, I was none too thrilled about the prospect of heading off to another university, let alone another country. For this reason, I chose to stay close to home when choosing my destination, so for that reason my top three choices comprised of universities in the UK. I ended up putting Leeds Beckett University as my first choice based on student reports from previous years, so I would definitely recommend taking a look at these when making your decision. Honestly, I was very nervous about going, even though I was heading off with a good friend of mine for company, and we would be linking up with two other girls from UL when we got there. However, pretty much the minute I arrived there I knew I was at home. Erasmus is an amazing opportunity to spend some time in a new and exciting city. It’s a chance to put your studies in the back seat for a little while (they are still important!) and just focus on life experience. College for me in Leeds were certainly not heavy duty, and I only had classes on Monday and Tuesday, so the rest of the week was spent travelling to nearby cities, taking in everything Leeds had to offer and just enjoying my new home. I truly did not want to leave when the semester was up; even some tears were shed! I felt like the three months had absolutely flown by. When I first arrived, I put up my calendar on the wall thinking I would be counting down the days until I got to go home, but in no time at all, I was watching the weeks slip away with mounting sadness!

However, coming back to UL for the next semester was amazing, and there was definitely a much happier feeling in the air, as my fellow students and I were totally refreshed and ready to continue our degree in UL having all had the time of our lives for the past 3 months.

So if you are a home bird who is a bit nervous about the prospect of Erasmus, I’m here to tell you not to worry and that you should believe everyone who tells you that Erasmus is one of the best opportunities UL has to offer, and you will count yourself lucky you had the chance to do it!

Good luck guys!

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!