7 Tips to Keep Up With Studies

By Kaprissia Djuhadi

We are already in week 11, and most of us are going to face final exams soon. At the moment, it is most important to keep up with our studies. However, I find it very difficult to open that tab and review those course materials. I know some of you are also experiencing this. So, here are 7 tips that I find helpful to keep up with my studies.

1. Plan everything

(Image by Lim Yong Hian on shutterstock)

Planning helps us remember what we have to finish doing. So, make a weekly checklist of those things you have to accomplish during the week and do planning for the next day before sleep. For me, I use calendar marking for weekly stuff and post-its for daily checklists. Also, having a study schedule can help you organise yourself.

2. Fight laziness with routine

(Image by Sharomka on shutterstock)

If you consider yourself lazy, you may want to have a routine that you follow every day. For some people, a simple morning routine that is easy to follow can ‘wake’ us. Some examples would be getting dressed, setting up your desk, preparing a cup of coffee, or going to the library. It’s easier said than done, especially if you have lots of things piled up and you just want to procrastinate, but put the effort into it, and it will become a habit.

3. Change your study place

(Image by Tijana Moraca on shutterstock)

If you find that you’re not studying effectively right now, you can try changing your surroundings. Find the environment that allows you to concentrate, whether it is a quiet or slightly noisy place, alone or with other people. When studying, it is best to remove all disturbances without hesitation. Do not ever listen to that devil’s whispers to keep a show or game open in front of you. Stop music if it grabs your attention more. You can also use screen-time or focus mode on your phone if needed,

4. Pay attention to certain subjects

(Image by Ermolaev Alexander on shutterstock)

Do you find some lectures hard to understand or don’t make sense? Are you bored? Did you try, but you just can’t keep up? You might be terrible at a particular subject, and that’s fine. Pay attention to the remaining lectures and tutorials. If you are bored, you can look for motivation from outside the lectures. Revise more if you are falling behind. Spend more time on the tough modules so that you don’t fail them. Do sample exercises, watch videos, and read articles surrounding the material to get more understanding.

5. Seek help

(Image by Antonio Guillem on shutterstock)

When you find yourself struggling, remember that there are supports to reach out to. Don’t be afraid to ask if you have a problem. Simply ask a friend. Or, if you need an expert, list all your questions and ask your lecturer or your advisor. If you have time, then you can do self-research by reading articles. Sometimes looking at real-world relevancy might help, so ask your lecturer about the significance and application of the lecture content to the real-life experience. Just in case you missed them, I also list some of the support service available within UL.

  • Writing: Regional Writing Centre
  • Maths: Maths Learning Centre
  • Science: Science Learning Cente (B0021A)
  • Mental health: counselling service (by phone)
  • Emotional and faith: chaplaincy service

6. Motivation

(Image by alphaspirit.it on shutterstock)

Seeking motivation is not all useless. Those who are highly unmotivated may even abandon everything, and all previous hard work is wasted. This might happen when you think the lecture is too easy or that the lecture is too hard that you don’t feel like listening. In any case, motivation can be regained by looking at your long term goal. It can be to achieve high QCA so that you can get into your desired study pathway. You can aim for a scholarship. Or, you can do it to improve yourself. It can be anything. 

7. Take your time

(Image by fizkes on shutterstock)

Changing habits takes practice, trial, and failure. Take one step at a time. Start with planning and following your schedule well. Then, proceed to find the most suitable study space, and so on. Remember to stay fit so that you have the energy to focus and continue studying.

These tips are all based on my experience as a first-year student, so one or two of the points above might not work for you, but hopefully, you get some insight into what you can do better. Good luck!

7 Mistakes Every First-Year Makes – Luke Hanley

When starting anything new, you are going to make mistakes. That is a
given and it’s not a bad thing as long as you learn from the mistakes you
make. I am making a list of mistakes that I have experienced myself and I
know other people have too but if you inevitably make one of these
mistakes, just know that you are not the first to do it and won’t be the last.

1. Getting Lost
UL is quite a large campus with many buildings and many lecture halls and
rooms inside those many buildings. So it is quite natural for new people to
get lost and don’t worry if you do because it may seem daunting at the start
but after a few weeks you will get the hang of where everything is on
campus. In the meantime, I would highly recommend the maps of the
campus and the main building that you can download from the UL website
as they are very detailed and easy to read.

2. Misreading Timetables
Timetables can be very difficult to read if you are not experienced with the
layout. It is very easy to mistakenly go to a lecture that isn’t actually on or to
miss a lecture or lab that you should have attended. It is very important that
when you are issued your timetable that you make sure that you know exactly
when and where you have your lectures and what weeks of the semester
they are on. If you find it too confusing, just ask someone to explain it to
you and in time you will get used to it.

3. Not Getting Involved
One of the biggest mistakes made by first years is not getting involved in
the UL community. What I mean by that is not joining any clubs or societies
or not volunteering for anything. One of the best aspects of UL is the sense
of community and togetherness. People look out for each other and there is
so much going on all around the campus. The massive amount of variety of
activities and experiences UL provides really leaves no excuse not to get
involved with a few of them. It is a great way to get to know more people
and to get to know the college better.

4. Not Asking For Help
I cannot stress enough how important it is to ask for help if you need it.
Majority of people think that they can figure things out for themselves and
are too proud to ask for help but if you are struggling then you 100% need
to ask for help. It doesn’t matter whether it is struggling with your studies,
with work, with your mental health. If you are struggling in any way at all
then it is perfectly alright to ask for help. It can be anyone; staff, lecturers,
other students or the F7W staff, we are all here to help.

5. Not Gradually Studying
Coming into college, the majority of people are used to the secondary
school style exams where you can doss for most of the term and then cram
for exams. This is a much less effective method in college. It is far easier if
you go over the material done in lectures gradually over the semester as
this will allow you to understand the lectures being taught better. It will also
serve you better when it comes to exam time as the less you have to
stress, the more likely you will have success ( or some stupid rhyme like
that…)

6. Not Making Time For Yourself
Making time for yourself is one of the most important things you should do
in life as a general rule. Making time for yourself is doing something that
you want to do purely because you enjoy doing it. That might be watching a
movie, playing sport, going for a walk. These things that you do just for you
will keep you motivated throughout the semester and will keep you in a
healthy state of mind. This is key for exam time because of the stress, it’s important that you have something to get you away from the study and the stress of it all even if only for a little while.

7. SLEEP!!!!!
Sleep is one of the most vital parts of keeping us healthy and happy. Quite
a lot of college students are sleep deprived and this is because they
sacrifice sleep for a variety of different things. In an ideal world, sleep
should never be sacrificed for anything but that can’t always happen. That
is why it is extremely important to get good sleep when you can, and I’m
not talking about a couple of hours on your mates’ couch, I’m talking about
a solid 8 or 9 in a good bed. Without sleep it is very difficult to function as a
person, so please get some rest.

These mistakes will no doubt all be made again but if a few people can
learn from their predecessors’ mistakes, then my job here is complete!

 

Best Tips for Different Learning Styles – By Mark Maguire

Everybody learns differently. Be it at different paces, or in different ways, we all have a learning method that is as unique to us as our own fingerprints. What’s important to remember, especially for those of us who are just about to take their first step into a third-level education program, is how to best appeal to those unique learning quirks that we all have and develop positive study habits.

When I first made the transition from secondary school to university, it hit me immediately that adapting to the pace and style of university teaching isn’t a toe-dip; it’s a cannonball. University is a time of development, self-reflection, and growth. For a first-year student, that can be overwhelming. Your first few weeks are a constant slew of tempering your rapidly-developing adult identity with the social pressures and anxieties of the world around you. To add on to this already seemingly insurmountable mass of information and experiences, you must also very quickly adapt to a brand-new system of education and adjust to being lectured and not taught.

You now belong in a world of tutors and lecturers, each of whom has their own unique style and method of teaching. What you’ll inevitably find is that one style adopted by a particular lecturer may work wonders for you, allowing you to grasp the content of the course. Other styles, on the other hand, may push you further and further away. What we here at First Seven Weeks want to do is help you with tackling these different teaching styles and adopting positive study habits to find what learning style works best for you.

The logical jumping-off point here is to outline what different learning styles there are. There is a bit of debate around what constitutes a learning style and how many there are, but a generally accepted list is:

 

 

Verbal                         Visual                          Auditory                     Kinaesthetic

 

Logical                        Social                                   Solitary

However, for the purposes of this article (and our collective sanity), we’ll focus on just three: Auditory, Visual, and Kinaesthetic.

To put each of these simply:

Auditory learning is involved with verbal stimuli, such as verbal presentations and information-heavy lectures.

Visual learning is involved with visual stimuli, such as graphs and images.

Kinaesthetic learning is involved with the action, physicality, and hand-on interaction with the course material (note-taking).

By this point, especially considering the behemoth of exams and tests you’ve already had to face to be here, many of you likely have a good idea of what learning style(s) best suits you. If that’s the case, then that’s fantastic! And if you haven’t quite gotten that figured out yet, don’t sweat it at all. Sometimes these things take time and patience. All you really need is that one push to make everything fit into place.

So, let’s start with Auditory learners.

  • One of the best suggestions I can give to an auditory learner is to attend as many of their classes as they possibly can. Sure, this should be the golden rule for any university student, but for auditory learners, it is an absolute must. Your lectures and tutorials will undoubtedly be the best means for you to get the information handed to you in the most convenient way imaginable. All you have to do is be there and listen and you’ll be off to the races.
  • Try some Audiobooks. While it does certainly depend on what you’re studying, Audiobooks can be a fantastic way for auditory learners to digest something on their course reading list, while actually taking the information in. Throw in the added bonus of being able to do this type of studying while also going for a run or lifting some weights, which will do wonders for your mental and physical health (and by extension your study habits), and audiobooks are nothing to scoff at.
  • Re-listen to your lectures. Now, this requires a gigantic preface and warning. *Not every lecturer will be okay or comfortable with their lectures being recorded* It is very important that you’re open and honest with your lecturers and that you never record their lessons without their express permission. However, if you’re in a class that permits the lessons being recorded, this can be one of your most powerful aids in studying for EOY exams. Like I said, the lectures will be the most useful resource at your disposal as a student and having the ability to listen to them again and again will never fail you.
  • Finally, try to work in an environment that best suits you. There’s no point in trying to work in a busy café if you can’t handle being distracted by the plethora of loud noises and conversations happening all around you. Find somewhere where you can do your best work and stick with that. Get some headphones, stick on a white-noise 10-hour loop video on YouTube (Seriously, those things are a godsend for helping with concentration) and give yourself the best chance to study effectively and efficiently.

 

Next, Visual learners:

  • Have an extensive amount of neat and tidy notes. Be it notes you took in class, or notes you took from your own research, it is imperative that you curate your notes in an easy-to-understand way to best improve your chances of acing your exams/assignments. Visual learners tend to respond best to notes which are laid out clearly, with important points clearly separate from each other. Get yourself a pack of highlights and a Bic Four-Colour pen and use them as much as you possibly can. Your notebook should resemble a freaking rainbow of knowledge which you can open any given page and get the key points from any subject at a glance.
  • Outline your work. I found this method especially helpful when working on assignments and presentations. Having what you plan to do with your next piece of work is unbelievably helpful in keeping yourself on the right track. Start your essay with listing out exactly what you want to say, and how much you want to say it. Having an outline available which you can use at a reference at any point in your assignment will be one of the best tools for keeping yourself on track and keeping your grades up.
  • Illustrations, diagrams, images, and visual learning guides. No matter what you study, you will benefit from utilizing images in one form or another. I’m sure we can all remember that one time in maths class when someone asked, “When am I ever going to use a Venn Diagram in real life?” The long and short of it is: now. Bar graphs, flow-charts, brainstorms charts, no matter the visual aid, it will be of use to you in one way or another. Being able to display your work in a visually-pleasing way is a skill, and if you learn how to master it you will have set off your third-level studies right.
  • Finally, flashcards. Flashcards are absolutely amazing for testing yourself and your peers. In my own experience, they tend to work best three or four hours before an exam takes place and you and your friends are desperate for some last-minute cramming, but I like to believe they work in other situations as well. Testing one another with flashcards is a perfect way to succinctly drill the information into your head. If you get an answer wrong the first time around, having that card with the answer on it flashed in front of your eyes will ensure that the next time you’ll stand a far greater chance of getting it right.

 

Lastly, Kinaesthetic learners:

  • Notes, notes, and notes. Kinaesthetic learners work best in action. You might find that if this is your preferred learning style, then simply looking at the information or hearing it just doesn’t do the trick. Kinaesthetic learners like to get their hands in the dirt and experience the work themselves. Keep yourself busy in lectures with your note-taking and try to develop a habit of re-writing the sections that are giving you a particularly hard time. It is a sure-fire way for you to overcome any confusing course material.
  • Add an activity. One of the best habits you can develop is pairing your studying with physical activity, such as running or cleaning your house. Not only will this integration of action keep your brain focused on the coursework, but if you’re lucky you’ll maybe develop a Pavlovian response between studying and working out/cleaning which will do wonders for keeping you in the best of health and on the cutting edge of your college work.
  • Teach others what you know. The all-time best study tactic I’ve ever used is trying to teach your friends the information that you’re all trying to learn. Teaching others is a magical method because it forces your brain to tailor this information for someone else and reorganises it in a way that is far easier to understand, benefiting both you and your student. As well as this, being able to teach someone something that they could not understand before can work as a huge morale boost for you and encourage you to keep up the good work.
  • Finally, give yourself breaks. If this is your brand of learning style, then you are dependent on action and movement to keep yourself focused. While it may sound counter-intuitive, giving yourself the chance to move away from your work and stretch your legs a bit can be the best way to ensure a successful study session. Having the opportunity to clear your head and come back to your work with a fresh perspective can do wonders for your studying, and maybe the one thing standing between you and that A.

 

And there we have it. I suppose all that’s left is to say is thanks for reading and good luck with this new chapter of your lives. If anything here was of any use to any of you, then I am absolutely delighted that I could help. You’re in for an absolutely wild ride for the next four years, and I hope you live your new life to the best of its potential. Just do your best to get through Fresher’s week, and maybe try to do some studying. You know. If there’s time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Tips for Succeeding in your Undergraduate Course – By Ashlyn Voorhout

How can I do well? How do I get top grades? How can I get a good QCA? What do I do if I don’t understand something? These are all questions you may be wondering as you start your first year of college and your undergraduate course. But not to worry because we have all been there at some stage in our lives. Below are 7 tips that we hope will allow you to thrive and excel in your first year in UL.

1. Attend Lectures

It may sound obvious but the most significant and beneficial thing you can do is attend your lectures. Reason being, lecturers will go into more detail than what is on the lecture slides on SULIS. These details may prove to be crucial for an exam question.

2. Make Notes

I think making notes truly saved me in my first year! Every day I would write notes from the lecture slides in a form that I found easier to understand. They also served to be extremely helpful during exam preparation at the end of the semester. It saved me valuable hours during a time crunching period and made my overall revision far more effective.

3. Do Tutorial Questions

You may come into your first year thinking the tutorial questions assigned by lecturers are a waste of time, but in reality, they are extremely helpful. Practise is often key when it comes to comprehending new concepts and topics. My advice is to do as many questions as you possibly can, especially for subjects such as math and physics. You will understand the content better and prepare yourself for the exams in the process too!

4. Put Effort into Midterms and Assignments

Feeling the pressure at the end of the semester? It’s important to realise that you may have within term assessments that contribute to your final grade! If you put in the effort and study for your midterms that are worth 20%, submit your assignments, attend labs etc., you will put yourself in a good position for final exams and ease a lot of the stress!

5. Ask for Help

In order to succeed, you need to ask for help. You are not going to understand every question, concept or chemical reaction. Instead of suffering in silence,  go to one of the student support centres and ask for help!

6. Take Breaks

Studying 24/7 is certainly not good for your health and can be detrimental to your college experience. In order to succeed and enjoy what you are learning, you need to take frequent breaks; whether it be going to the gym, reading a book or watching a movie. By taking breaks it allows your brain to rest and process the information it has been given.

7. Enjoy Yourself

Most importantly, enjoy your course and whatever it is that you are studying. An undergrad is only four years long, which is not a lot of time considering you may also have to go on placement, Co-Op and/or Erasmus! As the great Albert Schweitzer once said “Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful”. 

 

 

7 Most Bingeable Netlix Shows – By Luke Hanley

1. Stranger Things
This is my pick for the “horror” series, this series isn’t terribly frightening but one of the
genres listed is horror so technically yes, this is horror. At this stage, everyone has
heard of Stranger things and its reputation is thoroughly deserved. It is one of the most
successful series that Netflix has ever produced and it is without a doubt one of the
most binge-able.
Stranger things is a sci-fi series about the adventures of a group of kids as they
encounter some supernatural events in their small town. This series is set in the 1980s
which gives it a nostalgia factor and pop culture are a constant feature of this
marvellous series. This is by far my favourite series on Netflix at the moment and I have
definitely binged this series once or twice.
->Binge-ability: 5/5 Couch Potatoes.
2. Rick and Morty
This is my choice for an “easy watching”. Rick and Morty is an animated series about a
teenage boy and his genius-like, dimension travelling grandfather. They both go on
ludicrous adventures to different planets and dimensions. This series is very easy to
watch and to binge as while watching this, you don’t have to follow any long ludicrous
plot. They are just very easy, 20 minute episodes.
The best feature of this series is probably the
comedy. The jokes in this series are very witty and can be very sarcastic at times and
this suits quite a lot of peoples senses of humour. This series has a bad reputation
because of a bit of a toxic fanbase but the series itself is well worth watching. Overall
this is a very binge-worthy series.
->Binge-ability: 4/5 Intergalactic Couch Potatoes.
3. The Final Table
I have chosen this entry for the “Foodie” series. The Final Table is a cooking
competition where different teams of chefs make signature dishes from a variety of
different countries in order to become the best chef and win the grand prize. The vast
difference in methods of cooking and the types of food being made keeps this series
very interesting.
The format of this competition is very different from the normal MasterChef type
show. This show has a theme country for each episode and are given an ingredient to
cook with which means that all of the chefs have to cook food that is out of their comfort
zone. This makes it even more interesting and definitely makes it a binge-able series.
->Binge-ability: 3.5/5 Boiled Couch Potatoes.
4. After Life
After Life is my choice for the series that is motivational. This series, created by Ricky
Gervais, follows the main protagonist as he battles with depression after losing his wife
to cancer. This series was created by Gervais to highlight his own battle with depression
and how to overcome depression. This series includes plenty of dark humour which
allows Gervais to give his own spin on battling depression.
This series is very motivational because, despite Gervais’ characters suicidal
thoughts and commentary, he is still kept going by various facets of his life like different
people and his dog. This series can definitely be a bit heavy to watch so it might not be
the easiest binge of your life but it is definitely a series well worth watching.
->Binge-ability: 4/5 Sad Couch Potatoes.
5. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
For the category of “Sitcom”, I chose Brooklyn Nine-Nine. This is a comedic series
which follows all of the shenanigans that happen in New Yorks 99th police precinct. This
series boasts a stellar cast who play a very diverse range of characters that all bring a
different aspect to the show. The different personalities and traits of each different
character compliment this show to make it one of the best sitcoms today.
This series is one of the most binge-able shows there is, with a runtime of
20 minutes per episode and plot lines that very rarely drag. You may find yourself going
to watch some Netflix in the evening, then you start this and suddenly its 4 am and
you’re halfway through season 3. Once you start this series, it is very hard to stop.
->Binge-ability: 4.5/5 Deep-fried Couch Potatoes.
6. Peaky Blinders
I have picked Peaky Blinders for the “Drama” section of this list. Peaky Blinders is a
period drama that follows a Birmingham gang who are setting up their own betting shop
and need to fend off the other gangs in Birmingham and elsewhere. This is another
show with an unbelievable cast with the likes of Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy.
This series is so binge-able because of the
connections that are quickly made with characters and this series also boasts some of
the best cliff-hangers that I have ever seen. This series has an almost cult-like following
and it is clear to see why as the acting is second to none and the plot always keeps you
guessing.
->Binge-ability: 5/5 Gangster Couch Potatoes.
7. Love, Death and Robots
This show was my pick for the “a bit freaky but I kinda like it” category. This series is
sort of an animated version of Black Mirror. The reason I chose this over Black Mirror is
because the majority of the episodes are far shorter which makes it far more binge-able
in my opinion.each episode is also animated a different way so that it’s almost like a
collection of short films and this makes it even more intriguing to watch.
This is definitely a strange show and its not for everyone but the absurdity of
some of the plots and just the freakishness of the episodes make this series almost
impossible to drag yourself away from. It is definitely one of the easiest to binge shows
that I have ever seen.
->Binge-ability: 5/5 Cyborg Couch Potatoes.

Winner of Book Review 2017

Managing Oneself – Peter F. Drucker

At first sight, Peter F. Drucker’s book “Managing oneself” seems to be another exemplar of the numerous business guidebooks of a self-proclaimed expert. If you have a look at his biography and achievements, however, this impression will change quickly. As a successful consultant, teacher and writer, whose books were translated in over seventy languages and who is nowadays called the “creator and inventor of modern management”, there might be some truth in his words.

This impression was confirmed when I read the first few pages of “Managing oneself”. In general, it is a guide how to find out more about your personality and abilities and how to use them in the most efficient way. It goes beyond the typical recommendations of bad examples of the genre of self-help books, which advise you to stop being so shy if you want to improve your self-confidence or to work hard if you want to be successful. Drucker has a refreshing and instructive way to explain why you should do something and in which way.

A lot of his own experiences, ranging from failed attempts of companies to put a highly competent person in the wrong position to examples from history and economy, make it an entertaining and easily understandable book. Besides, he includes numerous insights in the changes of the work environment in the course of time and why we have to adjust to the altered workplaces and demands in business.

Drucker starts with a quite disillusioning statement: great achievers like Napoléon or Mozart, who were able to manage themselves without any effort, are rare. But the good news is: according to him, everyone can learn that and this guidebook provides you with the necessary tools.

In the first part of this booklet, he concentrates on a simple, but, at the same time, really effective method of figuring out where your strengths and weaknesses lie: the feedback analysis. Before you make any major decision you should write down your expectations and compare this with the outcome after nine or twelve months. It will show you where your competences are and in which fields you have failed. Afterwards, you should concentrate on further enhancing your strengths rather than trying to work on your weaknesses. That is the way mediocre people become excellent people.

What follows is a comprehensive examination of different types of performance and learning. At this point at the latest one recognizes the importance of being aware of one’s own best practice. Drucker explains impressively why it costed politicians their US presidency if they did not know whether they were a reader or a listener, decision maker or adviser. Unfortunately, this is the part where you are left out in the rain. While he explains in detail the purpose of knowing your own learning and performance method, Drucker gives no hint how to figure them out.

He then deals with the significance of our values and how to stick with them. A method, which is mentioned in this context and is worth thinking about, is the mirror test. It asks what kind of person you want to see when you look in the mirror. This might sound somewhat philosophical, but it means, in essence, that your values should be compatible with the company’s values you are working for. This will protect you from frustration and nonperformance.

As if it were not difficult enough to evaluate yourself in all these aspects, Drucker stresses the necessity of understanding all your teammates in regard to their characteristics, ways of working and values. If one does not adapt correspondingly, even the smartest and most hard working employee might be perceived as being stupid or lazy.

The last chapter, probably not really applicable to students but no less interesting, is about the second half of your life. Drucker elucidates the struggle people in their mid-40s experience and the possibilities to overcome this period. Here again, he underpins his statements with examples, such as the engineer who becomes a church treasurer or the lawyer who runs model schools.

It is definitely one of the more helpful versions of self-help books and gives you some more or less concrete guidelines how to ascertain and manage your competences and how to deal with failings. You can read it on the bus on your way to university or during a free period between your lectures. It is just fifty-five pages long and written in a large font, which one knows otherwise only from children’s books. Nevertheless, Drucker gives some useful advice, enriched with vivid anecdotes. It is, in addition, not only a book for top managers or people who want to become one. It might also help people who are seeking to improve their team work skills or learning strategies.

Whatever you are searching for; the first step to discover your own competencies in order to become a better student or employee or if you just do not know what to do during a break, you cannot do anything wrong with this book.

By-line Friederike Bartling

7 Ways to Keep Homesickness at Bay

One thing I didn’t realise until I started at UL was how much I was actually going to miss home. While I immensely enjoyed my first year of college, there was always too much excitement to get on a bus home on a Friday and always too much worry of going back on Sunday. I missed the typical routine of being at home and living in my comfort zone and having the friends from home near me.

Homesickness is a completely normal thing to experience, it’s the first time a lot of us have moved away from home, some people even moving from different countries, I’m literally only an hour bus journey from home but when it doesn’t feel like the place you’ve called home for all of your life, it can be difficult to adjust. I am going to share my top tips of keeping homesickness at bay:

 

1. Get involved in UL activities

UL have so much to choose from, there is a broad range of activities from the student council (my personal favourite!) to joining clubs and societies. There is something to join to fit all types of hobbies and interests: every sport you could think of, comedy societies, Enactus UL, ULFM.  You’ll get to do something enjoyable and make countless new friends with the same interests of you.

 

2. Catch up on college work

This may seem like a dreadful one but one thing that kept my mind off home was heading to the library on a quiet evening and did some study. One of the key things to success is to keep on top of the work on a regular basis which is near impossible but it can be so useful to use to keep yourself busy. You’ll actually feel so much better when you’ve caught up on lecture slides and readings and getting assignments done instead of panicking two hours before submission deadlines. It was definitely one of the best ways I took my mind off things and had great outcomes for my QCA.

 

3. Volunteer

UL have a great system called the Presidents Volunteer Award, where you volunteer on a regular basis and can obtain a bronze, silver or gold award, depending on the number of hours volunteering you do throughout the academic year. It’s a great way to give something back to the community and its put on your student transcript, another benefit for when you graduate! There are opportunities all over Limerick to volunteer so you will actually get to know the area a bit better and actually get used to it.

 

4. Keep in regular contact with friends and family

Be sure to keep in contact with relatives and close friends from home on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be every day but it’s good to talk to the people your close with to catch up on what your family have been up to or the latest drama your friends have gotten themselves into!

 

5. Take regular visits home

It can be difficult for people who live far away to take regular visits home but if you can at all go home for a weekend. My weekends home were definitely what made me feel so much better when I got to go back  to see everyone and go out to my local. It makes the stretch in the week away from home that bit smaller cause you’ll be spending a good portion of your time at home and makes it easier to come back for college.

 

6. Socialise around UL

UL definitely has the best social atmosphere I have seen. From Wednesday nights at The Stables, to the best DJs in Habitat, there is definitely so many nights out to choose from. Or even if you’re looking for a quiet night, the cinema is about 15 minute walk from the East Gate entrance or there’s the UL Arena to go to a wide range of classes or a gym session with your fitness buddy with definitely the best range of equipment I have seen.

 

7. Counselling Service

Sometimes the homesickness may affect you where you may feel you need to share your thoughts. UL have an excellent counselling system in place. They have brilliant staff there who are open and caring and will help you deal with whatever problems a new setting may have. They have a drop-in service for you to explain why you called in and they will decide to go from there.

 

These were my best ways of dealing with homesickness when I was in first year. To all the students reading this who feel the same way, don’t worry it really does get easier! I came in as a first year who missed home every day and longed for my weekends home, now I am going into third year after spending the whole summer working in Limerick. UL is a great place, when you learn to balance home and college you’ll actually find that you’ll end up with two homes and who knows UL might become your favourite!

Elizabeth Small

7 Ways to Combat Homesickness

1. Join a club or society!

With over 70 different Clubs and Societies based in UL, there is definitely at least one that will pique your interest, which means you will befriend people over your shared interests, whatever that may be. Clubs and Societies are an ideal way to get out and about also, with many social nights, particularly in the first weeks of each semester. This is all done in a bid to make their newer members feel more welcome and involved.

2. Avail of the First Seven Weeks Initiative

Make sure you are connected to the First Seven Weeks social media accounts for an array of tips, workshops and 7 whole weeks dedicated to settling incoming first years in! The First Seven Weeks is a brilliant initiative that is unique to the University of Limerick, and the university and its students are so lucky! Interact with the social media accounts, and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to source some of your incoming course mates – like I was fortunate enough to do!

3. Get out and about during Fresher’s Week!!

Go out a few times during your fresher’s week, because you can guarantee that it will be the hot topic before classes every morning for the duration of the week, and it is the most ideal way to make new friends and settle in!

4. Keep a diary.. track your new journey!

Invest in a diary, and use it. People do not realise the amazing benefits keeping a diary can have. You can have your own personal place where you can vent, and talk to your hearts content.

5. Befriend someone (anyone!) on your very first day!

It is not as hard as you may think to say “Hey, I’m Chloe, ”.. and then a friendship blossoms. Truth is, everyone is in your position, and are probably only waiting for you to bite the bullet and introduce yourself!

6. Swap Snapchats, Numbers, Facebooks!

Do not fall into the trap of befriending someone on the first day of college, and then not being able to meet up with them the next day- or for the rest of the year!!!!!!

7. Take in the beauty of the UL campus!

Walk around it, take in the beautiful scenery that is the amazing campus of the University of Limerick. Take a breather in the fresh air.

 

Chloe By-line

 

7 reasons why an advisor’s advice is advisable

 

A bit of a mouthful but ok, so by week 3 you are already settling in and then you see that it is ‘meet your advisor’ week. You will receive these emails about meeting your advisor, but who is this person anyway and what do they do to help you? Well, your advisor is assigned to you from the get go and I am so glad that this system is in UL! I actually never met mine in week 4 (as was advised) but I did eventually meet them in semester 2 (about week 4!).

College Bound

 

1. You can find your advisor on your student portal

It is so simple and their email is right there and it could not get any easier. The advisors are usually the college lecturers that are in your department or as close to this as they could get. They are there to help you, so it is no harm to drop them an email.

 

2. You do not have to have exact questions to ask them to arrange a meeting

When you decide that you want to meet your advisor and you have questions, it does not really matter what those questions are as such! They can be as vague as you want and the advisors are there to help you figure out the rest! Your question can be as small as you like.

 

3. They will help you out of an ‘I do not know what to do’ patch

Most people meet their advisor because they are concerned about their course and where they are heading in it. If you are feeling like this then definitely meet with them. They are people from your course background and may have even done the same course as you so they will be very helpful to you if you feel lost on the path you are taking.

 

4. You can meet with them when you want

As I have said I actually did not meet with my advisor until second semester and that was ok. Though I would advise going to see them earlier as this system helped me a lot. You do not have to meet them just the one time so make use of having this advisor, college is hard enough at the start, everything is so new which means that meeting your advisor is a really basic but handy step in week 4.

 

5. Do not be afraid to say you have/have not met with them

It might seem weird because you feel like no one else is after seeing their advisor but actually you would be surprised. After I went to see mine I said it to some other people in my course about how good I thought it was and, well, it turns out they had been to see their advisor too! At the time I felt like the only one!

 

6. They will have their own office

So, the advisor that you are meeting will have their own office where you can talk to them and they can help you so it is not like you are going to be meeting a member of the faculty in the library café in front of everyone! This way it is private between the two of you and you can talk freely about any questions/worries/thoughts you might have.

 

7. Your advisor is there to advise you

In saying all that, your advisor is not going to tell you what to do. That part is up to you. They will, however, give you ideas and help you see a path that you could take through college and after. The main thing is that they will advise you and they know that you are in first year and everything is different to before!

 

Good Times

Enjoy UL guys, you will have a great time and I would definitely recommend meeting your advisor!

 

 

7 Mistakes I made in My First Semester

 

1. Signing up for all the societies (and paying for them all)

My first mistake was paying the membership fee for multiple societies on recruitment day. Put your name down for the emails but do not make any commitments until you have looked at all the societies and have found out what day(s) they meet, how many hours they expect you to commit etc. I ended up joining (and paying membership for) three societies which all met at 6 pm on a Wednesday! My second mistake was thinking that there were enough hours in the day to attend everything on my timetable, do the required readings & assignments, socialise and stay on top of six societies. Nope.

 

2. Not getting enough sleep

Between the late nights in the city, the late nights cramming assignments and the late nights spent binging Netflix with your flatmates, sleep can become an inconvenience quickly. A good night’s sleep means your body is less susceptible to illness, is shown to improve memory and can help you maintain a healthy weight. It might even save you money – no need for late-night pizzas and no need for a large coffee the next morning when you are struggling through your 9 am class.

 

3. Doing a month’s worth of grocery shopping

It all seems well and good buying a load of veggies and fruit with your parents on the first day, but it is a bad idea. Honestly. You will not even eat an eighth of them in the first few days and after that they will all be gone off. The amount of mouldy strawberries, black carrots and furry blueberries in my bin in those first few weeks made my heart cry.

 

4. Not emptying the bins until they’re full

Refer to point 3. Between gone off fruit and veg, those last two slices of pizza you cannot stomach at 2 am and that ready-made meal that tasted like cardboard… they’re going to STINK.

 

5. Sticking with the same five people you met on Orientation day

The wonderful thing about University is, in contrast to school, you are not stuck with the same few people in your class. Get to know people in all your lectures/labs/tutorials – and not just people who did their Leaving Cert last year. Talk to the mature students, the students you meet in the years above you, the Erasmus students and members of your clubs & societies. University is probably your first and maybe your best chance to meet people of all different ages, cultures, countries and interests – take advantage of that.

 

6. Leaving everything until the last minute

I am not sure how exactly I have managed to go from that girl in school who had everything done the day she got it, to the person starting their assignment an hour or two before it is due, but I have been told I am not alone. Look, I know that it is tempting to leave it all to the last minute but it is not a good idea. Firstly, you could get sick or find out something cool is on the night before the assignment is due and now you cannot go. Secondly, if you cram it, it will not be nearly as good. Just sayin’.

 

7. Buying all the books

When your lecturers give you a list of “required” readings and suggested readings and you dutifully head down to the University bookshop and purchase them all with such good intentions… The truth is, if you read the required readings you are doing well, and you can just borrow them from the library anyways. Save your cash for those late night spontaneous Supermacs trips instead.