My 7 Favourite Things About Being A UL Student

1. The Cajun Chicken Rolls In The Stables

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There’s not a whole lot else to say really? I think every UL student knows the worth of The Stables’ most celebrated and delicious delicacy – the Cajun chicken roll, closely followed by the sweet waffle and Nutella mmm …

 

2. The Window Seats In The Library

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I don’t know about you but whenever I find myself with a window seat in the library (which is almost always) I never seem to get any work done. It must be the constant people-watching and trend spotting from the first floor!

 

3. The Tunes In Icon

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Lads is it just me or are the tunes on the bottom floor of Icon the best ever? Maybe it’s just because I’m stuck in the nineties and listen to Craig David and Westlife on a regular basis, but seriously. I hate even going to the ladies incase I miss a good song, they’re that good. I’m not usually much of a dancer but if you catch me in D’Icon on a Monday night you’d beg to differ!

 

4. Finding My Way Around The Main Building

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Four years later and I still haven’t mastered the main building. Even if I was here for another four years I still don’t think I’d manage. I was honesty glad of the First Seven Weeks orange T-shirt gang, never mind the first years. It’s great that getting lost in there is a valid excuse for being late for class.

 

5. Car Parking

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“UL students are so lucky, there’s so much student parking here”… said no student ever! Your best bet is to head over the living bridge to the pitches, plenty of parking there, if you don’t mind the trek back.

 

6. Talent At The PESS Building

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If you’re looking for a man, no better place to be than the PESS building. Yes the PESS is famously renowned for producing strapping young P.E. teachers. Let’s not forget that the Munster rugby team also train on campus gals, if you’re lucky enough to ‘em, maybe stumble across training some evening, you know, by chance? *coughs* Monday’s at 7pm *coughs*

 

7. Freebies

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Okay so who doesn’t love free stuff? Especially when you’re a broke ass student on a budget. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a cold slice of pizza, a 99 without the flake or even just a ball point pen, we still want it, and occasionally may fight over it!

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Looking After Your Mental Health In College – One Students Story

We want to put a focus on Mental as well as physical health this week, here we have the words of a UL  student that talks about just that and it’s key reading for absolutely everyone.

Life in UL can be amazing, but also very challenging for lots of us too. We won’t pretend that side of the experience of going to college doesn’t exist. We know it does, and we know it needs to be talked about.

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It’s Important To Look Out For No.1

Mental health can be defined as a person’s psychological and emotional well-being and unfortunately, college can be a time where your mental health is put through the ringer. We, as students, are faced with the tasks of making new friends, living away from home for the first time, budgeting, falling in love and monitoring our own academic input.

Each of these transitions, if not handled in a supportive, patient and self-caring manner can result in conditions such as depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders etc., which can affect our mental health, not only during our college experience but also later in life. Furthermore, each of these conditions can be deemed a gateway issue to further complications for our psychological well-being, resulting in an increased inability to be successful in our academic endeavours.

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College Is The “Best 4 Years Of Your Life”

The majority of these issues could stem from students feeling a lack of control and inadequacy, especially when we are told that college will be the best four years of our life, and that is certainly what I was expecting. As I sat in class for my first ever college lecture, a torrent of feelings swirled inside me. This was it, this was my fresh start. I didn’t know these people and they didn’t know me. I no longer had to be the girl that had suffered with general anxiety disorder, depression and self-harm. I could be the person I always wanted to be, but if you fast forward to one week later, it didn’t quite work out like that. After my second SPSS class (Statistics – yes, feel my pain), I found myself in the bathroom in floods of tears doubting my ability to do any of this, it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I wasn’t what I was expecting.

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You Need To Be Able To Help Yourself, and Ask For the Help of Others

After struggling through school and dropping out of it twice as a result of my mental health, I realised that I didn’t want my college experience to be the same as every other previous experience: a total nightmare. I felt very alone with my feelings, everyone else seemed to be settling in fine, little cliques were forming here and there and I felt like I just didn’t fit it. I knew from past experience that suffering in silence was about the worst thing I could do, so I knew I had to take steps towards looking after my own mental health while I was here.

Not knowing my first port of call, I emailed the tutor of the class that ‘broke me’, told her my fears and she sent back a lovely email outlining what options she knew were available to possibly help me. I decided that one of my first missions was to introduce myself to every lecturer I had. I needed to make them aware of who I was, it would then make it so much easier to go to them if I felt I was struggling with something in a module, and it did! I then emailed the on-campus counselling service and set up regular sessions there which I found invaluable. I saw so many students using the drop-in centre during my times there, which was comforting in a way, as I felt I wasn’t alone in my struggles here.

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You Are Not Alone!

As the weeks went by there were ups and downs and I can honestly say it took me a full seven weeks before I felt like I was going to be able to get through college, and not only get through it, but actually enjoy my experience here. By talking to the lecturers I softened the harshness of academia that one can often be faced with. By engaging in the on-campus services it allowed me also to help fellow students who I found out had been having a similar experience and were too afraid to say anything.

 

Where I am now.

Now in my fourth year I can confidently say that college is one of the best times of your life. If you are willing to care enough about yourself to reach out for help, you can take away some of the worry and replace it with the time and space to find who you are, what you love, and what you are capable of. This is your life and even though you may feel alone, but here in UL the truth is … you definitely aren’t.

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Firstly, thank you to this student who submitted this. Secondly, we talk with students in the HUB regularly about connecting with the counselling drop in, so call in to us or send us a message online if you want more info about it.

Didn’t get your first choice? It’s not the end of the world #ULStudentStories

Were you getting your CAO results today? Well then this twitter poll we carried out last night would suggest you likely either stayed up all night or have been up since very early this morning.

Hopefully most of you got your No.1 choice, however as we know all too well that isn’t always the case. As the CAO offers were released today it was a time of celebration for a lot of people but a confusing a difficult time for others who were offered something down their list of choices. Someone who that happened to in the past with their CAO was UL graduate Lauren Guilfoyle.

Lauren was a well known and very well liked Student during her time studying Physiotherapy in the Education and Health Sciences Faculty in UL. She was embedded in UL life academically and socially and played camogie here as well as helping the GAA club out with PR towards the end of her degree. However, as her instagram post today showed her road wasn’t as straightforward as some peoples.

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The caption to the post reads:

To everyone who got their first choice with the CAO today, well done! To those that didn’t, don’t worry. I missed my course by an agonising 5 points, got my exams rechecked, emailed everyone under the sun to see could I somehow transfer in, to no avail, and ended up starting a different course to get me to where I wanted to be. Fast forward to the second week of college, where I got a Round 7 CAO offer into the course I wanted, and 4 years later I graduate with an honours degree! If you didn’t get what you wanted today, it’s not the end of the world, although it may feel like it. You’ll get where you want to be, even if you have to take the extended route, it just means you need to put the hard work and effort in to get there. 👍🏼😀#CAO2016

Lauren’s is just one of the stories of people who didn’t get their first choice and came through UL to get exactly what they wanted.

If you have any questions about your CAO in general the  National Parents’ Council post-primary Leaving Cert./CAO helpline – 1800 265 165 – is open from 8am-7pm tomorrow (Tuesday the 23rd) and from 8am-1pm on Wednesday the 24th to provide guidance and support around the many issues that can arise for school-leavers at this time.

If you have any UL specific questions or queries you can ask us on Twitter or Facebook or email us at first.seven.weeks@ul.ie

Lauren is just after finishing a Physiotherapy internship in Sports Physio Ireland, and is also working with Pundit Arena as an interactive match day host.

Check out Lauren in action in this Pundit TV interview that has over 200,000 views