7 Differences Between University And Secondary School

1. Self-Motivation Is Essential

Remember in secondary school if you didn’t have your essay on Shakespeare done or didn’t hand in that history report? You may also remember your teachers harassing and hounding you for it until you did the work. That is not the reality here at UL or in any university. If you don’t do the project or don’t sit the exam on your own head be it, no one will come after you and make you work. You have to rely on yourself to get it done.


2. Being Anonymous

In secondary school you were mostly likely a student in a class of about 20 other students or maybe a little less. You knew them and they knew you. This can make for a very comfy environment for students. So it’s a big shocker for freshers when they get to university and suddenly they’re just a lone student in a lecture hall of maybe 150-200 students whom they most likely have never met. This can be overwhelming and a little terrifying. But fear not! In this crowded room are perhaps some of the most wonderful people, who will become your best friends.


3. “Fitting In” Means Something Very Different

I’m not even talking about cliques here although it applies to them too. In secondary school you may have been concerned about how you styled your hair or wore your uniform. Standing out was just not something you did there. Certainly secondary school is not the most ideal setting for self expression but university is! Here in UL there is something for everyone from sports, clubs and societies of which there are many. There is no “fitting in” in the conventional sense because it means something different for every student. So don’t worry if you didn’t “fit in” in secondary school because the same laws do not apply here.


4. The Style Of Learning Changes

Apart from having to rely on yourself to get the work done, the whole way you actually learn the material and the way it is accessed changes too. Depending on which course you’re studying you may find that you have few or no exams. A lot of courses here in UL involve continuous assessment. This means that your overall grade in a particular module will be based on essays or group projects. This is a relief to some and a kick in the head to others.


5. Socialising

For a lot of students every night is a night out. Whether it is a few drinks in the campus pub or a bender in the city, your nightlife is bound to change drastically. This is all fine and dandy as long as you don’t let it interfere with your classes too much.


6. Bullying Is Non-Existent

Think about it, a lot of third level students are mature adults in their late twenties or older. Some of them have kids. They don’t have time for calling other people mean names or spreading nasty rumours. UL is a very friendly and supportive place so even if you do experience bullying there are many people you can go to for help.


7. Realising You Love It Here

People often say that school days are the best of your life. I disagree. University years are the years where you make lifelong friends, discover new hobbies and find your place in the world. It can be tough but it is worth it. UL is a great place full of great people and you are one of them.



7 Place Names In UL You Need To Know – VocabULary

UL campus is big. How big? Well is it bigger than your house? Yes. Is it bigger than your hometown? Quite possibly. Is it bigger than your love for the music of Meghan Trainor? No, obviously not, you love her big time.

Some say it is bigger than Co.Cork, and that it is the only campus visible from the moon. Others say that anyone that says that is incorrect. However one thing that no one debates is that it will take a bit of time to find your way around at the start. To make things more complicated people use slang words or weird terms to describe places they were, or they are asking you to go and the University’s building and room codes are hard to follow at the start too.

So to speed up the process of getting to know the campus and try to reduce your risk of getting lost we have compiled this list.


1. “Brown Thomas”

So Brown Thomas is a department store in the city, but it is also the name the people of UL have given to the Iron man statue in the Main Plaza. This guy:


Added bonus here of finding out that the area surrounding him is called the “Main Plaza”. So don’t spend all day on the bus into town to meet your mate at ‘brown thomas’, just go chat to this guy. He is a really good listener, never interrupts and will be there for you rain or shine.



2. “Ski Slopes”

Yeah, so while we might get rain in Limerick, a lil’ bit of rain, just the odd time… now and again! We certainly don’t get snow often. So where are these ski slopes? Well this is handy, we get to use (almost) the same picture again.



The glass front to the main building, that can be seen behind the man you now know to be Brown Thomas is called the “Ski Slopes”. Hypothetically though… even if it snowed a hell of a lot in Limerick, we probably wouldn’t ski down them… just a thought.


3. Jean Monnet

Pronounced in a fancy french way, the Jean Monnet is a lecture theatre named after a French political economist and diplomat.  The room code for this lecture theatre is DG016. The ‘D’ is the block of the main building the room is in, with the main building having 5 blocks (A, B, C, D and E).

jean monnet


At the “ski slopes” is the main entrance and inside the doors is the Jean Monnet (DG016). The ‘G’ stands for the floor it is on, with ‘G’ indicating it is on the ground floor. The main building has six floors labeled in ascending order G, 0, M, 1, 2, 3.


Finally this is what it looks like when you are inside.So you can be certain you are in the right place… assuming you read your timetabling right that is.

Jean Monnet.jpg-large


4. Ego 10

Some people’s egos go the whole way up to 11, so having a ego of 10 isn’t even the top level.

But when you hear someone say “ego 10” they are actually referring to a big room not someone who is full of themselves, called EG010. Like before: the ‘E’ is the block of the main building the room is in, with the main building having 5 blocks (A, B, C, D and E). The ‘G’ stands for the floor it is on, with ‘G’ indicating it is on the ground floor.


This the place the Irish Blood Transfusion service set up when they are on campus looking for blood donations. Also it is where the University sets up Student I.D. card collection during orientation week. Also rumour has it the First Seven Weeks might be doing an event there this year. Here’s what it looks like when you get there (normally the lights would be on though).

EGO10 pic


5. The Flag Poles

There are two entrances to the University campus by car, the main entrance has two massive flag poles at it so perhaps unsurprisingly people refer to that entrance as the ‘flag poles’. Some people may also say ‘flag posts’ and mean here too. Either way they are fairly hard to miss.



6. The East Gate

Entrance number two is called the East Gate. Literally labeled number two on this map. Things that might make it hard to find is 1. generally people don’t carry a compass to know which way is east, 2. while it is an entrance it deceptively doesn’t have a gate.

east gate map

The east gate is important to know as the car park beside it generally is where private bus companies will pick up on Fridays to bring students back home for the weekend.


7. The HUB

Thats us, hello there. You will see signs all around the campus for us, just like this.


And you will hear lots of people talk about us. So to find us come to the student centre courtyard (that’s where spar, the scholars, Johnny’s barbershop, chaplaincy, the stables and the Students Union are all located). Which building is the HUB? Well, we are guessing you will know us when you see us.

First Seven Weeks HUB


(Bonus) 7.5 The Graduate Attributes HUB

This is a bit confusing because there are actually two places with the word ‘hub’ in their names, just to make things easy on you. The First Seven Weeks HUB shown above, and the Graduate Attributes Hub. This handy video will show you where that is. Good to know as there will be a LOT of free workshops taking place there for all students over the First Seven Weeks.


Are there any places we left out? Let us know in the comments.