The Regional Writing Centre is a free and friendly space open to all students (and staff!) who want to talk about their writing, or want a space to write productively. We believe that everyone can write. Students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to use the centre. We are here to share our writing tips, tricks and techniques and get you on the “write” track. We are located in C1-065 in the Main Building and are always happy to have callers!


1. One-to-One Peer Tutoring

Our peer tutors are proven writers with good habits. They are available Monday to Friday to talk to you about any aspect of your assigned written work at any stage in its development – from ‘I haven’t written anything yet’ to ‘I’m about to submit it for a grade’. They can help you to better understand assignments, as well as looking at how you approach, plan and organise essays. They can provide you with strategies for more efficient citing, referencing, revising and editing of written assignments. Tutors are also available to talk about exam technique. They won’t proofread your work for you, but with their help you can learn how to do it yourself!


Register and book online at ul.ie/rwc.

2. Quick Queries

Appointments with our tutors are usually a half-hour to an hour long. If you have a question that will take less than 15 minutes to discuss, you can send it to us online. You don’t even have to leave your bed! We will endeavor to respond to your query within 48 hours. If the question takes longer than 15 minutes to answer, we will advise you to make an appointment.

Queries can be sent from our website ul.mywconline.com.

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3. Writers’ Space

We have a dedicated Writers’ Space here in C1-065. It is a distraction-free room with no internet access. Drop in between classes or dedicate a morning to your work, the choice is yours. The Writers’ Space is open to all students from 9am to 1pm. Opening days vary each semester, and are advertised through email.

The Writers’ Space is also used to facilitate Writers’ Groups. Writers’ Groups give you the opportunity to get together with others who just want to write, but find it difficult to write alone. Groups meet once a week and are a semester-long commitment. Keep an eye on our social media platforms for your chance to register for this semester’s group(s)!

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4. Academic Workshops

We hold several workshops throughout the year addressing various forms of academic writing. Both discipline-specific and more generic workshops are offered on essay, report and FYP writing. They are a great way to learn more about writing for your discipline, and to pick up tips on your general writing style. Workshops are advertised on our social media accounts and through email.

Resources from workshops are available on our website at ulsites.ul.ie/rwc/writing-seminar-and-workshop-resources.

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5. One Campus, One Book

This initiative is run every year. Students and staff are encouraged to read the same book and talk to one another about it during the academic year. We provide the opportunity to attend presentations, readings, book signings and Q&A sessions with the authors.

Material from previous sessions can be viewed online at ulsites.ul.ie/rwc/one-campus-one-book.


6. How I Write, Ireland

The Regional Writing Centre hosts interviews with good writers, both academic and creative, about their writing process and strategies. The focus is not on ‘what’ they write, but ‘how’ they go about it. We record these conversations in the hope that they may provide insights into what developing writers could do differently and what they are already doing well.

Listen in to how they approach writing situations, about how they deal with difficulties and about their approach to, and opinions on, various aspects of writing at ulsites.ul.ie/rwc/how-i-write-ireland.


7. Writing-talk Advocates blog

Talking about writing is how the RWC helps students and staff to become better writers. We want you to join us in talking about writing by sharing your experiences of writing for academic assessment – your thoughts, your emotions, your strategies, your triumphs and your tribulations. Tell us what does, or indeed does not work for you when writing and learn from the experiences of others!

Check it out online at writingtalkul.wordpress.com.

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For more information on any of our resources contact us at writingcentre@ul.ie or call us on 061 202581. You can also visit our website ul.ie/rwc. Become a better writer, write here!


Aoife O'Sullivan By-line



7 Recommended Reads

1. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Attwood

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, like dissenters, she will be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. However, even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.

Brilliantly conceived and executed, this powerful evocation of twenty-first century America gives full rein to Margaret Atwood’s devastating irony, wit and astute perception.


2. Dear Life – Alice Munro

Dear Life - Alice Munro

Alice Munro captures the essence of life in her brilliant new collection of stories. Moments of change, chance encounters, the twist of fate that leads a person to a new way of thinking or being: the stories in Dear Life build to form a radiant, indelible portrait of just how dangerous and strange ordinary life can be.


3. I am Pilgrim – Terry Hayes

I Am Pilgrim - Terry Hayes

Pilgrim is the codename for a man who does not exist. The adopted son of a wealthy American family, he once headed up a secret espionage unit for US intelligence. Before he disappeared into anonymous retirement, he wrote the definitive book on forensic criminal investigation.

However, that book will come back to haunt him. It will help NYPD detective Ben Bradley track him down. In addition, it will take him to a rundown New York hotel room where he finds the body of a woman face down in a bath of acid, her features erased, her teeth missing, and her fingerprints gone. It is a textbook murder – and Pilgrim wrote the book.

What begins as an unusual and challenging investigation will become a terrifying race-against-time to save America from oblivion. Pilgrim will have to make a journey from a public beheading in Mecca to deserted ruins on the Turkish coast via a Nazi death camp in Alsace, and the barren wilderness of the Hindu Kush, in search of the faceless man who would commit an appalling act of mass murder in the name of his God.


4. Salt to the Sea – Ruta Sepetys

Salt To The Sea - Ruta Sepetys

It is early 1945 and a group of people trek across Germany, bound together by their desperation to reach the ship that can take them away from the war-ravaged land. Four young people, each haunted by their own dark secret, narrate their unforgettable stories. Fans of The Book Thief or Helen Dunmore’s The Siege will be very absorbed.

This inspirational novel is based on a true story from the Second World War. When the German ship the Wilhelm Gustloff sunk in port in early 1945, it had over 9,000 civilian refugees, including children, on board. Nearly all drowned. Ruta Sepetys, acclaimed author of Between Shades of Grey, brilliantly imagines their story.


5. Managing Oneself – Peter F. Drucker

Managing Oneself - Peter F. Drucker

Peter Drucker is widely regarded as the father of modern management, offering penetrating insights into business that still resonate today. However, Drucker also offers deep wisdom on how to manage our personal lives and how to become leaders that are more effective. In these two classic articles from Harvard Business Review, Drucker reveals the keys to becoming your own chief executive officer as well as a better leader of others. “Managing Oneself” identifies the probing questions you need to ask to gain the insights essential for taking charge of your career.


6. Exit West – Mohsin Hamid

Exit West - Mohsin Hamid

An extraordinary story of love and hope from the bestselling, Man Booker-shortlisted author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Nadia and Saeed are two ordinary young people, attempting to do an extraordinary thing – to fall in love – in a world turned upside down. Theirs will be a love story but also a story about how we live now and how we might live tomorrow, of a world in crisis and two human beings travelling through it.

Civil war has come to the city that Nadia and Saeed call home. Before long they will need to leave their motherland behind – when the streets are no longer useable and the unknown is safer than the known. They will join the great outpouring of people fleeing a collapsing city, hoping against hope, looking for their place in the world.


7. What We Cannot Know – Marcus du Sautoy

What We Cannot Know by Marcus Du Sautoy

Britain’s most famous mathematician takes us to the edge of knowledge to show us what we cannot know.

Is the universe infinite?

Do we know what happened before the Big Bang?

Where is human consciousness located in the brain?

In addition, are there more undiscovered particles out there, beyond the Higgs boson?

In the modern world, science is king: weekly headlines proclaim the latest scientific breakthroughs and numerous mathematical problems, once indecipherable, have now been solved. Are there limits to what we can discover about our physical universe?

In this very personal journey to the edges of knowledge, Marcus du Sautoy investigates how leading experts in fields from quantum physics and cosmology, to sensory perception and neuroscience, have articulated the current lie of the land. In doing so, he travels to the very boundaries of understanding, questioning contradictory stories and consulting innovative data.

Is it possible that we will one day know everything? Alternatively, are there fields of research that will always lie beyond the bounds of human comprehension? If so, how do we cope with living in a universe where there are things that will forever transcend our understanding?

In What We Cannot Know, Marcus du Sautoy leads us on a thought-provoking expedition to the furthest reaches of modern science. Prepare to be taken to the edge of knowledge to find out if there is anything, we truly cannot know.


Magnificent 7 – Top albums for college listening


Your days and nights at college or university will undoubtedly be ones of new experiences and challenges. For many of you it will be a time of change, experimentation and new found independence. Individual songs (and indeed whole albums) will inevitably form part of your college soundscape over the next few years. Researchers have long examined the emotional bonds we form with specific songs and the importance of fan relationships with bands and individual performers.

This year’s suggested listening combines the old and the new. Ranging from new releases from Damien Dempsey, The XX and Laura Marling. It also features Savages’ second album ‘Adore Life’ and the award-winning Rusangano Family. I have included the 40th Anniversary Edition of first ever Irish punk album ‘TV Tubeheart’ by The Radiators from Space. Top of the list is ‘New Facts Emerge’ – the 32nd album released by the mighty Manchester band The Fall. Happy Listening!


1.  Damien Dempsey – Soulsun 

Damien Dempsey - Soulsun

Now a bona fide “national treasure”, Damien Dempsey consistently makes albums that challenge and inspire. The follow-up to last year’s 1916-inspired collection No Force On Earth is a collection of duets with top notch female vocalists (or as the singer eloquently puts it, “The Mighty Celtic Warrior High Queens”). Recorded in London with long-time producer John Reynolds, it is vintage Dempsey in terms of the songwriting approach, with the odd experimental sonic flourish.

Wistful, pastoral and suitably mellow, ‘Beside The Sea’ is a duet with – of all people – Dido. It’s a blissfully laid-back affair, with the two voices blending beautifully. Even better is ‘Big Big Love’, performed with another Dublin vocal powerhouse, Imelda May. A Stax/Motown style nunber, it’s the standout moment on Soulsun. Elsewhere, the title track is a characteristically epic tune; while the incendiary rocker ‘Pretty Bird Tree’ – sung with Pauline Scanlon – has echoes of Tom Joad-era Springsteen.

An inveterate social justice campaigner, Dempsey has long explored the lives of the marginalised and down-trodden, an approach he continues on this record.
Over a splashy keyboard riff, ‘Soft Rain’ finds Dempsey embarking on a lyrical trip around Dublin: he eventually arrives at “old Marlborough Street”, where he encounters “The big gang with the rotten teeth/ who will spend their days in a haze/ hunting powders and potions.” It’s a powerful exploration of the problems of the inner city – a subject dear to Dempsey’s heart. Overall, Soulsun is one of the singer’s strongest outings yet – and could significantly swell his already sizeable fanbase.


2. Laura Marling – Semper Femina

Laura Marling - Super Femina

Laura Marling has used conversations surrounding her sixth album, Semper Femina, to disavow music of “innocent creativity”—the kind that’s “not pointed, not political,” she says. It’s an intuitive concept that sounds relatively novel coming from this folk songwriter. In the late 2000s, Marling emerged from London’s Communion scene, a coterie of authenticity fetishists who wore wounded hearts on tweed-jacket sleeves. Marling was herself embroiled in “innocent creativity,” but she released masterpieces of the form. Her identity evolved from romantic pragmatist to underdog sage to mystic troubadour; her voice became distant and supercilious, baring just enough soul to reassure you one was there. Radical honesty is now common among young songwriters, but Marling can harbor guilt, fear, arrogance, deceit, or triumph in a bottomless deadpan. It’s easy to invest in her evasion.

Semper Femina—Latin for “Always a woman,” and taken from Virgil’s epic poem The Aeneid—is no revolutionary screed. But the album’s characters, who are all given female pronouns, tiptoe outside Marling’s world of heartbreak and personal redemption. There are signs of a broader project at play. With lyrics about “warning signs” that we’re conditioned to “ignore diligently,” “Next Time” appears to preach a maternal fondness for Mother Earth: “I can no longer close my eyes/While the world around me dies/At the hands/Of folks/Like me,” she trills. While her composure hasn’t wavered since 2010’s I Speak Because I Can, there’s something new in songs like “Next Time” and “Don’t Pass Me By.” Both remind me, in their reserve and understated melancholy, of mid-career Elliott Smith—a chaotic and vulnerable individual anchored by a preternatural understanding of melody, using compassion to navigate horror.


3. Rusangano Family – Let the Dead Bury the Dead

Rusangano Family - Let the Dead Bury the Dead

An album where questions about identity, equality and diversity loom large, Let The Dead Bury The Dead is an album which feels more 2016 than other Irish release around at present. Members of immigrant families from Zimbabwe and Togo respectively, God Knows and Murli trade lines, yarns and stories about what it’s like to arrive in a new land and feel out of place.

More pertinently, they also deal with the identity crisis of feeling just as out of place in the traditional settings of their family home because of trying to fit in and adjust to new surroundings.

As producer, Lillis has found a sweet spot where the funk of the sounds and the samples is perfectly calibrated for the heft of what the MCs have to say. On Kierkegaard, Love In A Time Of War and Surviving the Times, God Knows and Murli deliver beautifully turned out rhymes about the personal and the universal. Their flow is razor-sharp, the words hitting the spot again and again. As state of the nation addresses go about the state of this particular nation after the wreaths have been laid and the speeches made, it’s quite a belter.


4. Savages – Adore Life

Savages - Adore Life

Adore Life arrives, audibly the work of a band making efforts to outrun their initial influences and trying to find a path beyond a debut that seemed so fully formed – image, sound and manifesto all neatly worked out – that it was hard to imagine how they might develop it further without tumbling into self-parody. The guitars are still serrated, but Adore Life feels looser and slightly more relaxed than its predecessor. The listener feels a little less like every song is being screamed at them, an inch and a half away from their face. The mood is, well, moodier. The lyrics are less ascetic, immersed as they mostly are in the vagaries of love and relationships. “Hit me, hit me with your hands,” ran Silence Yourself’s austere paean to sadomasochism.

Adore Life’s closing Mechanics deals with the same subject in more elevated terms: “When I take a man to sleep over, pain and pleasure will touch my hand and I will hold what is untold.” There’s even the occasional splash of dry humour, a commodity in pretty scarce supply on Silence Yourself. Above a musical backdrop in which a jagged bassline suddenly, thrillingly, shifts into something informed by warp-speed hardcore punk, TIWYG’s lyrical hook is a parody of Radiohead’s Karma Police, a song about enervated, eye-rolling despair, its defeated “tsk-typical” mood the opposite to the galvanising one Savages clearly want to conjure. The sound of I Need Something New suggests they’re going to have to run a bit faster if they’re going to escape the shock-haired shadow of Siouxsie, but the lyric is genuinely funny, depicting the singer so bored while in the throes of sexual congress that a draught from an unclosed door feels like a diverting novelty.


5. The Fall – New Facts Emerge

The Fall - New Facts Emerge

The Fall is a band that exists without precedent. For 40 years, they have remained the chief creative output for the mercurial and often combative vocalist/songwriter Mark E. Smith, and in that time, the Fall have fulfilled the promise of the post-punk movement that they emerged from. The project continues to move forward with an almost cavalier disregard for their past accomplishments. A look at recent setlists from the band’s live performances show that, in spite of a rich and varied discography, the oldest original material that Smith and the current incarnation of the Fall will deign to play are songs from their 2007 album Reformation Post TLC.

With the band’s contemporaries like Peter Hook and the Buzzcocks content to while away their careers reliving former glories, the Fall’s indifference to the sound that made them known is almost admirable. But it does put the band’s recent material—like their new album, New Facts Emerge—at something of a disadvantage, because anyone discovering the Fall through this or other recent releases might rightfully wonder what all the fuss is about.

What truth remains in John Peel’s oft-repeated comment about his favorite band (“They are always different; they are always the same”) is Smith’s love of sound. Not just the noise that a great rock group can make, but the possibilities available in the recording process. As co-producer of Emerge (with Melling), he gets especially playful, sending the last few seconds of “Victoria Train Station Massacre” into reverse and muffling the entirety of “O! ZZTRRK Man” with his voice stuck in the recesses of the song. It’s those little touches and turns, and Smith’s larger unpredictability, that keep this album from becoming another average entry into the catalog of a respected legacy act.


6. The Radiators from Space – TV Tube Heart

The Radiators from Space - TV Tubeheart

The Radiators From Space were the first punk rock band from Ireland, influencing many of those who followed including the Undertones and the Boomtown Rats, and are often cited by U2 as an inspiration. They were also one of the earliest of the class of ’77 punk rock bands. This, their first album, is full-on protest punk, with angry guitars and biting lyrics. At the time Rolling Stone magazine recognised them as “outdistancing most of the competition”. The original 13-track album is turned into a 33-track epic. Of the 33 only the album plus three non-album single sides have been available on CD before. The two alternate versions have only ever been available on an Irish cassette compilation. The 15 previously unissued recordings comprise ten ‘live in the studio’ sides made on the first day of recording and five very live tracks from the band’s debut London show at the Vortex Club. All are mastered from new high res transfers. The band never really broke up. Philip Chevron went on to join the Pogues, but there were frequent reunions and three further studio albums over the years.


7. The XX – I See You

The XX - I See You

Pregnant with potential meanings, the title of the xx’s immersive third album gradually reveals itself over the course of 10 new songs. It is not accusative – “I see you, stealing that guitar sound” – but more in keeping with the ongoing themes of this minimal, intimate band; more consolatory. “I see you”, this album says, “as you are.”

Prefaced by a series of more outgoing tracks, I See You has been touted as the xx’s least insular album thus far. If Jamie Smith’s solo outing of 2015, In Colour, constituted a successful experiment with shades beyond the minimal monochrome that originally defined the band, then I See You finds them a little gaudier of palette. Using samples for the first time, they have tweaked their sound in myriad ways, while still retaining the sense of proximity within spaciousness for which they are famous. You could say it was more commercial, if the mainstream hadn’t been biting the xx’s style relentlessly. (“Justin Bieber is doing tropical house,” noted Smith in a recent interview.)

The first song opens with a Caribbean horn fanfare, the shock of which will have you running to the track-listing to see if you haven’t accidentally hit play on a different band. Sinuous and garagey, Dangerous sounds like it could have come from Smith’s solo outing, and finds singers Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft sharing lines such as “I couldn’t care less/ If they call us reckless.”

The three-way relationships that sustain the band were sorely tested over the course of recording. Sims, in particular, has stepped back from partying as a result. (“Does the night chase me?” he wonders on Replica).

Located at the heart of the album, Performance finds Madley Croft “putting on a show” and “playing hide and seek” while Smith’s scything keyboard violin sound etches zigzags above her head. The album closer, a gospelly piano-led duet called Test Me, is more abrupt. A ghostly analogue curlicue tracks a sonar bloop. “You look”, murmurs Madley Croft, “but you never see.”





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 key foods to have in your cupboard to maintain a semi-normal lifestyle


1. Rice / Pasta / Potatoes (Carbohydrates)

These are actually super simple to cook, which means you do not have to live off takeaways or pot noodles for the duration of your 4 years in college, and they are versatile in the sense that you can join these carbohydrates with a variation of meats and vegetabless!


2. Chicken / Fish / Eggs (Protein)

Foods like chicken, fish and eggs are not only three of the most versatile foods ever, they are super healthy and manageable also! These can quickly crossover from lunch snacks, to a dinner with your carbs from above!


3. Cereal

Maybe in your new chapter in life you will become aware that breakfast is an important meal, and though you really might not be in the mood for it first thing in the morning, you will be thankful for it come at 11 or 12 o’clock after a couple of classes with scarce breaks!


4. Fruits

These make up an ideal snack for on the go. Not only are fruits so healthy, and make you feel a little bit better about yourself, they also contain fibre which fills you for longer than a chocolate bar!


5. Frozen Vegetables

From broccoli and cauliflower to mixed frozen peppers the choice is so broad! Not only are you getting one of your 5 a day with a side of veg on your plate during your dinner, but these are very cheap in Aldi and Lidl, last ages and frozen veg is so easy to manage. The bonus is that there is rarely any waste unlike with fresh vegetables.


6. Tea / Coffee

It is no secret that the typical student day is filled with mountains and mountains of coffee, it is a necessity. Make sure to have a big jar of coffee in your cupboard, readily available for those nights you will be up until all hours banging out that 2000 word assignment that is due for 9am the next morning. Or for those mornings you really feel like you will never tear yourself away from bed after that mad night out. Coffee can be one of your best friends!


7. Milk

A necessity! Though some people may like their coffee super strong, there is still the need of milk for your cereals in the morning!

7 things that will happen to you and every other first year ever


The transition from school to university can be extremely tough as you do not know what to expect.

Here are 7 things that you might be worried about. I am here to tell you that if you are worried about it, it is most likely that the majority of your peers are also worried about it!


1. Friends

The first and most obvious one is friends. You might have chosen a course like Business or General Arts, where it is a big course and you might know lots of people doing the same course. Or you may have picked a smaller course where you do not know anybody. During orientation you are split into groups with other people on your course. I understand that some people are more confident than others, but the only advice I have to give you is, no matter how shy and anxious you feel, try your best to make conversation with people. Most people are just as nervous as you are about making new friends, everybody is in the same boat. There will be people that you do not click with and that is okay, but you still have to talk to everyone and give everyone a chance because your future best friend or partner could be hidden in one of those groups!

Ciara Ferguson1


2. Not Understanding your timetable

Do not be worried if you cannot make any sense of your timetable whatsoever- trust me, you are not alone. Figuring out the room numbers does take some time. During the first seven weeks, there will be students stationed around UL to help you out. I would recommend getting the name of your orientation guide. I study Journalism and New Media and I asked 3 people in a row to help me find the room I was supposed to be in, but one student studied business and the other two were in the engineering buildings so they were not sure where I was supposed to be, as they had never been to the arts department. If you can contact your orientation guide, they are usually more than happy to help. Or just travel in packs, surely someone will be able to figure it out eventually!

Ciara Ferguson2


3. Getting Lost

Be prepared to get lost. I was once asked by a final year student for directions, the main building is a maze and the campus is huge, so it is easily done. On your orientation, you are given a number to call in case you get lost. TAKE THAT NUMBER DOWN. My friend and I somehow managed to get separated from our group and had to call that number and wait patiently until a hero in a first seven weeks t-shirt came, rescued us and returned us to our group.

Ciara Ferguson3

4. Worries about how you measure up against your peers

Do not be worried about your classes, you will settle in and just because someone did better in their Leaving Cert than you does not mean they are better than you. You are all starting fresh and on equal footing. If you find you are not settling in, I would recommended you speak to a guidance councillor about changing course, but give it a fair chance and time to adjust to the new teaching method. You are not handed out notes like school, you take your own notes so you must stay focused!

Ciara Ferguson4

5. Being overwhelmed by the vast environment that you are unfamiliar with

If like me, you came from a small school, you know all your teachers on a personal level. All that is about to change. You are going to be in lecture halls with hundreds of other students. You will have tutorials which consist of smaller groups and you are invited to participate but the atmosphere is very different from school. Do not panic, it may take a while to adjust but you will settle in.

Ciara Ferguson5

6. Getting along with people that you are living with

Whether you are commuting or moving from home, it can be very stressful. A lot of the students who commute are afraid they will miss out on the full college experience but that is not the case. There are several people on my course who commute, either driving or using public transport and the only thing they might have missed is a 9am lecture if the bus times don not suit- but who’s really complaining about that? As for nights out, once you make friends, you can just stay at your friend’s house! People who move away from home to on-campus accommodation are usually worried that they will hate their housemates – or their housemates will hate them! I personally got very lucky, obviously we had our disagreements but at the end of the day we all got on well and I am happy to have shared that experience with them. Some people got housemates who they did not get along with at all, but even that was not the worst- they just did not hang out together, and if you are on campus, it is only for a year. After that you can find a house to rent with the friends you have made!

Ciara Ferguson6


7. Striking a work/life balance

Some people are worried about how they are going to balance college work and going out, but it is manageable! You just have to work with your timetable. On the other hand, some people who do not drink are worried about what people might think about them. I do drink, but I would never judge anyone that does not, and I think a lot of people have that mind-set. Also just because you do not drink, that does not mean you cannot go out and have a great time!

Ciara Ferguson7

I hope you find this helpful and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask any of the first seven weeks staff!

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.

7 Tips for Freshers

1. Join Clubs and Societies!

This is even more important for those students coming to UL alone. Joining clubs is the single best way to meet like-minded people and make friends in university. UL has some of the best clubs and societies in the country and it is a sure fire way to meet great people and make some really good friends!


2. Register for Modules, Quickly!

Ok so not very exciting…but better than paying a 200 euro fine! If you are not sure how, ask a friend or call into the students union or library for some help.


3. Visit the library!

You may also not think this one is very exciting, but at least go for the good WiFi! Trust me though, you will definitely need to be familiar with the library, and you do not want to arrive for the first time on week 12 when it is a war zone. The library staff are great and can help you do lots of things like find the books that you need (duh), help with essays and referencing and just general tips that can enhance your time at UL.


4. Go to Class

If you do nothing else, just attend lectures and tutorials, the temptation to skip is high, but the payoff for attending is higher. Attending scheduled lectures and tutorials gives you the best chance at succeeding academically. It is very easy to fall behind and become overwhelmed after missing a few classes, so try your best to take full advantage of the resources provided!


5. Get some exercise

So you are about to start living on your own…that means no more healthy home cooked dinners and you are going to have to survive on your own. That does not mean cheap pizzas and noodles! Join a club (see part one) that you enjoy and get some exercise, even better, visit the gym/pool. UL has some of the best sporting facilities in Ireland, so use them!


6. Find Yourself

Ok I know that this is cheesy, I do. But you have just started a new chapter in life, for most of you, far from home and you have a chance to discover lots of things about yourself. What drives you in life? What makes you happy? For most this is the first real experience of freedom so it is very important to use the extra time and freedom to discover who you want to be in life.


7. Have Fun!

Try to follow these tips, but do not forget to have fun! You are just starting some of the best years of your life and that is especially true for first years! Make lots of new friends, do what makes you happy and take full advantage of this year which will undoubtedly be one of the best of your life so far!

7 Gifts of Volunteering


During my studies here in UL I have dedicated a lot of my time to volunteering. I have volunteered with the international office as a buddy, the access office as a mentor and even got to travel to Uganda for three weeks last summer to volunteer with Nurture Africa, just to name a few. Here are some of the gifts these experiences gave me.


1. Friendship

Every new adventure brought new faces and stories. Be that from the people I was helping or those I was working with. Sharing experiences with like-minded people who enjoy helping others is one of the best things in the world. And meeting those who appreciated the little things you do to help them just gives you a warm feeling. These are the names and faces who will always have a place in your heart.

Cassandra Murphy


2. Freebies

I have lost count of all the different coloured t-shirts I have gathered over the past three years. I also never need worry about pens or pencils as a nice supply has been collected from each event. It is funny the amount of joy something as simple as a jelly can give you just because it is free.


3. Self-confidence

This was something I never really realised I was lacking until I found it. I found the confidence to be who I am and be proud of all that I have achieved. I spent a lot of time doubting myself, but volunteering has taught me about how much I am capable of and how strong I can be. Volunteering is not always easy but it is definitely worth it.


4. Cinema and TV debut

One of the strangest volunteering opportunities that came about was to feature in the most recent undergraduate marketing campaign. I was already volunteering with the arts department, helping promote my course and my UL experience through social media and blog posts. As I am not one to shy away from opportunities, I agreed and before I knew it I was watching myself in the cinema and on television. My thirty seconds of fame that I will never forget.


5. Kick-ass CV

One things employers like to see is versatility and the ability to be flexible. I have received many compliments about my CV and the one thing potential employers love to ask about is my volunteer experience. The interviews are nearly over by the time they have finished asking all their questions. The experience and skills that I have picked up through volunteering are a lot more valuable than I had initially realised.


6. Jobs

Just in case you were wondering, the kick-ass CV is the reason I am currently employed!


7. Happiness

I have learnt that volunteering does not only help change the lives of others, but changes your own. Since I dedicated a part of my life to volunteering I have felt so much happiness. Each experience had brought lessons which has shaped me into the cheerful individual I am today. My goal when volunteering is to bring a smile to at least one person’s face each day. Once I’ve achieved that I am delighted!

Cassandra Murphy2