By David Roche, BA in Criminal Justice, University of Limerick
This blog post is aimed at exploring a wide variety of tips and tricks to help survive college life here at the University of Limerick. As a second-year student I have an adequate but limited idea of what it takes to survive and excel in University.
My advice to first years:
Enjoy your first year in UL as much as you can. Don’t get too bogged down about results, as your QCA resets in second-year. Take the first year to explore as much of the University as you can. Make as many friends as possible and soon enough you will begin to see that these people are no longer just your friends, but they become your family. If looking to meet new people, join clubs and societies around campus. Meeting people who already have shared interests as yourself always make for easy ice-breakers and conversation starters.
However, when it comes to academic life, I would highly advise not to overindulge yourself Monday to Friday with the Limerick nightlife. Although your QCA may reset in second year, it is highly advisable that you make the best effort you can when it comes to your studies – if you fail any modules you will have to resit them in the summer and pass to get into 2nd year.
In particular, many students in the faculty of AHSS will have CO-OP placement in second semester of second year. Therefore, the only results that your potential employer has as a reference for your academics are your leaving certificate results and first year results. Make first year the year for you and enjoy every minute of it but remember the primary reason why you are in University, to study and guarantee yourself a career that you will enjoy for the rest of your life.
My second year experience:
A far cry from the enjoyment I experienced in first year, but second year has brought me many amazing memories so far. Albeit, I spent the majority of my first semester of second year in the library, I still managed to find the time, to explore and discover many other aspects of the University of Limerick that I never before knew existed.
I was fortunate enough to work for orientation and open days last semester and it was hard to believe that less than a year ago, I myself was the one who was been given that very same orientation. Freshers week/ Orientation week, or as I now call it re-orientation week, was a time to rediscover the college life that seemed a distant memory throughout the summer.
I personally find first semester much more of a struggle than the second, particularly because of the long summer break, which many people enjoy and make the most of, but my summer this year did not bring as much enjoyment as nights out in Stables of a Wednesday.
Second year now introduces the aspect of co-operative placement preparation and the commencement of interviews. For many, second year can potentially be the most difficult academically. I believe this is due to the added workload involved in attending interviews and the excess stress in preparing for interviews or worrying whether you will end up on placement in Galway when all your friends are in Dublin.
The co-operative office in the University of Limerick is an excellent resource and provides so many opportunities that many students never knew existed. However, if you are one of those students who would like to dictate and be in more control of the placement that you go on, I would advise to start investigating your own placement that you organize yourself. I would also advise to take regular trips to the co-op office and ask as many questions as you feel necessary, the staff are always engaging and if they cannot answer your query, they will point you in the direction that you need to go.
Third years, fourth years and beyond:
As I have not yet completed my third or final year, there is not much advice that I can give in this area. However, many friends of mine who are now in third year or who have completed their degrees have passed down invaluable advice onto me. Travel, travel, travel!
Make the most of your summers in third year and even take a year out after you finish your degree. Many employers are now offering students a year to decide on whether or not they want to travel before they commence working. Bear in mind that once you begin your career, you will not get as many opportunities to travel as you do now as a student.
For third years in particular, try to organize a J1 with friends, it is an invaluable experience to have and allows you to build connections internationally. It also shows your enthusiasm and your ability to work abroad and be flexible in the way you live your working life.
Finally, for all you fourth years who are now attempting to complete the dreaded Final Year Project, always remember that the Writing Centre is there when you need it and no matter what year you are in, it is always okay to ask for help or to refresh your memory on even the most essential and basic of techniques.