10 Tips for a Successful Open Day

By Aoife Martyn

10 tips for a successfulI thought I’d write some advice ahead of the UL Open Day:

  1. Do your research beforehand and have a general knowledge of the courses available in UL while focusing on the ones you’re really interested in. Also, read any information you can find about the Open Day.
  2. Get there really, really early. There’s no point in arriving and realising you’ve missed the course talk that you wanted to go to.
  3. Plan the talks you want to go to and figure out how to get to the room in time.
  4. Try to avoid spending the day with your school friends in Starbucks and Subway. UL has so much more to offer and don’t be afraid to explore on your own.
  5. Talk to current students. Don’t be shy, they’re only there because they want to tell you what they wished they knew.
  6. Have a good look around campus. Don’t just stick to the main building, venture up to north campus to see other buildings and have a look at all of the sports facilities if they interest you.
  7. Take notes. Embarrassing right? Wrong. You can’t remember everything you hear but you can write it down and recall it later.
  8. Take ALL the leaflets. All of them. You’ll be glad when you come home feeling overwhelmed with everything you’ve heard all day and have some solid information on paper for later reading.
  9. Have an open mind. Prioritise the subject areas that you’re interested in, but have a look at other areas as well. You might surprise yourself.
  10. If you don’t get the feeling on the open day, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean the college or the course is not for you. Some people might and others might not. A number of factors make the open days different to what college will actually be like and so while you can learn a lot of information, don’t expect a feeling that you belong in a certain college or course as there is many more factors to be considered than a simple feeling which often takes time to develop.

untitled-design-13Best of luck everyone 🙂

Hey everyone! My name is Aoife Martyn, I’m nineteen and I’m an Applied Languages student from Mayo. I’m in second year and, a year and a half into the course, it’s safe to say I’m loving it!



My Top 5 Study Tips

By Aoife Martyn

mIn this blog post I’m going to offer you some advice for studying for college exams because it’s week eleven (nobody panic) and reading about studying is marginally more enjoyable than studying, right?

  1. Look at the exam papers! This is by far my best piece of advice. Going into an exam with an idea of how the exam will be laid out will give you confidence and help you figure out what to focus on beforehand.
  2. For languages subjects, look over grammar just before the exams just so you’re sure of all of the basics and don’t spend time in the exam hall thinking ‘I know what the tuiseal ginideach of that is but…’
  3. For exams that are essay based, make out essay plans for possible questions. Obviously you can’t learn off an essay for every possible question (or maybe you can but I can’t) but having a plan is the next best thing and will reassure you that you have an idea of how to structure an answer.
  4. For literature exams, learn versatile quotes that you can use in any essay on the major themes of the text rather than trying to learn long or overly specific quotes.
  5. And finally a piece of advice for study week. If getting up at ridiculous o’clock to queue for the library helps you to study and get the most out of your day, do it. If studying at home or in the evening suits you better, then do that. Figure out what works best for you and how you study most efficiently.

I hope some of this advice will be helpful. Until the next blog post.

untitled-design-13Hey everyone! My name is Aoife Martyn, I’m nineteen and I’m an Applied Languages student from Mayo. I’m in second year and, a year and a half into the course, it’s safe to say I’m loving it!

What’s it like to study languages at university?

By Aoife Martyn

So you enjoy studying languages at school, but how do you know if you’d like to study them at third level? What is studying an advanced language at college like in comparison to the leaving cert? An Applied Languages student is here to give you the answers.

Studying languages at university is different to secondary school but the way in which it differs depends on your teacher at second level. I can only speak as a French student, but from what I can see the leaving cert curriculum is fairly vague (i.e there are no assigned texts) and gives the teacher a nice bit of scope to cover whatever they deem to be useful to give you a more proficient level of the language.

Many second level teachers don’t include literature in their leaving cert classes so you may not have even read a book in french by yourself before but this will be completely different at college where literature will be central to your language learning. Straight away you’ll be handed a French novel and told to read it in your own time which is something to consider. You’ll also have extra literature module options (you can get out of this by doing cultural studies if you wish), but if you’re considering teaching as a future career then you need all the literature credits you can get. Of course, it makes perfect sense that the more advanced you get in your language learning, the more literature you do. Sure, isn’t that exactly how our English language education goes?

There’s also a considerable emphasis on grammar and presentations are everywhere. This semester I have a four modules with presentations which count towards between 5-15% of end of semester grade. Personally, we didn’t do anything like that at school so this was also an adjustment for me, but one from which I have benefited greatly. Of course there are oral exams as well which are more off-the-cuff than the leaving cert ones (and minus the sraithpictuirí you’ll be glad to know).

For Applied Languages, you’ll also be studying linguistics which is defined as ‘the science of language’ and it’s taught through -gasp- English! This really gets into the nitty gritty of what a language is and structure and morphology and phonology and all that jazz, so again not hating grammar is helpful here. From my experience, my love of English at school has really added to my enjoyment of studying languages at college, something I didn’t foresee but of course, English is just another language so it all adds up really.

To sum up, I really enjoy all the various elements of studying languages at university. I always enjoyed grammar and literature and all of the orals and presentations have made me so much more confident speaking my other languages.

So now you know.

untitled-design-13Hey everyone! My name is Aoife Martyn, I’m nineteen and I’m an Applied Languages student from Mayo. I’m in second year and, a year and a half into the course, it’s safe to say I’m loving it!

Applied Languages at UL

By Aoife Martyn

There’s a lot of choice within the Applied Languages course but after careful consideration at the start of first year, I now find myself studying French, Irish and Politics along with Linguistics and two French Literature modules. Although, if time was no object, I’d probably choose to do everything.

Possibly the best thing about the course, and certainly the most interesting aspect to outsiders, is the year we spend abroad. If you’re researching courses anywhere in the domain of Arts and languages, you’ll probably have heard all about Erasmus, which is a study-abroad that we do for the first semester of third year. Co-op though, was one of the main things that attracted me to UL even before I had Applied Languages on my radar. A degree is one thing but work experience along with it? Yes please! And we get to do ours abroad, so I’m moving to Spain after Christmas. How crazy is that?

UL is really a fantastic college. When some of my friends mentioned to me as they were making their own CAO choices last summer that they were thinking about UL, I think I went a little overboard with my recommendations. The beauty of the campus speaks for itself, the lecturers and staff are very helpful and the social life is great, aided by the very active clubs and societies scene.

So how did I make my decision to study Applied Languages? I’d love to say I was one of those people who always knew what they wanted to do after the leaving cert but I’m afraid that wouldn’t be true. During the small slots of free time during sixth year when my mind wandered to the future, I realised I had no idea what kind of job I wanted but I knew that I loved languages. I considered probably every course on the entire CAO at some stage and almost ended up going to a college closer to home, but in the end I chose to come to UL to do a course that I knew I’d enjoy and let the rest take care of itself. So far it has.

More from me later – Aoife

untitled-design-13Hey everyone! My name is Aoife Martyn, I’m nineteen and I’m an Applied Languages student from Mayo. I’m in second year and, a year and a half into the course, it’s safe to say I’m loving it!