My time studying in UL

By Jane Vaughan

I am a fourth year student here at The University of Limerick and I’m studying English and History.

The modules for history are quite diverse which is great because it means you get to study history from different parts of the globe. Sometimes studying these two subjects together is an advantage because they can overlap, especially with Irish Literature and Irish History.

I knew from about third year of secondary school that these two subjects were what I wanted to go on and study in college. English was my best subject in school all the way up through school and history was something I didn’t have to work on until fifth year. At the start of sixth year I wanted to attend UCC but later changed that because why would I go to a different county when I had an unreal college just forty minutes in the road from me?

The key to a good college life is balance and time management. You need to spend the right amount of time getting your work done and also having the bit of craic. (Disclaimer: There will always be things you need to do, but as long as you keep on top of things you’ll be fine.)

There are loads of places around campus where you can go and relax for an hour before your next lecture, The Library Cafe, The Stables, Red Raisins and The Paddocks to name but a few. (The women who work in the Library Cafe are just the best and not only make you a great chicken roll but call you ‘pet’ and ‘hun’ to make you feel extra special.)

UL campus is like a little town itself and to be honest, I’m still finding new parts of it going into my final year, but don’t let that worry you there are so many people willing to help new students here, The First Seven Weeks program offers additional help to UL’s new students by having fellow students stationed around the campus with the aim of helping you find your way around or answering any questions you may have.

Give it three weeks and you’ll be well and truly settled into your new home here at Limerick.


Jane Vaughan is in her fourth year studying English and History at the University of Limerick. She is 22 and from Limerick. You can read her personal blog here  and follow her on Twitter at @_PaulaJane



How my time on Erasmus made me feel more independent

By Anna Henderson

A mandatory part of BA New Media and English is the opportunity to study abroad for a semester/academic year in another university under Erasmus +. Erasmus is an EU funded programme that allows 200,000 students study abroad every year. UL is one of over 240 European Universities in the Erasmus network and hundreds of UL students every year take part in this programme.


I was initially very nervous about the whole Erasmus experience. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to study or if I would enjoy moving to another country for a few months. After visiting Manchester on a weekend break I had fallen in love with the atmosphere of the city and the friendliness of the locals reminded me of home. I was delighted to see that the University of Salford was one of UL’s partner universities.

I chose the university based on their connection with MediaCityUK and their offerings of modules. Although England is so close to Ireland, I was still moving country and it was a daunting task. Two other UL students were also offered places at the University of Salford so none of us were completely on our own.

Manchester is a bustling, lively city with something to do for everyone.

  • Football matches at Old Trafford/The Etihad.
  • Shopping in the Arndale and Trafford Centre.
  • Beautiful restaurants and pubs along the many side streets.
  • Showbiz gossip at the Coronation St Tour.
  • Stunning European style Christmas markets that run right from the end of November through til the end of December.

I was also lucky enough to visit LiverpoolBlackpool and Birmingham during my time there.

The University of Salford itself made their incoming Erasmus students feel very welcome, and to make the most of my Erasmus experience I picked modules that were very different to those offered in UL. ‘The Test of Evil’ in particular was a standout module. We examined three high-profile cases of serial killers in the locality, and even  had a field trip to the local cemetery where some of the victims had been buried. While some of the content was very challenging, it was great to be able to experience different teaching methods to what I was used to. I also had the chance to take a Children’s Literature module that involved studying books such as Winnie the Pooh and an in-depth analysis of Harry Potter.

MediaCityUK is associated with the University of Salford, and this is where some BBC and ITV studios are located. We even got to be audience members for the filming of Celebrity Mastermind 2015 which was an excellent experience.


I’m very glad that UL has such high emphasis on the Erasmus+ programme. Erasmus is a mandatory element for my course and I’m grateful for this. Had it been optional I’m not sure I would have taken part and would have missed my favourite part of the degree programme so far, and has helped me shape my future as I plan to move back to Manchester after I graduate. Erasmus is a excellent opportunity to become independent, get used to new ways of living as well as making friends all over the world. Erasmus is offered as part of most UL courses and I couldn’t recommend it enough. You’ll never know what’s out there until you try it!


Anna Henderson is a 4th year New Media & English student at the University of Limerick. Here she writes about her Erasmus experience at the University of Salford in Manchester.


How switching courses changed my University experience

By Jennifer Purcell

The transition from secondary school to University can be quite daunting, after months of studying and preparation for the Leaving Cert, you’ve finally got your CAO offer and its off to college you go!

But what happens when you don’t like your course?

To my complete shock, I was offered New Media and English in UL, having completed a Fetac course in Cork.  I jumped at the offer without hesitation, finally getting into 3rd level education!

While most people in my course absolutely loved it, I couldn’t get stuck into it. I was never a fan of literature or poetry and dreaded the fear of failing! I decided to be 100% honest with my parents and told them I would end up really struggling or dropping out!

Fortunately,  this happens now and again at UL, and they are very accommodating to students that aren’t happy with their course. No one wants to see you fail or drop out so know that there are other options.

I switched to Journalism and New Media in week 6 and absolutely LOVE it! Now heading into my final year of my degree,  I’m glad I went with my gut and explored other options.

Journalism and New Media and New Media and English have quite similar traits, and a lot of the same classes. The journalism course, however,  is more catered to those looking for a career in print media, TV or radio. It’s a very hands on course , with lots of projects and group work. That might sound intimidating but it’s a lot of fun if you’re an aspiring journo!

Journalism & New Media students Marisa Kennedy, Sarah Tatley, Jennifer Purcell, Seán Lynch and Micheala Keating. The group took part in Darkness into Light after their successful fundraising campaign – run by Jennifer – who acted as Chairperson of the DIL 2015 sub-committee.

As part of our course, you’re taken to the court house to do real life court reports, you attend council meetings and pull the best stories from the bunch, you create radio packages, news bulletins and have a chance to get your work published in national newspapers!

Co-op is probably the most exciting element of this course, because you get the opportunity to work on the front line, hands on,  knees deep in shorthand and editing. Whether you chose radio, print media or you’re lucky enough to secure a stunt in RTE, you’ll gain invaluable experience!

You never forget the feeling of opening the local newspaper and seeing your by-line in black and white for the first time! Or the feeling of accomplishment after putting together a three minute radio documentary that you spent hours editing. You get a thrill from deadline day and the 5pm rush, you cringe at the sound of your own voice on radio but are secretly proud nonetheless!

Journalism and New Media opens a window of opportunity for aspiring journalists. I am heading into my final year having worked as part of the Limerick Leader team for 6 months, with a hundred and one bylines under my belt, having being nominated for Journalist of the year – national press, in the Student media awards, and having won the Headline Journalism award 2016, for a two-page feature I did on suicide and mental health.

The journalism course requires a lot of work outside of class hours. To be a successful journalists you need to built a portfolio, and networking is essential! Most of my peers work within the media outside of college,  whether it’s part-time on local radio, blogging, or contributing to online websites.  While getting good grades is important, building up your CV is crucial to ensure you secure a job in media when you graduate.

The best thing is, you’re finishing with so many options, so many routes you can go down, whether you’ve a passion for the airwaves or a flair for investigative journalism. Never in a million years did I think I’d be confident speaking live on air, but now I have my own show on ULFM!

Doing assignments and projects isn’t all bad, when you love what you do!


Jennifer Purcell is a 4th year BA Journalism & New Media student at the University of Limerick. She was Nominated for Journalist of the year in the 2016 student media awards. You can read her personal blog here. Follow her Twitter account at @Jenniferpurc.

Settling into Spring Semester Two

Spring-Colours-WallpaperBy Judy Sheehan

Welcome everybody!

We find that Semester Two has sprung up on us, and the Christmas break seems like a distant memory at this stage. Having just entered week three of a fourteen week semester, time seems to be flying already!The Christmas exams went really well thankfully and no repeats so far!

Lets talk business. With my course, Arts Joint Honours, in the second semester of first year you can pick different subjects to those you chose to study in semester one. For me this is a brilliant opportunity to sample new subjects and to thread unknown territory.

This semester I am studying…

  • English- Renaissance Literature
  • Early Modern Irish History
  • Culture and Language Studies
  • Introduction to Sociology 2
  • Law- Criminal Procedure

Whereas last semester I took…

  • English- Academic reading and writing
  • Sources for History
  • Legal System and Method
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Sociology of Media

Certain areas of my chosen subjects over-lap, something I find makes it easier to study as you can connect your learning in all subjects. Already, deadlines are being given and groups assigned for projects so its a matter of hitting the ground running.

Last Wednesday I got a little over-excited. Why so, I hear you ask? Last Wednesday we had a meeting about the option of going on Co-operative placement abroad A.K.A Co-Op. Semester two of second year allows AHSS students to gain experience either at home or abroad. The speakers representing opportunities in Spain and Argentina were enthusiastic and informative, with further meetings planned in the next few weeks. Having the process explained was real encouragement to get involved with such fantastic opportunities. I hope to do another blog with more in depth information and updates on my Co-Op endeavours soon.

Enough academic information for now. There are already talks about the upcoming RAG week (Raise and Give or Charity week) taking place the week of February 29th. Fundraising for four very worthy charities while having great craic? What more could you want. As well as that, Student Race day is being help in April so that will be a pre-exam boost. Like I said, this semester is FLYING! Maintaining the study-socialising balance is a constant struggle. Such is college life!

Untitled design (11)My name is Judy Sheehan (most people call me Julie-really annoying), I’m twenty years old and I am in first year Arts! Hailing from the beautiful county Cork, home is only down the road. Let me tell ye a bit more, if ye are brave enough to read on…

Some useless facts about me: I am the eldest of four, with three older step siblings, have 8+ cats, am from a little town in West Cork called Bandon, LOVE animals, laugh at absolutely anything even remotely funny,drink  far too much hot chocolate and consume too much pizza and chocolate (not at the same time though).

Choose a subject you love, and choose UL!

By Colleen O’Brien

colleen-obrienHello! For any of you who don’t know me (which could be a lot), my name is Colleen O’Brien and I’m a first year studying English & History in University of Limerick. I’m one of the lucky few who post on this blog so hopefully you can get through this post without clicking the X button or going back to Netflix.

Just some random, irrelevant, somewhat un-useful facts about yours truly! My name is Colleen O’Brien, not Coleen, or Cailín, or Collen. I’m barely 18 and I hail from a small village in the West of Limerick. I study English & History and I have practically no interests besides eating, sleeping and bingeing on Netflix.

Since I’m from Limerick, I knew some aspects of UL from Open Days, friends, family etc. What nobody happened to mention to me was the fact the place is quite big and the main building is like the maze runner – once you’re in, you cannot get out. Besides that, I had some knowledge of what was ahead of me.

I was 17 at the time of my Leaving Cert so I was quite young compared to my friends in school. Choosing courses for me was relatively easy as I had always intended on doing a course related to Arts and Humanities. So, after some late night thoughts I chose to do European Studies which included doing French, History, Law and Sociology. The day of the CAO arrived and I was over the moon I got my first choice, only this was not meant to be.

After orientation, we began the basics of lectures. I was beyond excited to begin this new chapter of my life only to realise half way through a French lecture, it was definitely not for me. I knew deep down, English was my main passion subject wise so I went with my guts and ran straight to admissions for an internal transfer. After running after course directors for days on end to running back and forth to admissions, I was finally on the road to a course I now love, English and History.

Transferring courses was not easy but I adapted quick enough. I had to sort my own timetable which is possibly the best and worst thing I have done so far. In the end, it was completely worth all the effort because I am now doing something I always wanted to do.

SO, for any of ye readers who are facing the CAO soon take my advice; DO NOT go for something you have little to no interest in. Go for something you really enjoy. Do not being like me, who waited until she was in college to change her mind, you may not make the right choice in enough time.



Loving Arts at UL!

By Judy Sheehan

My journey to becoming a UL student isn’t your typical ‘straight out of Leaving Cert’ craic. Since 4th year, I had always wanted to come to UL but being a naive 18 year old filling out the choices, I let other people influence me. So I spent a year in college in Cork but it wasn’t my cup of tea, so off I went and worked for a year. This cemented my original idea of coming to UL! Thankfully the auld CAO treated me well this time and I got my first choice of Arts.   Now, having spent roughly 6 weeks in the magnificent University of Limerick, I can say with certainty that I have found the college for me. Between making new friends, enjoying the banter on campus, moving out of home and settling into  the actual course itself its been a hectic few weeks but I’ve loved every millisecond of it!

What really attracted me to the Arts Joint Honours course was the wide variety of subjects you can try in first year. Whittling it down to five was tough but I went with English, History, Criminal Law, New Media and Sociology! Before you ask-no,I have no idea what I want to do after college, but I’m really enjoying the mix of subjects so far. Although there are a lot of people in the course, and a mix of courses in the lectures and tutorials, its so easy to meet people and not a day passes when you don’t meet someone new.

Something that really struck me during orientation, (shortly after my parents and youngest sister sped off, probably crying hysterically) was the easy-going, friendly atmosphere on campus. I was searching for somewhere to buy water and a security man spotted me wandering aimlessly and before I knew it, he fixed me up with one  (for FREE) and off I went happy as Larry! Its that sense of community and caring that has made me feel so at home in UL.

Now that I have introduced myself and have relayed some rough idea of the spectacle that is the University Of Limerick I will bid you all adieu for now.  With any luck I’ll be writing again soon, so until then…

Untitled design (11)My name is Judy Sheehan (most people call me Julie-really annoying), I’m twenty years old and I am in first year Arts! Hailing from the beautiful county Cork, home is only down the road. Let me tell ye a bit more, if ye are brave enough to read on…

Some useless facts about me: I am the eldest of four, with three older step siblings, have 8+ cats, am from a little town in West Cork called Bandon, LOVE animals, laugh at absolutely anything even remotely funny,drink  far too much hot chocolate and consume too much pizza and chocolate (not at the same time though).