The Big Bad Post Grad: first day worries

Rachel Loftus

By Rachel Loftus, Grad. Dip./M.A. Journalism, UL 

Walking into my introductory lecture I couldn’t help it. Despite the fact that I was a Big Bad Post Grad, I felt my knees quaking just as they did on my first day of being an undergraduate. Sure, this was a new college, but what of it? I was older now, far more mature, with four years of study in NUIG done, dusted and under my belt. I was a post Erasmus student for goodness sake! This should be a piece of cake. And yet, here I was, tongue stuck to the top of my mouth, afraid to say boo to a goose and desperate to get back to the safety and familiarity of my house.

Despite our expectations and despite our rationality, there’ll always be an aspect of fear and an aspect of hesitancy about putting our first foot into the unfamiliar. It can range from starting school, to starting college, to starting a new job, to moving country, to moving to the next town even. We could be as prepared as we like, and yet, place any single one of us in a situation in which we are out of our comfort zone and we shrink. We take a step back. We take a step back until somebody reaches a hand forward to help us through.

I’ll concede, that very morning of post-graduated introductions, the very first day I sat in the Concert Hall? I wanted to leave. I wanted to give up before I had even began because I was so outside my realms of comfort. To my dismay, before I could make my great escape we had been ushered into our various classes for a tour of the college. And what a blessing in disguise that was. As our 4th year guide brought us around the Main Building and became increasingly puzzled as to which way we should have been going and eventually had to ask for directions, a thought struck my mind. Nobody really knows it all. You can be prepared as you might like and you’ll still be thrown a curve ball. You’ll still need help.

Awkward and meek conversation grew into awkward and hesitant laughter which grew into earnest laughter amongst our group as the day progressed. The fear that was initially there evaporated. We were all new. We were all just as lost. We were all on the same page. And despite what various educational courses and backgrounds we had come from, we all needed to accept the help that was on offer to us. Help from other UL students when we became lost. Help to access the library. Help on where the best places to eat were. Help on where the best coffee was located. And yes, in the melee of corners and crevices in the Main Building, even help to the nearest bathroom (Which FYI, was obviously built by someone who wanted to trap a person in its confines for eternity.)

So, here I am, the Big Bad Post Grad, who is anything but. First year, Erasmus student, Masters student, Ph.D student, new lecturer. We are all equal in that we all need that little bit of help on our first day. We all need that helping hand. And despite our best efforts, despite our preparations, it’s ok to be absolutely terrified out of your wits. Because each and every person before us has been in the exact same position. Every single person in UL was once there on their first day, and you can bet your socks they were once just as out of their comfort zone as you were. I’m even looking at you Dr. Fitzgerald.


A warm welcome to our new students


Last week we welcomed our new 1st year students to the Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences. We are particularly pleased to see so many students on our new LM002 Bachelor of Arts course, which is new for September 2017. This year, LM002 is the highest general-entry arts course in the country with 360 points. A huge amount of work has taken place in the last two years to get this course up and running, so it was wonderful to meet our new students and hear their questions.

Thursday 31st August saw all our new students meet in the University Concert Hall to hear welcome talks. This was followed by a campus tour, and course talks.


On Friday we held subject taster sessions for our LM002 Arts students, where lecturers spoke about what’s involved with studying each subject. We also welcomed Faculty from Mary Immaculate College to discuss the subjects being taught there.


Welcome to all, we hope you have a happy and productive time at UL.

Making friends at University

By Jane Vaughan

 Making friends at college was probably one of my biggest worries coming into to college. I was so nervous walking in by the flag poles on the day of orientation but looking back I need not have worried.

The key thing about making friends is in your orientation group, this group is filled with about 10/15 people who are all in your course, you spend the day being shown the campus together by your guide. I met some of my best friends on orientation day. After the day was finished we all exchanged numbers and decided on a place to meet on the following Monday, for our first day of college. We were all afraid of getting lost but once you’re in a group at least if you get lost, you all get lost together.

Being a part of two very popular subjects can make it had to find out who is actually is your course so me and two of my friends (from my orientation group) decided to make a Facebook group for our course and one by one we eventually began to know who was in our course. Year by year you get a lot more closer to those in your course.

Tutorial groups are also a very good way of making friends as a lot of the time you get put into even smaller groups for team work. You are meant to go to the same tutorial group every week so it’s no harm in befriending people so ye can all help each other out with readings and work.

If you are willing to make friends in college you will have no problem doing so as everyone else around you wants to do the same thing.


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. Here she talks about making friends at UL.

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.