How to make the most of those 50 minutes!

By Ciarán O’Sullivan, 1st year Economics & Sociology at UL.

Sometimes I find it quite challenging to fully concentrate in lectures. In some I will be completely clued in to what my lecturer is talking about. Then in other lectures I will entirely zone out because they may be speaking in a monotone voice or I just can’t focus. I have thought long and hard about what I can do to make the most of my lectures. Here’s a few tips:


  1. Stay hydrated

    We always hear the slogan “drink plenty of water” but do we really know what for? You might have heard before that over 70% of our bodies consist of water and that our brain is approximately 85% water. Water is essential for our existence for a variety of reasons but I’m just going to talk about why it can help us stay awake in lectures. Our brains have no way of storing water. If you are losing more water than you are replacing because you are not drinking enough then you will become dehydrated. This will affect your brain productivity. Water provides our brains the electrical energy for all its brain functions such as thought and memory processes. You will be more focused and think faster when your brain is operating on a full reserve of water. Water is also vitally important for not only delivering nutrients to the brain but for removing toxins as well. This will all run more efficiently if you are fully hydrated resulting in better concentration and mental alertness.


  2. Spotlight your lecturer

    There’s a term that has been drilled into me a number of times in the past and it’s called ‘human spotlighting’. Basically what this means is that you have to think of yourself as a spotlight and your lecturer is the human who you have to spotlight. I know you might think it’s a bit of a stupid idea but if you find yourself getting distracted by people who are arriving in late to a lecture. Or you can’t help but stealing a glance at some people who are having a chat behind you, remind yourself quickly that you are spotlighting the lecturer. That way it will bring your focus back to what’s important. Give it a go, it helps me a lot but you have to continuously remind yourself.


  3. Put your phone away

    This is one thing I struggle with the most. I am an absolute divil for whipping out my phone and seeing if I’m after getting an ole text or email. Once you whip out that phone and start scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed, you might have missed something valuable that was said. It’s only 50 minutes, the phone will still be there at the end of it, those notifications aren’t going anywhere!

    hqdefault4. Sit close to the front

    I say this because you will be more likely to engage with what your lecturer is saying, not because you won’t be cool if you sit in the back row! Some of the lecture halls are massive and if you’re sitting in the back rows you will just about be able to make out your lecturers facial expressions. If you’re in close proximity to them you will be more inclined to fully focus on them and take in what they are saying. Also I’ve found that in some of the larger lecture halls if the mic isn’t properly fixed to the lecturer’s top it can be hard to make out what they’re saying. So if you are sitting up the front you will more likely be able to hear everything that’s being said rather than straining your ears to listen to them if you are way up the back.

    hush02235. Get some sleep

    Right lads so we are in college and we are here to learn just as much as we are here to have a good time and enjoy ourselves. I love a good session, I’m always up for a few drinks and a good night out. Saying that, if I have to be up at 8 o clock in the morning for a lecture at 9 I will probably not go out because personally I don’t think it’s worth it. The American National Sleep Foundation recommends for 18-25 year olds to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
    Why is it important to get a good nights sleep? Lack of sleep affects you in so many different ways. It slows down your thought processes, impairs your memory and makes learning difficult. It’s more difficult to concentrate, focus and make decisions when you are sleep deprived. Therefore you won’t be able to take in new information and cannot learn efficiently. Going to a lecture absolutely wrecked tired will probably be of no benefit to you what so ever as the probability of you learning anything is very low.

    These are my five reminders to make the most out of my fifty minute lectures. If you’re struggling to concentrate in your lectures I hope some of what I’ve talked about will help you too.


Ciarán O’Sullivan is a first year undergraduate student studying for his BA in Arts of Economics and Sociology at the University of Limerick. He is 20 years old and is a proud Cork man. You can follow him on Instagram.


Tips for Staying Healthy in the New Semester

By Ashley Taylor

The second semester of college comes directly after the celebrations and parties of winter holidays, and, with it, comes new year resolutions. The most common of which: get healthy/workout more/lose weight. This goal is complicated, however, with the addition of classes, homework, and the studying required by college. Despite this, it is important to take care of yourself and remain healthy, unless you want to risk getting sick and the possibility of falling behind. So, without further ado, my tips for remaining healthy during school-time:

Tip #1: Sleep

Seriously, sleep is one of the most important factors in your day, because it gives you the energy to continue through your day, as well as helps to regulate hormone levels. Most doctors recommend 7-8 hours of sleep each night, but it really depends on the quality of sleep you get, as well as how much you need simply to function during the day. Remember, lack of sleep contributes to concentration problems, mood swings, and overall tiredness.

Tip #2: Eating!

College life is stereotyped by takeout containers, drinking, and pizza. However, these activities can take both a hit on the wallet and on your health. Instead of ordering out, consider making meals ahead of time or cooking your own meals at home. This can be much healthier, as well as cheaper, meaning you have more money to go out and have fun (or spend on school supplies)!

Tip #3: Exercise

Possibly the most difficult thing to find time for on a busy school day is exercise. However, exercising doesn’t just mean going to the gym for an hour or two. Instead, consider going for a walk around campus or the city, asking friends to play a quick game of rugby, or simply go to the gym with your weekly reading and sit on a stationary bike and tear through.

Tip #4: Mental Health

Please, take advantage of any services offered by your community regarding mental health. Here at UL, there is a campus health service which offers counseling for students. However, if you feel uncomfortable with contacting a community service, there are several online services available to you.

The most important thing is to do what is best for you, and feel free to add any suggestions below!

UL AmbassadorHello, my name is Ashley Taylor, and I am a first-year student at the University of Limerick, currently studying Politics and International Relations. I’m from Northern California, from a town about forty minutes north of San Francisco.

I applied to the University of Limerick because I have always wanted to study outside of the United States. I’m thrilled to be in Ireland, although I was definitely not prepared for the weather. However, after a while, the rain begins to grow on you, and it’s nice to watch rainstorms while I study.