Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Do not wait until Week 10 or 11 to start studying

Hi all, my name is Eoin. I’m a 4th year mechanical engineering student. I enjoy smooth jazz and long walks on the beach. I worked as a peer avisor in the UL library for the first few weeks of semester answering your queries and it struck me that the best advice I can give anyone is don't wait til Week 10 to start working.

To be honest, starting in UL was terrifying. You’re dragged around an unfamiliar campus with classmates you have only just met, it’s almost too much to take in at once! The differences between secondary school and college are a shock to the system. I remember being told that I didn’t have to attend all of my classes, which in hindsight wasn’t the best thing to tell a group of first years with classes within 100m of the stables club. Getting used to interpreting the room numbers would have been my biggest challenge, but thankfully most people on campus are more than willing to point you in the right direction if you stop and ask.

On top of that, the first 7 weeks program, which wasn’t in place when I started in UL, are on hand to provide information to students no matter how embarrassing you think the question is!

I’m sure this applies to most courses, but as an engineering student, you quickly learn the importance of time management. It makes a world of difference if you tackle the bulk of your exam preparation early on in the semester. A lot of students make the mistake of waiting until weeks 10 or 11 before they start studying. I myself did this in first year, and quickly regretted not starting earlier.

Thankfully, your QCA from first year won’t affect your final result when you graduate. However, it will decide the quality of your co-op placement, which is even more important in terms of getting into industry, as a good co-op placement can set you up for a job before you’ve even finished 3rd year!

In terms of study, I’d recommend taking advantage of the library services as often as possible. Some people find it easy to study anywhere, but I find for myself I much prefer a quieter environment. Even if you need to work together with your classmates as a group, there are group study rooms available in the library that you can book on the website. As well, the peer advisors will be available in the foyer of the library in order to answer any queries you might have for the next little while.
All this said, college is still the greatest years of your life, so you need to remember to enjoy your social life as well. Don’t be afraid to go out and have new experiences and meet new people. Clubs & Socs are a fantastic way to meet new people from all walks of life who share the same interests as you. Even if you feel isolated moving to a new town without your friends from secondary school, chances are you’ll find your niche. You’ll get chances to meet a diverse range of people while studying in UL, it’s just up to you to go out and find them!

All in all, the years you spend here will stay with you for the rest of your life. When you come to college you get the chance to reinvent yourself, you can be whoever you want (within the confines of the law). I may not be first, and I certainly won’t be the last to say it, but let me be one of the many people to welcome you to UL!

Friday, 14 October 2016

UL’s exceptional Bolton Collection can inspire new scholarship

The Centre for Early Modern Studies was launched last evening with an inaugural lecture by Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, Erasmus Smith’s Chair of Modern History, Trinity College Dublin, Director of the Trinity Long Room Hub, and Chair of the Irish Research Council. Professor Ohlmeyer spoke on the topic of ‘Early Modern Ireland and the Wider World’.

Prof. Jane Ohlmeyer & Dr. Richard Kirwan
at the Glucksman Library UL
Dr. Richard Kirwan introduced the event and set the context of the new Centre; “Research in the humanities has been traditionally conducted by individuals working in isolation but this centre will offer opportunities for collaborative cross-disciplinary research, which when combined with the unique resources in the Bolton Library, will no doubt lead to new insights on the history and culture of the early modern period,”.

The Centre for Early Modern Studies currently has 18 members with especially strong representation from the fields of history, English, Irish and French. The Centre aims to facilitate and develop collaborative and interdisciplinary engagement within the humanities and between academics and specialist librarians and archivists. It will also promote scholarly engagement with the early modern manuscript and print collections of UL’s Glucksman Library. In particular, the centre will avail of the Bolton Collection as a resource for new research. The Bolton Collection at UL is a unique collection of 12,000 early-printed books, manuscripts and incunabula of exceptional academic and bibliographic importance, care of which has recently been assumed by the Glucksman Library.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Students; here’s how to avoid a mid-semester burnout

Hey there! My name is Niamh and I’m a fourth year Joint Honours student. I hope you are having a great time in UL and that you are settling in okay to college life. In this blog I’m going to try and give you some advice on how avoid a mid-semester burnout.
Starting a new semester of college, whether it’s your first semester as a first year or your very last, can be a very exciting experience. But, after a few weeks the novelty might start to wear thin when you approach the dreaded mid-term. I know from experience that at the beginning of the semester you’re floating around and enjoying all the things college life has to offer from 9 a.m. lectures on a Monday morning to International Night at The Stables. Then, before you realise, the carpet is pulled from underneath you. It’s Week 6. You have two essays due, a group presentation and three in-class assessments and you’re left scratching your head wondering how did this happen.

Mid-term can be a time where the ‘I don’t feel like it’ attitude creeps into college work and you find it increasingly difficult to stay motivated. As a result, procrastinating can lead you to feel overwhelmed by all the work you have to do. Trust me, I have been there and I own the t-shirt. To avoid this nightmare situation, here is my take on how to WIN mid-term:
First thing first, you need to get organised and stay organised throughout the semester. Time management is key here people. It’s extremely important and helpful because you avoid all that unnecessary chaos and stress. I know this isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Being organised doesn’t come naturally to everyone but the benefits of planning out your semester and deadlines in advance outweigh the effort it takes. Being proactive and using my time wisely helps me to focus on what I need to get done and allows me to keep my academic life and social balanced.
As you already know, UL is filled with amazing resources to help students when it comes to crunch time. The library is normally my go-to spot. Group study rooms are life savers when it comes to prepping for group assignments and presentations. You are within 30 seconds (ok I might be exaggerating a little) walking distance from access to books, computers, printers and coffee at all times! Priorities! Also when it comes to written assignments, the Regional Writing Centre will become your best friend with helping you how to approach those daunting assignments. Be aware of tutoring sessions that are normally organised within your faculty. I guess, what I’m trying to drill into you is that you’re not in this on your own. UL offers a lot of support to its students, you just have to look for it.

The last piece of advice I have for you to help avoid the mid-semester burnout is to keep a clear perspective and go easy on yourself. What I mean by this is that, no one is perfect and it is not always possible to stay on top of everything. Even when you feel like you have done everything to be prepared for tests and assignments, the work load is still getting the better of you and you can’t figure out a way to tackle it – don’t beat yourself up! Feeling stressed and anxious by college work is not fun and it is something that every student deals with at some stage. If these negative feelings persist, it is worth your while visiting the UL Counselling Service. Taking care of yourself and having good mental health is essential to getting through the pressures of college life. All you can do is your best and if you make mistakes, don’t worry. It just means that you are trying.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Good advice about your first assignment

Lucy offers good assignment tips
Your first assignment can be a terrifying prospect. Words such as referencing and plagiarism are discussed and the deadline approaches quickly. If I had to advise you on how to approach this assignment, I would first say that you must make the best use of your time (i.e. don’t leave it to the night before it’s due!). Consider the questions offered to you in advance and go to the library and gather books on the subject. Before you begin, do your required readings and familiarise yourself with your referencing guide and the relevant databases/ journals for your subject. If you are unsure about referencing or databases, make an appointment with your faculty librarian and they may provide you with simple, but comprehensive guidance. Gather a bank of journal articles, which are relevant and read them with a highlighter and/or pen ready to mark relevant sentences. Keep your assignment question beside you while you read, to ensure that you are gathering relevant information from your research.
With your reading completed, map out on a page the argument of your essay and make notes of where each book or journal article may fit into the piece. Write the first draft of your assignment and keep your referencing guide, beside you so that you may reference as you write. (Alternatively, you may use referencing software such as Endnote to reference your assignment.) Finally, re-read and re-draft your assignment until it is perfect for submission.

Lucy works as a Peer Advisor in the library and is happy to answer your questions about anything to do with preparing assignments. 

Free software from the UL Library

The University library lends certain specialist software to students and staff. Check the table below if you need to borrow SPSS, NVIVO or Office for your computer. A licencing agreement may need to be signed when borrowing the software from the library's information desk. Queries about these products should be directed to the library online.

Software available from UL LibraryWho may borrow
SPSS V 21 & v 22 (Mac OS & Win)Everyone
EndNote V 17 (Mac OS & Win)Everyone
Nvivo V 10 & 11  (Mac OS & Win) Everyone
Microsoft Office 2010 for WindowsUL Staff & PG Researchers
Microsoft Office 2011 for MAC OS UL Staff & PG Researchers
Windows 7  UL Staff & PG Researchers

When you come in to borrow software you need to know if you need the 64-bit or 32-bit; check your computer in advance please. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/find-out-32-or-64-bit