With the last of the summer having melted away, like a forgotten Calippo in the boot of a hot Volkswagen, we are now forced to confront the inescapable fact that we will soon be knee-deep in another academic year. While a whole slew of students will be returning to university, their heads held high with the pomp and assuredness of those who can list, in intricate detail, each of the daily breakfast deals available in their university canteen, the impending year can be an intimidating prospect for any first-year
Each of Limerick's third level institutions will undoubtedly have their own programmes and introductory courses to help new students familiarise themselves with their college and the city. However, I feel confident in stating that this article, this article right here, will be all you need to help survive the coming year.
Get Yourself Acclimatised:
Much like Edmund Hillary, or some other great explorer, it will take you time to adjust to your surroundings before you're able to truly get to grips with them. Thankfully, unlike Edmund Hillary, this will simply involve you becoming cursorily familiar with the Limerick Metropolitan Area, rather than adjusting to the frigid, oxygen-starved slopes of Mount Everest. It can be daunting knowing where to begin when you head somewhere new, however, two of the best places for food and drinks that you need to be aware of are The Stormy Teacup and the Milk Market. The first is a brilliant café, the second a weekly food market held on Fridays between 10am-4pm. So, be sure you commit their names to memory and you will reap the rewards - of coffee and weekly access to artisanal food products respectively.
Managing Your Meals:
With most students subsisting off a diet that would make a scurvy-addled 17th century sailor appear to have the culinary variety and dynamism of Gwyneth Paltrow, it's imperative to maximise your access to nutrients where possible. No better opportunity will present itself for this than by orchestrating an impromptu visit home. You can capitalise on the sense of familial warmth engendered by your seemingly selfless action to gain access to sweet, sweet nutrients. Little will your parents suspect that, rather than it being their company and the prospect of hearing incredibly detailed stories about the comings and goings of neighbours, which you crave, it is actually the gently roasting ham and pots of simmering vegetables in the kitchen.
Fun Library Etiquette:
In most libraries, if you were to work your way through the lion's share of a pint of Stella, jump up onto a table and loudly sing the lyrics to Shaggy's 'It Wasn't Me', before screaming about how much of a good time you're having, you would in all likelihood receive a stern talking to from a librarian. In Limerick's Library Bar however this behaviour will, at the very least, be tolerated - even by any adjacent librarians. The Library Bar is one of Limerick's best student spots, though there are many to choose from. Make sure you capitalise on the amount of time you get to spend there, before you are inundated with essays and deadlines and have to trade The Library Bar for the actual library...
Less Fun Library Etiquette:
It is a little known fact that a university's libraries aren't just populated by incredibly hungover students who've slithered into their dark and quiet sanctuary to recuperate - while wearing big hoodies and watching videos on their phone - some students also use the facilities to study. 'Studying' is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "the devotion of time and attention to gaining knowledge of (an academic subject), especially by means of books." Consequently, those engaging in it benefit from being in an environment free of sensory distractions, hence, libraries. Given this there are a few handy pointers that everyone who has to darken the library's doorstep during their time in college should adhere to.
Dining Al Desko:
Humans need to eat, it's inescapable. Whether it's potatoes, samosas, or an entire tray of nearly expired luncheon meats from a deli, we'll all eventually need to wrap our lips around some manner of food to stop us keeling over. However, if you even dare to try consume anything that is either loud, smelly or excessively packaged in a library setting then you can, at best, expect to receive withering looks, and, at worst, find yourself cornered by an irritated mob of academics in a medieval history aisle. Crisps? Forget 'em, too loud. Tuna sandwiches? There aren't enough plug-in air-fresheners in the world to destench those mothers. An entire net of Babybels? What are you an animal!? If you must eat in the library, the only truly inoffensive food you can bring is some white bread that you've pre-soaked in lukewarm tap-water to help soften your chew.
The library will also unfortunately play host to some of the more frustrating moments of your college life. Attempting to complete a 1,000 word assignment on Neo-classical Architecture, with, at best, a non-existent knowledge of what the hell constitutes Neo-classical Architecture, is an entierly unenviable task. As such, it's often a place where you'll need to destress and distract yourself from the haunting difficulty of your college degree. So, instead of just simply staring off into space, why not take a break and watch some Sky Sports Mobile with the Vodafone X Sport deal for students.
While Limerick itself provides a whole host of options for nightlife, some of the greatest social events during the college year will be your class or society trips away. Whether you decide to take the plunge and go on the annual skiing trip, that sees a host of Irish colleges descend on one poor unsuspecting Alpine ski resort like a swarm of continental lager drinking locusts, or choose to stick with a couple of societies and head on their trips away, they will invariably prove to be some of the greatest highlights of your college year. As the old saying goes, 'the college friends you make in Berghain, during a Knit-Soc Berlin trip that's really gotten out of hand, are friends for life.'