I’m writing this letter on a bus back to Limerick.
I’ve taken this journey countless times, travelling through three counties, staring out the window at the passing countryside before getting off at the Stables.
Passing under the archway into the courtyard will become so familiar to you during these four years in the University of Limerick.
I’ve roamed every single housing estate surrounding UL over the years, attending house parties, visiting friends.
You’ll find that by the time you graduate you’ll know the area of Castletroy like the back of your hand.
I hope that you’ll have attended International Night on Friday at least once and danced to the iconic playlist of DJ Ber!
Take the time to get lost in the ground of the University.
During my time in UL, I’ve found that any time I felt a bit overwhelmed I’ve been soothed by a walk down by the pontoon or the many ruins that stand on the grounds.
I hope you’ll find peace there too.
Some graduates I’ve spoken to do not miss the structured days of university, prefer to be out in the working world, their days of education now behind them.
I do understand that, there were many times when I was swamped under a mountain of assignments, daydreaming about the end of university.
Glaring out the window of the Glucksman Library at the students below, wishing to be out among my fellow students in the open air.
Four years has flown by in the blink of an eye, I am now in my twenties.
To you, the young eighteen and nineteen year olds exploring Limerick for the first time, please don’t wish your teenage years away.
I’d give a lot to be sitting in a lecture learning as an undergraduate, instead of feeling so uncertain.
I have to say, I feel the transition a lot stronger than I expected.
No one is prepared for change, no matter how many times you’ve talked yourself through what’s going to happen.
I’ve stepped foot on the campus since my graduation and I already feel very out of the loop.
I kind of expected that too.
Things have always moved very fast at the University of Limerick.
There is always something exciting taking place on campus, so try and keep an out for that.
When you’re in university, you’re in a little bubble so to speak.
In UL, I went to my lectures, attended the Filmmaking Society, went out and wrote articles for An Focal, the very newspaper you’re reading right now.
Maybe you’ll end up being deputy editor for the paper, just like I was, way back in 2016.
I really do encourage you to get in involved with as many projects as you can while you’re a student.
So many of the friends I have now are the result of shoving myself out of my comfort zone.
Thank god for that.
Looking back on it all now, I urge you to be open minded.
Maybe you’ll fall in love while attending the University of Limerick.
Cheesy ain’t it?
But it happened to me, TWICE.
I used to see couples coming back to the University to take wedding photographs.
But don’t worry if you don’t either.
It’s not the be all and end all.
Go to Costellos, or the Icon if that’s your sort of thing.
If you like fast-paced places, maybe Habitat is your destination.
There really is something for everyone out there.
Limerick has such a vibrant arts and culture scene, it’s one of the main reasons why I have chosen to spend at least the following year in this city.
There are so many art galleries.
Dolans are always host to amazing gigs, why not go see a band you’ve never heard of before?
Pharmacia is a venue that hosts music nights catering to those with an eclectic music taste.
You never know what exactly to expect when you go there, that’s the beauty of nights out in Limerick.
At the start of this year, I felt a little bit of anxiety beginning to overshadow things, I always thought 2018 was so far away but it had somehow crept up on me.
We’ve all seen the films of students throwing up their graduation caps in the air.
Big smiles, nothing but talks of celebration.
My graduation was a happy occasion.
It was so lovely to see everyone on campus again, before we are scattered all over the country.
Some of my former classmates are living on the other side of the world now, can you believe that?
I don’t even know what I’ll be doing next month, never mind next year.
That’s what is exciting about life after graduation.
It is sort of thrilling not having an exact plan for the future.
That’s what’s ahead of all of you.
But first, you’ve to attend your lectures, tutorial and labs.
I know some graduates that never set foot in the library, you’ll be amazed at what your fellow students will get up to during their years of college.
I do know for a fact that you don’t need to attend all your lectures to get good grades.
Have fun, for god’s sake.
I certainly did.
I have many memories of dragging my hungover self into lectures for nine o’clock lectures.
It’s all a rite of passage lads.
The University of Limerick will become home.
You may not believe it now.
I know some of you must be terrified of what the next four years has to bring.
Hang in there.
I was so scared when I first walked on to the campus.
I remember hiding in my college bedroom, too shy to talk to my housemates.
Writing this letter now, some of these housemates have now been my good friends for four years, almost half a decade.
Your time in UL is genuinely what you make of it.
It’s up to you to decide what way you’d like to spend the next few years.
No two journeys through college are the same and that’s great.
If you ever do need someone to ask about UL, don’t hesitate to ask.
Contact me @eilis_walsh, or check out my blog www.nocatgotmytongue.blogspot.ie or email me firstname.lastname@example.org, I’m always up for a chat.
BEST OF LUCK,