Jack Trehy – In conversation with Arisha Atif
College has always been a place where people come to find themselves. A place where they can shake off the old, find out who they really are, and truly begin to express themselves. College is an adventure, one student who really exemplifies this is Arisha Atif, a young Pakistani woman studying Politics and International Relations at the University of Limerick. I recently sat down and talked with Arisha, I wanted to find out exactly what makes UL special as a place to find and express yourself.
UL is quite famous for its campus, 340 acres in area. Built on the site of an old estate originally belonging to an East India company military captain. UL is a campus which is surrounded by nature and the natural environment. The great River Shannon splits the campus in two. When I asked Arisha about what appealed to her most about UL, it is telling that her first thought was “I was really appealed to by the campus … The green, the greenery”
A campus is nothing, however, without students. UL hosts over 70 student clubs and societies, with everything from History to Handball, Anime to American Football. These clubs and societies give students the ability to discover their interests, likes, dislikes, and to meet new people. It can also be an outlet for their creativity, for example in Arisha’s favourite: The Photography Society
“My favourite one for now is the Photography society, but I do plan to join more clubs in the future”
Arisha told me that what really attracted her to the politics program at UL was one thing – our co-op work experience programme. This gives students the chance to work in their chosen field during their studies, or as Arisha describes it “It’s also an adventure in itself, it’s an opportunity for me to grow and work on my skills”. Arisha’s chosen field is Politics, but she expressed an interest towards journalism. UL’s journalism department is active in allowing expression from its students. An Focal is a student-run newspaper which gives every interested student the chance to get their writings published.
Of course, when you come to the University of Limerick, you are also joining the community of Limerick City. Limerick can be described as a city of colleges, not just UL, but also Mary Immaculate College, TUS, Griffith College and others call Limerick home. This has created the environment of a city accessible to students and young people. This doesn’t mean however that the city feels too loud and big, Arisha told me that she loves that Limerick is not a major city.
“Everyone really knows each other because of how small the city is… it has a really homely feeling to it, it’s not too busy!”
One of the most important experiences of University is the ability to discover, and express yourself, Arisha made it clear to me that UL provides this. From access to sports and societies, to the physical environment to explore and enjoy life. UL allows its students to not just study, but to live while studying.