Living the 9 to 5 Life

Week two has marked the start of my professional career. I began my internship this week at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). When I first saw the office I was amazed because it is in such a great location, right in the heart of the city. The building also borders St. Stephens Green, an enormous park. Although the weather hasn’t been great, hopefully I can spend a lunch break in this beautiful spot. I am amazed by the welcome I received when beginning work on Monday, all my co-workers are kind and friendly. One of my favourite parts of the job is talking with my office mates and hearing about their lives. At RCSI they call the breakroom the ‘canteen’ and we will often take the lift down the three floors from the finance department to grab a cup of coffee. The only downside of this job so far has been a lack of workload. There are three American interns in the office and none of us are able to access the company software yet. I am beginning to understand that adapting to this role will take time and I won’t be given important projects initially.

This week has brought an understanding of the work-life balance and time management. I have never experienced the 9 to 5 schedule before and I’m still getting used to it. I feel like a real adult but I’m more comfortable in this role than I thought. Should I drop out of college? Just kidding, I am missing the college lifestyle as well. I miss having time for my hobbies. Oddly enough, I miss having alone time. This is something that I never imagined for myself because I consider myself relatively extroverted. I’ve realized that I enjoy time by myself and I have to start setting time aside to relax and be alone with my thoughts. I understand that it will take a few more weeks to fully adapt to this schedule, but I’m getting there little by little.

Work is great but I don’t want to forget that I am abroad. I don’t want to lose that exploratory and adventurous drive that I had when I first landed. I am having trouble getting started in planning weekend trips but many of the people around me are very on top of it. I feel a bit conflicted about jetting off to other countries on the weekend because there is still so much I haven’t seen in Ireland. I keep thinking back to when I moved into college and lived in the city of Pittsburgh for the first time. I think about how long it took for me to really understand and appreciate the city: its neighbourhoods, how to get around, etc. I’m honestly unsure if eight weeks will be enough time to feel this true understanding in Dublin, but I’m going to try my best.

It feels like a great accomplishment to finally blend in with the normal crowd here. I no longer feel like a lost American tourist, walking in circles trying to find the Guinness factory. All I ever wanted was to be accepted here and in reality I am feeling more than accepted. There are drawbacks to living here but right now it seems overwhelmingly positive. I wish I didn’t find a spider in my shower last night, but I can get over that. I wish I didn’t have to wash all my dishes, but that only takes a few minutes. Living abroad is all about attitude. I hear a lot of complaining from myself and others, but we are still in the adjusting phase. One part of my work life that I was honestly dreading was my long commute, but it really isn’t too bad. The Dublin Bus system is well run and I have a great experience so far. Compared to the public transportation system in Pittsburgh, I was pleasantly surprised to see how clean and spacious the bus was. My commute is a scenic ride through the city centre and although the traffic is pretty horrendous, it is pretty enjoyable.

I learned a lot in week two. Exposure to a professional environment has given me a lot to think about the in the future regarding my career and maintaining a work-life balance. I hope I can utilize my time in the office and handle some higher level tasks in the future. For now, I’m content to sit at my desk and wait for the next trip to the canteen.

Looking out onto the Irish Sea