With another week down the bus ride to the Stacks Pharmacy Support Office in Finglas is feeling less like a fun excursion into Dublin and more like a commute. That’s how things are starting to go as the internship progresses, the once constant training is turning into me doing work by myself. This provides both exciting developments in the depth and complexity of the tasks I am working on but also creates the problem of ambiguity and confusion that is inherent in any project. One feature of this international internship that differentiates it from a similar experience back in the states is the uncertainty around norms that would be clear back home.
For example, this week my supervisor tasked me with writing a memo to the entire company about a new HRS-enabled wristband for employees to wear that would allow customers to download the Stacks Pharmacy App just by touching it to the wristband. In doing so I would outline the change to uniforms and try to create a description of the new program that would limit confusion and follow-up questions. When communicating with a large group of people however this is not an easy task. You must describe the concept in enough detail to where they aren’t confused but not too much as to come off condescending, especially when it is being written by a 20-year-old intern for a company of pharmacists. This tightrope walk would even have been a challenge back home where I am at least confident in my knowledge of the local customs surrounding professional language. Being in a country where the linguistic expectations are different, and it seems to my coworkers that even my emails to them seem distinctly American.
As I wrote my first draft I made sure to let my boss know that this was my first time writing a user manual and I had a sigh of relief as he reassured me that we would be going over the memo together until we both felt comfortable with it. His kindness helps me relax and realize that of course there was going to be a safety net underneath me. Knowing when to ask questions and when to try things out on your own has been a big part of the learning experiences that I’ve experienced during my internships. Understanding that my coworkers are busy and that nagging them with questions before I’ve even attempted to figure out the problem on my own can be a waste of time for both of us. On the flipside of the situation they still want me to be efficient with my time and aid them in getting work done, a part of this is knowing when to ask for help,
As the stress of work begins to set in the value of the weekends is magnified especially as the international weekend plans begin to get made and we all realize how few Irish weekends we have left. One thing that I got to do this weekend that I have been looking forward for a long time was to meet my family that lives in Ireland. They may be my third cousins but when I came over to their house for dinner, they made me feel right at home. I got to meet my second cousin once removed Catherine, her husband Gerry and my third cousins Conall, Adam, and Tomas. Even though it was just a Great-Great Grandfather that I had in common with them they would still point out the little idiosyncrasies I would do that reminded them of her other relatives.
After a homecooked meal from Catherine, her and her husband took me up to The Blue Light, a bar up on the Dublin Mountains that overlooks the city. After a few pints of Guinness and hours of asking about each other’s families we got to see the city light up beneath us as the sun set.
It’s tough being thousands of miles from home, but its nice to know that even over here I can have a nice home cooked meal with good company to raise the spirits after a long week of work. I appreciate that this kind of experience isn’t something that everyone gets to have, and it makes this trip even more special that it already has been.