I really can’t believe it is already my last week here in Ireland – halfway through my last week, nonetheless. Looking back on the past eight weeks, it seemed like the first four crept slowly and the last four sped through like I’ve never experienced. It seems like just last week I was meeting my roommates and meeting with my supervisor for the first time and this past weekend that I was getting rained on in the Wicklow Mountains. This whole experience has been one that I couldn’t possibly forget, and I’m already having a lot of trouble putting my thoughts into words. As I’m working to make the absolute most out of my last few days here, I’ll definitely be taking time to reflect on everything I’ve done and how much I’ve grown.
When it comes to problem solving, using the context of the situation is a major key in finding the best solution. I think especially in an international situation, context can make a situation much easier or much harder, so it is that much important to pay attention to. When you’re in a familiar environment, you also tend to become comfortable with the big picture context, so when in new situations you really need to step back and analyze what’s going on around you.
I think the most used way I’ve used context in work and personal life while here in Ireland has been “reading the room” whenever I have a problem or need to find the best course of action. In work, that has proven to be very useful for me in keeping my coworkers from getting too overwhelmed with my questions. Like any business, my office has busy times and down times, and in both times I have a lot of questions. I use the context of the mood in the office to determine how and when I get my questions answered. When it is a busy time and I can tell my supervisor is stressed or overwhelmed with work and she’s the only one who can answer my questions, I’ll move on to a new task as a whole (unless she’s given me a strict deadline she needs something done by). When another employee could answer my question, I’ll go to them first, but a lot of what I do is usually my supervisor’s responsibility. I’ll then use the low times in the day to ask questions on those tasks that I put off, and I’ll use low times in the week to ask bigger picture questions about how the office runs and whatever I’m curious about.
All of what I do at work has been preassigned and I complete it throughout the day, while the employees assume I’ve done everything right. It is when they’re going through their normal work practices and find a discrepancy when I receive feedback or further instruction on how to do something. Feedback in this way has been a little difficult to help me improve moving forward, because my best method of learning is by doing. Here, I am not able to make corrections as I go, rather just hear about mistakes days later, when I usually forget the specifics of what I have done. This is probably the type of feedback I’ll most be receiving in my career, so I need to learn how to listen to it and learn from it. It’s a great opportunity now to get exposure to something different like this now, when my career isn’t on the line quite yet!
The Fun Stuff
This past week, I’ve fit a lot in to make the best of my final weeks here in Ireland. One day after work last week, I took a trip to Dun Laoghaire, a nearby coastal town, with my friend Jack. We walked along the port and got dinner before heading back to our apartments. It was a great chance to see another town and reflect on our experiences so far in such a relaxed setting!
This past weekend, I took a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland with my friend Holly. On our first day there, we took a guided tour of the Scottish Highlands, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. It was such a relaxing and eye-opening experience, and it was great to have a everything planned out for us where we didn’t have to stress about what to do. A big part of the day was a short boat cruise on Loch Ness, but we didn’t see the monster, unfortunately. The next day, we explored downtown Edinburgh, where my favorite thing was the Edinburgh Castle. Situated on top of a hill in the middle of the city is a huge fortress that has been through a lot – bouncing back and forth between Scottish and English ownership, only to be destroyed by Scots and restored again by English. Just a lot of back and forth with ownership that is hard to keep up with. The weekend in Scotland was very relaxing and it was a great trip to end with!
I also got to fit in a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway. It was really cool to finally see, especially when I didn’t think I would be able to make it there. Photos really don’t do it justice. Hot take though: I will say that after seeing other cliffs around Ireland, it wasn’t as breathtaking as people make it out to be. My life must be pretty great to not be uber impressed by THE Cliffs of Moher.
With just a few days left, they seem to be going by even faster. I’m eager to be done with work and back home with nothing to do, but I’d do anything to be able to stay in Ireland for longer. All good things must come to an end and I’ll have to keep creating adventure for myself back home in beautiful Greensburg, Pennsylvania!