Navigating the Workplace

I have now completed the first two weeks of my internship! This week was very exciting at work–I was able to attend a variety of court sessions in several different areas of the law, including an adoption hearing, several sentencing hearings, and a murder trial. It was so interesting to watch court proceedings in another country and compare that to how American courts function. In addition to note-taking for court, I also called clients, watched surveillance footage for different cases, and conducted preparations ahead of hearings. I still had my fair share of scanning and filing to complete, but this week presented new opportunities to feel more directly involved in the law firm. I’ve also gotten to know my coworkers better, which has been so great. The other interns and I have been using our hour-long lunch break to try local restaurants and go to different parks, including Phoenix Park, which is located very close to our office. Overall my experiences at my internship has only improved over time.

Despite my general experience being positive, there are some challenges I’ve faced as well. One of the challenges that I’ve experienced, which is true of most internships, has been navigating ambiguity in the workplace. The people I work with are extremely busy–the office phones are constantly ringing and at any time half of the solicitors are in court–so they often give the interns brief instructions and continue their own work. When navigating a new workplace, this can be overwhelming, as it can be difficult to know exactly what to do. Throughout this internship, I’ve challenged myself to ask questions when I need to, even when it can be intimidating. I’m also fortunate to have my fellow interns with me to work through different challenges or help each other out as we’re able. Through a healthy combination of asking for help when needed and attempting to figure things out by trying, I’ve managed to complete all assigned tasks and understand the procedures of the office. Over time, I’ve felt more confident about the assignments I’ve been given, and I understand what is being asked of me early on. Attending court has also aided in this growth—now that I’m familiar with court procedure, I understand more of the paperwork that comes in preparation for court. While I still have questions throughout the day, I generally feel better equipped to work on the projects I’m assigned.

The other way ambiguity can manifest in an office setting is in what tasks you should be completing at any time. Sometimes the work can be overwhelming and I’m not sure what task to complete first, and other times (though much more rarely in this office) it seems there is not enough to do. This challenge can also be solved through communication, through conversations with our supervisor or discussions among our group of interns to divide the work to efficiently complete everything on time. Over time this dynamic has occurred more smoothly, as we’ve learned to work with each of the interns and other coworkers in the office. 

Outside of work, I’ve continued my pre-work routine of reading at a local cafe and my post-work routine of walking into town and exploring/window-shopping/going to Murphy’s Ice Cream Shop. I also love listening to buskers perform live music on Grafton Street daily! So many talented people perform music there, creating such an amazing ambience. Afterwards, my friends and I debrief our days and talk about any new experiences we’ve had throughout the work day. It’s always interesting to hear the similarities in our experiences, despite working in different fields. Over this past weekend, I had a fun shopping day in town with friends and took a day trip to Cork. In Cork, I was able to see the Blarney Castle and Gardens (and kiss the Blarney Stone), explore the town, and try some amazing restaurants. 

It’s hard to believe that we’ve already almost reached the mid-point of this program. At risk of sounding intolerably cliché, my time in Dublin has been going by so fast! Yet, there is still so much time to continue exploring the city and learning more about Ireland’s culture, history, and offerings. My goal here is to make the most of my experience in every way—professionally, academically, and personally. I’m happy to report that I do feel I’ve been achieving this throughout these past few weeks, and I’m going to continue to challenge myself to grow throughout the remainder of this program as well.