Appreciate. This word has been pertinent in my day-to-day routine over the past week, both in and out of the office. After recovering from my trip to the hospital, I had quite a few activities planned and looked forward to seeing what was in store for the days ahead. On Friday, I was invited to a launch event for one of my company’s clients. I arrived to work a bit earlier than usual to ensure I was ready for departure on time, as the launch site was about 45 minutes from the office. Two of my supervisors and I headed to the site at around 9:15 am.
As a part of the public relations team, our job was to cover all aspects of press: handle the videography, photography, and all logistical details for the event. As the intern at the event, my job was to interview important attendees and ask them about the launch. There were ten people I had to interview with the help of our videographer, including the Mayor of Fingal, the Director of Base Enterprise, and even the Tánaiste, which is the equivalent of the Prime Minister of Ireland. I had no idea I would be apart of something so important as this, but I was excited to get started.
I began by interviewing clients of the company, sitting them down and asking them what they do, how they are connected to Base Enterprise, etc. I listened to each of them explain themselves and it was actually quite interesting. Overall, I probably talked with fifteen or twenty different people, whether it was assigned through work or just to converse with new individuals. During this event, I felt a sense of belonging. I knew what I was doing, I was comfortable in my position, and I enjoyed learning about other people’s contributions to the event. The day was long, as I was exhausted by the time I returned home, but it was worth it. I went to sleep early that night because I knew my friends and I had exciting plans for the weekend — and I didn’t want to push myself to my breaking point again, as I had last weekend.
Before this day — or even this internship experience — I thought I had known most aspects of leadership. As an officer for Pitt Pathfinders, being a leader of a large group is something I am quite familiar with. However, as an intern, I am at the bottom again. I must show leadership qualities, but it’s most important to listen and learn. Moreover, working in an office where I am the youngest employee can be intimidating. Inevitably, everyone has more experience than I do, so I must prove that I am worthy of being there. The most important lesson I’ve learned is to stay confident in my abilities. I know my strengths and weaknesses so I can use that to work on my leadership capabilities, even in a role where I am not in charge.
The day after the launch event, Tegan, Lucy, and I hopped on a bus to Bray, Ireland. Bray is a beautiful part of the country, only about an hour outside of Dublin. We had read there was a short cliff walk in the town, so we gave it a go. Before we knew it, we were walking for approximately 45 minutes without any signs that led to us reaching the top. As we finally approached a tour group ahead of us, we asked them where they were headed and they responded with, “Greystone,” which is the next town over. Instead of walking to the top of the cliff, we were walking on the side of it.
Don’t get me wrong; it was a marvelous hike regardless of our confusion. At the time, we were okay with all of us being slightly directionally challenged. In fact, Tegan even said, “This is so study abroad of us,” a quote I will never forget. Also, despite walking in jean shorts and non-hikable sneakers, the rest of the trek wasn’t so bad. We veered off the trail to Greystone and hiked up rocks and narrow paths to our original intended destination. After about another hour and a half, we made it to the peak. And after all the discomfort and uncertainty, it was worth it. The views in Ireland will never cease to amaze me.
The following day, instead of going south of the city, we headed north to Howth. This beautiful town is one of Dublin’s only ‘beach towns,’ and is known to have the best seafood in Ireland. There was also a cliff walk there, but we made sure to triple check the directions of the path before embarking on our journey. This path was not nearly as long, but it still made for fantastic views and an even greater destination: shops, restaurants, and the pier. The mussels and seafood pasta I devoured made me rethink any other seafood I had ever tried before, so it’s safe to say the ratings were accurate: Howth does have the best seafood in Ireland — maybe even in the world (in my opinion).
There was a moment after our delicious lunch that made the weekend stand out among the rest. As we walked along the water, we climbed up steps to sit on the ledge of the pier and felt the wind hit our faces while we watched the Irish Sea ahead of us. I looked around and took in the little moments: the children chasing the seagulls, the tiny waves hitting the rocks below my feet, and the sailboats sound in the distance. Then, a musician began to sing and play his guitar behind us…
There we were — sitting on the edge of the pier with no cares in the world. It seemed as though the musician was serenading only us and that all was okay. This is yet another instance of wishing I could live in that moment forever; it was surreal.
When I interviewed the manager of Base Enterprise Centre, he stated something extremely meaningful: “Time is precious because you once you’ve spent it, you cannot get it back. It’s more important than any of us realize.”
Appreciate time. Appreciate people. And appreciate the small things because sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the small things in life and the big things in life. More likely than not, the small things are actually big things. Sitting on the pier was just twenty or thirty minutes of my life, but it meant so much more than that. I was at peace, I felt safe, I was happy. I’m beginning to appreciate the little moments more than ever before.