What Defines Success?

I’m not sure how to even begin this post because I think I’m in denial that this is my last blog post on the trip (there will be another one coming after the trip is over and that one may be even more emotional than this one). My study abroad experience has allowed me to step outside my comfort zone in ways I did not even know were possible and I look forward to my last few days here in Dublin.

The city of Dublin is an extraordinary place; you can make it feel as small or as big as you’d like. With beach towns thirty minutes north and south of the city center and mountainous areas only an hour out, it’s truly a unique place that can satisfy anyone’s interests. No amount of time would ever be too long to spend in this amazing country — maybe one day I will come back and not have to leave so quickly.


In Ireland, I believe “success” in a professional sense equates to satisfaction with one’s life. Obviously, in corporate jobs and intense work environments success may mean wealth, rank, status, etc. Overall, though, people just tend to be happy here. People work, meet with friends, and go about their day-to-day routines and from what I’ve seen, they do it all with a feeling of contentment. Day after day, I find myself becoming less anxious and more happy to be living in such a vibrant city.

Don’t get me wrong; the work is stressful and the days are long. I work 9:00 am – 5:30 pm Monday – Friday and by no means do I think this is ideal. However, I have yet to meet one person who is absolutely miserable working a corporate job here. Maybe that has to do with the hour-long lunch breaks or the personal connections you can make with co-workers, or maybe I’m just a bit naive and keep romanticizing life in this city. Regardless, it’s fascinating and I wish I had additional time to really delve into the culture a bit more.

If you want to be successful when working in communications, you have to be an eager worker that is okay with constant change and quick demands. Clients may email you at 8:30 am asking for a report to be done by 11 am that day and expect it to be near perfect. As intimidating as this sounds, the company for which I work has been able to get work done efficiently and effectively. Fortunately, I have been able to step in and learn from them. To have had the opportunity to work with and learn from really intelligent and kind people is something I will never take for granted.

This past weekend, my sister came to visit. I feel very lucky that a few of my family members have been able to see me while abroad. More than this, though, I feel luckier to be able to show them just how amazing this place is. Lindsey and I woke up early and stayed out late for the duration of her time here, but it was extremely worth it given it was my last full weekend in Dublin. I showed her my favorite parts of the city, we strolled through the National Gallery of Ireland, walked along some rocky beaches, tried new foods, and everything in between. Since my sister is about four years older than me and resides in New York City, I don’t see her as often as I’d like to. So, when she told me she wanted to visit for a weekend, I knew it would be a special time. I felt like a local showing her around, even though we did get lost a few times and she had to help me out with directions once or twice.

Back at home in the United States, to most people, success is how much money one makes, the kind of car one drives, and the overall lifestyle one lives. I haven’t really thought that deeply about the definition of success until writing this particular blog post, but I think success is different for everyone — whether that be because of the country one lives in or just because of their own beliefs. A person’s definition of success can be personal to just them and very different from others. Personally, I believe success equates to happiness. As long as I feel happy and fulfilled with my life, success will come with everything else.

While it may be stereotypical for me to say this, I think most Irish people think similarly to me. Money is important, yes, but what about day-to-day satisfaction? Will an enormous amount of money help intrinsic happiness? Honestly, maybe. But hopefully that’s something I don’t have to worry about if I’m successful on my own terms.