From Strangers To Friends

I can’t believe I just finished my last week in Dublin. Landing in Dublin, struggling to find a taxi, and rushing to make the campus tour feels like yesterday but somehow also a million years ago. I think it’ll take me some time to really comprehend how much I grew both personally and professionally during this experience. It went by so fast but I did so much, and every little thing was an opportunity to learn from. For my last week I really wanted to just enjoy Dublin, make the most of the time I had left and spend it with the friends I’ve made. On Tuesday we decided to go out to one last nice dinner where we all got dressed up and reminisced on all the adventures we had. After spending so much time together and becoming so close, it’s hard to believe they were all strangers to me only eight weeks ago. After our meal we went around and said our rose, bud, and thorns. Rose, bud and thorn represent the highlight of your day/week, something you’re looking forward to, and a rough point in your day/week, respectively. Staying these three things became a sort of tradition for us during our eight weeks. It allowed us to be appreciative of the things we might’ve forgotten about that meant a lot to someone else, or help one another look at our thorns from a different perspective. It’s a dinner conversation I know I’ll take with me. Wednesday was the farewell reception hosted by our internship program EUSA. It was great to see so many people from the program and how far we’ve all come since the first week orientation. Then after some pizza and drinks we got a lesson in Irish dancing! Although I did Irish dance when I was in kindergarten, I knew I was out of my league after the first two rounds, but I still had fun on sidelines! Later we watched one of the professionals dance to traditional music played by the band— she was incredible!

My favorite memory from my last few days was spending time with the two other Irish interns from my office, Sibeal and Siobhan. We really hadn’t talked much until the last week since we were the only people on the third floor then. We soon realized we had a lot in common—including the fact that all of our birthdays are within a few days of each other’s—and became fast friends! So after work on Thursday they showed me around Dublin and we went to some of their favorite pubs! It was so cool to compare experiences with and learn from Irish girls my age. They put me on to Irish bands like Inhaler—who have now taken over my playlists— and I taught them what Wawa hoagies and Philly cheesesteaks are! Sadly we said our goodbyes that night since they didn’t work on Fridays. My one regret is I wish I would’ve reached out to them sooner but I’m so grateful I met them and can’t wait for the day I get to see them again!

It was weird coming into work on Friday to an empty office space on my floor, it made the fact that I was leaving the next day feel a lot more real. Luckily my supervisor called me down mid morning and I got the chance to talk with her and another coworker over donuts they’d gotten me for my last day! It was so sweet (no pun intended) and made me feel like the work I did and my presence in the office was appreciated. In my experience, success was defined by more than just the work I produced. Yes, the quality and efficiency of the work I was doing was very important to my overall success, BUT my attitude and the personal connections I made felt just as important. Honestly, the work I was doing was not very exciting or taxing, but even though it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting I made sure to show up everyday with an open mind and willing attitude. Personally success for me was committing to the schedule, dressing in business casual every day, commuting 45 minutes each way on the bus, interacting and learning from coworkers, and being confident in the work I was putting out. All of these experiences have helped me grow personally and professionally, and I’m proud of myself for the way I handled this new kind of personal responsibility and independence.