Go Raibh Maith Agat Éire (Thank you Ireland)


It is crazy how fast eight weeks goes by. Three months ago I was sitting in my apartment in Pittsburgh getting ready and now I am back in Pittsburgh after an amazing time. I am beyond lucky that I got to experience this trip and all it had to offer. As some of the others have mentioned, my friend group had a tradition of “Rose, Bud, and Thorn” at dinner. Usually once a week at dinner we would share our roses (something good that happened recently), our thorns (something negative that happened recently) and our bud (something we were looking forward too). Often they were similar as we spent most of our time outside of work together but everyone’s explanation as to why it was their rose or thorn was different. I am incredibly grateful for the people I met on this trip and some of whom have become good friends. Our last night in Dublin was spent in a pub (of course) as we enjoyed one last pint and some more traditional Irish food. We went around and shared our rose, bud and thorn of the entire summer and these were mine. Rose: meeting all of them and the adventures we went on. Thorn: getting sick the last days we were there. Bud: looking forward to returning to Dublin hopefully soon. While I was there I kept a notebook where I glued receipts and tickets and coasters and any scrap of paper that signaled somewhere we went or some activity we did. Now as I look back the receipt for Beef and Guinness Stew at the Brazen Head reminds me of sitting at the table with everyone after a long day at work. It also serves as a list of where to go back if I return to Dublin.

Over those eight weeks I definitely grew. Professionally, I experienced the 9-5 life
(and surprisingly it wasn’t as terrible as I thought) and learned skills that will help me in my future career. I solidified my desire to work in a museum and researched and wrote my own exhibition which is what I want to do with the rest of my life. I connected with various people and learned from my supervisor what running a historical library looked like. Personally, my love for travel only grew. If I could spend the rest of my life travelling I would do it in a heartbeat. I loved researching everything I could about a new place and talking with locals to find the secret parts. A woman on the train to Cork told me about a burger place which happened to be near my hostel and I think it was one of, if not the, best burgers I’ve ever eaten. I grew confidence because of how quickly I was able to understand and use the bus system as well as navigate around a new city in just a few weeks. While I had to do something similar when I moved to Pittsburgh, I didn’t stray too far from campus my first year. But in Dublin I went all over because I wanted to see and do everything I could. I also met some amazing people from all different places who also helped shape my experience and make it so fun. I also concluded that I want to live and work abroad in the future. Academically, I was able to determine that the next step for me is grad school. Through talking with my supervisor and some of the researchers at the library I concluded that in order to be the most successful I need a post-grad degree. While I had already been considering grad school, this program helped me to make the decision.

As I returned to the U.S., I not only brought mono and souvenirs with me, but also experiences and skills that will aid my time left at Pitt and my future career. I learned how to condense large amounts of research into a format that is more easily understood by the average person. I improved my research skills as well as my writing skills and I learned to be more comfortable in uncomfortable situations. I have the skills to adapt and succeed in a new environment. I have a habit of sticking to my comfort zone with people I know so going on this trip knowing no one really tested me. Learning to live outside your comfort zone is a very important skill and something that can be more difficult to work on when your comfort zone is easily available. I also mapped out what my last year at Pitt looks like and what the next few years will hopefully hold. I can’t believe the eight weeks went by this fast and I can’t wait until I have the chance to return to Dublin again.