Big changes bring even more ambitious goals; as I lay out my aspirations for the next few months, I hope to do this tenet justice. Academically, I’m aiming to refresh my zeal for learning over the semester at TCD. This past fall, I’d finally settled in at Pitt, feeling adjusted to recurring professors, classrooms, and course structures. But honestly, I was starting to feel the bane of any student creep in – the looming inklings of academic burnout. Don’t get me wrong, my coursework has been beyond stimulating; however, too much routine tends to bog you down. As far as I see it, there’s nothing like a good shakeup to snap you out of an academic rut! Trinity presents a different style of learning, one that I’ll have to work to adjust to. Honestly, I couldn’t be more excited for this challenge! It’s hard to grow when you’re rooted in complacency; hence, I’m geared up to take on the curveballs that accompany studying in another country.
When I think of my future career, I find myself connecting to a myriad of positions, like nonprofit management, international law, comparative politics, and the like. Wherever my work leads me, I’ll be interacting with folks from cultures different than my own with a hefty dose of policy mixed in. This term, I want to be able to learn the ins and outs not just of Irish politics, but also its culture and institutions. Having a comprehensive understanding of new places, people, and conventions will absolutely be a component of my professional future. Accordingly, I’m viewing my time in Ireland as a time to start developing this skill set in an academic and social environment (without the pressures of a job on the line to boot) that will later translate to a professional setting.
As for my more personal goals, the biggest is developing the necessary self-confidence and empowerment that it takes to make connections when starting from scratch. I’ve never been shied away from social outings, but I’m realizing a large part of that assurance relied upon riffing off of my friends. Where does that land me when on my own? Honestly, my first week has felt a bit like freshman year. There’s no formula to navigate the stranger to friend pipeline but, pardon the cliché, odds are you’ll end up in the right place if you just be yourself. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t a few fun tricks to kickstart the process. My favorite is actually borrowed from my cousin (heya, Hannah!). Music is a truly universal language, so why not see what the rest of the world is listening to? Whenever I meet someone new, I ask them to add a song to a Spotify playlist; as of now, I’ve gotten a bit of everything, from Glee covers to Jay-Z with some Irish folk mixed in. I’m optimistic, but how these goals will pan out is anyone’s guess. What I can guarantee, however, are some great stories from along the way.