No matter how hard I fought the feeling, I couldn’t help it. It was a losing battle against the notion that once I embarked on what will be a once in a lifetime experience, I would find myself, instantly metamorphosing into who I’m meant to become. Don’t worry, I’m cringing just as much as you are. Newsflash: that’s not how life works! Unrealistic, grandiose expectations pigeonholed me into what I thought my time abroad should look like rather than what it does look like. Moving forward, I’m letting go of personal expectations and reorienting myself towards appreciating the Irish spring for all that it is. It’ll take some practice to embrace anything the day throws at me, but I’ve always been one to learn on the fly.
Academically, I knew I was in for a challenge, but I may have overestimated my time management skills. At Pitt, each class usually has assignments on a weekly basis. Trinity is completely different – modules have at most 3 assessments, typically a midterm essay, a final essay, and a written final exam. At the beginning of the semester, I expected myself to get ahead of the curve since the due dates were nicely spaced out. You can see where this is going. I’ll be totally honest – between the mountain of readings each week and traveling, the deadlines snuck up on me. It’s been difficult to strike a balance between getting ahead of the curve in school and taking the time to enjoy a new country. I know that to thrive in the writing process, I need to give myself the luxury of time. If I want to live up to the expectation that I had at the start, it’ll be a matter of developing some sustainable long-term study habits.
I came to Trinity expecting to gain some idea of what I want to do with my life after Pitt. So far, my learning and living experiences have absolutely helped keep this expectation on par. I still don’t know what field I’ll end up in, but I’ve really enjoyed studying European governance and the international adjudication process. Maybe it’s just overexposure to U.S. public policy, but it’s been refreshing to dive into the complex interactions between these institutions along with the global implications of their actions. The EU in particular has been an area of interest – it’s a brand new frontier for me, and one that never stops changing – it always feels like some major decision is about to happen in the member states at any moment. I’ll avoid propping up any rigid expectations, but I’m excited to finally have an idea of where I’ll find myself come May.