Greetings from New Jersey, i-student global readers! The last time I checked in with this blog, I was regaling you with my epic tales of working as the new University College Cork North American Officer/US Representative…
Adjusting to NYC
Well, I suppose it would be more accurate to say that I was hoping and praying that I would adjust to working in New York City (I have *self-five*), thanking my lucky stars for all of my travel adventures (I’m playing United States BINGO), and hoping that the people I came to know along my journeys saw me as someone with the ability to motivate them to embark on scholastic adventures in Cork, Ireland (so far so good so I’m told). In any case, I feel so blessed to be where I am right now- personally and professionally.
I know it probably sounds cliché – okay, it definitely sounds cliché – to say that I feel blessed to have my job, but it’s the unequivocal truth. I’ll elaborate…
My wow moment
Have you ever had one of those moments where you’re performing a simple, seemingly mundane task- like walking to work, or making dinner, or listening to a great song in the car, or sitting on your couch reading a magazine- and suddenly you have this moment of clarity when you’re struck by how far you’ve come?
It’s as though you can visualize clearly all of the struggles, victories, heartaches, successes, battles, and dreams that led to creating the you now…and at that moment the only word that jumps from your brain to your lips that can possibly encapsulate your thoughts and feelings is merely, “wow”. A genuine “wow moment”.
I had one such moment just a few days ago when I was walking down 5th Avenue to see a colleague on 51st and Park. As I passed the New York Public Library, I snuck a peek at the stone lions with their necks draped with wreaths of holly and ivy…and in that moment it hit me. I work here. In Manhattan. For an amazing university in Ireland. I work in a job where I get to travel everywhere. In a million years, I never thought I, an annoyingly stubborn and optimistic girl from a small town in Massachusetts, would be here.
As I let my “wow” sink in, I began to think about how this happened. Of course there were countless individuals who helped me along the way. I, unquestionably, worked incredibly hard to succeed academically and professionally. Surely I pushed myself to follow my dreams and chase after my goals. All of the above was/is true, but these pieces of good fortune could have taken me on a number of different paths. Certainly there must have been a spark, a catalyst that placed me on the path to my life now.
What motivates me
And then, much like in the Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball” video (though with less anger and better fashion taste), the answer hit me: study abroad was my spark.
- I took a chance and studied at a school in Ireland.
- Loved it so much that I returned for graduate school.
- Pushed myself to leave my pesky comfort zone and truly live.
- Struggled and grew and learned and thrived.
- Learned to trust myself, my instincts, and my heart.
- Gained insight into my strengths and weaknesses and learned that having both didn’t make me a failure, but rather a person.
- Explored, adventured, and took risks.
- Smiled so much I gave myself pre-mature smile lines.
- Made connections, wrote blogs, grew professionally and academically, and landed a great job.
- I was inspired, motivated, fortified…changed by the experience.
Studying abroad gave me the map to my life today- a life still filled with new adventures, life lessons, and exciting challenges. Like Frank Capra’s George Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life”, I truly feel like the “richest wo[man] in town”… And you don’t really get a better “wow” than that.