Olwen Sheedy reflects on JFK’s comment that “there are risks and costs to a program of action, but they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”

When told I was chosen for The Washington Ireland Program Class of 2012, I was really delighted. Along with these feelings of excitement however, came the realisation that this program would be far from a walk in the park. I was, and I am to this day, aware that the Washington Ireland Program is a challenging, intensive, demanding program that will push the boundaries of personal and professional development. The nature, tone and expectations of the program were clearly set out to the class of 2012 during our orientation weekend in Belfast and through our pre-departure training requirements.

With these high standards set from day one, along with deadlines approaching for college and final exams looming, I feel like I have had a never- ending “to do” list since the day I received the first email to say that I was chosen for the class of 2012. Arriving in DC on Saturday, I came with a full suitcase, a packed hand luggage case, a laptop and a lengthy “to do” list. Some of the things on this list are minor things that have been prolonged unnecessarily while others are recently added and have just not been dealt with yet. With a packed schedule each day since we arrived, I am sorry to say but I feel like this list is getting continuously longer as opposed to getting shorter. With this “growth spurt”, today I found myself beginning to doubt my organisational capabilities. Why is it that this list keeps growing and why is it that there are certain things that I have just continually put off? I wonder, as a result of the nature of college assignments, has my brain become so used to working to deadlines that I am unable to be proactive in my approach to getting things done? Have I become the “last minute person” that I usually dislike? I began to wonder, what is the contents of my “to do” list, and is it necessarily bad that I have a long “to do” list? Is this a sign that I have become inefficient?

With this, I strangely enough turned to Astrology to discover the typical traits of my sign and to try to figure out a little more about myself. I discovered some famous people who shared my sign, the earth sign, Virgo. One of these was David Herbert Lawrence. David Herbert Richards Lawrence (11 September 1885 – 2 March 1930) was an English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter who published as D. H. Lawrence. A quote I enjoyed from his work which I feel resonates more than ever in today’s world is, “Ours is an excessively conscious age. We know so much, we feel so little.”

After walking around the Newseum today , I was very aware of how much I still have to learn about the world around me. With so much happening every day how does one possibly keep up with it all? Each time I log on to my computer, between reading, connecting, tweeting, liking, emailing, facebooking, blogging, retweeting and networking…is it any wonder that “to do” lists are so often put off till tomorrow? To reflect on the quote above, my question is, even if you didn’t manage to do one thing on you’re to do list today…yet you had a fantastic day and truly felt happy at the end of it… is that enough?

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