NY Part I: ‘Something has changed within me, something is not the same’

Maria Kinsella, WIP Class 2012, ponders her future plans since visiting NYC

Something has changed within me, something is not the same

This quote from the Broadway sensation that is Wicked describes my feelings as I sit on a very quiet and subdued bus journey back to Washington DC from New York. WIP Class 2012 spent five days in New York City, five days that were an emotional rollercoaster. I looked forward to the trip as I felt it would give me a chance to reflect on the previous four weeks of WIP and also provide the opportunity for me to catch up with my cousin Patrick whom I haven’t seen in over 15 years.

We went to see the famous Wicked musical on Broadway. I was also fortunate enough to get a back stage tour of this Broadway show. As I stood in the middle of the stage in the Gershwin Theatre and looked out upon the empty seats I realised there is so much more of the world I want to see.

I left for New York with no self doubts about my chosen career path nor with any desire to work over here.  A natural talking point in any conversation with my cousin or friends that I got to catch up with in NYC was “Would you like to come over here and work for a while?”. But one of my friends phrased this question differently he asked; “Maria, what is keeping you at home and from not coming over here to experience this?” Family aside I struggled to think of an answer and for a split second allowed myself to dream about living in New York City.

I wasn’t long returning to reality when I remembered that I have signed up to become an accountant which involves a Masters and a three year training contract in Dublin. It was at that moment that I for the first time in my life felt trapped. Trapped in Dublin for the next four years is not enticing when all I see around me is the bright lights of Times Square.  My goal throughout the previous three years of college was to secure this trainee accountant contract and now suddenly I was questioning my decision. Before this trip, traveling and working abroad were not high up my list of my priorities but now I find myself envying members of the class returning home to Ireland in three weeks having finished their degrees and not knowing where life will take them. This sense of freedom is something I would love to have right now. Being able to just pack your bags and experience another city in a different country is never something I thought I would desire. But WIP has opened my eyes to a world outside of Ireland.

Not making another career or location decision until I’m 25 is a thought that I am struggling with. But as I talk to my peers on the bus journey home I realize it is a position others would kill to be in. Many of the class are heading home and are forced to consider immigrating to find a job. Being forced to leave your family and friends behind in order to pursue a career is totally different from being attracted to a city and wanting to leave home. The four and half hour bus journey home gave me time to realize that yes I am very fortunate to know that I have a secure future ahead of me, at least for the next four years anyway. This does not limit or restrain my ability to experiences different cultures or experiences; it just means I shall have to take a lot of holidays! As I thought more about this issue and WIP in general it dawned on me that the Program is about shaping and developing future leaders of Ireland. I want the Program to be a springboard for me to make a difference in Ireland. Where and how I am going to contribute to make a difference in Ireland is uncertain at this time but I wouldn’t be able to do so if I packed my bags and headed into the sunset.

So yes something has changed inside me, I want to work abroad at some stage in my career but first I want to leave my stamp on Ireland.

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