NY Part II: Dealing with the Unexpected

Maria Kinsella, WIP Class 2012, talks about sharing her WIP journey in New York City

As I look over the New York skyline from the window in Founders Hall in New York University I begin to reflect on our sessions with Louise Little during the week. All I can hear is the noise of siren whizzing by and the constant humming of traffic. The sessions with Louise involved WIPpers, Management Team and Directors of the Program reflecting back on their WIP journey and drawing a symbol for every stage of the journey. This forced me to slam on the breaks and deal with emotions, feelings and issues that due to our hectic schedule in Washington I have been able to put into a box in the back of mind and leave them well alone. But the time had come to empty the box and sort through its contents.

Had I known what these sessions entailed in advance I think I would have mentally prepared myself not to dig so deep into the box.  It would have been a natural response for me. The process of reflecting on your own single WIP journey was one that brought to the surface some very raw emotions. Emotions that I would feel more comfortable dealing with on my own on Irish soil. To witness how comfortable, open and willing we are to share to our deepest thoughts with each other impressed me hugely. It illustrated how close we as a class have become in this short period of time.  I will openly admit that I am partial to crying while looking at a sad episode of Home and Away or Grey’s Anatomy but I never expected to cry in New York. This fact on its own is a testimony to how touched I felt by some peoples courage and bravery to share certain aspects of their journey so openly with us all.  I was amazed but extremely proud that we as a class created an environment where so many people felt so comfortable to share so much, not just on one day but at three different times throughout the week.

Being forced to address issues and feelings that I had subconsciously sidelined was difficult for me. Sharing my journey with the class was one of the most petrifying experiences I have ever faced. Words cannot describe how vulnerable I felt. Even though my journey throughout WIP has been 99.9% positive the majority of my drawings focused on certain little minor details about events/feelings that, without realizing, mean a lot to me yet I had failed to deal with because of the fear of going to the place where you don’t feel happy or full of excitement.

No number of special guests or speakers could ever deepen the bonds as much between us as those few hours we spent listening and sharing our journeys. It is for this reason that New York will remain one of the highlights of this summer for me.