The 30 best friends that anyone could have…
The above is a common description on the WIP class of 2012 since its infamous first use by Miss Louise Mackey in New York. However not a truer word could be spoken about myself and my twenty nine colleagues who were strangers but 3 months ago. It could be said that throwing a group of young individuals into a new challenging and at times uncomfortable situation has created the strongest of bonds that I have no doubt will last for years to come.
On entering the room at our first meeting in the Farset Centre in Belfast I could not have felt more out of place. Such a group of young intelligent, ambitious and achieved individuals all suited and booted I had never been in before and I thought to myself I don’t fit in here. As a result I began to think of going to Washington DC with dread as I was leaving my friends behind in Rasharkin. However in Kippure in our challenges during the day and our night time socialising I began to realize these young people are in fact much like me and more normal than I had thought when I read the impressive bio’s on the WIP website.
I had never imagined though until we reached Washington DC and spent out days together that I had not in fact left my friends behind in Rasharkin I had embarked on a new adventure with a brand new set of friends. The relief of this I can barely describe for someone that has never been away from home for any length of time.
It is shocking that in a group of thirty people we all get on so well, when walking up the street it doesn’t matter who I end up strolling beside each one of the group is a friend like any other. Even through debates, tough conversations and disagreements our friendship still remains. I am pleasantly surprised by this fact and have never experienced an ability to disagree so fundamentally on issues and yet be able to have a friendship outside of that. It is a great example for everyone in our society to live by and shows that we do not have to define ourselves by our views and aspirations although we can still be active in pursuing them- we have more in common than we do different. This mutual respect has been lost a lot in modern society and I think if we lead by example and show that we can disagree in a productive way showing respect to each other then it will inspire others to follow.
Washington DC has taught me a lot about politics about leadership and more importantly about life. Our experiences have ranged from professional to social, tears, laughs, rain and sun and with all the talk about being homesick it took me some time to realize that for a long time after August 6th a lot of us will be WIP sick. So I am looking forward to spending the next three weeks with my 29 best friends that anyone could have and long into the future after that. Go raibh Mile maith agat mo chairde, Thank you very much my friends, and you have, as I said in New York, truly made me glad to have known and met you.