Reflections on Washington, D.C. and New York Bound

Ruth Herlihy, WIP 2012 reflects on her time in Washington, D.C.  and beyond.

Once upon a time, I dreamt of graduating from University College Cork, sitting my Black Hall exams and becoming a solicitor. I then dreamed of being taken on by one of Irelands top firms and ambitiously hoped that I would some day become a partner, live in the Dublin suburbs and of course live happily ever after. While I wouldn’t say no to this in the morning, the world IS my oyster and is no longer a phrase that I take with a pinch of salt.

No sooner was I off the plane than I was back on another. This time I was New York bound and about to begin law school. I was naive to think that I would have time to reflect on my experience in Washington during my 72-hour lay over in Ireland. However while I did not have time to think not to mention pack, do the whole visa process AGAIN, catch up with family, friends and of course farm yard animals, I have found myself being able to discover what my experience meant to me through my dealings with others while being in the big city.

Everybody I meet here asks the question “ so how are you finding New York?” My response “ yeah it’s great BUT…” and here we go again, the foreign exchange girl decides to ramble on for the entire class about her summer spent in Washington D.C. Probably not the response everyone is looking for but I just have this overwhelming tendency to tell them how great it was.

My time in Washington was, without any doubt time well spent. It was inspirational, motivating and challenging. I have developed both personally and professionally. My mind has been opened up. I have met with the leaders of today and the leaders of tomorrow. I have made life long friends who have taught me so much about the world and about myself. My experience is an invaluable one. Words cannot express how much I have gained from the 8 weeks.

The main thing that I have taken from what I have learnt from this summer, is that nothing is out of reach. Don’t be afraid to dream of the unimaginable. Everything began with a dream and also because everything is achievable with hard work and dedication. People are there to help, similarly be there to help people. You won’t know unless you ask, so go on ask questions and keep asking until you know!

We grow up being told to believe in ourselves. However many of us fail at this adage and base our opinions of ourselves on what others who do not know us think. I’ve learnt the importance of having that belief in myself. WIP has affirmed that I have reason to believe in myself. It is this belief that is necessary for each of us to keep pushing in life to succeed and for this I am eternally grateful to the Washington Ireland program.

WIP has opened so many doors of opportunity for me that I am no longer sure of where I want to go in life. However I am sure that the journey has become a new adventure and even more exciting. I look forward to the future and of course my happily ever after ending.