So, Friday was the last day of classes for the entire term. The day passed without much incident beyond a small group of friends doing the famed Baggot Street Mile (mile long pub-crawl). The Irish students had other plans though. The entire school was swarming with new security guards, ids and bags checked at all the entrances, and the largest display of public drunkenness that I have ever seen, save maybe Marathon Monday. People were sloppy everywhere - guys peeing in the bushes, girls flashing guys, it was a mess. I am somewhat glad that I slept most of the day away and then went out. With the closing of the last few assignments over the weekend, I am left looking for something to fill the void. At this point, the void was filled with pontification. I basically came up with the thought that I should have some sort of BIG revelation from being here. The summer before freshman year of high school, I was fortunate enough to go abroad for a month in Australia. When I came back, there had been so many big learning moments and my parents said that I came back a different person. When I went to the Air Force Academy, my parents said I was a changed person. What will they say this time around?
I do not know what I am expecting, some sort of giant neon sign to tell me I am not the same. Perhaps it will be the way others treat me but I have not really noticed much change there either. One of my good friends told me that she thought I might have changed but I did not know it yet. I want to know it. I want to validate this feeling of obligatory learning. I mean, I am in a different country far flung from the states for six months, I would hope that I have learned something. But what has it been? My opinions have changed a bit; my worldview is broader. I have learned to do without an oven and can go weeks without doing laundry but where is the big achievement?
What I have come up with is that I might be done CHANGING and that the largest contribution that this whole experience has given me is that I have become more ME than ever before. I have had time to think, to explore myself and to understand who I am and what I want. Could this be the gift that I am seeking underneath my shamrock? I am hoping it is. I would love to know that this is the right thing because I don't want people to think I have had this tremendous opportunity and then just wasted it but that brings up another point. I have to care about what the other people think and let them have that force over me. What I know to be the benefits of my time here in Ireland ought to be my own counsel. That private knowledge should be validation enough to prove that I have indeed taken advantage of where I am and what I am doing. My thoughts in private moments should count more than what anyone outside of those thoughts could say. Well, they are. I believe that I have gained strength here to take what I want, to do what I need, and to think as I may because in the end it is not about THEM, it is about me.