As I prepared to start my freshman year away at college almost three years ago now, I admit that I was under the impression that going to class and hanging out with your best friends 24/7 was never going to end.
That's it. This was my new job. I was going to glorified summer camp with the occasional test or paper thrown in just to keep me grounded, a bit. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
But all that changed when I received my first "you need to get a real job" speech from my parents. From then on it was as if every family member, friend, and colleague knew the perfect questions to ask in order to jump start my early-twenties mid-life crisis.
"Do you know what are you going to do after college?" "Did you get an internship yet?" "Have you applied for any jobs?" The answer was no to all of the above.
As the door of my career as a Sacred Heart University undergraduate comes to a close – I’ll be starting my senior year in September -- I am now forced to come to terms with the fact that I actually need to have a plan for what they call "life after college."
Following last year's mid-life crisis, I made the bold decision to switch my major from biology to English. I will be the first to admit, there is nothing worse than receiving a look of pity after revealing that you have chosen to major in English.
The common misconception that all English majors either become teachers or are drowning in debt was the biggest setback I have faced thus far. As an English major I have been able to display my talents, strengths and personality through my writing, and although I regret it, I have doubted myself from time to time (especially with all those student loans looming in the near future).
But leave it to the Irish to ensure that I soon saw the bright side, reinforcing my belief that I’m on the right path. I was informed that in order to receive credit for my major, I needed to take two consecutive semesters of a language class. As I already took roughly eight years of the same generic "Beginning Spanish" class and learned nothing, aside from pleasantries and the occasional color, I decided it was time for a change.
Coincidentally, my roommate at the time was heavily involved with Gaelic football and was traveling to Ireland for a tournament. I was intrigued by the language of Gaelic, mostly because it was so foreign to me. So that semester, I signed myself up for Beginning Gaelic.
I learned pleasantries, colors, and focused on the political issues and culture of Ireland. My Gaelic professor was determined to persuade each student to enjoy class, all while challenging each one of us simultaneously.
The class allowed me to reconnect with my Irish roots and sparked my interest to learn more. I knew I was Irish, of course, (my last name is Conroy, for crying out loud), but I never truly understood what it meant. I would often hear stories from my grandmother about growing up and my family from Ireland even visited once before, but after taking my Gaelic class I was able to connect with my Irish side in a more authentic way with a newfound respect for that part of me.
Through my combined passion for writing and rediscovering my roots, I find myself at the Irish Voice this summer, looking forward to learning about running a newspaper, as well as the work that goes into editing and writing. I hope to learn more about myself and the Irish culture.
Although the thought of seeing the best years of my life in the rear view mirror scares me to death, I am more than ready to face the challenge head on and excited for what the future brings.