Dan Cronin - Major: Physician Assistant

Courses Taken: Microbiology, Q201 Tradition, Culture, Ireland in Europe - Historical Perspectives, Q203 Literature, Language, and Culture, BIO330 Anatomy, Practicum: Q401 Comparative Medical Systems

A Lesson in Living

  24th November 1999

  Since I arrived here in Ireland I have achieved so much. I feel like I have reached a turning point at which all of my future experiences will be placed in reference to. There are now pre-Ireland experiences and post-Ireland experiences. In a way I have reached a memory landmark. I have developed so much as an individual and learned so much as a person that nothing will ever be the same.
  I don't want to sound melodramatic. I truly feel as if I have had a life altering experience here. Before I came here, home was in Amherst, New Hampshire at 7 Woodland Drive, the gray house with red doors. In a way, that house will always be my home. My parents live there, and my love for my family will keep it a place where I will always go to feel that love again. But there is a difference now. I feel ready to make my own home somewhere. I don't mean that I am ready to get married, settle down, have kids and own a mini-van. I mean that I now have the confidence to reach away from the comforts of the house my parents live in and develop my own future. I always thought that I was ready for that the second I left high school and moved into my career as a college student, but I realize I was missing one vital thing, life experience.
  The world has become much smaller since I have spent four months in Ireland. I have visited and become familiar with Dublin, London, Galway, Cork and soon Belfast. I now understand what it means to be a European, and to see the U.S. from a different perspective. Travel is easy, when it becomes a priority.
  I see myself making travel a priority for the rest of my life. I need to see more. I want to experience a wider variance of cultures, from Africa to Zurich. I want to live in, not just visit, different corners of the globe.
  I would ask anyone who is thinking of taking a semester abroad to understand that they will leave unsettled. When I say unsettled, I mean that they will remain unhappy unless they are taking or planning their next trip. I'm already planning mine.