Picking up the pace but stopping to smell the roses

Kate Jones
July 4, 2016
The "view" from the top of Croagh Patrick

In the last week(ish), we prepared a showcase, I’ve met new people and caught up with old friends, and I’ve hiked a mountain – just to name a few experiences. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, in Ireland, people don’t have a strong affinity for time. As I have spent more time here, I have started to adopt the mentality of letting life happen as it happens rather than adhering to a strict, timely schedule. However, this new lifestyle has led me to let two weeks pass without updating the blog. So here’s to adjusting to the culture.

In my acting classes, the stakes were raised and we had to prepare multiple scenes to showcase to our friends and our teacher, Donal. The showcase was exciting, but Donal constantly reminded us that our focus wasn’t so much on the final product, but the process and the work we put in to get there. Little did I know that this theme would carry through to the experiences I would have during the long weekend.

The weekend after the showcase, some friends and I traveled out to Westport, a small town north of Galway in the western part of Ireland. Our intentions were to explore the town and then hike Croagh Patrick, the holy mountain in Murrisk. On one of the days we spent in Murrisk, we strolled to an old church and active cemetery. With no real end destination in mind, we then continued along the rocky coast and eventually made it back into the town.

The next morning we woke up and prepared to hike up the mountain. Croagh Patrick was the most difficult hike I have ever been on. Never before have I wanted to turn back and give up so badly. However, I had planned the trip with the specific goal of hiking this mountain. The whole hike is an ascent to the top as you attempt to navigate the loose rocky terrain. Then, just when we reached a level area, we started hiking in a cloud. Mist and wind whipped around us as we kept scampering up the rocks, trying not to fall down all the elevation we had just worked so hard to gain. My friends and I took the hike at different speeds, but eventually, we all made it to the summit. Upon arrival, we could barely see more than twelve feet in front of us. The white church at the top was only visible due to the outline of its windows and the outlines of huddled people trying to keep warm from the wind.

After reflecting on this experience, I realized how relevant Donal’s words about the showcase had been and will continue to be throughout my life. In the instance of Croagh Patrick and the hike around the coast, the end destination was significantly less impactful than the journey itself. Through those hikes, I learned what my body was capable of and how important it was to take the journey as it comes, rather than expecting a miraculous finale.  

Constantly, I am reminded of how applicable acting is to everyday life and vice versa. In acting, many people assume it is all about making it big or landing a role. In reality, acting is about understanding life and trying to open a dialogue about our experiences by sharing them. It sounds cliché, but life really is about the journey not the destination.

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Kate Jones

<p>Hi! My name is Kate Jones and I&#39;m a Dramatic Arts and Performance Studies double major at UNC Chapel Hill. I am jazzed to start my study abroad program concentrating in acting this summer in Dublin, Ireland. This is my third time traveling to Ireland which should give you some insight into how much I love this country and it impact it has made on my life. I cannot wait to experience it again, but as a student this time around!</p>

2016 Summer 1, 2016 Summer 2
Home University:
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
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