We have had a bit of a rough go as of late and, quite frankly, things are not looking up as we round out 2020. A global pandemic is once again forcing us into our homes, cutting us off from the people and things that we hold dear. Brexit threatens to destabilize the Eurozone, both economically and otherwise. The outcome of the United States’ presidential election could change so many things in regards to how the free Western world lives its life. Yet in all of this, there are still amazing things about the time that we are living through.
After yet another day on Zoom, this time for GNAM week, I decided to take a bicycle ride down to the strand in Sandymount. I have found that, whenever possible, sitting for a while by the ocean acts as a sort of reset button. I am able to check out from being constantly connected and process all of the input that is relentlessly being thrown my way. As I set my bicycle down and found a bench to call home for a few moments, a rainbow appeared over Dublin Bay. I took a picture, reflected on what was in front of me and realized this: There are opportunities wherever you look; it is up to you to see them.
Through all of the chatter and noise in this unprecedented time, there are a plethora of opportunities to seek beauty, spark curiosity, and connect with the people around us. We are in a beautiful, historic city with so much to offer, even if we are not able to take advantage of everything at the present time. The Smurfit campus is a stone’s throw away from both a global city centre and the Dublin mountains. We are a short, relatively inexpensive airplane ride away from the entirety of Western Europe. Most importantly, we are now connected with 36 other people who are from a diverse set of backgrounds, from around the globe. It is easy to look at the negative regarding our current situation, but the reality is that there will be a post-COVID era. We will all go back to work, the pub, and whatever else we feel like getting ourselves into.
And that is exactly where we all need to focus as the days get shorter and the temperature falls. When things open up for good, what restaurants do you want to try? What things around town are you going to do? Who do you want to go out for drinks with? Where are you going to book your summer holiday? A time when we can laugh together seems so far off into the future, but it actually isn’t. By the end of this lockdown, we will be at Christmas. After that, straight into the spring semester, and before you realize, it will be Easter.
We have the opportunity to leverage this experience to our benefit, no matter what the external circumstances are surrounding the experience. It is going to be up to us to find the ways in which we can best do that; we just might have to look a bit harder.
—Andrew Hodnicki, FTMBA Class of 2021