March 2005 Reflection

It has become apparent as I read the journal entries of my other compatriots here in Ireland that I am the slacker in the class when it comes to these updates. No news there, the fall was a pretty rough time for me and the last thing I wanted to do was burden any unfortunate soul with my laments just because they happened to make the mistake of reading my journal entries.

These days things have certainly brightened up significantly. Other then a couple quick stops in Ireland for my exams and a sailing regatta in Galway, the past two months have seen me virtually constantly traveling. After my time in Morocco with Kesav and my wonderful interlude in Seville, I decided to hit the slopes. First I made a quick stop in Italy to once again savor one of my favorite countries in Europe, fabulous. Then I arrived in Chamonix just as almost six feet of wonderful powder fell. Joy. For ten days we frolicked under the craggy majesty of Mont Blanc in what was one of the most enjoyable ski vacations I have ever had. Then it was back to Italy before returning to Ireland for the Super Bowl as we all gathered in Galway and a sailing regatta at the same time. It was a wonderful confluence of two of the things that have made my experience here enjoyable, the fun loving Irish Sailors and the constantly amazing other Mitchells. Then it was back to the States to tie up some loose ends that refused to be dealt with from a distance.

Getting off the bus and walking up the Limerick driveway last week I felt reinvigorated. Now it is time to get things done. Right now I am working on determining what I am going to do when I leave here. I am finding it to be a wonderfully challenging question as to what I should throw myself into next. Coming to Ireland has created a separation with a lot of the endeavors I had been involved with such that my context of viable opportunities has broadened exponentially. Should I go to grad school, if so which one, should I get a real job, go into government, continue in the non-profit world, sail around the Caribbean for a year (this is fall back plan and it has got me pretty excited). The decision has gotten me to do a lot of thinking about where I am going and what I want; certainly a good thing. At this point I am taking a hard look at the internet world. Currently I am doing a survey of recent startups to see if I can find a company whose business fits for me. If I can find the right company that also wants me I would love to get back into the hectic energy and insanity of a start-up, there is truly nothing more exciting as far as I know. I am very curious to see where I end up. I could find myself just about anywhere if the right thing grabs my fancy and leads me off into the next chapter.

Otherwise I am also in the process of getting my thesis finished so I can leave in May. I am looking at the role of the internet and connectivity (text messages, etc) in changing societies and the effects on governments. I see the recent demonstrations of people power in Lebanon, Ukraine, Georgia, the Philippines, and parts of China as one of the most exciting example of what happens when governments are no longer able to control the flow of information and the communication of people. To see the hundreds of thousands of people using the power of email and texts in Lebanon to take control of their political system is to watch the beginning of a revolution. No longer will governments be able maintain power by making every citizen isolated and scared by the appearance of powerlessness. As people are free to communicate through texts and email without fear of government reprisal, and as the power of viral networks converge with a pent up desire for change, there becomes a revolutionary opportunity for change. As I am sure you can see I am excited by it. Now the trick is going to be getting this idea into some sort of useful format for the thesis. It should be a fun challenge. Hopeful this is a spring of lots of fun challenges.

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