'I seized opportunities when they arose'


Just outside of Dublin, Ireland, there's a trail that skirts the edge of a cliff, which drops quite dramatically to the ocean. Michaela Wentz ’17 of chemical engineering and a friend walked that trail during Michaela’s study abroad semester at Trinity College last spring, admiring the bright blue water and “tantalizing glimpses of the abandoned railway” far below.

To their disappointment, the trail abruptly turned inland instead of dropping down to a rocky, crescent beach just ahead.

Michaela and her friend decided to attempt the descent on their own.

“Slipping, sliding, and squelching along a ravine, we made it to the bottom with all our footwear reattached to our feet  --the mud had sucked our shoes right off our feet on the way down,” Michaela related.  “Looking back up the path we had taken, it didn't look like anybody could make a controlled descent down.”

They photographed their muddy shoes “to testify to our adventure.”

Michaela brought back more than photos from her semester abroad, however.

“I gained courage and self confidence,” she said. “With my limited time abroad, I knew that I could not save trips and activities for a later date, so I seized opportunities when they arose regardless of whether or not I knew anybody else also going along. Consequently, I learned that I am capable of doing a lot of things I never thought I was able or brave enough to do before.”

Though she was not able to take engineering classes in Dublin, she was able to “more than fulfill my humanities requirement.” Summer classes helped her make up engineering courses she missed.

That beach, by the way – once Michaela and her friend reached it --  “was lovely,” as was the remainder of the walk, she said.  “I did get some funny looks at fencing practice that night when I showed up with my shoes still sopping wet from the washing I had to give them.”


Michaela Wentz sprints outside of CERN, the European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world.