This year I’m thankful for…. 

As I wrap up my first semester of graduate school at University College Dublin, I am reflecting on what it means to be thankful for every gift and opportunity. Internally, I am calling 2017 the year of gratitude. I am grateful and humbled by the support of friends, family, and professors as I continue my adventures in Ireland— this time at a Master’s level.

I’ll admit, moving to a new country (though exciting and wonderful) isn’t always 100% smooth sailing. While I felt at home and comfortable in my favorite city once again, I wrestled (and am contributing to wrestle) with a fairly severe case of imposter syndrome in my academic work. That is, somehow I didn’t initially feel like I measured up to my classmates. Despite working diligently to raise my grades and filling out grad school applications in my fourth year of undergrad, I still didn’t quite feel like I earned a place amongst my classmates, who I immediately found to be much more articulate and knowledgeable than I am. 

This fear of inadequacy brought on feelings of loneliness, but I am grateful that this feeling is improving day by day. I am thankful for new friends who brought me out of my shell, and for professors who are encouraging. I am thankful for the chance to improve in my classes, and for therefore for the opportunity to overcome my anxieties. Even though I am trudging through essay season, I am still honored to be here. When I get stressed and feel bombarded, I think it’s important to remind myself why I came here. 

University College Dublin

I am thankful for second chances. I am thankful that the universe brought me back to Ireland after a tough final year of undergrad. I am thankful that I got a “do-over” for my study abroad experience in Dublin from two years ago. Not that there’s anything I would take back, of course, but I know there is much more for me to experience here. I am thankful for the chance to prove myself amongst people with like-minded interests. 

I am thankful to be able to fall in love with my best all over again, now that the gap of long-distance closed once and for all. 

Christmas lights on Henry Street

I am thankful to have found support from across continents. Whether this support is found in phone calls from old friends, messages to my parents, new friendships here, or support from loved ones in Ireland, I have not once felt completely on my own here. Instead, I know there are people I can count on world-wide. 

I am thankful to have found a home in Ireland. This feeling of “home” is solidified by coffee shop owners who know my name and order, loving arms to come home to each day, and the chance to see the sunset from a different part of the world once again. 

Family visiting me in Dublin (2015)

Post-surgery updates

Hi everyone!

As many of you know, I recently had hip surgery. It’s been a painful process since I got hurt in March, but I am feeling optimistic that the operation I had on Thursday, June 15th will make all the difference. I’m currently on the road to recovery!

In the operation, I had some impingement corrected, as well as got a torn area of cartilage partially shaved down. While the recovery is difficult and often overwhelming, I’ve decided instead to make a list of positives that have come from surgery. Each day, I’ll add to this list in order to retain perspective. Hopefully, this will help to keep the negative thoughts at bay. Here are today’s positives:

  1. Quality time with loved ones: Since I got hurt, I have had the wonderful chance to spend more time with family. My mom and I have had some wonderful bonding time in which we can have important discussions, and I feel close and loved. My dad and sister have also been incredibly helpful and supportive, whether that means helping me get breakfast in the morning or making sure I have enough books to read to keep me distracted from pain.
  2. Friends have shown their true colors: Brief messages and phone calls asking me how I’m feeling have gone a long way. Friends have been checking on me every day and offering kind words of support. I feel supported and cared for.
  3. Feeling loved and loving in return: My boyfriend, Michael, has been offering a metaphorical shoulder to lean on from day one. I know I can rely on him during this tough time for a few uplifting words, some gentle condolences, and I am secure in the knowledge that I can love and be loved in return. I am confident that I would do the same for him, if he were in this situation.
  4. A strong medical team: I am thankful for a medical team that I can trust to take care of me in an operation. I am grateful to have had treatment at a good hospital with an excellent doctor.
  5. Little wins everyday: “While every day might not be good, there is something good in every day.” Since the surgery, each day has brought little successes. The other night, I slept through the night without waking up and needing more medication. This morning I am feeling well enough to sit up and write.
  6. A little daily dose of optimism: Even though it is painful, and I need help with small things, I am thankful that each day brings me closer to a full recovery. That soon I’ll be entering physical therapy, and then running marathons in no time! (Just kidding!)