Living with chronic pain at 22.

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These days, when I think about what’s hardest about my CP now that I’m in my 20s, I’m not true to myself. Rather than focusing on the chronic back pain I’ve had since I was 15 (that is only getting worse), I focus on the frustrations of not having the same stamina as the rest of my peers, not being able to carry food in both hands if I’m walking somewhere because I get too anxious I’ll fall and spill the food, and the deep fear that surrounds me any time I have to step down from a curb or walk down steps (that have no railing) and there’s no one around to offer me a hand.

Don’t get me wrong. Those frustrations make my days hard too. However, those frustrations aren’t as intense as my chronic back pain, which typically can cause me to start crying rather suddenly, especially if I’ve had a back spasm. Truly, the one frustration that has the ability to quickly bring me to tears on a daily basis is my chronic pain. Because of my Cerebral Palsy, I have developed chronic back pain because of how my body has had to adapt in order to allow me to walk. Basically, my hips are tilted forward and in order to walk the best I can, my back is arched so I can see where I am walking (which results in a deep curve in my lower back). For those wanting a more clinical term, it’s known as hyperlordosis, meaning increased lower back curvature.

Due to the hyperlordosis and the pain it causes, all I really ever think about is the possibility of one day feeling some relief. In terms of treatments for the lordosis and the pain, surgery isn’t an option because it would mean having to change the position of my hips, which doctors have said is too risky. Truthfully, my immediate thought is pain killers, but then comes the discussion regarding the addictive quality of pain medication coupled with the fact that I’m only 22, so that’s also a no. It’s just so damn frustrating. I’m 22, I have chronic pain, and it seems as though the only way to eliminate my chronic back pain is to essentially stop walking all together. Now, those who know me know why that isn’t an option, but for those who don’t: Basically, I spent my entire life learning how to walk so I could reach a point where I could be independent. By the age of six, I was walking unassisted. Then, in 2002, I had my first operation and had to relearn to walk. The following year, after another operation, I had to relearn to walk again. Therefore, once again, making the decision to stop walking in order to eliminate my back pain: also not an option, especially with how active I am for someone with CP. In terms of alternative methods to relieve pain, I do yoga and I get massages. However, those options only work in the moment. As soon as the yoga or massage is over, and I leave to get on with my life, the pain returns.

Truthfully, only a few people actually know the degree of pain I’m in on a daily basis. I don’t talk openly about it much because in my mind I feel as though it’s pointless to burden others if I know there’s nothing they can do to help me. Yes, sometimes I need a hug or a simple “You can do it,” but most of the time, what I truly need can’t be given to me. Additionally, receiving support is also challenging given my age group. How many people do you know who are in their 20s and living with chronic pain? Not many, I’m guessing. And that’s why I feel so alone so much of the time. I can’t help but focus on the difficulties of suffering from something no one around me seems to understand. Sure, they can sympathize with me, but that’s not the same as having walked in my shoes.

For much of my life, I’ve also struggled with depression. Last week, while visiting a counselor, he offered what seemed like such an obvious conclusion, but I hadn’t connected the dots until he brought it up: the link between chronic pain and depression. They influence each other, which is something I hadn’t thought to consider. Because of my chronic pain, I’m more depressed. Basically, the counselor thought of a “treatment” for my chronic pain I hadn’t yet considered: a chronic pain support group. Honestly, I hadn’t ever thought about it, but now, the more that I do, the better I feel. The thought of having the support of a group of people who know what I feel sounds too good to be true. Best of all, I’ll have the chance to talk with everyone in the group to see how they manage their pain. Who knows, maybe they use techniques I haven’t considered.

Keeping my fingers crossed.

Writing: A Therapuetic Tool

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When I started my first blog site back in November 2011, I read lots of articles about how to get increased regular readers as well as site views. Then, just like that, I stopped caring. I stopping caring about views, likes, shares, and followers. I realized why I had started blogging in the first place: to write, and to create a space in which I could receive support from others regarding my writing, and just life in general. After two years of blogging every day about whatever I chose, I had gained 1,000+ followers and around 500,000 blog views. I had gained readership, recognition, and support…and I had done it without following the advice of those pesky articles I obsessed over in the beginning.

Now, three years after starting my first blog, I have a second blog…one that is not at all connected with my first. Though I’ve only had this blog for a few weeks, I can already feel myself missing the supportive community I had developed through my first blog. Granted, I didn’t have to start a new blog. It was my choice to do so. Mainly, I changed things up because my first blog site name was connected with my geographic location, and when that changed, I assumed I needed a new blog site as well. Plus, since the move has been about the beginning of a new phase in my life, I wanted to start fresh in terms of blogging as well.

So, here I am, starting fresh. Though it’s been hard to realize it’ll take quite some time to get my readership up to where it was with my first blog, I know that, ultimately, that doesn’t matter. The reason I began blogging in the first place has been about one thing: my writing. And with this new blog, it’s become clear that’s the place I need to get back to. The place where I long to share the words within my soul…words of life, love, challenges, dreams, and hope. The words that paint a picture of my struggles, but highlight one of my proudest attributes: determination.

You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.-William Faulkner

Writing, for me, has always been incredibly therapeutic. I’ve used it as a tool to get through tough times, to celebrate victories, and to reflect on experiences I’ve had throughout my life. More than anything, it’s through writing that I come face to face with the truest version of myself. With writing, I don’t portray myself as someone I’m not, I don’t shrink away from sharing that I’ve struggled with my physical disability, anxiety, and depression all my life. I don’t hide. It’s one of the few times I’ve ever felt safe enough to be totally and completely myself…even though my words may be read by thousands of people (or just a handful). 

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.-Anais Nin

So, starting now, I’m vowing to be true to myself (and true to this blog). I’m vowing to use this blog as a way to help myself while also helping others. For me, writing is freeing. For others, reading someone else’s writing is a chance to connect with them on some level. This life, I’ve learned, is all about relationships. Whether it’s a relationship with a close friend, a boyfriend, or most importantly, oneself, each relationship is essential to survival. They hold us together, bring purpose to our life, and help us to grow into who we are meant to be. 

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.-Oscar Wilde

Graduate School, Week One: 10 Things I’ve Learned

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Well, I’ve done it. I’ve survived my first week of graduate school in the MSW (Masters of Social Work) program. Going into this week, I was excited and full of energy. It’s my first year as a graduate student in the MSW program, and my schedule includes 16 hours a week at an internship (all day Monday and Tuesday) and 5 classes (15 credit hours). By day 3 of this first week, I was stressed. Despite my love for academia and learning, there were moments I asked myself what I had gotten myself into. However, I also know that big changes are always overwhelming in the beginning, and as I take the time to develop more of a solid routine, things will hopefully begin to fall into place (somewhat, at least…I hope).

That being said, here are 10 things I’ve already learned regarding graduate school (and what it will take to be successful here):

  1. Keep your planner with you at all times. Seriously, document everything. In my case, each of my classes only meets once a week. In fact, one of them only meets once a month. Therefore, having all assignments written down (with due dates!) is essential. I already had to go buy a bigger planner because I was running out of space to write everything down. Also, I’ve started color coding in my planner. In the past, I’ve never bothered. However, in order to keep my sanity, I think it’s going to be necessary over these next 2 years.
  2. Get to know your professors (and start early). I knew going in to graduate school I wanted to be sure and get to know my professors. After all, they will be the ones writing recommendations for me when I’m applying for jobs after I’ve graduated. Therefore, ask questions. Use them as a resource. After all, that’s what they are there for, right? Additionally, start early. It takes time to develop a good mentor relationship with professors. Give your professors time to really get to know you so that when they are writing a recommendation letter for you later on, they’ll have plenty of information to pull from.
  3. Intern with organizations you’re interested in (and with those you’re not sure about). Internships are a great way to figure out specific positions in the field you might like. However, they are also a way to realize certain positions in the field that are not a good fit. Be willing to try internships at places that immediately interest you. However, try out the places you’re not sure about as well. You may discover a new interest, or you may figure out specific areas you would definitely not feel comfortable in. Either way, you are learning, and specifically coming closer to the position in your field that is just right for you.
  4. Don’t stress about grades. This was a tough lesson to learn, and it’s definitely one I’ll be working on throughout my graduate school career. The main thing I’ve had to remind myself is that I’ve come to graduate school to gain knowledge and learn skills to be able to perform accurately within a certain profession. At the end of two years, when I’m out looking for jobs, my potential employers aren’t going to care what my graduate school GPA is. They’re going to want to know if I have the skills, knowledge, and experience to perform my job to the best of my ability.
  5. Stay connected with close friends. Even after just the first week, I can see how graduate school could lend itself to responses such as: I can’t remember the last time I talked to my best friend. I’m just so busy. Yes, graduate school is stressful and definitely keeps you busy. Try not to lose contact with close friends though. Even if it’s just a “hey how are you?” text every few days, keep them in the loop. You’ll need their support over the next 2 years, especially when you may just need to vent about how stressed or overwhelmed you are. Plus, the potential for getaway weekends every now and then can definitely be a stress reliever!
  6. Don’t forget to sleep (regularly)! Thankfully, I’ve never had a problem with getting good sleep, even when I’m stressed. Without it, I’m crabby and unable to retain new information quite as easily. In my case especially, I’ve found that I do better if I go to sleep once I’m tired and then get up early to finish assignments (if I’ve gotten behind). It works better for me rather than staying up really late. It may take time to figure out what works best for you.
  7. Eat good snacks that’ll give you energy. Yes, sugary things and lots of caffeine may sound good in the moment, but they’ll cause you to crash quicker. I’ve found that I’m set if I just bring a bag of carrots and a bottle of water with me to campus. (Although, I will say, coffee does wonders for those 8am classes)!
  8. Network, network, network! Get to know your professors, for sure. However, don’t forget about your internship supervisor and others at your internship in a similar field you hope to enter. These days, it’s as much (if not more) about who you know as opposed to what you know.
  9. Practice self-care. I’ve started practicing self-care by implementing a regular yoga practice back into my life again. Though I am a bit sore after this week, I know it’ll help me both mentally and physically get through graduate school.
  10. Do one thing every week that makes you happy. Whether it’s having time to sit and read a book without interruption, making yummy baked goods, taking a long bubble bath, or Skyping with your best friend, try to do one thing every week (or even every day) that makes you blissfully happy. Though this way fall by the wayside every now and then, try not to let it. Though you’re busy with graduate school, remember what ultimately matters: your happiness. 🙂

Best of luck, fellow graduate students. We’ve got this!

The Darkness of Depression: It’s Not “Selfish”

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Photo courtesy of The NY Times.

Ever since I heard of the death of Robin Williams, I’ve been shocked. More than that, I’ve been dumbfounded by the reactions on social media regarding Robin Williams’ suicide. Truthfully, I’ve been enraged at those who have insisted his suicide was a “selfish act.”

Though it hurts my heart to know Robin lived in the frightening and unrelenting darkness of depression, I can’t even begin to call him selfish. Doing so would make me sound like quite the hypocrite. Truthfully, I have been struggling with depression for years. In fact, last fall, I fell into the deepest and darkest hole of depression I have ever experienced. Though I had faced depressive episodes in the past, nothing was as bad as the mental state I found myself in during the first semester of my senior year in college.

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Last August, when the depression began, I wasn’t convinced it was depression at first. I thought maybe it was just sadness, especially since I had been off my antidepressants for about a year, and I felt okay. However, as the weeks passed, the “sadness” became overwheming and constant. I didn’t start to realize I might be having a major depressive episode until my dad saw me cry for what seemed like days and then gently asked me whether I would consider getting back on my antidepressants. Until that moment, I didn’t think anyone really saw what was going on with me.

Until that moment, I hadn’t really even seen myself. What I continued to think was sadness was actually something else entirely. Besides the overall feeling of sadness and the crying spells, my life began to feel more dull. I started to lose interest in things that I’d previously enjoyed doing, like photography and drives on the parkway. I found it hard to make it to class, much less even attempt to get out of bed. It just all felt too hard. Upon waking in the mornings, I’d open my eyes to a gray world that no longer brought me happiness. Though I did still get my schoolwork done, my love of school was no longer there. I felt down constantly, wanting nothing more than to hide in my room under my covers with the lights off. I got to the point where all I was even able to see was my depression. It was everywhere, enveloping me, surrounding me, causing me to feel trapped. As things got worse, my friends drifted, not knowing what to do to make me feel better. When they asked how they could help, I shrugged my shoulders. What was I supposed to tell my friends if I didn’t know how I could help myself? The frustration of not being able to just pull myself out of the depression hole was incredibly hard on me, and I knew at that point I needed to talk to someone.

During this time, I was seeing a therapist, and I continued to see her even while depressed. She helped me to understand I was going through something not many people would understand if they hadn’t been through it. However, I was still sad because it felt like some good friends of mine had abandoned me during my lowest point. Conflicted, I got angry, not knowing why I had ever considered them close friends in the first place. Though I did later mend those friendships once I was able to get back on my antidepressants and get my depression under control, in the moment, I thought I’d burned bridges for good. Despite feeling like so many of my friends had left, I did have my dad and one of my friends.

My dad was a huge help during my major depressive episode. Thankfully, talking with my dad about what I was going through was easy because he and I have always been close. More than that, he was able to empathize with me because he’s dealt with depression as well. Honestly, just having someone who was actually able to understand the emotions I was feeling helped so much. While talking to him, I didn’t get responses full of worry and pity. Instead, my dad explained just how much he could relate to what I was facing, and that’s exactly what I needed. I needed someone who was able to nod and say: Yes, there were times when I thought about death too.

My friend was also a huge help, and I know, without a doubt, I wouldn’t have made it through my depressive episode if she hadn’t been there for me. She was the one friend I had who responded just like I needed her too. She stuck around, no matter how much I cried. She spent time talking about the people who needed me, reminding me of the things I had to live for. More than anything, though, she called me every single day. Despite being a working wife as well as a mother to a newborn plus plenty more obligations, she called me every day, and we also texted throughout the day. She was concerned about me, and that mattered. She never settled for the times when she’d ask how I was doing and I’d reply with a simple “fine,” as I’d try to not think about it. She’d lower her voice and say, “How are you really feeling?” With that, I broke down in tears, talking of how alone, sad, and frustrated I felt. I talked about how I just wanted it all to stop because I couldn’t stand living in such a frightening place anymore. I told her how I’d hidden in my closet all day with the door closed, curled up into a ball, not getting out except to go to the bathroom. Even after releasing all my pain and anguish onto her, my friend did what no one (but my dad) had been willing to do: she sat with me, doing nothing but listening, and it helped. It kept me grounded. It kept me from listening to the drifting thoughts that talked of not wanting to live anymore. It kept things at bay until I was able to face the fact that I needed to get back on my antidepressants and find the right dose to help me feel better.

So, what I mean to say is, depression is an incredibly deep and dark place, and no one is immune. Declaring that someone is “selfish” if they end up committing suicide as a result of depression is hurtful, especially to those who are in constant battles with the disease. In fact, I assume many of those making that remark cannot even begin to imagine what it’s like to live with depression. Though it is sad Robin Williams may have believed suicide was his only escape, I know enough to say I can see how he could have reached such a conclusion.

Property of Google Images

Property of Google Images

What has helped me to not fall into a similar trap has been SUPPORT. Depression is a lonely world to live in, and so many people who struggle with mental illness might feel too ashamed to seek help. Though it makes me sad, the stigma of mental illness is a very real problem. However, sharing personal stories is a start. After all, we’ve got to start somewhere, right?

To those who taught me to dream

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When I was little, I wanted nothing more than to be a ballerina. Around Christmastime, my grandmother would take me to see The Nutcracker at the Koger Center. As I sat up in the balcony in my checkered dress and patent leather shoes, I stared with admiration at the character of Clara. I imagined myself twirling around in my own leotard with a toy nutcracker in my hands, lost in the music and a dance that was all my own. When I got home from seeing The Nutcracker, I’d put on my leotard and tutu, grab a favorite stuffed animal at the time, and twirl in circles to the music only I could hear.

It was in those moments, in the safety of my childhood bedroom, that I began to dream, imagining doing things I knew I wouldn’t be able to do in reality due to my disability. I imagined dancing with a grace I had seen only in ballerinas. I put on my ballet shoes and twirled until my unstable balance got the best of me and I fell to the floor in frustration. I even remember asking my parents if I could take ballet lessons, determined to learn how to create the beauty I had seen in the character of Clara. The opportunity never arose though, simply because I didn’t have the balance to be a ballerina. Despite walking on my tiptoes, twirling around in circles on those same tiptoes was out of the question.

As I got older and I filled my head with more realistic dreams, I never stopped imagining doing the things I’d never be able to fully experience. I thought of dancing to the music of my world. I imagined running down the street and feeling the wind on my face as I chased the orange and red sunset I saw in the distance. I pictured myself climbing the huge oak tree in my backyard, wanting nothing more than to find a sturdy limb I could sit on so I could rest my back against the tree’s broad trunk and escape into my favorite book. The creative imagination I possessed placed me right into the worlds I dreamed, though I knew I was so far away from actually experiencing them.

I am forever grateful to the people throughout my life who have encouraged my imagination and dreams. Though I was constantly reminded by other kids around me of the things I was unable to do, so many of the adult figures in my life understood the importance of believing in my creativity. Because of those individuals, I have learned what it means to still hope and strive for the things that still seem a bit out of reach. Through my ability to dream, I developed a determination that has propelled me through my life, despite stumbling again and again. While I may not have had the chance to be a ballerina who twirls endlessly with the grace of a perfect melody, I have sung my heart out at a voice recital, capturing an entire room with the simple sound of my voice. I have participated in theatre productions, achieving my moment in the spotlight by being Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz. I have written of specific moments of pain during the months following intense operations, creating the same tears in the eyes of my readers that I possessed during my moments of defeat. Though I may not have had the chance to live the experiences I longed for, I have continued to move to the song of my own life, continuously grateful to those who taught me to dream and create my own destiny.

On What I Learned From Dying Children

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I read an article recently by a woman who teaches poetry and prose to dying children. Throughout the article, the author regularly mentioned how a certain little boy’s death would one day prevent her from ever returning to work. That little boy became another little girl who became yet another child. They all faced something we don’t talk enough about: death. Eventually, the author mentioned how this work contains so much sadness and fragility, and yet it is also the work she could never dream of walking away from.

From August 2013 to May 2014, I had a yearlong psychology internship with Arts For Life, a NC-based non-profit organization focused on teaching art to children and families battling serious illnesses and disabilities. Specifically, I worked with two populations of children: children undergoing treatment for cancer and other blood disorders and children undergoing physical, occupational, or speech therapy. I began this internship for a variety of reasons. However, the main one was due to my previous hospital experiences. As a child, I had to undergo three intense surgeries, which later included intense physical therapy, and I spent all this time in the hospital. During this time, the one bright spot in all the days of physical pain, tears, and uncertainty was the weekly craft nights. For one hour every week, I got to focus on making an art project rather than dwelling on how much pain I was in, which exercises I needed to do, or an upcoming surgery. Having a chance to put all my energy into something completely outside of myself helped to decrease some of my anxiety. Some of those nights, I dare say I might have even been happy. Due to my enjoyable experiences with art projects in the hospital, I knew I wanted to provide these same opportunities for other kids in the hospital.

Having the opportunity to teach art to children in the hospital was an amazing experience for me, and I loved every minute of it. I loved seeing the regular kids every week who finally became used to me and would come up and just start talking. I loved watching the kids burst with creativity, coming up with an alternative project I hadn’t even considered. I loved seeing the smiles on their faces when they finished their project and ran to show their parents. I loved finding new ways to teach the children. However, more than anything, I loved being able to take in all the different lessons they ended up teaching me without even knowing it.

They taught me the true meaning of strength. They taught me what it means to not let an illness define you. They taught me how “art” and “perfect” are rarely in the same sentence, and that’s perfectly okay. More than anything, they taught me the importance of noticing the small things. One little girl I worked with was battling cancer, and yet she was one of the happiest little girls I encountered during my internship. She smiled, she laughed, and she played. Most importantly, she did one thing I believe we often forget. She noticed every moment: every smile, every time of laughter, every speck of blue sky. She absorbed every single piece of life, soaking it all in. Though I try more and more each day to live like her, I still have a long way to go.

Numerous friends asked me how I was able to be around kids who were dying. And you know what my response was? “How could I not?” These kids needed me. They needed the chance to be able to fully express themselves. They needed a positive person in their lives who could bring something good into their hospital experience. They needed someone who cared. A few years ago, I never imagined that person could be me, and yet, those children gave me the most memorable 9 months of my life.

Though I never did lose any of the children I taught, it was a thought I kept in my mind. The more I read the article written by the woman who teaches poetry and prose to dying children, the more I’ve begun to understand that we all deal with death in our own way. How I might have reacted to losing a child I taught may not be the same way one of the child’s nurses might have reacted. That being said, the important thing to remember is even if I had lost a child I taught, there were still tons of other children who needed me. Though one day might have felt quiet as I mourned the loss of a particular child I cared for, there were always more children coming to clinic the following day, and I needed to be the best I could be for them. Being sad around them wasn’t my job. If I got sad, they might have become sad as well. That’s why positivity is so important.

Teaching art to children with serious illnesses and disabilities was not easy, but it was the first experience I’d ever had that made me feel a deep sense of purpose. Seeing a smile on a little boy’s face meant I was part of his happiness. Having a little girl cling to my leg begging me not to leave warmed my heart more than she will ever know. I just hope one day the children I worked with know how much they changed my life.

On New Beginnings

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The late Maya Angelou once said, Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but no more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman. Though I do not believe I am starting a new beginning in order to escape a previous negative situation, I do agree forging a new path is challenging. Of course it is. However, it can also be incredibly rewarding. Wasn’t it Christopher Columbus who said:

You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

In less than two weeks, I will be starting my journey as a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in social work. I am very excited, and the bookish side of me is squealing over the social work textbooks I bought a week ago. Truthfully, I’m having to fight the urge to start devouring each chapter. However, I’ve been through enough school to know I’ll have plenty of time to read my textbooks over the next 13 weeks. As a matter of fact, I better soak up these last two weeks of blissful “summer vacation” before graduate school takes over my life.

When I graduated from college a few months ago with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, many of my friends gave me a dazed, yet terrified look when I asked them if they had plans following graduation. In response, they either shrugged their shoulders, mentioned travel or said something along the lines of, Get a job, I guess. That being said, I know as much as anyone how scary it is to imagine graduating from college and not knowing what to do next. Halfway through my junior year of college, I realized I’d have to go to graduate school if I planned to do anything within the field of psychology (or even a similar field). Therefore, the choice of going to graduate school was essentially a no-brainer for me. Although, I do know it’s not that easy of a decision for most people.

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Additionally, I can also understand the desire to travel following graduation. After all, these are the prime traveling years, right? We might as well get out and see the world while we have the time…and before we take on all those adult responsibilities like paying bills and working full-time. Though I’ve always loved to travel, it wasn’t until I left the comfort of the United States that I started to develop a deeper appreciation for other cultures and areas of the world. The first time I traveled out of the country (January 2010), I was a senior in high school, and I went to Peru with a group of my schoolmates for 12 days. Over the course of those 12 days, I learned more about poverty than I ever could grasp from reading a textbook. I also visited Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world,ate alpaca for the first time (and loved it!), and saw an incredible sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Though the Peru trip was phenomenal, I wasn’t home very long before the itch to travel started up again. In June of 2012, I studied abroad in Ireland for five weeks. Ever since seeing the movie P.S. I Love You, it had been my dream to visit Ireland. Therefore, when I realized I had the chance to not only visit Ireland but to study there for four weeks, I took up the opportunity as fast as I could. Even now, two years later, I can honestly say it was the best decision I’ve ever made and the trip of a lifetime.

Since I chose to go study abroad in Ireland without knowing anyone else who was going, I made a big leap before even setting foot in Ireland. However, I wouldn’t have done a single thing differently. Not knowing anyone before leaving was a big test for my introverted personality, but I needed that push. I needed that push to do something that scared me. Because you know what I learned? I learned that traveling “alone” is the greatest way to soak up everything, but it’s also a chance to have an experience that’s solely for you. It’s not the experience your parents would want or even the one some of your friends might have had when they studied abroad. It’s yours, and it’s happily filled with as many used bookstores and ice cream parlors you can find.

We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.-Anais Nin

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

So yes, by all means, travel. Travel your little heart out. I’ve done that, and I hope to travel a lot more in the future. However, for now, graduate school has my heart…and probably my soul…for the next two years. I’m fine with it, though. I’ll be getting an education in the field I want to enter, and I’ll be gaining first-hand experience as well. It’s not quite as enjoyable as traveling, I’ll admit, but I’m determined to make it a really great two years.

~Til tomorrow, friends.