The Great and Small Things I Learned {Sophomore Semester II}

My legs are ombre.

They’re pale on top, medium-shade at the knee, and dark at the bottom. And then I have a sexy ankle sock tan. #aeriereal

Besides my tan lines signaling the start of summer, the end of spring semester also signals the bittersweet time when everyone in college parts and goes their separate ways for a few months (or longer if you’re a senior or if you’re studying abroad like I am).

I am so grateful to be spending this week in Boston with my friends without any studying required of us. Rachel and I have checked off a few food bucket list places, the sun has been shining, and I’ve been SLEEPING. Oh, sweet sleep.

On Monday, Rachel and I walked over to Jugos in the morning for acai bowls (from our bucket list). I felt so Californian and trendy.


growing their own wheatgrass of course


“Sao Paolo” for Rachel + “Los Verdes” for me

In my hipster-wannabe pride, it pains me to say that acai bowls do indeed live up to the hype. They were fantastic. BUT I do feel like I could make them at home. They’re pricey, but we were very full for a while after these, and it was lovely to have something so fresh.

We enjoyed a leisurely walk back to campus since it was such a gorgeous day and it wasn’t like we had any studying to do (!!!).

IMG_1030 IMG_1034

Monday night involved going to a fancy playground with friends, ungodly amounts of white cheddar popcorn, chocolate pudding eaten with a plastic knife, and Psych.




Tuesday included another bucket list place— Emack & Bolio’s for their cereal cone (basically a rice krispie treat wrapped around the cone). The cereal cone was a cool concept, but Rachel and I agreed that the ice cream was just average. But it was still ice cream, which is delicious, and I thought the cone was good!


“beantown crunch” with a cocoa pebbles cereal cone for Rachel + maple walnut with a rice krispie cereal cone for me

Followed by hours of girl talk.

Yesterday I helped my brother move out of his apartment, ate lunch with him and my mom, played outside for a bit (perfect weather), and helped cook a dinner at the Catholic Center for the graduating seniors (and they let me join in on the feast!).


As with all my previous semesters here (I, II, III) at college, I have learned many lessons— some beautiful, some painful, all gifts.

the great and small

Lunch dessert is fabulous.


I don’t have to go to the gym most days of the week, and I’ll be okay. I can still stay active and do challenging things without a gym.

Working out with friends outside might be one of my favorite things.


We cannot attach ourselves to people. We can only attach ourselves to God. (via my friend Rachel via our friend Sarah)

Pride is probably my biggest vice and the root of all my internal struggles.

Social media can be pretty toxic for me. I need to take regular breaks from it.

I am an abstainer, not a moderator.

I don’t need to eat as much protein as I thought, and I feel best with a more carb-heavy diet.


I cannot be complacent with my faith. I need to address my doubts, as little as they may be, and actively seek truth. (appreciate Julia’s honesty on this topic)

It is so painful to see good friends move away, but God has a beautiful plan for each of us and we need to trust Him.


Walking is such an amazing human mechanism (thanks, biomechanics!).

I hold a lot of tension in my head and neck when I dance.

Electroswing music is a thing, and it. is. ART. (shoutout to my girl Lauren for introducing me to it)

I like plain yogurt better than cottage cheese these days.


I can track my calories/macros objectively without restricting.

I am definitely an emotional eater.

Boston weather is more mercurial than Donald Trump’s words.

Writing at least one thing for which I am thankful in my planner every day before going to bed was a game-changer for my perspective.

Going without makeup for a while ain’t so bad.

I am at a pretty good place regarding my body image, but I am not immune to hard times and temptations to restrict.

My best friend and I have the same brain sometimes, and it’s freaking weird.


It is improbable that we’ve had the friends, experiences, and circumstances that we’ve had.

God can show you very clearly that He is near. Sometimes He won’t make it clear though, but that doesn’t mean He’s not near.

Talking out loud to myself is the best form of studying for me. I need to hear it said.

I should be aware of my face in lecture, or else the professor might call me out with a laser pointer in front of my classmates.

I embarrass my friends sometimes/often/always.


I need to make sure I bring enough snacks to work.

My friends are like my personal trainers, except spiritually. They push me outside of my comfort zone to become a better human.

Cycling is HARD.

VO2max test equipment is really flattering.


I’m over trying so hard to impress boys. OVER IT.

^^^I will tell myself that I am over it, but still fall into that trap. C’est la vie.

It’s okay if I don’t have all the answers/advice for someone. Being a good listener can be what exactly someone needs.

Tori Kelly continues to slay with her music that describes my life.

Tears are truly a gift from the Holy Spirit.

God continues to show how much He loves us, and it is the most beautiful, amazing, heart-wrenching, humbling thing ever.

I’m linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud today! I’ve missed this party!


Hope you all have an awesome Thursday ♥︎

So tell me:

If you are a college student: Lesson(s) you learned this semester/year.

If you are not a college student: Lesson(s) you learned since the beginning of 2016.

Have you ever tried/do you like acai bowls? 


24 thoughts on “The Great and Small Things I Learned {Sophomore Semester II}

  1. Since the beginning of 2016 I’ve learned I can do hard things. I am tough even if it’s uncomfortable. I actually don’t like acai, so I probably would skip the bowl. Good for my wallet too I suppose 🙂

  2. I love reflections like this! It’s so awesome to see how you’ve changed and become even more awesome. This whole year has taught me that my priorities differ from a lot of my classmates’, I’m able to define myself as more than a series of numbers, I can “put myself out there” and take risks, and also I’m an emotional eater… or maybe it just turned me into one with all the craziness. 😛

  3. As of 2016, I’ve had to make several sacrifices. I find that I feel best on a high fiber and whole foods, 60-70% plant based diet with eggs and seafood as my primary sources of animal proteins, minimal oils, a little dark chocolate, and with the majority of my calories coming from vegetables (mostly cooked), beans, starchy carbs such as sweet potatoes and pumpkin, organic soy, nuts, avocados, seeds and lots of herbs! I’ve been trying to cut out a lot more animal products but still finding really good sources of plant protein. As with exercise I’ve learned to incorporate a little more weight training and more HIIT, which is SO SO fun! It’s been going really well in that case 🙂

  4. Are you serious about the cereal cones?!?! Omg that’s like two of my favourite things ever combined into one swoontastic tastegasm. And now that we’ve gotten THAT out of the way… I really love reflection posts like this, and it sounds like you had a pretty freaking epic semester and it makes me wish I was back in college again, even though during the time I only wished for things to be over.

    I think one of the biggest things I learned during the last couple of months was that I can do a lot more than I give myself credit for, and that I really have to be conscious of not selling myself short or becoming too complacent with “just okay.” There’s no reason not to rock the socks off of life.

  5. So much truth!!!! I’m with ya on most/all of these! Carbs give me life, social media sometimes drains me of life, abstainer for life …. I’ve got to say YOU have taught me a lot….about LIFE! Hopefully we will meet up this summer before you desert us Americans for Ireland 😉
    Popcorn and chocolate pudding at night in parks …solid choices and I wish I could’ve joined in 💁🏼😘
    Love you sweet girl

  6. Tears are truly a gift from the Holy Spirit. (This. God has taught me that tears, tears over my sin, over my grieving my Holy Father, are the Holy Spirit working in my heart and convicting me.)

    God continues to show how much He loves us, and it is the most beautiful, amazing, heart-wrenching, humbling thing ever. (This is probably the BIGGEST thing I’ve learned this year, and it is so humbling to see His mercy, His love, His grace and how He is our Father.)

  7. Okay, props for the acai bowl…I just couldn’t get into it and even after asking for 1/4 cup + of peanut butter, it was still a fruity (pebble) landslide.

    You’ve had another epic year for the books and it’s been amazing to be apart of too. I was just telling a friend the other day that I’m going to try testing out eating a primarily carb diet because protein/fat has been meddling with me lately. This year? I learnt that it’s okay to not be a doormat.

  8. Your post is like a beautiful collage!
    Lessons learned… time. management. Because my course is mostly completed in my own time!
    I’ve never tried Acai bowls! Which is crazy, given where I live. But when it comes to the punch, I always want something more carb-y, fatty and warm. Like creamy porridge or eggs on toast.

  9. I love other people’s reflection posts because I’m terrible at reflecting and writing them myself haha. This was so fun to read and get to know you a little better!

    And those acai bowls look amazing, especially the chocolate and coconut (?) one! (Although I’m sure you could definitely make them yourself, too!)

  10. I couldn’t help but chuckle at your Californian comment because it’s honestly really true. Acai bowls are a daily occurrence over here, and I didn’t realize that was not how it was for everybody. Whoops! Congratulations to another year under your belt, Alison! Can’t wait to see you continue to thrive in your junior year.

  11. I really enjoy looking back at the semester and reminiscing; personally, I find it helps put the future into perspective. My biggest takeaway from Spring 2016 was to challenge my fears and put myself out there socially because you never know what can occur.

    Also, I love acai bowls! I’ve tried making them myself with the Sambazon packets but it’s just not the same. 😭 So hard to shell out all that $$$ though. Are those goji berries I see?? What else was in your bowl? 😍

  12. These are all such great things you have learned this year! I am with you on being over trying to impress boys. SO Not worth it! The right one will come when it’s supposed to, I’m a firm believer in that. Until then, let’s live our lives independently and focus on self growth! Also, days without makeup are awesome. Letting our skin breathe feels pretty fantastic.

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