Great and Small Things I Learned This Semester

{Second Semester of Grad School}

It’s been another relatively long hiatus, but we BACK. Finals were stressful. This senior year of undergrad/first year of PT grad school was wild. But we did it; we finished undergrad!!

I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Health Studies this past weekend. People call it a “fake” degree, because it’s sort of just a dummy bachelor’s degree to acknowledge that we’ve received an undergraduate education, but the Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the end of this 6-year program is what we’re really here for. Two more years until that, God willing!

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Although I haven’t been blogging much at all in these past 9 months, I can’t neglect to do my traditional “what I learned” post at the end of the semester. I have no idea where this one is going to go, to be honest. I have learned truly countless lessons that cannot be exhaustively listed in this blog post. However, I’ll do my best to recount this grand ol’ journey in list form!

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1. Dairy probably makes me break out, but not enough to make me want to give it up for more than the 40 days of Lent.

2. I do laundry more often than most college students (I do it every 7-12 days), and it’s costing me a FORTUNE (especially since it’s $10+ for wash and dry at my laundromat!!!).

3. Alllllll about the lower extremity. Hip, knee, ankle problems? Let me have a look at it (with my non-professional student PT eyes)!

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4. Also a whole crap ton about neuroscience that I did not expect I would learn going into PT school. Even my neuroscience major BFF (Rachel) was impressed with how much we were learning.

5. The pain of doing God’s will.

6. The incomparable beauty of doing God’s will.

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7. How to do split screen on a Mac computer.

8. How to set aside time for people who mean a lot to me, despite a busy schedule.

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9. I like Shawn Mendes’ music (“Youth” is my JAM currently).

10. Curried tuna salad is a FANTASTIC Friday meal.

11. How to have a little less of a big mouth.

12. How to be less judgmental of others.

13. The discipline of not listening to music after 10pm (as I realize that it’s 10:30pm and I forgot to turn off my Spotify… whoops).

14. I can blog if I set aside a short time for it every day.

15. How to be okay with the mess.

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16. How to communicate better and to be honest with myself and others.

17. How to fall in love with God even more.

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18. Body shape-wise, I’m the roundest/fullest I’ve been in several years (or ever?), but I’m probably the happiest with my body and can do more physically than I ever have been able to do.

19. I have medial tibial stress syndrome (aka shin splints), and I don’t even run that much. The best/worst part is that I know how to help myself.

20. Long term acute care PT is right up my alley, and I could see myself working in that kind of setting.

21. I’m still into selfies.

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22. How to lead a retreat.

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23. Uncomfortableness is a very good thing sometimes.

24. How to reflect on all these things that God does in my heart, just like the Blessed Virgin Mary did throughout her life.

25. God is good. All the time.

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That’s what I have for now! Hopefully the first half of summer will lend to some more blogs (maybe VLOGS!?). I’ll be staying in Boston working as a gross anatomy teaching assistant again, and then I have clinical starting in July. It’ll be busy but good (hopefully)!

Thanks, Madre and Pop ♥

So tell me:

What are some things you’ve learned this year!? 

 

 

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One Word

I have this idea to select one “word of the day” for each mini blog post that I’m now doing. It came to me in a vision (i.e. random shower thought probably).

Sunday, April 15

Restore

Today was a good day. However, today was also an emotionally hard day, and honestly, many days have been that way these past few weeks. But at Mass today, the priest preached about the difference between rightful sorrow and just plain ol’ wallowing.

I’m a wallower sometimes. If I’m sad about something, turn up the sad songs and cue the heavy hearts, because sometimes, I’d rather feel melancholy than feel nothing at all. But w h y. Yes, there is so much to be sorrowful about, because there are many things that happen in this world that ought not to happen. But this is not how things end. Christ gives us hope through His Death and Resurrection, and He restores our joy. He weeps with us, but then He raises us to new life with Him.

I cried many tears tonight, but this thought remained with me and consoled me.

Monday, April 16

Heart

We had pancakes and mimosas to start the day!!

Because it’s Monday. Also, because it’s marathon Monday / Patriot’s Day here in Boston, and some of us had a day off from work/School. Rachel, Zoe and I celebrated with some goods to start our day off on a highly sweet note.

I only watched the marathon for about 30 minutes to catch two of my friends running it. The conditions were disgusting out there — torrential rain, wind, 40 degrees. I had to keep myself from complaining walking in it all day when so many people were running/arm biking/walking/rucking 26.2 miles in it.

This year more than ever — perhaps because my heart has been drinking in every ounce of inspiration and encouragement it can get (or perhaps because it was straight up miserable outside) — I noticed how much the marathoners endured the course with their hearts, more so than their bodies. Trudging through that weather at mile 23 (where we were spectating), was symbolism and grit at its best, and I am so grateful to have witnessed it. No better way to start the week, I say. #GoDesi!!

It almost makes me want to run a marathon. But the other day I told Rachel that I don’t see the need to run 26.2 miles in my life. If there’s an apocalypse and I need to run 26.2 miles from zombies who are about to eat my brains, I’m willing to take the L on that one.

Tuesday, April 17

Waiting

Alllllllright, we are ready for warm weather here. It’s crisp and beautiful outside, so I’m grateful for that, but winter jackets need to go. May is almost here, so we’re just waiting for those consistent 60-70 degree temperatures to hit any time now…

Other things I’m waiting for:

  • Graduation
  • A couple fun trips this summer (dying to go camping to see stars)
  • Rachel’s pre-wedding festivities/actual wedding
  • …just whatever the next hour/day brings, because “life is a highway; I wanna ride it all night long.” ← name that artist!

Today’s moves and grooves was a quick 20 minute workout, 30 seconds on, 10 off, 5 rounds:

  • TRX rows
  • around the world ball toe taps
  • TRX ab rollouts
  • TRX atomic pushups
  • ball jumper-over burpees
  • situps

 

 

The Mess of Life

Hello.

Greetings from NY! I figured I should write a blog post while I’m on spring break. It’s sad and strange that I don’t automatically think to write a blog post in my spare time anymore. This blog means so much to me, but I feel it slipping through the cracks (JK it slipped through the cracks, like, 6 months ago).

This blog has evolved as I have evolved as a person. I still have great interest in food and fitness, but there are simply (or rather, less simply) more things to which I need to direct my attention and energy in this season of life.

One of those things is academics. Things are still busy, but now that the great learning curve of my first graduate semester has passed, PT school has become a bit more exciting, and I have yet to approach the brink of despair (*overdramatized for effect*) as I did last semester. I also completed a 6-week, part-time clinical in a long term acute care hospital, which I loved (not just because I got to wear scrubs aka the work-acceptable pajamas). It’s all still hard work, but I’d be worried if it wasn’t so.

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Academics is 50% of life. The other 50% is just this wild freakin’ ride that my heart and soul are on right now. It’s like one of those rickety wooden rollercoasters (actually my fave kind) that have superb thrill factor but could also snap and break at any moment.

There is only so much I am willing to share about this roller coaster of my life, but overall, I have learned a lot.

I’ve learned about what is too much for my heart to handle.

I’ve learned about what makes my heart truly joyful and at peace.

I’ve learned how to be honest with myself regarding both of those things.

I’ve learned that I make so many mistakes over and over again, despite having good intentions.

I’ve learned about my weaknesses and what I really need from others.

I’ve learned about my strengths and what I can give to others.

I’ve learned to find the good in others, but also to put down my foot when others are not good for me.

I’ve learned that it is better to find beauty in pain than to find pain in what seems beautiful on the surface.

I’ve learned to be okay with all of the above, because life is a MESS. A. Darn. Mess. That’s my word of the year so far, and I’m okay with that.

I’ve learned that God is here in this mess and that I don’t have to run away from it all. He never changes and reminds me always that He has never abandoned me and He never will. He is faithful, and He makes all things new.

And on top of all that/to change subject, my best friend is engaged (and she asked me to be her maid of honor AHHHH)!!!

Rachel visited NY for spring break earlier this week too! It was nice to spend time with the bride-to-be. Truly just having heart to heart conversations from morning ’til night.

I also co-directed the Catholic Center retreat this semester with my friend Austin, so that was a doozy. But more than anything, it was a wonderful and humbling experience. The theme was “beauty through humility and obedience,” which I suggested in the first place, but I didn’t realize how much I personally needed that message this semester until we were on retreat.

hearts that are His #retreat #totustuus

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Me: “What’s something we both like to do?” ➔ Austin: “Uhhh, work out?” ➔ Me: “Okay, we shall flex.”

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the seniors ♥ 

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Sarah, a source of peace and joy

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sums up my friendship with Janice (so much love and appreciation for her)

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the killer retreat team

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“More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it? I, the LORD, alone probe the mind and test the heart…”

— Jeremiah 17: 9-10

^^^Too true.

Alive and well. Breathing and smiling. Failing and learning. Praying and growing.

My mess is minuscule compared to others’ messes, but it’s all one big Jackson Pollock painting — pretty cool in the end.

So tell me:

About the mess in your life.

Something new you did this past month!

 

Out of Blogging Shape

Merry Christmas!!! I hope you all had a fantastic day with loved ones yesterday!

Six months ago, you wouldn’t have to ask me once to remember to blog, but currently, I feel as though I’ve fallen out of “blogging shape”. Several friends have had to remind me that I could utilize my break from school to blog more, and I just respond by saying, “…Huh. You’re right. I almost forgot I had a blog.”

Part of the reason I’ve been hesitant to bite the bullet and blog more frequently again (besides grad school busyness finally dying down and my subsequent desire to do absolutely nothing) is that I feel like I have too much I could blog about. As I both implicitly and explicitly described in my traditional end-of-semester blog post, I have learned oodles of academic lessons and life lessons alike; I could probably write a short novel about everything that swirls around my head these days.

But as I would do when getting back into physical shape, I’ll ease into blogging shape again by starting light and slow. Let’s start with a recap of Christmas break so far.

(Also, I’m running out of media storage space on WordPress, and since your girl doesn’t have the time nor the money to upgrade to WordPress Premium just for extra photo storage, we’re gonna work with collages. Not ideal, but better than nothing!)

Christmas collage

We made it to balmy Florida last Friday, feeling climate-confused (i.e. hot and cranky) carrying our heavy winter coats out of the airplane and into the humidity of Orlando. I cannot complain about the 70 degree temperatures and blue skies down here though 😀

Most of our meals have been Asian home-cooked meals made by Madre. Everything from pho to spring rolls to sticky rice with Laotian sausage to Korean galbi jjim (aka the best beef dish I ever did taste). She snuck in steak with blue cheese sauce one night too, and that was SOULFUL. I love cooking for myself in Boston, but ain’t nobody got time for steak over there.

Other things I’ve eaten include oatmeal (classic), Cheetos (childhood fave), avocado egg toast (classic), fried bananas (omg), salads (nutrition), and fried pork belly (LIVE UR LIFE).

Moves and grooves have come in the form of hula hooping, peddle boating (Ben gifted the boat to the fam for Christmas!), Just Dance, Wii Sports, and some outdoor workouts.

Side note: If you peddle boat fast enough, it’s a decent butt workout. Should I peddle boat to a spin class playlist??

We technically started Christmas Day on the dot at 12am with midnight Mass, which was gloooooorious! Ladies dressed in red, trumpets blasting (legit trumpets were used during Mass, so fun), joyful spirits, and Jesus in the manger. UGH.

I also ate an embarrassing number of my aunt’s homemade cookies to celebrate. 🙂

After sleeping in, we ate brunch and then FaceTimed many of our family members for a couple hours. I fried some bananas for the masses and did 100 burpees for time and for… fun (?) before we headed to our family friends’ house for Christmas dinner!

The top left corner photo of the collage shows just a little bit of what we ate. Everyone’s mother is such a good cook!! Options included pot roast, galbi jjim that Madre made, sweet and salty ribs, pancit malabon (Filipino noodle dish), peanut oxtail with eggplant and bok choy, asparagus, and loads of white rice as the base for all that goodness. Dessert included fried bananas, brownies, and pistachio muffins. #blessed and #stuffed.

The “kids” (read: all of us under the age of 27) watched a hilariously and nauseatingly cheesy Hallmark movie before we switched to Beauty and the Beast, to which we sang along with passion and enthusiasm.

Back at home, I prayed with the Christmas Day Gospel (John 1:1-18) and reflected on the truly incredible and beautiful mystery of Christmas. This quote from the former pope also struck me:

God’s sign is the baby in need of help and in poverty. Exactly the same sign has been given to us… God’s sign is simplicity… God’s sign is that he makes himself small for us. This is how he reigns.

He does not come with power and outward splendor. He comes as a baby — defenseless and in need of our help. He does not want to overwhelm us with his strength. He takes away or fear of his greatness. He asks for our love: so he makes himself a child. He wants nothing other from us than our love, through which we spontaneously learn to enter into his feelings, his thoughts, and his will — we learn to live with him and to practice with him that humility of renunciation that belongs to the very essence of love.

God made himself small so that we could understand him, welcome him, and love him…

Christmas has become the feast of gifts in imitation of God who has given himself to us. Let us allow our heart, our soul, and our mind to be touched by this fact!

— Pope Benedict XVI

And with that, I wish you a blessed week ahead, friends. I think I’m going to go on a walk (step counts always plummet by literally thousands when I’m home vs. at school), work out… and maybe study a bit (I know, I am cringing too, but I must retain information!).

I feel like I used so many parentheses in this post. *shrug*

So tell me:

How did you celebrate Christmas (or any other holiday during this season)?

Best thing you ate this week.

Have you ever gone peddle boating?

 

A Deep Breath of Gratitude

I could C R Y.

It’s been oh so long, friends. Posting this blog post (after a 2+ month hiatus) feels like a huge virtual hug to any person out there who is reading this right now.

This semester has been a wild ride. Graduate school (+ life / growth / relationships) has proven to be quite different and much more challenging than I could have expected, but c’est la vie, eh?

But in the spirit of {American} Thanksgiving tomorrow, I thought this would be a fine time to take a hot minute to breathe and show gratitude for the things of life — the happy, the hurt, and every detail in between.

This semester…

I’ve experienced profound friendships.

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I’ve studied more than I ever have, but at the same time earned the most humbling and disappointing grades in my college career.

I’ve eaten some good-for-the-soul food.

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I’ve doubted my ability to become a competent physical therapist several times.

I’ve been ceaselessly encouraged by friends, family, and God to keep on keeping on.

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I’ve seen blue skies, gray skies, purple skies, and orange skies.

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I’ve had fun nights filled with line dancing, cheers-ing, and singing at the top of my lungs.

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I’ve had nights that didn’t seem to end even when the sun rose.

I’ve seen friends, family and strangers with even longer nights of the soul than I could imagine.

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I’ve made myself some wholesome foods.

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I’ve made myself think I’m eating wholesome foods.

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I’ve felt hurt in ways that I’ve never felt before.

But I’ve felt joy and the feeling of being cared for in ways that I’ve never felt before.

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I’ve seen what it means to be among beautiful women of God, who love to the very end.

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I’ve hurt others in ways I never intended but still wish I never did.

I’ve had to humble myself and apologize for my wrongdoings, which happen more times than I can count.

I’ve accomplished things in mind, soul, and body through God’s grace, and I’ve seen others do even more.

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I’ve seen tears of sadness, tears of guilt, tears of anger, and tears of joy.

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I’ve cried until I didn’t know why I was crying, and I’ve smiled until I didn’t know why I was smiling.

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I’ve dropped the ball in some friendships and allowed others to help me pick it up.

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I’ve seen God in every single day, in all of these things which remind me that, although we are dying, we are living all the more. I am beyond thankful for every person and every motion of the heart that has made this semester, this year, this LIFE… something beautiful.

God is good. All the time.

p.s. if you want to read something nourishing for the soul, please do yourself a favor and check out my friend Kelsey’s blog – she writes about beauty and about humanity so eloquently it hurts.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am grateful for you.