The Great and Small Things I Learned {Grad School Year II}

Well well well.

If it isn’t the old BLOGGY BLOG. It pains me to see that I have only blogged twice in 2019 thus far, but I am hoping that will change as I head off to clinical this summer and look forward to a (hopefully…please, Lord) lighter semester in the fall.

I realized that I didn’t do a “things I learned” post after last semester, to which I *GASPED* because it has been a tradition to post one after every semester…

Talk about a trip down memory lane! Just looking at that long list of blog posts reminds me of the great privilege it has been to have had such a rich college experience — one full of the most wonderful joys and the most aching heartbreaks in every aspect of life. God is good.

Enough sap for now. There will be more sap sometime later in this post, I’m sure.

Here we go — a list of the GREAT and s m a l l things I learned in this second year of DPT school:

1) B’s get DPT degrees, man. Sometimes you just gotta celebrate that B-level grade with all the joy and gratitude in the world and then mmmove on with ya life.

2) I need to get more sleep to be a good human.

3) There is so much grace and beauty in witnessing your best friend enter into the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony *heart eyes x1000*.

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[Nicole Ellen Photography]

4) Evidence-based health care practice is possible and very important.

5) The why, how, and when to “crack someone’s back” (read: not for everyone and not super often). This is one tiny aspect of what I learned, in addition to a heck of a lot about treating many neurological conditions and neck/back pain, which involves mostly EXERCISE!

6) I’m a big Khalid fan. Also H.E.R. Just into those R&B vibes, I guess.

7) I am capable of taking lukewarm/cold-ish showers for 90 days straight (it was a fasting thing that happened before Lent and through Lent).

8) I have an endless list of weaknesses that seems to grow by the day, but this has caused me to learn how to lean hard into God’s strength and grace.

9) How to really think, pray, and reason through a relatively big decision, even if others do not approve of the decision I make.

10) Young people living out their faith steadfastly and truthfully can and will be persecuted for it.

11) There are many ways that I as a Catholic need to love others better. Through reflection and prayer, I have actually learned a great deal about how to be a better Catholic from my friends who do not share my faith. God has no limits and continues to humble me as a human being.

12) I COULD run a half marathon if I really wanted to run one. I have NOT yet, but I COULD.

13) My sides have gotten pudgier, but I have learned to embrace them and, honestly, I think I perform better in my workouts having them around ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

14) It is important and good to call my parents more often (love you, mom and dad!).

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15) Sometimes, if it’s past 10pm, conversation with friends is more important than studying.

16) “Athleisure” is the way to go, baby (95% of the time). Whether I exercise or not that day. Because studying in jeans is not a comfortable lifestyle.

17) I realized in the last month of school that having a daily goals list is a good idea. Go figure!

18) Studying with friends is very encouraging, motivating, and sometimes it even saves my butt when I’m like, “Wait, I didn’t know she posted lecture that we’re supposed to do on our own…”

19) Talking out loud to myself / a friend to study is helpful and probably my study method of choice. Writing things down is second place.

20) There are plenty of things that I need to constantly reflect upon or let others reflect back to me in order to know how to improve and grow as a person.

21) It’s never too late to ask for forgiveness, and it’s never too late to forgive.

22) Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls are the best cinnamon rolls of all time (thanks to Sarah’s mom and to Zoe for making these and introducing me to such a heavenly treat).

23) How to not take straightforward confrontation/comments personally all the time.

24) I need to work on my spine mobility.

25) Using kitchen scissors to make a “chopped” salad is highly effective.

26) I’m starting to like my overnight oats a leeeeetle more liquid-y than I used to… just 1/4 c. more of milk perhaps.

27) A sense of how to teach and manage an inclusion dance class for children with and without disabilities.

28) I can make it to literally the last pair of underwear / socks before doing laundry, and that takes approximately 2 weeks only HAHA.

29) Talking to trusted, holy people about my inner turmoils and battles is very good and allows for a lot of room for grace to help me emerge from the struggles.

30) Even if I do not have make time to sit down and pray for 20 minutes each day, it is fruitful and good to talk to God throughout the day in between everything that is happening. It’s like texting/calling your best friend to keep them updated on every last detail 🙂

31) The people who have journeyed with me during my time in Boston are some of the most precious gifts I have received these last 5 years.

32) I have to start thinking about real-life things like jobs and ~the future~ in less than one year, even though I still feel like I’m just in school for the rest of my life. AGH!!!

33) I missed blogging. ♥︎ It was kinda hard getting the wheels turning, but here we are.

One more year of grad school to go, and I am both terrified and stoked. It’s been a trip so far, but I’m grateful for each day of the journey.

Thanks for tuning in, friends! I hope you are having a great May so far. We are almost halfway through 2019 — w-h-ho-hooaaaa. Why is it still < 50° outside right now though!?!?

Have a great week!

So tell me:

How has 2019 been for you?

What are some of the great and small lessons you’ve learned so far?

College/Grad school students: what’s new!? How was this year?

What is everyone doing for the summerI have a 12-week clinical at a hospital kinda far from home, which will be an adventure, I’m sure!

 

 

 

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Never a Dull Moment

Merry Christmas!!! Happy New Year!!! I am so late in posting this!!!

I hope you all have had a joyful and peaceful Christmas, New Year, and holiday season. I am very grateful for all the blessings that God has brought about this semester and this Christmas, as He always does.

Second year of PT school is off to a fine start! This past semester was lighter in terms of work load, and that might be a reason why I enjoyed it more than others, but was also very genuinely interested in our first neurological systems course, especially since we had the privilege of working with patients every week who had actually had a stroke in their past.

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Of course, Christmas was a joyous and heartwarming celebration of our Savior’s birth! I spent lots of quality time with Madre, Pop, Ben, and Ben’s girlfriend, as well as my aunt, uncle, cousins, and John! We’ve been eating so. much. of Madre’s killer food. My arteries need a break from all of her delicious meats and all of the buttery Christmas cookies (still), but I am not that mad about the cause of the predicament.

Here’s a hodgepodge of snapshots from the latter half of the semester + Christmas! Blessed times, man. And selfies forever.

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On Christmas Eve, I meditated on His name “Emmanuel,” meaning “God with us,” and felt much gratitude for Our Creator becoming so close to us, becoming LIKE us in humanity, to be with us through every emotion and trial in this here earthly life. What Love.

Last Saturday, we drove down to Florida to stay at my parents’ vacation home for the week, and it’s been a lovely, relaxing time in this balmy Southern climate! One highlight was visiting the NASA Kennedy Space Center, which made me both awe-inspired and terrified of outer space. I wonder how people can get rockets to the moon while I can hardly get myself out of bed in the morning. Other highlights have included lots more food, my friend’s cat dressed in a sushi costume, learning how to play Settlers of Catan, and being able to walk in the Florida sunshine. My mother also gifted me a new iPhone X, so pic quality has improved!

Another collage to display the Florida fun:

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So…last year. This year. New Year. That kind of ~soft~ stuff.

There truly was never a dull moment in 2018. It was one of the most emotionally difficult years of my life. If I could guess the number of days that I cried (for better or for worse) in 2018, I’d estimate 300/365 days of the year. I’ve cried and seen others cry enough this year that at one point, a drop of water rolling down the side of my WATER BOTTLE provoked sadness in me because of its mimicry of a tear rolling down someone’s cheek. HAHAHA #melodramatic.

But you bet your bottom dollar those tears came with a lot of growth. I learned…

…how to communicate better, in a way that is both loving and straightforward/sometimes brutally honest. 

…how to better make decisions for myself.

…to allow myself to be uncomfortable and to not push away the feelings of loneliness or brokenheartedness, no matter how major or minor those feelings are, because the Lord makes Himself KNOWN in those feelings.

…forgiveness.

…to care a little less about what other people think.

…to be very comfortable in my own body through its ups and downs, ins and outs, gains and losses.

…God works legit miracles in my own life and the lives of my loved ones.

…a heck of a lot about physical therapy.

…the beauty of a man and a woman laying down their lives for one another in marriage (@Rachel and Austin).

…gratitude truly is the will of the God (1 Thessalonians 5:18), and it always brings a lot of light and clarity to life.

Although some of the non-dull moments of 2018 were quite difficult and painful, there were many moments that made my heart SOAR with joy. Instagram has some evidence of  the latter:

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hearts that are His #retreat #totustuus

A post shared by Alison (@alison_grooves) on

In 2019, I’d like there to be “never a dull moment” as well. Even in the monotony of work and life, it’s impossible for there to be a dull moment when there is so much that can be extracted from the moment — so many things for which to be grateful, so many ways to remain in His humble and simple love.

Hopefully the non-dull moments are more joyful than not, but whatever the weather, I am HERE FOR IT. Because God is good all the time.

Have a fabulous weekend! We are hittin’ the road back to NY already tomorrow!

So tell me:

What were some of the never-dull moments of 2018 for you?

What did you do for Christmas/the holidays/New Year?

What are you excited for in 2019?

 

 

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!? 

 

 

Virtual Breakfast Date

Hey, hi, hello, let’s meet and eat.

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…I would {obviously} peek at what you’re having for breakfast. Here’s what I’m having this morning:

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To wipe that disgusted/confused look off some of your faces, I’d explain that it’s an overnight oat smoothie blended with greens this morning and topped with the crunchiest purple corn flakes (I just attempted to find which brand it was, because we threw out the box, but I’m not sure which one it is!). I would assure you that it tastes delicious. Wanna try a bite?

…I would say never mind, don’t have a bite. I came down with a fever a few days ago and I feel 95% recovered, but my throat still hurts a bit, so don’t take your chances.

…I would attribute my sickness to two days in a row of theme parks in less-than-ideal weather. But with an ideal theme park companion by my side! My dear friend, Lauren (fellow air saxophone and groovy tune enthusiast), visited us in Florida for a few days after New Years, and we had a grand ol’ time.

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The night she arrived, Madre and I (poor Pop was the first to get a fever that night) took her to Disney Springs for dinner and perusing. We shared so many hysterical laughs at the silliest things, and it was the best.

…I would exclaim that dinner at Paddlefish was STELLAR. They started us off with the fluffiest bread with honey cinnamon butter, and now I think honey cinnamon butter should be on every table across the nation. Lauren got the mahi-mahi special, which had a macadamia nut crust and sat on top of crab fried rice. Madre got the fish and chips, which came with two giant pieces of perfectly crispy fried cod and sweet potato fries (her absolute favorite). And I got the scallops with bacon, crispy brussels sprouts, and cauliflower puree. We all shared bites of each other’s dishes, and everything was blissful.

We finished the meal with their “charred carrot cake,” which was three times larger than I was expecting. It came with excellent vanilla ice cream, shortbread crumbles and little fried carrots *jaw drops*. We took most of it home.

…I would stop drooling over my past meal and continue the story of our fun evening. Following dinner, we walked around and admired the charm of overpriced Disney merchandise.

THEN WE DANCED…and participated in a lip synch competition that was 20 minutes longer than we were expecting. I posted some of the craziness on Instagram:

I was l i v i n g. This is basically what I do in my room by myself when I’m bored, except this time I was less loser status and actually had an audience! Having Lauren there was extra fun, because she’s often my groove buddy.

…I would tell you that we went to Universal Studios and Disney’s Magic Kingdom the next two days. It was rainy and chilly on Universal day, so some of the rides were down unfortunately.

Lauren and I managed to have a nice time at Harry Potter World though, sipping warm Butterbeer, eating delicious ice cream from Florean Fontescue, and remarking at how Diagon Alley = diagonally, and Knockturn Alley = nocturnally. But the Revenge of the Mummy ride outside of HP World was our favorite. We went twice.

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Magic Kingdom was…fine. Mistake #1 was arriving at 11am, which is way too late for a theme park like Disney. It was utterly packed that day (the wait for Space Mountain kept teetering between 2.5 to 4 hours lol), and also utterly FREEZING for Florida. I was quite underdressed and just miserable by the end of the day, but it was still fun hanging out with Lauren all day and even meeting up with our friend Domenica and her cousins sometime in there (bottom middle photo)!

…I would say that Lauren really made the theme parks fun. If it weren’t for her humor and both of our “well…we’ll work with what we got” personalities, it would have been a rather disappointing two days. But anything can be a great time if you let it be.

…I would wish you warmth! As we road-tripped home from FL to NY this weekend, it felt like the movie The Day After Tomorrow when the ice was invading the city like a wave. Just coldness creeping and increasing with every pit stop. I’m such a baby when it comes to the cold. You’d think I’d be okay with it living in the Northeast for 12 years, but nah.

…I would say that I’ve been eating ohhhhh so well this winter break. But I’m sure you’ve noticed.

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Yes, we did go to Popeyes on our road trip. It was one of the greasiest most delicious things I’ve ever put into my mouth. Other things have included desserts from my brother and his girlfriend (she got me banana pudding from Magnolia bakery!), sushi (I think NY has the best sushi in the northeast), and mom’s homemade food (*angels singing*).

…I would laugh at how I had coffee date with a friend in a heated train station yesterday. My friend who I met abroad in Ireland, Cristen, and I got hot beverages and muffins from The Black Cow yesterday, but there were no seats left in the tiny coffee shop. Thus, I asked the cashier if she knew any place nearby where we could just sit and chat, and she suggested the train station… So we went.

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These chairs were actually attached to the floor because they were more like art pieces, I think. But it was heated in there, sort of. I had to push a button every 20 minutes that said, “PRESS IF YOU WANT HEAT.” YES WE WANT HEAT.

Cristen and I are up for anything though, and we had a lovely time catching up on life. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I had the steamed milk and honey (loved it) and a morning glory muffin.

Soul warmed by conversation and esophagus warmed by hot beverages.

…I would shut up now because this post is so long and ask you:

What are you eating for breakfast?

Have you ever had a less-than-ideal theme park experience?

Tell me about an odd situation you’ve experienced recently.

How was your first week of 2018?

Weird Facts About Last Week

Are you ready for this post!? I don’t think you are. Because I’m not.

To put everything into context, I am back in Boston after a week of touring NYC with my friend Rachel for our spring break. I shared our Tuesday adventures with you all last week, but that was just the very beginning. More food, more fun, more freakiness awaited us.

To sum it all up without boring you to death, here are some weird facts about our experiences last week!

Fact #1: I basically forced vegetables down Rachel’s throat by hiding greens in all our breakfast foods. Such a mom move.

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Davida’s green silver dollar banana pancakes (one of my absolute favorites)

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banana peanut butter oatmeal “dough boy” smoothie with greens blended in (inspired by Kath Eats)

Fact #2: We were spontaneously part of a street show in Central Park, and someone jumped over my head.

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it’s because I’m short

Fact #3: We came across some trendy, delicious places to eat in NYC, and I pretended that frozen yogurt was a healthy afternoon snack.

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Toasties Deli and Chillbox Greek Frozen Yogurt

Fact #4: Rachel and I regressed to become 5-year-olds at Dylan’s Candy Bar. Candy is so nostalgic.

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Fact #5: It was warm enough for us to be a little sweaty while walking around in NYC. HOORAY FOR SWEAT! That means spring weather!

Fact #6: My family took us out to not one, but two Groupon meals last week. The first one was at our favorite Persian restaurant…

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The Groupon came with four desserts, ok?

And then the next night we went to Ichiro, aka my favorite Japanese restaurant ever.

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Fact #7: Rachel and I dedicated a whole day to studying. I know, what nerds.

Fact #8: We took a casual study break and met a stranger who also happens to be an awesome iPhone photographer (follow him on Instagram here!).

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{PC: @neivy}

Fact #9: We could have slid on our butts down this staircase of death if we wanted to weren’t careful.

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Fact #10: We ended our study day with the sushi dinner above, Cold Stone, and more nostalgia as we watched the movie Ice Princess. I almost gagged at how bad the acting is in that movie, but I used to love it.

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shared apple pie a la cold stone with the bro

Fact #11: Daliza was our tour guide for the day on Friday as she drove us all around our county to show Rachel (and me) the pretty and hip places.

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Fact #12: See that bottom right photo? That’s Rachel and me. Freaky things happen in Sleepy Hollow… (Anyone know the legend of the headless horseman?)

Fact #13: I eat banana soft serve with Greek yogurt. And apparently with cinnamon and granola as well!

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Fact #14: Rachel and I walked outdoors all day on Saturday despite it being rainy.

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NY Public Library, High Line, and Chelsea Market

Fact #15: We decided that we could live in Chelsea Market. All the food, all the shops, all the time.

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Fact #16: Rachel had her first authentic New York bagel ever, and I have never even eaten one myself.

Fact #17: But I did have the creamiest, richest “Two Cookies and Cream” ice cream from Ronnybrook in Chelsea Market with both Oreos and Biscoff cookies. Wowza.

Fact #18: I had a salad at Bareburger. Not because I was opposed to a burger by any means but because I really wanted artichokes. REALLY WANTED THEM.

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and those sweet potato fries

Fact #19: Overnight oats are so clutch when you have a 5AM train to catch.

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stop smiling, Rachel, it’s too early

Fact #20: I saw Grand Central the emptiest I’ve ever seen it.

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Fact #21: The other people who were crazy enough to take a 5AM train into the city on a Sunday morning were the NYC Half Marathon runners. #whodoesthat 😉

Fact #22: My wallet is crying, but the adventures were worth it.

Fact #23: We didn’t eat a lot or anything. Ha.

Fact #24: Rachel and I walked a total of 35 miles, give or take, last week.

Fact #25: Rachel receives credit for a lot of the photos in this post!

Fact #26: This year, Boston has officially broken the city’s snowfall record with 108.5 inches of snow this winter! Now it all needs to go away.

Happy Monday, everyone! It pains me to say that I probably will not be posting very much this week. Schoolwork post-spring break is calling. Hope you all have a wonderful week though!

So tell me:

Three weird facts about your last week!

Have you ever eaten a NY bagel?

Have you ever watched or been pulled into a street show?