Day in the Life: Study Abroad

You knew this post had to come sooner or later.

Here’s a day in the life of a student (me) studying abroad in Ireland.

7:50 AM — Wake up, mostly because I need to pee. Roll out of bed and stumble down the long hallway to go to the bathroom. Come back to the room to brush teeth and change.

8:20 AM — Pray.

8:30 AM — 8 minute abs.

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lol

8:38 AM — Change into longer pants, put on makeup, and gather my stuff to go.

8:55 AM — Breakfast! I finished up my tub of Greek yogurt with some cinnamon, nutmeg, and golden syrup (doesn’t taste like anything special), and I ate a sweet potato breakfast bowl that I prepared the night before, following Jen’s recipe. It was a nice change from oatmeal!

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baked microwaved sweet potato (mashed) + mashed banana + cinnamon + nutmeg + almond milk + peanut butter

9:15 AM — Head off on a long walk to the National Museum of Decorative Arts & History at Collins Barracks for our sociology field trip! ‘Twas a gorgeous day to walk.

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10:15 AM — Arrive at the museum. We are assigned a worksheet to fill out as we go through the museum.

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11:30 AM — Finish the worksheet and feel like I didn’t really learn that much, since we were all kinda rushing to finish and head back for lunch. #badstudents. It was fun though!

11:45 AM — Walk back to the dorms with Megan. Snack on an orange as we’re walking.

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in case you forgot what an orange looked like

12:35 PM — Stop by the grocery store for some essentials.

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12:55 PM — Make it back to the dorms on the verge of ravenous. We had already walked 6 miles by lunch! Prepare a quick and easy lunch.

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two slices of buttered soda bread + two eggs + so many carrots with hummus

1:30 PM — Hang out in the kitchen and talk with people while washing dishes. Listen to a friend practice her ethics presentation.

1:45 PM — Walk to class.

2:00 PM — Sit back and relax as I listen to all my peers’ ethics presentations for 2.5 hours. (I got mine over with last week 😀 )

4:30 PM — Class is over. Walk back to the dorms and spend some time catching up on emails, but mostly wasting time on social media.

5:00 PM — Snack on salad that my friend gave me since she doesn’t like arugula. With the last of my carrots, as if I hadn’t eaten enough beta carotene in the day. I ate the equivalent of three small, whole carrots that day.

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5:15 PM — Work on my sociology essay.

5:50 PM — Walk over to the chapel on the campus across the street for the first student Mass of the semester! I meet Megan there.

6:10 PM — Mass (with people under the age of 25, hallelujah).

7:00 PM — Pizza and socializing (after many minutes of awkwardly waiting to see if any Irish students would approach us. We learned that Irish people are not super confrontational and are “afraid of American confidence,” as our sociology professor explained to us).

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plus one more slice (“they’re tiny slices!”) + a piece of intensely sweet chocolate orange creme candy

7:50 PM — Head over to the library to finish my essay.

8:15 PM — Finish essay, type up the references (DEATH), read, edit.

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9:40 PM— PRINT IT.

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9:45 PM — Walk back to my dorm.

10:00 PM — Chat with some friends on Facebook, answer emails, do some other random things that are obviously not important enough for me to remember.

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decided to check the health app since I knew I walked a lot that day— wooohoo!

11:30 PM — Practice handstands and realize that my head position needs to be tucked a little more to help my body stay stacked (gotta love late night revelations).

11:45 PM — Get ready for bed and pray.

12:00 AM — Try to read an article for ethics class but cannot for the life of me process any of it. So I go have a snack instead.

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12:30 AM— Brush teeth again and go to sleep.

I need to be better about having more order to my nights.

So tell me:

What did you eat for breakfast yesterday?

Two things you do in your “day in the life”! 

What is your nighttime routine? 

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Challenged

I’m forgetting that the weather usually gets colder once fall hits.

I have to wear socks and sweaters in my dorm room, which currently seems like a foreign concept to me. Like, I can’t just be in athletic shorts and a t-shirt all the time now? I have to “keep warm”!?!?

That doesn’t mean I’m giving up cold overnight oats though.

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strawberry banana peanut butter overnight oats overfloweth

Also, who knew strawberries were so good in Ireland!? I feel like I already talked about this. Deja vu.

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Lunches have been looking mighty similar these days, but I don’t hate it. Eggs and veggies are always welcome in my belly.

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As are cheese and carbs.

Lunchtime is a madhouse these days, because we often only have a one hour break to come back to the kitchen, prepare our meals, eat them, and then walk back to class. Plus all the cleaning and maneuvering around 10 other people doing the same exact thing. It sounds like I’m complaining, but I kinda love the rush of “we all have to eat! NOW!”

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Food brings people together 🙂

I would say that the challenge of sharing a kitchen is nothing compared to the moral and mental challenge of my classes so far. It’s not that they are too academically difficult (yet), but all my courses (contemporary Irish society, ethics in healthcare, and healthcare practice and policy) have something to say about the Catholic Church and all the hot topics that surround it these days.

And I get it– just a mention of the Catholic Church stirs up a lot of hubbub.

Sure, I get uncomfortable in class being one of the two practicing Catholics here (especially because everyone knows that I’m a devout Catholic), but I’m loving every minute of it. Not because I want to get all defensive or play the victim, but because I need to be challenged in my beliefs. I want to know what others think of “people like me”. I need to dig deep into why I believe what I believe, and facing the (sometimes stinging) commentary of those who oppose my beliefs is one effective way of doing that.

(p.s. I’m not leaving the Church anytime soon.)

The best part? We all still get along and respect each other. And there have been a couple of very kind people who have shown their appreciation for my POVs, even if they don’t necessarily agree. This was especially comforting yesterday after I expressed my opinions in class, practically shaking with nervousness. (I’m not kidding, but I’m also not asking for pity.)

I might make a vlog expanding on all my thoughts later. My brain is exploding with thoughts and reflections all the time these days!

Anyway, let’s get back to food for some relief from this rather serious topic. Dinner this week has been pork chops with sautéed onions, potatoes with red pesto, and roasted broccoli. A delicious and satisfying meal. Yay for fats!

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Moves and grooves have been short and sweet. Except on Monday when I did a 50 minute Fitness Blender HIIT workout. Tuesday was 35 minutes of yoga + a slow and easy 12 minute lunchtime workout, and yesterday was a 100 burpee workout! 🙂

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that’s all the time it took! gotta leave time for stretching!

It’s nice to get in some kind of movement before I sit for 5-6 hours of class throughout the day. But sleeping is also a priority, which is why my workouts have been “squeezed in” so much lately. I’ve been waking up wanting to go back to sleep FOR.EV.ER. (whoa, that sounds more morbid than I intended).

I used so many parentheses in this post.

I hope you all have a fabulous Thursday! I will be playing Gaelic football and possibly some other Irish sports today for class. God help me.

So tell me:

Have you ever felt challenged in your beliefs in school?

What have you been eating for dinner this week?

Do you forget that the weather changes too?

What is your favorite quick workout?

I Feel Like I Should Have Learned This A While Ago

I am currently watching a video for my ethics in healthcare class, and so far I’ve seen a C-section, prostate surgery and throat surgery in the past 15 minutes.

I’m not that faint of heart, but this is making my vision a little blurry.

Good morning! What a way to start this post, eh? Here’s a picture of an appealing breakfast to counteract those thoughts.

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Sorry if you don’t think Greek yogurt, banana, and peanut butter are appealing.

I am only a week into this Dublin study abroad program, but I am already wondering: “Why did I ever not want to do this??”

Believe it or not, I really did not want to study abroad for a while. The main reason was FOMO— I didn’t want to miss out on all the fun and friendships back at Boston University. I also didn’t feel a strong tug to study abroad, so I wrote it off as “not for me.”

In the end (obviously), I chose to study abroad in order to challenge myself. To learn about other people. To travel. To get outside of my cushy, mushy comfort zone of friends, family, and familiarity.

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although cheese toast with eggs and sriracha for lunch is pretty familiar 🙂

My reasons for coming to Dublin are not quite unique, but I know that my experience here is unique. Who will I meet? What will I learn? How will I grow? Will I even gain anything?

I won’t reflect too extensively today, but two things I have learned this week are that:

  • Sharing a kitchen with over 10 people is both an art and a labor of love.
  • Education should be driven by a desire to learn and become a better person, not merely by a desire to “do well.” I always knew this one, but I have only recently realized that I get so nervous for school because I feel pressure to primarily do well. Retain information, apply my knowledge after the course, etc.— all those were secondary thoughts to me. It’s sad, but it’s true.

I feel like I should have learned that latter point such a long time ago. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve always loved learning, but only selectively and usually outside of a classroom setting, where the thought of grades wasn’t oppressing me.

I still break a tiny sweat when I think of learning and writing about something completely out of my comfort zone, but that’s where the growth happens. And, as Fr. Mike Schmitz said, if I am motivated by gratitude (for the gift of learning) rather than fear (of not doing well in the course), then I can be free.

Free to think. Free to question. Free to innovate.

And on the kitchen topic, I actually enjoy the kitchen parties. Minus the dirty dishes and questionable amount of smoke that we produce in the kitchen. I contributed to the smoky room with my Irish grass-fed beef burgers (am I trendy yet!?).

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on multigrain sourdough toast with ketchup, mustard, sautéed onions, white cheddar and spinach + cherry tomatoes on the side

Lookit!

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Plus this classic thanks to Madre hauling over dried figs for me in her Mary Poppins bag.

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dried figs with Greek yogurt

All we need in this dorm is the laundry machines to be up and running. Patience is virtue, but dirty laundry is gross.

Lastly, I want to wish Madre a very happy birthday! I’m sure this lady is feeling twenty twoooooo ooo ooo! I love you, mama!

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So tell me:

Have you always been motivated by a desire to learn in school? Or have you had desires to “just do well”?

Have you ever had to share a space with many people? My four-person-family life at home is a premium.

If you’ve ever studied abroad, what was your main reason for going?