The Great and Small Things I Learned in Physical Therapy School

I just made the title of this post and now I’m intimidated by it.

It’s a tall order to list all the great and small things I learned in all three years of physical therapy school, but I’ll try. It’ll be good.

(BTW, I’m a doctor now! I still need to take and pass my boards exam in July to be licensed, but I got the degree.)

This is my last “great and small things I’ve learned” post from my time at Boston University, and thinking about that just made my heart sink. Here are the ones I’ve written during my time in DPT school:

Let’s take a stab at reflecting on some of the great and small things I’ve learned throughout all of PT school, now that it’s over. I’m not going to look at any of my previous posts, so as to make this as candid and #raw as possible.

1) I am totally an external processor. Whether studying or figuring out the inner convoluted workings of my soul, talk talk talking is MAJOR KEY.

2) Starting a relationship while starting doctoral studies is challenging.

3) I truly had very little idea what was happening during my first semester of PT school. So much of what I thought I knew about physical therapy flew out the window, and I struggled greatly with the lack of context as I learned about so many different pathologies and interventions in a classroom setting. But it got better.

4) I learned how to embrace failure and let go of perfectionism.

5) It will always be worth it to reserve time and energy to pour into my faith and the community surrounding that faith.

6) That being said, I learned how to set boundaries between study time and my faith and social life. Not without a lot of struggle, strife, and sometimes hurt feelings, though.

7) I learned a lot about walking, and I can say with conviction that it is my favorite form of physical activity. It is one that I never want to take for granted.

8) Physical therapists help others to help themselves, and I love that about the profession. We want YOU to do the moving as much as possible, and we will help you get there.

9) My thoracic spine mobility is crap.

10) The answer to any of my personal problems is probably that I need to sleep and pray.

11) Having a diverse and loving group of friends in PT school is a blessing both in and out of the classroom.

12) In one instance, I cannot see myself doing anything but physical therapy. But in another instance, I can see myself doing something totally different.

13) Weaknesses really can become strengths, and often do.

14) I can spend a whole year with my friend, Janice, by my side and not get sick of her.

idk if it’s reciprocal though

15) The brain (and the whole central nervous system) is an absolute enigma and something that I wish to learn more about, regarding its relationship to and necessity for movement. Maybe one day I will pursue a neurological clinical specialty.

16) America runs on Dunkin’ and I still run on peanut butter and banana every day.

17) I have come to appreciate my family and my life situation more and more as time goes on.

18) Finding deep and abiding freedom, peace, and joy is of utmost importance to me, even if it hurts at first.

19) Many walls of pride have been burned down in different areas of my life, and that is exactly what I prayed would happen in January of 2017, well before PT school started. It has been a painful but very good process, and it never stops.

20) I think I’ve finally learned to try new things that are either neutral or good for me. Trying new things is not naturally my jam (see #16).

21) I can get close to running a half marathon if I don’t almost break my leg in the process.

22) I have learned how to have healthy confrontation and disagreement. I hate confrontation, but it can be extremely fruitful when done with respect, clarity, and charity.

23) It’s really nice to be in a class of people who want to help each other up the mountain.

24) Expect the unexpected.

25) Everyone always knows more than I do. I don’t mean that in a self-deprecating way, but in an honest way. There will always be something someone else knows that I do not know. There will always be something that I can learn from any given person, whether that’s intellectually, academically, spiritually, emotionally, experientially, or physically.

our first Christmas / holiday season together as a PT cohort ūüôā

25 is enough. It’s late now and, like I said, the answer is sleep and prayer. The true list of great and small things I’ve learned is inexhaustible, because the fruits of my experience in DPT school will continue to appear throughout my life.

There is nothing but gratitude and joy looking back at these last three years. Good grief is an appropriate phrase to describe it.

Thank you to all who made this possible, and thank YOU for reading along throughout this journey. I appreciate you.

Dear Alison… {A Look Back at 2016}

Dear 2016 Alison,

It’s been one heck of a year. A lot of people are hating on 2016, but bad things happen every year.¬†There has also been a lot of good that 2016 brought to the world, such as the canonization of Mother Teresa, the summer Olympics, and a whole lot of other things that you didn’t even realize happened until you Googled it just now.

But look at what God has blessed YOU with in 2016…

January

You tried the highly acclaimed BodyPump for the first time, and it was fine. You also bonded with fellow bloggers and good friends in NYC ‚ÄĒ with¬†Colby over Lloyd’s incredible carrot cake¬†and with Christine over Asian food (lol).¬†I forgot that you contemplated Whole 30 for a while! But you know dairy and grains aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. On the college front, you learned a little more about how to deal with stress, and you started your little “Five Minute Friday” series!¬†*squishes your cheeks*

February

HAHA remember when your exercise physiology professor¬†pointed her laser at you in front of the whole class!? Of course¬†you do. Your second sophomore semester would not have been complete without an embarrassing story. Bucket listing with Rachel is going strong. You learned in nutrition class that you need more carbs and less protein (about 3x less protein). You gave up makeup (among other things) for Lent, which was hard, but thank God for your friends pushing you to be better. Retreat was this month!!¬†Don’t forget that it is improbable that you are where you are now. Also, you have some dang good looking friends¬†#winemoms.

March

Looking good in that VO2Max test in exercise physiology… But eyyyy, SPRING BREAK! A couple fun road trips with Joe and Louis, good food at home, and a heck of a lot of sriracha. You also snuck into a bar, you rebel! *low key fist bump* But you ordered a Shirley Temple anyway, haha. Sarah, founder of Fit University, invited you to take one of her first Cyc classes, and she kicked your butt. Lastly,¬†Easter was the perfect ending to a pretty spectacular month ‚ô•Ôłé

April

I’m proud of you for finally pulling off a decent April Fools’ joke.¬†Annual swing dancing is always fun, and you should keep it up. This month¬†included the¬†first¬†annual St. Sebastian Cup with the Catholic Center, and it was a BLAST, although you did get¬†beat up pretty badly. Make sure you win in 2017. You convinced some friends to work out with you, which was so fun! Do more of that. Never stop supporting Jordan in her fashion shows. And always make pancakes with Rachel for Marathon Monday like you did this year.

May

Sophomore year ‚ÄĒ check! And Ben graduated college, go him! You and the fam took a celebratory¬†trip to Stowe, VT, which is a pretty rad place. Hiking, Ben & Jerry’s, special peanut butter, what more could you want? You also stayed at BU for commencement weekend, where you saw a lot of your close friends graduate *tear*. OMG I think my heart breaks/melts/explodes all at the same time when I think about your time with Fiona and Rachel at Fiona’s summer house. 48 hours unplugged never felt so amazing. You started your summer job (that you almost ruined) at a rehabilitation hospital. You also turned TWO DECADES old! Lastly, we can never forget the beautiful Katie Anne, who passed away this month. She was a light and a joy to us all.

June

Poop therapy“, huh? You mean pool therapy, silly. In addition to enjoying¬†work, you realized a few important lessons: you need to simplify your life,¬†you cannot let the mirror steal your joy,¬†internet addictions are real, and fitness is more than just skills and numbers. You also learned that the stress of starting something new can cause tummy troubles (you’re not lactose intolerant, hallelujah! but Lactaid was a tasty discovery). Lots of emotions were churning this month with the nation’s tragedies. You got a “Dora the Explorer” haircut according to some people (-_-) You always get mixed reviews on your short haircuts. Go be a tourist in your own backyard more often with some friends!!¬†Really, just go back to get a Levain Bakery cookie again.

July

You started taking initiative with learning more current events. What happened?? Get back on that train! Then came the best vacation ever ‚ÄĒ a Caribbean cruise with the family and your family friends for your parents’ 25th anniversary! So much food. Monkeys on your head. So many beautiful places. AND YOU MET US THE DUO¬†AND BASICALLY BECAME FRIENDS WITH THEM!!! Another great part¬†of the vacation? Not feeling the need to compensate afterward. You shared everything about your current fitness situation. I’m glad you are, above all, having fun with fitness. I’m also glad that you don’t get as stressed if you’re not hungry before a big planned meal.

August

Can you make this artichoke chicken pasta dish again?? I forgot you made that. Also, make that¬†Brazilian cheese bread soon. Working at the rehab hospital definitely helped you become more of a grown up, I’d say. This year’s Olympics were pretty stellar (especially on the US women’s gymnastics front!). You had zero emotions regarding leaving for study abroad in Ireland… If only you knew what was in store. Your grandparents celebrated their 50th Golden Anniversary!! How inspiring. And you celebrated three short years of blogging. It’s been a great adventure though. You also got your first stethoscope from the physical therapists at work, oooooo!

September

You flew to Ireland to study there for 3.5 months! But first your family + family friends did some serious foodie work in NYC. Wowza. In Ireland, you faced some comparison trap struggles, but you powered through. Ugh, I miss the scones, greenery, and mayyyybe even the ability to drink alcohol¬†in Ireland. Also all those desserts. You had your first Aibnb experience in Galway (still the best Airbnb ever)!¬†Howth and the Cliffs of Moher were¬†two of the most beautiful sights you’d ever seen. You¬†finally learned that education should be about a desire to learn, not a desire to “just do well.” You were also challenged in your beliefs, which was scary but actually very fortifying¬†for your faith at the end of the day.

October

‚ÄúBooze and Grooves‚Ä̬†(coined by your friend Ben) commenced during your class field trip to Northern Ireland. You really started settling into your routine in Ireland at this point. I know that saying “yes”¬†isn’t always easy for you, but you really learned how to do that more while abroad. You even went out on a whim and planned a last minute wine and cheese night for¬†everyone in the program! Then came the European trip of a lifetime, which started with Zurich, Switzerland (so expensive). Then to Padua (where you got to practice your Italian right away), Assisi (BEST PLACE ON EARTH), and finally, Rome (thank God for priest and seminarian friends/family¬†and Pope Francis!). I’m proud of you and Megan for traveling on your own through foreign countries. ALSO proud of you for starting Harry Potter together!!!

November

Brunch game in Dublin was so¬†strong. You did some more exploring in the gorgeous country of Ireland. This was also your first Thanksgiving away from home, but Friendsgiving with the people in your program was so heartwarming (and yummy). You also started your internship at a physiotherapy clinic in Dublin this month! You learned all about dry needling, myofascial trigger points, and massage therapy. And now you give great massages ūüôā

December

Congrats! You know how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness. More importantly, you know that 100% recovery is possible. Now that you’re a Harry Potter fan, Scotland was one of the most magical places you’ve ever visited. And just like that ‚ÄĒ your semester in Ireland flew by in the blink of an eye. You grew and learned more than you could have ever imagined¬†in those 3.5 months. Coming home was so sweet though. And now you’re finishing up a food-tastic vacation with the fam in Florida!

Keep working on being a good listener to other people.

Keep an open mind.

Keep pursuing a deep relationship with God.

Here’s to a new year,

2017 Alison

Three Years of Movin’ and Groovin’

Popcorn is the most underrated snack of all time.

I’ve been eating Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop (both kettle and sea salt flavors) like it’s the only food in the world these past few weeks.

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Go pop a bag for yourself or buy Angie’s (not sponsored) because we are celebrating today!!

Actually we’re celebrating something that happened last week, because I’m apparently terrible at remembering my blog anniversary.

As of August 7th, Daily Moves and Grooves is three years old and counting!

I’m not really feeling a super sentimental post (my brain is pretty fried this week), so here are a bunch of random tidbits regarding the journey of this lil ol’ blog.

Most Used Tags

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lol

Me When I Started The Blog

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long hair, don’t care

Me Now DSC_2503

Just kidding, I do care evidently. Do I look older than 12 years old yet?

First Workout Ever Posted

2013 abs

Foods I Used To Eat All The Time But Not Recently

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classic school snack

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I miss Naturally Nutty!

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I used to have this for dessert every night

edamame

These roasted edamame were CRACK

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Yogurt bowls, why did I ever stop?!

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peanut butter puffins¬†‚ÄĒ still my favorite cereal

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homemade French toast

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Amanda’s cookie dough oatmeal smoothie with Greek yogurt to dip. I’d still dig it.

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soft boiled eggs

But Some Things Don’t Change

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dried figs with Greek yogurt

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avocado toast with eggs (October 2013)

brussels

brussels sprouts (December 2013)

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oats with drippy nut butter (but I haven’t had sunflower seed butter in a long time! also haven’t used the “chalice” in a while – May 2014)

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banana baked goods with nut butter (May 2014)

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overnight oats in a jar (May 2014)

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oatmeal cookie dough cereal (January 2014)

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ice cream/soft serve (April 2014)

Regular Posts That Are No Longer Regular

I used to participate in Katie’s “Marvelous in My Monday“, but I stopped that long ago.

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I haven’t done a “What I Ate Wednesday” in quite a while, but I used to do one every single week.

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I used to have a link love post called “Fascinating Friday Links”, but then I went to college and stopped.

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But I do still “think out loud” with Amanda fairly regularly! ūüôā

Thinking-Out-Loud

How My “Day in the Life” Has Changed Through Seasons (My Favorite Kinds of Posts to Read)

Day in the Life of a High School Student

Day in the Life, High School, Take Two

Vacation Day in the Life

Day in the Life of a First Semester College Freshman

Day in the Life of a Second Semester College Freshman

Day in the Life {Last Month of Freshman Year}

Day in the Life During Summer Internship and Domestic Duties

Day in the Life Vlog – Trying to Eat More

Day in the Life of a Ninja

Day in the Life of a First Semester College Sophomore

Day in the Life of a Second Semester College Sophomore

Day in the Life During Summer Job at Rehab Hospital

Cool Things This Blog Has Seen

// First and Only Prom //

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// Graduation from High School //

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// Starting College //

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// Meeting Lifelong Friends //

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brb I’m gonna go sob

// Epic Vacations //

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Colorado 2015

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Blend 2015

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spring break 2015

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Florida winter break 2014-2015

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Florida with Daliza summer 2014

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Fourth of July in Boston + Tori Kelly Concert 2015

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Portland and Seattle 2015

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Stowe, Vermont 2016

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Fiona’s summer house 2016

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best Caribbean cruise ever 2016

// An Ongoing Recovery Journey //

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// A Perpetual Faith Journey //

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Some of My Favorite Posts

I Used to Have Hips¬†‚ěĒ first time really opening up about my disordered eating experiences

Hey, I Love You ‚ěĒ We love you, Katie ‚ô•Ôłé

Reflecting on My Exercise…Again ‚ěĒ being honest with myself about my amenorrhea

How To Be a Good Friend in College ‚ěĒ so many good memories

Being Extraordinarily Ordinary ‚ěĒ my life in a nutshell

I’m Not Her ‚ěĒ I need this constant reminder

The Great NYC Food Tour {A Story} ‚ěĒ sometimes I like to be creative with my blog posts

Your Story Matters and It’s Beautiful ‚ěĒ I promise.

Now that I’ve cried about 4 times while writing this “non-sentimental” anniversary blog post, I’m gonna end it here.

This blog has led me to more people, joys, heartbreaks, and lessons than I could have ever imagined. I thank God for all those who take the time to read and support my wacky (but always honest) writings. Thank you with all my heart.

Consider yourself hugged from behind while you’re peacefully eating your breakfast.

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Here’s to more years of movin’ and groovin’!

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.

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growing their own wheatgrass of course

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“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 (!!!).

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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.

Solid.

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Tuesday¬†included another bucket list place‚ÄĒ 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!

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“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!).
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Grateful.

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

the great and small

Lunch dessert is fabulous.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Hope you all have an awesome Thursday ‚ô•Ôłé

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? 

Dear Alison‚Ķ {A Look Back at 2014}

‘Tis¬†the last day of the two-thousand-fourteenth year of our Lord. Whoa whoa.

I was still a mime yesterday since my voice was nonexistent, and I felt slightly worse than I did on Monday, which was odd and unfortunate. A nosebleed both after breakfast and after dinner threw me off a lil’ bit. All is well though. I slept in, ate a delicious breakfast (that I could indeed taste!),¬†and accomplished a lot!

Breakfast was a few baby slices of whole grain toast with sunflower seed butter and banana slices + two scrambled eggs with mixed greens.

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After nursing my nose, I chugged water and made some hot honey-lemon-mint water. I added lemon zest in addition to lemon juice, which created a beautiful aroma.

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I joined mom for a trip to Home Depot and Walgreens to pick up some items for the house, and then I spent the rest of the afternoon snacking rather than having a real lunch, since I ate breakfast at almost noon. But in addition to snacking all afternoon, I studied my Boston University tour guide notes and did an ab workout and stretching for some moves.

Dinner came later at 8pm involving simple green foods‚ÄĒ avocado toast and salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Simplicity did the trick for my sick funk.

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Followed up by somethin’ sweet!

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Banana with peanut butter and unsweetened shredded coconut‚ÄĒ heck yes. To be honest, I spent a little time trying to maneuver the banana so that it looked‚Ķpresentable¬†for the photo. Bananas are forever awkward. Just like me. You are what you eat!

dear alison

And nowww for the main event!

I’ve been loving reading other bloggers’ 2014 recaps and seeing friends and family post their reflections on social media. Of course, I want to join the end of the year party, so I’ve compiled twelve mini letters to myself for each month of the year. Basically, I’m going to tell myself how silly I was. And also how much I’ve grown as a person¬†I guess.¬†ūüėČ

Thank YOU all for your incredible support through this little blog of mine. With so many changes happening this year, I wasn’t sure which path the blog would take, but I couldn’t be happier and more thankful for where it is right now. It’s all because of your love, encouragement, and conversation. Hugs, nut butter,¬†and prayers for you all. ‚ô•

Dear January Alison,

Congratulations on some college acceptances¬†(Binghamton University, University of Maryland, University of Virginia)!¬†Expanding your choices, uh oh. We all know you’re super decisive!¬†Ha.

Also, congratulations on your first workout video! Except not really, because you can’t even see your legs at some parts of the video, and it’s a leg workout vlog. Quality work, kid.

But you did realize something important‚ÄĒ that you weren’t giving your body as much rest as it needed. Thank you for that.

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Dear February Alison,

I’m laughing out loud because of this gem of a vlog (your first one ever!). You’re such a loner.

You seem to like writing letters to people, because you wrote one to your future husband, who may not even exist. But keep on waiting, you!

Watching the Olympics was fun, eh? Mom’s frightening enthusiasm for the USA vs. Canada hockey game is a foreshadowing of the hockey excitement that you will experience in college‚Ķyou just don’t know it yet.

You shared your eating disorder struggles for National Eating Disorder Awareness week. People appreciated that, and so did you.

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Dear March Alison,

You got asked to prom! You almost missed the prom-posal because you’re¬†clueless, but you’re a lucky girl to have been asked by a great friend in such a cool way!

Fortunately and unfortunately, you danced in your very last Benefit Concert with Company. It was a crazy week, but the memories are cherished.

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Dear April Alison,

College visits, hay hayyyy. You fell hard¬†for University of Maryland¬†and¬†didn’t care too much about University of Virginia¬†(but you did meet two of your favorite bloggers, Kath and Clare, while in Charlottesville eee!!!). At one point, you were set on becoming a Maryland Terp.

But then the kicker came, because there’s always a kicker. Boston University stole your heart and ran away with it. The end.

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Dear May Alison,

You’re legal now! Now you look like you’re 13 years old instead of 12!

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Dear June Alison, 

Wow, a LOT happened this month…

You guest starred¬†on¬†The Big Man’s World, no way! He probably just¬†bribing you for¬†mom’s home cooking. (Jokes, you da bomb, Arman.)

Second vlog is also in the books, look at you! Slightly less awkward than the first vlog, but you still talk too much.

One of your most doofus moments of the year happened when you hurt yourself doing burpees. You will still have the scar 6+ months later.

Aww, you made friends and met your roommate at college orientation! You’re tired of meeting new people, I know, but the best is yet to come.

Prom! Your hair looks good, stop crying. Also, new PR for number of hours awake *fist bump*.

You did it! You finished high school and you even managed to become valedictorian. Of course you made your speech about social media. You can’t get away, can you?

I’m glad you’re okay with not living a 100% clean, healthy, intensely active lifestyle, because that ain’t livin’, girl!

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Dear July Alison,

You recognized a new kind of discipline‚ÄĒ the discipline of¬†not exercising. Never thought you’d think that, huh?

You had probably the best vacation ever to Florida with your best friend, Daliza. Your family has practically adopted her. You guys did yoga outside, went to the beach and the farmers market, went to Disney World, went to Harry Potter World, saw Us the Duo in concert (only two days after you discovered them), and much more.

You also made this charming favorites vlog with Daliza, which you two thought was the funniest thing to ever exist. But no one else did. Also, let Daliza do your editing from now on.

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Dear August Alison,

Because you took a break from exercising last month, you’ve changed the way you see yourself for the better. Kudos!

And then you hurt yourself doing yoga. Minus one for you. But then you did your first tripod headstand, so I guess you gain that point back.

Never underestimate the power of house renovations. That ish is a serious workout.

The moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived! Goodbye, NY and hello, Boston!

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Dear September Alison,

The First Year Student Outreach Program at Boston University was a blast for you! Exhausting, but an absolute blast.

Wanna know what else is exhausting but an absolute blast? The dining halls at BU. I mean…classes and activities and all that jazz.

Your favorite memory of the semester was the fall retreat with the BU Catholic center¬†this month. That’s a¬†little taste of Heaven for ya.

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Dear October Alison, 

It’s natural to compare yourself to others, but you’ve realized that you’re not the girl next to you.¬†You’re you, and that’s¬†a wonderful thing. True balance in eats¬†and exercise have arrived as a result of this mindset.

Hey, you finally went apple picking! Welcome to the northeast! Savor those apples because dining hall apples will make you sad forever after you’ve eaten fresh ones off the tree.

You and your friends have come up with perhaps your best Halloween costume to date. Grandma Twerk. I miss the bubble butt.

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Dear November Alison,

Stay sharp, because someone special is going to visit you! Oh, too late, you’re clueless. But Daliza visited you in Boston! Stop crying in the middle of the sidewalk, you’re in the way of busy students.

You ran the farthest you’ve ever run! 5 miles. Just admire that distance, because it won’t happen again in 2014. Maybe 2015. At least you’ve given running a shot!

Take the turkey out sooner for Thanksgiving next time.

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Dear December Alison,

First semester is over, can you believe it? You’ve learned a great deal.

You also loved a run? I barely recognize you anymore.

And now, here you are in Florida without a voice, typing this post‚Ķoh, hi.¬†Me. Your number one lesson that you’ve learned this year was to just ride the waves (figuratively). Your word for the year was “now,” and I think you’ve developed upon¬†that. You learned to let go of situations that you cannot handle, and you’ve made the conscious decision to not pity yourself yet still be willing to ask for help. In doing so, you’ve let yourself learn many little lessons, and you’ve found greater¬†contentment. I’d say 2014 was transformative.

Keep on swimming,

Alison on December 31st, 2014.

Hope you all have a safe, fun, and fabulous New Years!

So tell me:

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in 2014?

Three of your favorite memories from this year.

What are you doing for New Years Eve?

We’ll hopefully¬†be watching Disney fireworks from afar, making s’mores, and drinking apple bubbly!