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— 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— 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 ♥︎

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? 

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Lately + Swallowing Pride

I am done with sophomore year of college!!

I guess you could say I’m halfway done with undergrad, but I guess I have one more year of undergrad + 3 more years of grad school…so…still lots of school left.

Needless to say, these past two weeks have been crazy with exams and things, so I haven’t been talking to you guys as much. I apologize! Let’s catch up.

Last Saturday, our dear friend Emma came to visit from Ohio, so we went to breakfast at Tatte!

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I ordered the shakshuka because I’ve always wanted to try shakshuka (from any restaurant), but for whatever reason, I never had the opportunity/the restaurant didn’t have it that day. THIS WAS THE DAY and what a glorious day it was! Shakshuka is a North African spiced tomato-based dish with poached eggs (and feta in this case). Toasted challah on the side. UGH.

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Luckily for Rachel and me, Tatte was on the food bucket list for their nut boxes, which are essentially pecan pies except 100x more fun and delicious. Rachel and I shared their mixed nut box.

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shortbread cookie box with mixed nuts and caramel goo (unofficial term) holding it all together

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Shakira should sing about shakshuka

I miss Emma already!

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Then I went to work and made this one pan chicken that I wish I could eat myself. I always do this to myself— make tantalizing food that I can’t eat.

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I keep forgetting that it’s May. What is this weather!?

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At least we students don’t feel as tortured being inside as we study.

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Lots of good food has been fueling me through the week. A good balance of nutrients + soul food.

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There are no photos of the soul food because sometimes you just need a moment with your warm cookies.

Some solid moves and grooves kept me and my friends sane this finals week. A few friends joined me for a yoga study break on Monday!

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My body has been pretty tired from lack of sleep, being sick, stress, etc., so workouts have been pretty low key. But my favorite workout this week was on Wednesday:

  • lots of lat pulldowns + single arm dumbbell press
  • 20-18-16-14-12-10-8-6-4-2 cals on rower // 12 overhead kettlebell swings + 5 burpees over rower

MY LUNGS.

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Last night I took my family out to dinner since my parents just arrived for my brother’s graduation! (And since I had a lot of dining points to use 🙂 ).

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And last but not least, Five Minute Friday! We’re talking about swallowing pride and letting go of control. (p.s. that is a regular jacket hood, not a nun habit)

Have a fantastic weekend, friends! I can’t wait to talk with you guys more since school is over 🙂

So tell me:

Do you struggle with asking others for help/letting go of control?

Have you ever tried shakshuka?

What is your favorite way you moved this week?

What are you doing this weekend?

Day in the Life of a Second Semester Sophomore

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A Tuesday in the life of a second semester college sophomore…

8:10 AM // First alarm goes off. Shut it.

8:15 AM // Second alarm goes off. Snooze.

8:25 AM // Third alarm goes off. Roll out of bed. {Should not have spent useless minutes scrolling Insta so late the night before.Bathroom, brush teeth, put in contacts, etc.

8:35 AM // Morning prayer.

8:40 AM // Change into athletic clothes, just for the morning while I’m still studying (I try to wear real pants as little as possible).

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8:50 AM // Head across the street to the dining hall for breakfast! Work on my nutrition project while eating.

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hard boiled egg (with sriracha) + whole wheat toast with pb and banana + frozen blueberries

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9:40 AM // Go back to my dorm building and read biomechanics in the study room.

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10:20 AM // Head back up to my room for some foam rolling and a 30-minute yoga video.

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11:00 AM // Change into real people clothes, tweeze my brows, and put on makeup.

11:20 AM // Film this week’s “Five Minute Friday’s” vlog and re-watch it. It’s over five minutes, dang it.

11:35 AM // Leave the room and walk to another dining hall for lunch with Rachel and Kelsey!

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salad with beets, peppers, and some sort of marinated potatoes + grilled chicken with eggplant relish, sautéed collards, and couscous

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plus an orange!

12:30 PM // Nutrition lecture. We learn about the basics of digestion, which isn’t the most exciting, but the professor is still awesome.

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1:20 PM // Get out of lecture early! Walk outside to the river for some fresh air since I have 30 minutes to kill before my next class. Re-film my vlog to see if I can get it under 5 minutes (spoiler: didn’t succeed).

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THIS WEATHER!!!

2:00 PM // Behavioral biology of women lecture. Such a fascinating course! Eat a snack before the lecture starts.

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half pb sandwich packed into napkins during lunch #resources

3:30 PM // Walk to the Catholic Center for a meeting.

4:10 PM // Send some messages to people and study exercise physiology (gotta keep on top of that) in the CC study room.

5:00 PM // Attend daily Mass in the upstairs chapel.

5:40 PM // Descend into the basement for the beloved free Tuesday pasta dinner! Have a grand ol’ time catching up with friends.

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6:45 PM // Start setting up for our weekly “Catholics on Campus” talk.

7:00 PM // Kick off the talk. Last night, one of the most hilarious nuns I’ve ever met came to talk to us about Catholic Church history. She transformed a history lesson into something that had my abs and cheek muscles hurtin’!

8:15 PM // Help clean up after the talk and walk back to my dorm. Eat a peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookie (compliments of my Aunt Sharon from Christmas!).

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desperately need to do something about my nails/cuticles

8:45 PM // Shower, make appointments, write out my to-do list for Wednesday, brush teeth, chat with suite mates for a bit.

9:50 PM // Go up to the study room to take my online exercise physiology quiz.

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10:20 PM // Finish the (easy) quiz and curse myself out for getting one question wrong because the directions said “place in order from low to high glycemic load” and I put them in order from high to low. I deserved that.

10:30 PM // Start typing this blog post!

11:20 PM // Finish up the post, head back to my room, pray.

11:45 PM // Hit the hay. Feeling ever so slightly hungry, but I already brushed my teeth and I’m lazy. I DO THIS EVERY NIGHT UGH (9/10 times I just eat and brush again).


Every day is so different, but this is the gist of life right now. Some days I’m ultra productive, and other days I let myself get a little too distracted with friends/social media. Some days, it’s a nice balance of both. I like to think it’s “mental health”.

I’m having fun though! I’m feeling more comfortable with tackling the work in each of my courses, and I’ve been blessed to encounter so many people from whom I can draw inspiration and motivation. Including you guys!!

Some new Tori Kelly therapy for you all today:

Hope you all have a lovely Wednesday!

So tell me:

Do you have on and off days in terms of productivity?

What was the best thing you ate yesterday? The chicken with eggplant relish and couscous was pretty darn delicious!

A silly mistake you’ve recently made. (← for my own selfish, empathy-seeking purposes. 😀 ♥︎)

A Look Into My Interesting First Week of Second Semester

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Thinking out loud today with my fave!

1) We’re almost done with our first {short} week of classes, and I’m pretty pumped up!

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It’s been exciting to reunite with friends, and my classes are equally as exciting. I’m taking intro to nutrition, behavioral biology of women, exercise physiology, biomechanics, and modern dance (again!). Geeking out!

2) There have been some less exciting things happening this week as well though. I (and a lot of my friends) came down with a cold, and I strained the back of knee somehow after my extra long day of physical activity on Sunday. The latter gave me a limp for a few days, but I think it’s on the mend… Except now there’s a huge knot in my mid back that kinda hurts when I breathe.

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^^^I’m really okay though.

3) Rachel and I got right back to work on our food bucket list on Monday. We chose Anna’s Taqueria for some burritos!

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My burrito: rice, chicken, grilled vegetables, lettuce, salsa, cheese and guacamole lovingly hugged together by a warm, whole wheat tortilla.

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Rachel and I agreed that these weren’t the most flavorful burritos we had ever eaten, but we were hungry and cold, so these totally hit the spot!

4) Although I miss cooking my own meals, I certainly cannot complain about the food here at Boston University.

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lighter breakfast of whole wheat toast with almond butter and banana, blueberries, and a hb egg

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part of a sick day lunch: tomato kale florentine soup + cornbread

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free pasta supper at the Catholic Center!

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salad + pork and rice with mango salsa

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plain yogurt with granola and banana

5) I ate three bananas yesterday.

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6) Speaking of food and classes… For my nutrition class, I will have to record a whole day of my typical eats for a project. This includes breaking down the calories, macronutrients, and micronutrients, and then we will analyze what we should add/subtract from our diets.

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I’m not really nervous about the project, but I’m definitely thankful that I’m taking this class now rather than earlier, when I may not have been as secure in my eating habits. Nevertheless, I will take all analyses with a grain of salt!

7) Scenario #1 from yesterday:

Girl at the gym: *points to the small bottle hanging off my backpack* “Is that antibacterial hand  stuff?”

Me: *embarrassed* “…Uhh no it’s hot sauce.”

Girl: “It IS Sriracha! I thought so. I was going to be so disappointed if it wasn’t.”

People get me sometimes.

8) Scenario #2 from yesterday:

*I’m walking down the street bundled up in the frigid cold while listening to music.*

*A middle-aged, white-haired man wearing a Big Bird costume (carrying the head part) walks past me. He looks frazzled and seems to be asking another student for directions. It all just looks like part of a montage as I listen to my music.*

*My jaw drops slightly.*

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Pretty sure this was my exact reaction.

9) To end on a meaningful note… There’s an ongoing service project that a few of my dear friends help organize every week called Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen. The participants make sandwiches and bring snacks, socks, blankets, gloves, and other clothing items around downtown Boston by foot to people who are homeless. I walked with them for the first time this past Sunday, and it was a humbling, upsetting, joyful, and inspiring experience all at once.

If you live near a fairly large city and are looking for a way to reach out personally, I think this is a simple yet effective service project. (Strength in numbers! Make sure to bring friends, both male and female.)

10) Hope you all have a marvelous day! Dance like Brad Pitt a little.

So tell me:

What were/are some of your favorite college/high school courses?

Has anything surreal happened to you recently (like my Big Bird encounter)?

What do you like in your burritos?

Do you have a favorite service project?

Dear Alison… {A Look Back at 2015}

The last three days of 2015 have been going out with a bang, I’d say!

Some good food for the body…

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Some good food for the soul…

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dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house

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banana peach green tea slush in a BOWL (they know what’s right)

Some more Christmas cheer…

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my lovely family caroling for senior citizens

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talented gingerbread house designers

Some “big kid” fun in blizzard weather…

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smiling through the pain of freezing rain blowing into our faces

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delicious chicken taco because I was hangry waiting for ramen

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“sakepolitan” (alcoholic cranberry lime juice, essentially)

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ramen that hit. the. spot.

And lots of baby cuddling…

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photo creds to my uncle!

We also did yoga and bouldering yesterday! I felt like I was in Boulder, CO with all their fit, hip, and healthy citizens. It was a fun day!


Since today is the last day of 2015, I feel obliged to reflect on 2015 with my second annual letter-to-self. So without further ado, here are month-by-month letters to Alison (myself), highlighting the moments that made this year a beautiful and transformative one.
dear alison

Dear January Alison,

Well weren’t you just living it up in Florida!? Disney World, air boat rides, that time you almost ran into an alligator in the wild, your first spa day… What a way to kick off your year!

I forgot that you tried starting a budget spreadsheet. Haha. I also forgot that you posted a couple workouts and you did lots of burpees. You were a maniac with burpees.

You started your second semester of freshman year, but winter storm Juno shaved off what felt like half of your class time. Not that you were complaining.

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Dear February Alison,

Second semester kicked your bootay, despite the snow days you had every Monday. I’m proud of you for getting through anatomy, organic chemistry, linguistics, and a tedious writing class all in one go.

You also became a certified tour guide for Boston University, woohoo! I know you were stressed about remembering all the information, but you pulled through.

Lent started and you gave up music. THAT WAS HARD. But spring retreat with the Catholic Center totally recharged you and made you remember what truly matters.

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Dear March Alison,

You posted about your eating disorder struggles for NEDA week. That was heavy, but it was good for you to reflect on your progress and hopefully good for others who have similar struggles.

Spring break was a BLAST! You hung out with your BFF, Daliza, and I think this is when you realized that you have a college BFF too (Rachel!). Of course, y’all bonded over food. BIG TIME.

You joined intramural softball even though you hate baseball/softball. You weren’t good at softball and you’re still not good, but I hope you learned to try new things anyway.

You cried for the first time over schoolwork, but are you really in college if that doesn’t happen?

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Dear April Alison,

Wait whoa, this is your last month of freshman year already. You celebrated your first Easter away from home with some beautiful people.

First Boston Marathon experience! Watching it at least. Get pumped for another year of screaming your lungs out and getting inspired by the participants.

You learned even further that there’s more to life than food and fitness. I’m glad you expressed this.

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Dear May Alison,

Finished with freshman year, what whaaaat.

You went to Colorado (hiking was beautiful, but work on that lung capacity, eh?) and Blend Retreat, which was like a dream to you. Wasn’t it so cool to meet bloggers like Emily, Amanda, and Tina!? *starstruck*

Back at home, you started your physical therapy internship, which turned out to be an amazing experience.

Last but not least, you made one of the best decisions of the year in May— to take it easy with exercise and up the calorie intake.

Oh, you turned 19, which means you’re legal drinking age in Canada 🙂

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Dear June Alison,

Look atchu with your new short hair! I dig it, even if other people don’t.

Vlogs with Daliza are always a fun idea.

Don’t forget that stretching, mobility and progressions are crucial in terms of physical fitness. Be a good physical therapist.

You met Arman AND you FaceTimed Julia. Still recovering from the fan-girling.

You also met up with college friends in the city! So cute, cool, and college.

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Dear July Alison,

Fourth of July in Boston was the best weekend ever. Tori Kelly live in concert is even better than recorded. How?

You talked about 99.9% recovery and the idea that 100% recovery might never be attainable, but to be honest, I think you’re gonna have to do a followup on that post…

Oh yeah! You had jury duty! That was a good experience. But it’s nice that you don’t get called back for another few years.

The barefoot walk for sex trafficking awareness is something you should do every year.

Keep working on becoming a better grownup, but hey, keep being extraordinarily ordinary.

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Dear August Alison,

Rachel visited New York again! Fun times. Except when Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian ignored you. At least he retweeted you.

You made a lot of quick trips this month. First, you spent under 24 hours in Kansas City after a whole day of traveling there. The things we do for Midwestern hospitality. 😉 But seriously, St. Louis was lovely, especially since your baby cousin got baptized!

You and Pop also made a “quick” drive up to Canada for a few days, and you did cool things like bouldering and knife throwing.

Portland and Seattle are cool places. I think you need to go back there soon.

Two year blog anniversary, high five! Keep it up. I think you like this whole blogging thing.

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Dear September Alison,

You’re back at BU and loving it. So good to see your best friends again! Sophomore year, baby.

Also, don’t forget to own it. Yeah, you look stupid sometimes, but that’s what makes people/life not boring.

Kicking off a food bucket list with Rachel, I see. Typical you.

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Dear October Alison, 

Oof, you’re getting busy. But with really good things, like fall retreat.

Apple picking is still one of your favorite fall activities!

Also, first couples Halloween costume…with Rachel, haha! PB&J because you guys are so freaking predictable.

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Dear November Alison,

You finally asked Rachel to do a vlog with you! You guys also finished a whole tray of brussels sprouts. Please calm down.

There were a lot of emotions happening, especially with the terrorist attacks surfacing to the news. They really brought you back down to earth.

Thanksgiving was relaxing and wonderful in every way. Please always be this grateful.

Also, run. Even if you’re slow, just run if you feel like it, because you don’t hate it. I repeat: You don’t hate it.

OMG you also got something really exciting!!! Praise God.

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Dear December Alison,

Apparently, you have a “look of wellbeing.” I can tell you that it’s largely because of the people around you.

And just like that, half of sophomore year is done and gone.

Which brings me to this moment. Alison, never take what you have for granted and always trust in the Lord. Have no fear, because He has a good plan. I think this is the overarching theme of everything you’ve learned this year. Take this invaluable lesson and grow in it in 2016.

Keep on swimming.

-Alison on December 31, 2015


 

So tell me:

What would you tell yourself as you reflect on 2015?

Do you have any specific goals for 2016? Nothing specific for me. I’m not really a big New Year’s resolution person. I kinda just try to be better every day… #lame.

What are you doing for New Year’s? Hanging out with family here at my cousin’s house!