Always my Angel

Always my Angel

I am drowning in the vastness of the universe.

Is this how it feels to lose yourself?

The air is escaping from my lungs, and

I begin to see the stars twinkle behind my eyelids.

 

Fingers slip between mine,

pulling me back into the atmosphere.

The floating feeling in my mind persists,

but I let myself be saved.

 

My eyes blink the darkness away.

The stars begin to dull and fade.

All I can see is an elysian angel,

breathing life back into my soul.

 

As my thoughts return to reality,

I expect my angel’s wings to take her from me,

but her presence by my side never falters.

Her smile doesn’t ever waver.

 

Slowly, though, she begins to shift,

and my heart starts to sink in my chest.

Of course, it was too good to be true.

I steel myself for losing her to the ethereal world.

 

To my surprise, she moves ever closer to me.

“It can’t be,” my mind races,

“I could never be so lucky.”

Her lips brush over mine.

 

In an instant, blood returns to my veins.

My heart beats in sync with hers.

Worries disappear from my mind.

All I know is how her cheek feels beneath my fingertips.

 

Her voice is my favorite song,

and the scent of her skin intoxicates me.

With her in my arms,

I remain grounded in this moment.

 

My mind no longer threatens to slip away.

My eyes slowly begin to see what is really happening.

I look at my angel,

and I realize how the world sees her.

 

Her wings are a hoodie to the untrained eye.

The iridescent shimmer she leaves on my skin is invisible.

The melody of her voice can be lost in the world’s noise.

Her magic will never be so appreciated by the masses.

 

But to me,

in every moment I spend with her

and in every moment I ever will,

she will always be my angel.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day, Alex. I wish that I could be with you today, but I will be seeing you very soon. I love you!

I may not be able to give you the world, but I can give you all of my love. This song always makes me think of you and how happy you make me.

Cruising through Kinsale

Cruising through Kinsale

I took my first trip in Ireland yesterday with Nick: an afternoon in Kinsale!

I normally have a detailed plan for things that I do so I know what to prepare for. That being said, all that Nick and I had really planned was that we were getting on the 11:25am bus and eating lunch at Dino’s once we got there. It would take us about 50 minutes to get to Kinsale on the bus, so we’d have the whole afternoon to spend in the charming little town.

Naturally, the universe decided that our plan was foolish and helped us change things around!

The Bus

We got to the bus station with plenty of time to get on the 11:25am bus. First things first, we had to buy tickets for the ride. The Parnell Bus Station in Cork has you purchase tickets from a sort of vending machine. You just select the route and ticket type, put your card or cash in, and the ticket gets printed. Sounds easy enough, right? Nope.

The ticket machine didn’t get on well with my credit card, much to my irritation. I’ve been trying to conserve my cash for when I really need it (like controlling my budget at the pub!) and to keep a more detailed record of money spent, so I really wanted to use my card. Luckily, I had a €20.00 note on me and the machine accepted that.

Of course, Nick had no problem using his card to buy his ticket. I’m not bitter or anything; I just think it’s a little unfair, but whatever. It’s fine. We managed to get both tickets and that’s the important bit.

Now, just a hiccup with the ticket machine would have been a little bothersome, but nothing too bad. We looked at the electronic bus schedule to see which bay the bus would be waiting at, and then the second shoe fell: the 11:25am bus wasn’t on there. The next bus to Kinsale listed was at 12:25pm.

We had a good laugh about it, after Nick made a few jabs at my inability to read a bus schedule online (I’m telling you: there was an 11:25am bus listed!). The next order of business was to determine what we wanted to do to kill an hour.

If you know me at all, I’d bet that you can guess what I wanted to do.

I wanted to get food!

Getting Food

While walking to the bus station, I’d noticed a donut shop down one of the side streets. You know what’s really good when you’re hungry but are set on getting lunch at a place 50 minutes away? Donuts.

After a bit of getting turned around, Nick and I found the donut shop and stared hungrily at the different flavors displayed in the window. We walked in and ordered a couple of donuts that managed to be absolutely incredible: Oreo for Nick and Boston cream for me. Once we got the donuts and sat down, we noticed the student and snack specials. I could’ve added a coffee for only €1 extra? You live and you learn, I guess.

The Bus: Take 2

Once we finished our donuts, we decided to head back to the bus station so we could get good seats on the bus. Fortunately, the 12:25pm bus actually existed, unlike the 11:25am.

Nick and I got on the bus and found seats. We settled in for a relatively short ride, prepared to watch the Irish countryside go by outside of the window. A calm 50-minute bus ride would have been a relaxing way to start off our day-trip.

Really, that’s exactly what happened… except the bus driver took the drive at a breakneck pace, careening around turns and throwing us around in our seats. I was very glad to have motion sickness medication in my bag as we rode down the twisting roads.

By the time we reached our destination and rushed to escape the bus, we were very ready to be in Kinsale.

Kinsale, Ireland

Kinsale is a historic fishing port known for being one of the most picturesque and popular towns in Ireland. If you’ve looked at photos of Ireland and seen brightly colored houses and shops, I’d say that you’re probably looking at a photo of Kinsale. The long waterfront and beautiful harbor make it a popular destination for tourists, especially for marine-related activities. More importantly (at least to me), Kinsale has gained international renown as “The Gourmet Capital of Ireland,” due to how many different restaurants, cafes, and pubs it contains!

Upon arrival, one of the first things that we noticed was that the harbor was pretty dry. All of the boats were basically grounded in a little puddle. With how often we get rain in Cork, it seemed a little crazy to us, but I guess there are different weather patterns in Kinsale!

Dino’s

The first thing we did in Kinsale was walk over to Dino’s Traditional Restaurant and Takeaway, known specifically for their fish and chips, for lunch.

Now, Nick’s roommate, Steve, had recommended Dino’s to begin with. We became a little confused when we got there and found a sit-down restaurant, not at all like the cheap, takeaway shop that I’d found in photos on Yelp.

Looking around, I saw the second half of Dino’s that I’d seen online. We walked next door and looked over the menu. Nick went with a classic fish and chips dish, and I ordered potato pies with chips. When the woman behind the counter asked if we wanted salt and vinegar on our chips, Nick gave the affirmation and she took that as being the answer for us both.

When we got outside and started to eat, I found it to be amazing so he was off the hook for accidentally making executive decisions about my lunch. Potato pies apparently are just fried mashed potatoes, so I basically had potatoes two ways for lunch and it was delicious! Nick thoroughly enjoyed his fish and chips, to the point that I think it’s the new benchmark for quality in his mind!

Nick with fish and chips
I’ve never seen someone so happy to unwrap some greasy butchers’ paper!

(I’m actually getting hungry right now just writing this 8 days later!)

Exploration and Photography

After lunch, we set out to explore Kinsale. Basically, I just dragged Nick around to a bunch of bookstores! Turns out, books are still expensive in Europe. It isn’t just an American thing.

We looked around for the iconic colorful buildings that you see when you look up Ireland on Pinterest! A bit of wandering later, and we eventually found them. It took a while for us to line up the perfect shot (mostly because I couldn’t believe that Nick wanted me to zoom in quite so much when taking photos of him!). I think it was worth it in the long run, though. I love getting the popular photography shots, even if they’re overdone and cheesy.

Nick and I explored more of the city, although we didn’t go to James Fort or Charles Fort. We really just took photos and talked while we walked around. It was really nice and relaxing!

We found a pirate ship mast and took photos with it, which I would include a photo of me with but SOMEONE hasn’t sent me the photos (I’m looking at you Nick).

I’d say Nick is a pretty tame pirate! Luckily, this ship isn’t sailing anywhere!

Eventually, we ran out of things to do, though. We stopped in at the Lemon Leaf Cafe, which I’d read lots of awesome reviews for, and got some coffee before hopping back on the bus and heading home to Cork. Fortunately, the ride home was easy and uneventful!

Back to Cork

Once we got back to Cork, Nick and I went on a grocery shopping adventure. SuperValu, Tesco, Lidl… the whole nine yards. Naturally, all I decided to buy was alcohol, but I should’ve probably bought actual food. I guess I’ll just have to keep working on being an adult.

I’m glad that I finally got out on an adventure here! Thank you, Nick, for wandering with me and dealing with my insanity. You’re a great traveling companion – not too irritating, somehow! I’m kidding, of course (mostly)!

Today’s song is just really catchy, so I hope you’re ready!

 

Reflecting on 2017

Reflecting on 2017

I’m back to do some reflecting on 2017! I know I’ve been totally MIA lately, but I’m getting my life together … well, back together at least!

Last year, I did a post called Reflecting on 2016 and it was nice to get everything out of my head and into written words. It’s a tradition that I’d like to keep alive, so here is my Second Annual Reflection post. (That sounds so official, right? No? Just to me?)

From what I’ve heard, read, and experienced, 2017 was really just awful. I had a lot of other words in mind besides “awful,” but it seemed the easiest and friendliest word to use. Anyways, 2017 sucked for a lot of people. I definitely suffered some setbacks this year too. However, I want to focus on the positives of the year.

Without further ado, let’s get started on some positive notes so we don’t bring 2017’s negativity into 2018!

2017 Milestones

⇾ I turned 20! I had dinner with my little sister, Ani, at Panera. Their mac and cheese… just yum! (I’m actually writing this post on my 21st birthday too. I feel so old now!)

⇾ I went on my second weekend away with my boyfriend at the time to Morehead City, North Carolina in February. It was very, very cold by the water!

⇾ I flew out to Seattle, Washington in March for an international symposium about accessibility in information technology for students in higher education and for employees in the workplace.

⇾ I met a domesticated potbelly big in the forest while on a class field trip. I’m convinced that she was the spirit of the forest.

⇾ I completed Questival in March with Margaret and our boyfriends at the time. It was honestly a great experience that I never want to do again because it was exhausting.

⇾ I started a stable and consistent workout and health plan. Sure, it died a few months ago, but I kept it up for months. Now I know that I can do that again!

⇾ I started an Instagram account for this blog. (Go check it out!)

⇾ I flew out to Montreal, Quebec, Canada for an international symposium about the stakeholders in accessibility work in late May/early June.

⇾ I saw so many beautiful sunrises and sunsets!

⇾ I traveled to Mexico with my family for a few days on vacation in July. It was beautiful, and we had amazing food!

⇾ I photographed so many amazing pieces of street art everywhere I went! (The photos are up on Instagram if you want to see!)

⇾ I traveled to the Blue Ridge Mountains with my dad in July to visit Mt. Lyn Lowry, where my great-grandmother’s ashes were spread. It was really hard for me, but I’m glad that I finally worked up the courage to go.

⇾ I went to Charlotte Pride in August and it was PHENOMENAL. The first day, I went by myself. I ended up seeing my friend from elementary school who I haven’t seen in years and hung out with her! When the live music started at the end, I capped off my night dancing on a bench. … I know, right? That doesn’t sound like me, but it happened! The second day, I went with my little sister and saw the parade (it had dinosaurs in it!) and met some interesting folks!

⇾ I traveled to Denver, Colorado with my dad and his wife for my dad’s birthday in September. I did my own thing for most of the trip. Basically, I went used bookstore-hopping and got a lot of coffee!

⇾ I bleached my hair and dyed it indigo. (Margaret helped so much!) Due to my inability to tell time, it got so late that I just lived as a blonde for a day. I did not have more fun at all.

⇾ I participated in a video for a project called State Against Hate. My part didn’t end up in the final version, but I was so flattered and happy that they wanted the Allies for Students with Disabilities to be involved!

⇾ I helped paint the Free Expression Tunnel at NC State for National Coming Out Day and for National Indigenous People’s Day in October!

⇾ I met NC State’s Chancellor Woodson! He’s super nice and was very receptive to my thoughts on the state of accessibility on campus!

⇾ I ate a lot of really great food, including some wonderful brunch dates with Margaret!

⇾ I rode ferris wheels and carousels at the NC State Fair with Margaret in October! Oh my goodness, fair food is absolutely amazing. Chocolate covered cheesecake with sprinkles on a stick, fried mozzarella on a stick, fried Oreos not on a stick… yum!!

⇾ I baked almost 150 mini cupcakes for an Asexual Awareness table in Talley, which I also staffed for an hour.

⇾ I gave my first presentation as an NCBI facilitator to a class of my peers!

⇾ I met Porsha O. in October! Her spoken word poetry is amazing, and I love the themes and messages she uses! Bonus: She followed me on Instagram and likes my posts! Ah!

⇾ I volunteered with Margaret in October at the Annual Equality NC Gala. We got to meet tons of influential people, kept cool rainbow lanyards, and got Jimmy John’s when our food never showed up. We even played games like one word stories, which turned out …interestingly.

⇾ I went to an event at Legends Nightclub in Raleigh in October called Scare ‘n CARE, which benefited Equality NC. I felt right at home in the performance environment, being a belly dancer. There were fire eaters/performers, a fashion show, a burlesque performance, and more! I met so many incredible performers, including an amazing belly dancer from Virginia. I got super sick the next day, but I’m so glad that I dragged myself out on my own to experience that event.

⇾ I made yet another pecan pie for Thanksgiving! Apparently, my skills are in demand! I also made my Thanksgiving leftovers last for almost an entire week!

⇾ I flew out to Seattle, Washington for a conference about accessibility in December. There were a few familiar faces from March, so that was nice!

⇾ I started dating a truly remarkable woman. It’s crazy to think that we met onto 7 months ago; it feels like I’ve known her for years. We’ve been dating for 5 months and she makes me so unbelievably happy every day! I’m so glad that she’s in my life!

⇾ I completed an internship with Rural Forward NC during the fall semester. It was absolutely incredible and I loved every moment of it. It was truly my dream job. I had my very last day (we had a holiday party!) 3 weeks ago on December 12. I already miss everyone! I’m so psyched to see how projects develop while I’m abroad in Ireland this semester!

⇾ I was accepted into an exchange program at University College Cork in Ireland for the spring semester! I’ll get there on January 10 and settle in before my orientation on January 11 – 12. I’m seriously not looking forward to that +5 hour time difference, but I’m honestly just so excited for this study abroad experience!

⇾ I kept up a gratitude project with Margaret during the fall semester. Each day, we individually put up a sticky note with something we were grateful for that day. It was a great way to encourage positive thinking!

⇾ I upheld my position as the President of the Allies for Students with Disabilities. I worked with the university on some cool projects and learned so much on my conference and symposium trips.

⇾ I had surgery to correct my deviated septum in September, which required the surgeon to fix a 90% deviation and to reduce the swelling of my turbinates. He’d already told me that it was the worst he’d ever seen, but apparently the whole structure of my nose was collapsing and he hadn’t been able to see that until the surgery began. While it may have been pretty much a whole rhinoplasty in the end, the surgeon did amazing work and recreated the structure. I had an extra week of recovery because of that, so I got a week to sleep and not go to class. Once it finally healed, I found that I could breathe so much better. I didn’t realize just how bad it was before. Total game-changer!

⇾ I got an awesome new haircut at the Coven Salon in Raleigh. The back and sides are shaved, and the top is pretty short. I think it looks totally badass! I just got it cut last Friday, but I’ve already forgotten what it’s like to have longer hair! This is why I only trust Elizabeth with my hair!

⇾ I met a lot of great people that I had amazing adventures with. Thank you all for being so wonderful!

As a disclaimer, I don’t mean for any of this to come off as bragging. I worked very hard for some of these opportunities, but most of these accomplishments are the result of pure chance and luck. I am so grateful that I was able to do all that I did.

Today’s theme song is this. I had a problem with the music file last night so it just kept playing over and over. Someone introduced me to this song, so blame her if it gets stuck in your head!

The Intrinsic Value of Nonprofits

Standing in 82-degree weather dripping with sweat and feeling the dull ache in my hands as I swung the garden hoe down to break up the dry earth, all I could think was: “I hope that this sweat dries before I get to the formal Friday Center for the Bernstein Dinner, but either way – this is worth it.”

Throughout the fall 2017 semester, I interned with Rural Forward NC (RFNC) as a Program Associate. RFNC is a regional support organization for Healthy Places North Carolina, an initiative of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust with the task of improving the health and overall quality of life for individuals in rural North Carolina. RFNC was designed to respond to the needs of rural communities by working with local leaders and residents to hear their voices and find ways to celebrate community successes and combat problems.

As a Program Associate, I worked with my supervisor and other staff members to complete various projects. I traveled across NC to attend meetings and learn about the initiatives in the counties that RFNC works in: Nash, Edgecombe, Beaufort, Rockingham, and Halifax. My supervisor was primarily involved with Rockingham County, so I was mainly working on projects there.

Projects

Food Council

There was a push to create a food council in Rockingham County to provide public awareness and education about local foods, to provide local food, to encourage collaboration and communication between growers and buyers, and to identify and address the root causes of the issues in the community. The food council would serve as a hub for communication and collaboration, allowing for centralized information so that others could be aware of the current projects and join in. It would also create a network for providing education topics such as healthy eating, local foods, and the connection between local foods and the local economy. For this project, my role was to attend meetings, take notes and compile ideas, research other food councils, and attend other meetings related to food access.

My favorite meeting was the Organic Agriculture Revitalization Strategy (OARS) Regional Summit in New Bern, NC. I went to the meeting as the only Rural Forward NC representative, and I learned about some unbelievable projects going on in northeastern NC. The most amazing thing that I heard about was a mobile farmer’s market, which grows produce year-round and travels around to serve disadvantaged communities. One of their most incredible aspects is that they set up at a hospital in Vance County, and physicians write prescriptions for fresh produce that patients can redeem at the mobile market.

Behavioral Health and Opioid Awareness

The first event that I attended was a National Opioid Awareness Day event in Rockingham County, in which speakers came together to discuss the effects of opioid addiction. At the event, the space for a memorial garden was dedicated to those lost to overdose. Later on, I went back to the site with my girlfriend to actually plant the garden. In an interesting turn of events, I ended up wielding a garden hoe to break up the dry earth while three other people each shoveled holes, and planted and watered tulip bulbs.

Additionally, I was involved with the Coalition for Addiction Recovery and Education (CARE) program. The CARE program aims to create a Recovery Community Center to serve the community and provide a centralized location to focus on opioid addiction recovery and education services. For this project, I researched successful recovery centers and potential funding opportunities.

Western Rockingham Recreational Group

The Western Rockingham Recreational Group was interested in having a recreational facility built for their community. The area already had a recreational center and a YMCA, but neither are very good or usable. The group’s idea is that if there is a better facility built, more people will utilize its resources to engage in a healthier lifestyle. I conducted research on recreational facilities and potential funding opportunities.

HPNC Strategy and Hub Development Meeting

I traveled to Winston-Salem with the two other interns and most of the RFNC group for a meeting with the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. At the meeting, we discussed the upcoming happenings for RFNC, including its expansion into the western part of the state. When we were put into small groups for discussions about power dynamics, I was put into a group of influential people. They were talking together, which was very interesting and helped me understand where people in the group were coming from, but I didn’t know if I was supposed to be saying anything. When the conversation lulled, I decided to throw out some comments of my own. It turned out very well and people seemed pleasantly surprised with my insights.

Summary

Being a Program Associate with RFNC has been the highlight of my semester. When I started, I was considering going to graduate school after graduation, but I was not sure for what. My major is Natural Resources: Policy and Administration, and I knew that I wanted to study how people in underprivileged communities interact with their environments.  My work with RFNC has allowed me to follow that passion by giving me the ability to provide opportunities for individuals to be educated about food and live healthier lives. Realizing this dream has allowed me to become more confident of my goals for the future.

I have long been involved in advocacy work, and this internship has allowed me to realize that I can keep doing what I love even after I leave NC State. I am now planning to pursue a Master’s of Public Administration with a focus on Nonprofit Management. The experience that I’ve gained from working with RFNC will help me in graduate school because I will have real world knowledge on how nonprofits work. I think that the most important thing that I have learned is that nonprofits have a responsibility to put their hearts and souls into supporting communities.

Integrating into Ireland: UCC Campus Involvement

Integrating into Ireland: UCC Campus Involvement

We’re taking a little turn from my advocacy posts to talk about my plan for campus involvement at UCC!

If you read my previous post, you’d know that I was recently accepted by University College Cork (UCC) in Cork, Ireland as an exchange student for the spring semester! I am so unbelievably excited to be flying to Ireland in January to spend 4 months studying in a beautiful and culturally rich country!

However, I am definitely a little nervous about everything, especially about making friends. As an introvert at NC State, I spend most of my time in my apartment. I’ve made some efforts lately to get involved with the GLBT Center, but it’s really more of an uphill battle for me. I’m fine with that because I know that I still have a few good friends and an amazing girlfriend.

It occurred to me, though, that when I am +5 hours ahead of all of my friends, my girlfriend, and my family, I may get a little lonely. I also really want to learn more about Ireland and her culture, her people, her landscapes… and it would be nice to be able to spend time with friends while doing so, rather than just having it all be a solo mission. In light of this, I decided to do some research on how to make connections while I am abroad.

On-Campus Involvement: Societies

Disability Activism and Awareness Society

I do disability advocacy and awareness work at NC State right now, and I want to make sure that I can still be involved in similar work while I’m at UCC. Searching for opportunities to get involved lead to me finding the Disability Activism and Awareness Society!

I am the President of the Allies for Students with Disabilities (ASD) here at NC State. Being involved in this kind of advocacy work makes me so very happy. My passion for this work has given me a lot of drive, and I will miss the ASD once I’m in Ireland. I’ll be Co-Presidents with my current Vice President, Natalie, so I will handle the emails and online work while she takes care of the in-person events and meetings. I was worried that I would fall out of touch with the issues and my advocacy skills would suffer. I’m sure you can imagine how much of a relief it was to find the Disability Activism and Awareness Society!

I am so interested to see which region-specific issues they face and to learn how accessible Ireland is. The prospect of finding more people that care about the same issues that I do sounds incredible. I can’t wait to get there and to meet these amazing students. I think that being involved at UCC will also give me a lot of information and lessons to bring back to NC State for my final semester!

LGBT* Society

As a member of the LGBT community, I wanted to make sure that I could find a supportive environment once I got to University College Cork. Ireland was the first country to legalize gay marriage, and I can only remember good things about my last brief visit, but I still needed to feel out the atmosphere. While I was scouring the list of UCC’s societies, I found the UCC Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans* (LGBT*) Society.

I have been involved with the GLBT Center at NC State, far more so this semester than in past semesters. This campus has not always been kind to me as a demi-pan individual, but the Center has helped me to find a more inclusive support network. I know that whenever I walk up to the Center I will be able to find at least one friendly face. The students who frequent the space are all very inclusive, and the staff members are always helpful and supportive. Now that I’ve found this support, I don’t want to lose that more intimate connection to the larger LGBTQIA+ community when I head abroad.

Joining the UCC LGBT* Society would allow me to keep that network of care and support while I’m in Ireland. I think that being able to find such like-minded individuals and to stay involved in my LGBTQIA+ advocacy work will help me to adjust to life abroad. That continuity of familiar activities will make me feel more included and less estranged as an American exchange student. I am very excited to learn more about the community in Ireland and about the work that this group is doing!

Hot Beverage Appreciation Society

Okay, this is definitely my for-fun society choice!

While I love that I will be able to be involved in groups that focus on the advocacy that I am so passionate about, I think that having a more relaxing activity will be beneficial to my mental and emotional health. I was looking through the different, interesting groups that I could join, and one popped out at me that I just couldn’t ignore: the Hot Beverage Appreciation Society!

Honestly, I am not sure why NC State doesn’t have a hot beverage appreciation club. My understanding is that they get together every week to drink hot beverages and play games. A chance to play games, talk about life, and drink hot tea with some cool people? Sign me up please!

Off-Campus Involvement

Coffee Shops

Have you ever seen one of those movies where the character goes to a coffee shop and the baristas already know their name and order? I have always wanted to have that for myself because it just seems so convenient. I can walk in, be cheerily greeted, and have my coffee made without even having to socially interact with anyone? That sounds like a dream come true!

In all seriousness, I would love to find a local hangout where I can go to work or relax. In my mind, this place is a little used bookstore – coffee shop combination. I think that those kinds of stores are just wonderful. They foster intellectual and creative studies while also catering to my caffeine addiction.

Travel

University College Cork gives students a two-week recess between the end of March and the beginning of April. Naturally, I’ve been looking into the adventures that I could go on. Travel between European countries is incredibly cheap (if you don’t believe me, go check out Ryanair!) and I have no idea when I will get back over there, so I think it would be really amazing to travel around Europe. I have a wishlist of places to go see, although I know I won’t have time to go to all of them. We’ll see which ones make the cut!

Reykjavik, Iceland is definitely a long shot, but you never know what will happen! The red markers are for places that I have already been, but that I definitely want to go back to!

In addition to the recess, I have also been reviewing the things to do and places to see in Ireland. TripAdvisor and GoogleTrips have both been great sources for information on the top attractions. I’ve been to a few of these places before, like the Cliffs of Moher and the Old Library. However, it was a while ago and I really want to explore this by myself.

UCC International Students’ Blog

Depending on where you’re reading this, you may or may not know that I am writing for the UCC International Students’ blog! Throughout and leading up to the spring semester, I will be creating content for this external blog. The posts will be featured here, but the UCC blog will see them first! I definitely recommend checking that blog out to see what experiences I’m having!

I am so grateful to have this opportunity! Writing and creating content for my personal blog (however scattered it may be) is something that I really look forward to. I hope that I can inspire you to study abroad or to travel the world. I am so excited to be going to Ireland, and I will definitely be sharing that with you all via both of these blogs and my social media!

Feelings on Feasibility

I think that these are all great ways to get involved on campus. I hope that this will help me feel more included at University College Cork. It will definitely take a lot of effort for me to get involved because I am an introvert. I do want to push myself outside of my comfort zone so I can be open to new experiences. I would love to form some friendships, both with the Irish students and with the four other NC State students.

That being said, I know that I will be spending quite a bit of time alone. I plan to take some solo adventures around Cork, and really all of Ireland. Of course, spending every moment alone isn’t the goal of studying abroad because that severely limits your experience of the country and its culture. However, I think that there is a great strength in spending time with yourself. I do mean productive time with yourself, rather than because you feel alone.

I am personally very comfortable spending time with myself, and I find it to be very refreshing. Finding the balance between being involved and being by myself is hard here. I know it’ll be even harder at UCC, where I don’t really know anyone. It’ll be good for me to get out of my head and to connect with a diverse group of people. I am really looking forward to campus life and to exploring a new part of the world!

A Note from the Author

This post was written as a guest post on the UCC blog! You should definitely go check out the other amazing posts that they have!

Thank you so much for reading! I’m sorry that I’ve been MIA lately; between my internship, classes, and recent illness, I haven’t had a ton of time to write and edit.

Today’s theme song is this! I feel like it really speaks to my excitement for this new adventure!