It’s hard to believe that I am already a senior! How incredibly bittersweet it is. As the reality of graduation begins to set in, I feel both overwhelmingly excited, and yet slightly nervous about what’s to come. I think the biggest challenge for me this year will be allocating sufficient time to both academic and personal commitments. Acquiring that balance will be critical to making the most of this, my senior year.
After having lived on-campus for the last three years, I decided to move off-campus this year. The house I am renting is a 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom, located just a few minutes from campus. It’s definitely within walking distance…although I still can’t get up early enough to be able to take advantage of that. I love living here, because it has given me a whole new set of responsibilities and helps me feel like I’ve finally “planted my roots” in Nashville. (I am also super excited about having trick-or-treaters this Halloween!)
Classes are going well so far; surprisingly, my main focus right now is not on schoolwork! I’m in the process of completing my application to Belmont’s Occupational Therapy program. One of the components of the application is to obtain 50 hours of observation in the field. I have absolutely LOVED being able to job shadow because it has just solidified that this is, in fact, what I want to do for the rest of my life. I especially loved shadowing at Pediatric Therapies, located in Franklin.
In addition to babysitting, I’ve also been working part-time at The Friends Shop — the gift shop at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. It’s such a great job, and a totally new experience for me.
All in all, it’s turing out to be a busy (yet wonderful) semester!
This week I registered for classes for my SENIOR year of COLLEGE. I can’t believe that this time next year I will be graduating. It’s crazy!! Seems like just yesterday I was pulling up to Wright Hall and unloading my Mercury Sable…oh, how time flies.
When I reflect on what I’ve learned over the course of my last three years at Belmont, I don’t think about anything subject-related. (For example, “accumulated depreciation,” certainly isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.) What I do think about are the friends I’ve made and the many memories we’ve shared. I also recall the numerous experiences in which I was forced to “put on my big girl panties” and grow up. (There have been quite a few of those — the most challenging one being when I spent 24 hours in the JFK airport after having spent a semester in Spain!)
Yesterday, my friend Kelly and I were recalling how we first met. We had both signed up for the same group project in Abnormal Psychology, so we spent quite a few hours preparing PowerPoint slides and practicing our presentation together. I remember her inviting me to have breakfast at her house one Saturday, but I couldn’t because I was working on the Virtual Campus Tour. I was so disappointed to have to turn down the invitation, and I hoped she would want to hang out again! After that, we started taking walks together and ended up keeping in touch all summer, despite the fact that we were 500+ miles apart. When she came to visit me (and her grandparents, who conveniently live five miles away from my house in KC) in early-August, we spent the week singing to Rascal Flatts, sun-tanning, cooking, hanging out with my family, and — always — laughing. It was truly one of the best weeks of my life.
I ended up getting a C in Abnormal Psychology, which means I’l have to take it again next Spring in order to apply for Occupational Therapy school (I need all As and Bs in my prerequisite classes for OT). However, like I told Kelly yesterday, the first time I took Abnormal Psychology, I wasn’t destined to make an A or a B; I was destined to meet her.
I want to leave you with an excerpt from the very first blog entry I wrote. These words are still as true as they were three years ago…
“Let me preface this entry by saying that these past three weeks at Belmont have been absolutely life-changing for me. There is no way I could possibly express how welcomed I have felt since my first day here or how much I love everything about this place. One consistent characteristic of Belmont, and perhaps what I love most about it, is the genuine hospitality of everyone here. People make eye contact with each other. Strangers greet each other with a ‘Hey! How are you?’ There is just such a sense of community and optimism here and I love being a part of it.”
In the midst of what is – without a doubt – the craziest time of the year, it was nice to take a break and spend the weekend with my mom. She and one of her friends came to visit me, allowing me to be their personal Nashville tour guide for a few days. In return, they offered me much-needed emotional support and encouragement to finish the semester strong. (They also treated me to a few meals, which is always very much appreciated!) It was a perfect weekend.
When they arrived on Friday, I took them to Belmont for a quick tour of the campus. Next, we picked up my best friend, Kelly, and the four of us enjoyed a delicious lunch at one of my new favorite places: Star Bagel.
They have this incredible Peanut Butter, Honey, Granola, & Banana wrap…it is TO DIE FOR. It’s the stuff dreams are made of. Really. Anyway, after lunch, we drove around downtown Nashville before heading to Radnor Lake for an afternoon walk. I had never been to Radnor before, but now I’m not sure I will be able to keep myself from going daily! Everything is so peaceful and beautiful there; it’s the perfect escape.
Friday night we ate at J. Alexander’s, taking our time to enjoy great food and great company.
After that, we called it an early night so that we could get up and go to Pancake Pantry the next morning! The line was long, as per usual, but it was completely worth it (as per usual). From there, we went to downtown Franklin to shop and enjoy the spectacular weather. Since Saturday was Earth Day, there was a celebration in Centennial that included live music, so we went to check it out. We had a wonderful time! Later that night, we visited the Gaylord Opryland hotel and Opry Mills Mall.
On Sunday, we went to church, shopped for a few hours, and then my mom and her friend went to the Bluebird Café. I had been planning on joining them, but ended up feeling sick so I decided to take a nap. The girls left early yesterday morning and I miss them already! It’s nice knowing that I will be home in less than three weeks, but I still have so much do to before the end of the semester comes!
Yesterday, my friend Ateia and I drove to Memphis for the day. Although I was born in Memphis, we moved when I was a month old and I hadn’t been back since.The combination of good music, beautiful weather, delicious food, and great conversations made for a perfect day! We started out by visiting Germantown (Ateia and I tend to be drawn to malls), then visited Baptist Memorial Hospital(where I was born!), then ate a yummy lunch at Neely’s BBQ, and headed downtown for the rest of the evening. Downtown Memphis reminded me of a cross between Nashville and Kansas City. So I felt right at home! Ateia and I estimated that we each spent about $40 on gas and food, which is very reasonable for a day-trip! Next semester we’re planning to go to Atlanta and Chattanooga.
Not having classes yesterday or today has been VERY nice. Not only has it given me the opportunity to catch up on homework (an opportunity that I have yet to take advantage of…), but it has also allowed me to reflect on the final days of Lent. I’m spending the rest of the weekend at a friend’s house, and celebrating Easter with them.
The weather has been absolutely gorgeous, so I’m going to try to spend as much time outside as possible! I’m loving being able to roll the windows down in my car and let the warm wind comb my hair as I sing along to Lady Antebellum and Rascal Flatts. Allergies are a small price to pay for the splendid springtime beauty.
Spring Break was absolutely wonderful. I spent the week at home with my family, celebrating my mom’s 50th birthday. For her birthday, I gave her a bracelet engraved with the words from one of our favorite books, Love You Forever. Being home was such a nice break from the business of the semester. Now, I’m back and ready to finish strong! Between writing an industry analysis paper for Business Entrepreneurship, and staying on top of my Accounting homework…I had my hands full this week!
One of my friends, Kelly, went to Guatemala over Spring Break. After hearing her stores and seeing her pictures, it’s all I can do to keep from hopping on a plane and heading there! She actually went on a mission trip and spent several hours each day working on building a hospital for citizens in Santiago Atitlan. While they were in Guatemala, her mission team visited an Occupational Therapy/Phisical Therapy clinic. Since the Occupational Therapy Doctorate degree program requires students to complete a semester of fieldwork prior to graduation, I’m looking into spending some time working in that clinic! What a wonderful opportunity that would be.
As I plan my classes for my senior year, it’s hard to believe that I am SO close to graduation! Just 26 more hours, and I’ll be done with my undergraduate work. I’m definitely ready to graduate, but I’m not ready to leave Belmont! Hopefully I will be accepted into the OTD program here, and will get to stay for at least three more years.
Last Thursday I went to the Eric Church concert. It was my first time ever going to Wildhorse Saloon, and I was thoroughly impressed. Before the concert, I only knew one of Eric’s songs (“Love Your Love the Most”), but my friend Cassie assured me that I would have a great time. And…she was right! There were actually three singer/songwriters who performed before him, and they were really entertaining as well.
Since Thursday was such a late night, I was relieved that my Friday 9 am class was cancelled. However, my friend Kelly and I ended up going to Chik-fil-a that morning (she had never had breakfast there before) so I was still up well before 9. Over the weekend I spent time with friends and caught up on homework. It was a busy weekend, but in a good way. Several of my friends live off campus now, so we have to be more intentional about finding time to hangout on a regular basis.
This week shouldn’t be too terribly stressful, but I’m sure it’s going to go by slowly because Spring Break starts on Friday! I can’t wait to spend some time at home with my family and celebrate my mom’s 50th birthday. It doesn’t feel like the semester should be halfway over yet, but I guess it is! Hopefully it will be downhill from here…so far Accounting has proved to be quite a challenge for me, but I’m still determined to make an A!
Currently, my favorite place in Nashville has to be Sweet CeCe’s. Located a few miles from Belmont’s campus, Sweet CeCe’s is a frozen yogurt shop that serves the most delicious treats in Nashville.The frozen yogurt tastes just like ice cream (possibly better), but it’s fat-free! There are always really interesting flavors, from Boysenberry, to Cookies ‘n’ Cream, to Hershey’s Chocolate Kiss, to Kiwi Strawberry Sorbet to Snickerdoodle, to Irish Mint, to Georgia Peach, to Dulce de Leche…it’s always so hard to decide what I want! After you’ve selected a flavor, you can top the yogurt with anything you like. There’s hot fudge, whipped cream, marshmallows, an array of candies, cookie dough chunks, cheesecake bites, and fresh fruit. The possibilities are endless! Once your masterpiece is complete, you pay for it according to how much it weights (that’s one of the reasons why marshmallows and whipped cream are always good topping selections). Sweet CeCe’s also gives out “punch cards,” so that after you’ve bought 9 treats, you receive the 10th one for free! It’s such a great deal. On “Two-Punch Tuesdays,” you get an extra punch for whatever you purchase – so it’s always a great excuse to go (not that I ever need one). My most recent creation was a combination of Boysenberry and Country Vanilla, topped with marshmallows, whipped cream, blueberries, blackberries, and cheesecake bites. It was delicious!!
When I’m not at Sweet CeCe’s, I stay pretty busy keeping up with homework, catching up with friends and family, and cooking in my Hillside apartment! I actually haven’t cooked nearly as often as I thought I would. Tonight I made Velveeta mac & cheese with broccoli…pretty gourmet, right? I’m trying to get better about cooking more and eating out less. Chick-fil-A always makes that harder to do.
This weekend I’m volunteering as a translator for the Nashville Symphony’s performance of Peter and the Wolf. There will be one performance with narration in English and one with narration in Spanish. I cannot WAIT to help out at this event! I’ve been looking for ways to keep practicing my Spanish – this should be a great opportunity.
Well, this semester is turning out to be the best one yet. I’ve only been back at Belmont for three weeks, yet it feels like it’s been much longer that that. One of the things I worried about in spending a semester abroad was that I would miss out on too much. While it certainly has taken some time to catch up with everyone, I haven’t missed too much. I am, however, beginning to miss Spain. There are moments where I long to go back – to walk the streets of the city that became my home, and to be reunited with the people who became my family there. I love keeping in touch with my friend Kindall (who is currently in Spain). Last night I actually had a dream that I went to visit her. It’d be great if I could make that dream a reality!
On Monday, I went to the Commercial Music Showcase here at Belmont. I always love going to the showcases because the artists that sing are absolutely phenomenal…and they’re all Belmont students! The four artists that sang at this particular showcase included Noel Barefoot, Joshua Eric Wright, Aashley Morgan, and John Flanagan. They were all incredible, but my personal favorite was Aashley Morgan.
This week has been very busy for me ~ I’m looking forward to spending a relaxing weekend with my friends. Tonight, my friend Kelly and I are having dinner together and tomorrow night I’m going to the First Saturday “Art Crawl” with my friend Cassie. I’ve never been before, but have always wanted to go. As a photography major, I’m sure that Cassie will really enjoy it. To be honest, I’m mostly interested in going because a new local chocolate company, Olive and Sinclair will be there, offering samples! Then, on Sunday, I’m going to watch the Super Bowl with my friends. It should be a wonderful weekend.
I’m back! Although the semester has just begun, I can already tell that it’s going to be my best one yet. My class load is fairly light, I’m living in an on-campus apartment (which is conveniently located just down the hill from my best friends’ apartments), and I’ve been going non-stop ever since I returned to Nashville. There is so much to do, and so many people to catch up with! I am absolutely loving reunions with old friends and making new friends, as well.
One of my good friends, Kindall, is actually in Spain right now. She’s even staying with my host mom…in my old room! I was so excited about her arrival that I decorated a bulletin board with pictures of her that I printed off from Facebook (see photo). I love being able to read her blog and look at her photos – they brings back such good memories.
My toughest class this semester is, hands-down, Integrated Accounting. It even sounds daunting, doesn’t it? Fortunately, I have a great professor. On the first day of class, she told us, “This class will not be nearly as difficult as you think it is going to be. As long as you put forth effort and ask me when you don’t understand the material, you will do just fine.” As simple as that statement sounds, it brought me so much peace. She continually expresses her desire to do as much as she possibly can to help us succeed in the class. That’s a pretty consistent theme with Belmont professors. It also helps that even in Accounting, an entry-level business class, there are only 20 other students.
This weekend is Academic Options Day, and I will have the honor of speaking at the opening session! I can’t wait to meet lots of new prospective students and their families; AO Day is one of the highlights of the semester for me because I love sharing my academic experiences that I’ve had here at Belmont with anyone who will listen.
Two weeks from tomorrow I will be on my way home. I can’t believe how fast my time here in Spain has flown by! When I first got here, I remember thinking how far away the month of December seemed; at times, I felt like I couldn’t make it through 15 weeks of being halfway across the world from my family and friends.
Looking back, this semester has been – by FAR – the most challenging and most rewarding that I’ve had thus far in my college career.
Not only has my Spanish improved tremendously, but I’ve also learned a whole host of invaluable life lessons. I would say my study abroad experience, as a whole, has helped me become more flexible, more assertive, more independent, and more decisive. It hasn’t been a completely blissful journey, but I truly believe that every bump in the road has made me stronger.
Last weekend my friends and I went to ITALY! It was everything I dreamed it would be…and so much more. When you look at the Colosseum or the Roman ruins, you can’t help but stand in awe of just how much history those monuments hold.
They are unfathomably beautiful. When we weren’t taking in the sights of Rome, we were enjoying the homemade pasta, gelato, pizza, and panini. I think we ate gelato five times in 2 days…yikes!
I still have one more trip: Portugal. I’m leaving on Monday and returning on Tuesday (no classes on those days because December 8th is Day of the Immaculate Conception – Spain celebrates it as a national holiday). Getting from Santiago to Porto is very simple: 3 hours by bus and you’re there! I have a feeling that next weekend will be a little crazy between packing, souvenir/Christmas shopping and enjoying my favorite things before I head home. I can’t believe the time has passed so quickly, but I’m getting excited about seeing my family and friends, and (of course) returning to Belmont!