Arriving in Dublin marked many new beginnings, which necessitated an evaluation of old habits and budding priorities. I tried to adopt a New Year’s resolution mindset, selecting four mottos for the year.
School is important, but there is more to learn outside of the classroom.
I have spent several years laser focused on getting into law school, and the security of these now-finalized plans has allowed me newfound freedom. While I love my classes, much of my learning here has been done elsewhere: an abortion rights rally pushing for expanded access in Ireland; four-hour-long dinners with my peers, considering everything from Catholic guilt to the treatment of the Traveller population; a day spent discussing the merits of therapy on the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk; and rounding out Halloweekend studying Bloody Sunday at The Museum of Free Derry.
Practice habits of happiness and self-care that I can take with me beyond this year.
I know that the years ahead of me will be exponentially more demanding, but I am hoping that practicing certain habits this year will make it easier to better future routines.
I walk the miles of UCD trails, as unleashed dogs dart past and children play soccer on the surrounding fields. I swim countless hours in the new Olympic-sized lap pool, cherishing this time that forces me to disconnect, focused solely on rhythmic breathing and moving forward. I say an emphatic yes to social plans, deeply appreciative that I do not need to limit those commitments as I did in undergrad. I spend too much money trying the ubiquitous Dublin vegan options, filling my camera roll with half-eaten dishes, because I was so eager to dig-in that I only remembered to take a picture several moments later.
Warm and sunny days are rare—when it is nice outside, be outside.
Admittedly, the warm and sunny days haven’t been quite as rare as I anticipated, a surprise I gleefully welcome every day (although, I think Jonathan may kill me if he hears me say “wow, it’s so nice out” one more time).
Recently, Meghan and I agreed to meet at a coffee shop to study. As I was about to pass through St. Stephen’s Green Park on the three-mile walk into city center, Meghan texted to ask if we could sit in the park “for a sec” to enjoy the beautiful day. We stayed for several hours before getting donuts, drinking tea at Trinity, and having dinner at our favorite falafel place. Neither of us did an ounce of work that entire afternoon, and it was one of my favorite days in this city so far. I hope for many more chances to ditch everything and just be outside.
Spend as much time as possible with my Mitchell class.
The last, best, and easiest resolution, because I simply adore these people. It is profoundly special to be a part of a group with such varied interests, personalities, lived experiences, and fields of study, and to still fit together this well.
Goodbye is so far off, but it already feels just about impossible—I’ll be soaking up every moment in the meantime.