September 16th, 2012 | Uncategorized
A preoccupation with abandoned castles and mountain bikes has been replaced with a monsoon of lectures, soccer practice/tryouts for three different teams, more lectures, reading, grocery shopping, enrollment complications, and the daunting prospect of planning, implementing, and writing a masters thesis in about 10 months. Toss in coaching next week and grad school applications (I’m somehow supposed to prepare for next Fall during all of this), and I think I’ve redefined my naïve undergraduate conception of a full schedule.
The “lecture-soccer-lecture” portion of that account was no accident. The first day of my masters program consisted of orientation and classes from 2-6PM, a one-hour slot for dinner from 6-7PM, and more lectures from 7-9:30PM. Oh, but wait…tryouts for the university’s premier soccer team are from 6-7? Sure, I’ll skip dinner – wasn’t hungry anyway.
Thank God for the bicycle. I left the class prematurely at 5:50, arrived at the fields at 6:05, was able to play for 45 minutes, before hopping back on the bike, racing back to campus in a torrential downpour, and walking into my 7PM class 30 seconds late, drenched in sweat and rain…awkward.
With a granola bar and half a ham sandwich tossed in somewhere between 2 and 9:30 (for all I know, I might have been eating while I was playing – I think I blacked out for this portion of the day), I arrived back in my apartment at 10 completely exhausted and starving. Dinner at 10:30PM.
I only have class on Mondays and Thursdays – but this translates into 6-7 hours of lecture on both of these days. Soccer, coaching, reading, written assignments, group meetings, and research will fill up the rest of my time.
I was recently informed that the Postgraduate Student Lounge offers daily FREE coffee for those students in masters and doctorate programs. “Instructions for coffee”: Dump 3 spoonfuls of brown powder from the jar into a cup of hot water and stir – adding milk and sugar to this mess only made it look and taste worse. I’ll be paying for coffee this year.
On top of university soccer with the premier team and the first-year team (apparently “first year” postgraduates are eligible) I recently signed with a local club: Aisling Annacotty FC. The team is made up of players in their early 20s to mid 30s. After nearly 3 months of recovery from a knee injury, I played in my first game on Saturday night, under the lights. Unfortunately, we came up on the short end of a 3-2 decision. The coach started me at right midfield, and I played well in my first game back – however, after 45 minutes, was forced to ask for a substitution due to a pulled hamstring (Should I even be surprised at this point?). The last 13 months have yielded a series of devastating blows to my involvement in the game, including a partially torn MCL, a fractured left foot, and a (re-)sprained MCL this summer. While the latest blow will hopefully only leave me out for a week or two, it adds frustration and despair to an already-lengthy list of setbacks.
However, in the spirit of continuing to learn lessons this year, I’ve encountered another: a reiteration of how incredibly fortunate I really am to have this experience. In spite of any setback on the field, I am here for more than my own athletic career. For one, I am in Ireland…and no injury will ever detract from that fact. But I am also blessed to be pursuing a Masters Degree in Work/Organizational Psychology, and coaching at-risk kids in the Limerick area. So, even as I limp around the next few days, I aim to not lose sight of this. All my love to those back home, and congrats to Bucknell soccer on a great start to the season…keep it going boys.