To start off, I cannot believe I am writing this from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Looking back to when I applied to the Sport Changes Life program last fall, this time seemed so far away in my mind. It probably won’t set in that I am actually here until it’s time to leave in May! For me, coming here was actually not a “wee” leap of faith, but actually a huge leap of faith. I am the youngest of six children, and I am extremely close with all of my siblings and with my parents. I grew up in a very supportive household, and have had the same group of close friends since elementary school, and found a tight circle of friends in college. In other words, I have a pretty solid comfort zone at home. In fact, when I first left for college I was worried about leaving my family and friends 3 hours away. It’s absolutely crazy to think that after four years of tremendous growth, I have now left my family and friends a whole ocean away.
For me, being apart of this program is all about getting out of my comfort zone even more so that I can become the best version of myself. I feel that if I can become the best version of myself, then I can really make a positive impact on the youth of Ireland and help the kids we will be working with become the best versions of themselves too. I am really looking forward to not only teaching the kids what I have to offer, but to really learn from them too. Growing together over the next 10 months, I feel we can really make a significant impact on each other.
Overall, my short time here so far has shown me how much potential this program really has to offer. Over the last few weeks, I have met 33 other Victory Scholars who share the same goals as I do, and who I became really fast friends with. I also had my first few basketball practices and my first scrimmage on our home court with my new team. I even had the opportunity to travel to Dublin with my team for our first tournament, which we won! I am looking forward to getting the season under way with my new squad.
In addition, I’ve gotten the opportunity to do a bit of sight-seeing; I visited Saint George’s Market and the Titanic Museum (highly recommend!!!) in downtown Belfast, as well as Giant’s Causeway on the coast. I also have had training in social media and coaching, participated in a few Ehoops programs, and visited some local schools, nursing homes, and youth groups with the other scholars. The days have been busy but also super fun.
I am finally getting settled in at Ulster University before school begins at the end of September. Overall, I am really looking forward to what is in store for myself and the other scholars this year. I am so thankful for the Sport Changes Life Victory Scholar program and the Rory Foundation for allowing me to even reach this point. Please feel free to follow along my blog (and/or my social media accounts, as well as Sport Changes Life’s accounts) to see where this journey takes us all throughout the year. Cheers!!