Meeting so many people from different colleges/universities and hearing about each of their experiences has been so fun and interesting. Now, I may be slightly biased, but I have to say that I am so grateful to have gone to our small college of big dreams, St. Francis. (Brooklyn, of course.) Obviously, no school is perfect and there will always be people who either love it, hate it, or fall somewhere in between. But I’ve always believed that the experience you have somewhere is what YOU make it – you can’t just expect to have great times, friends, and memories fall right into your lap. You have to go out and take advantage of every little opportunity you get to learn something new, meet other people, go out and see things, and take risks. Living in the beautiful Brooklyn Heights – just one subway stop away from the heart of NYC – for the past 4 years has taught me more than I ever would have thought.
For starters, we did not have a meal plan. Now I know you may be thinking, “What?! How on EARTH did you survive???” Well, part of our scholarship as a women’s basketball player at SFC included a monthly stipend for food each month. And if you don’t know much about the Brooklyn Heights area…just know that the “Heights” part of the name could describe the prices of everything there quite well – HIGH. So, the monthly stipend served as a life-learning tool in a few different ways:
Side note: My fellow Victory Scholar & bestie, Maria Palarino, was my roommate at SFC for our last two years there so we became a pretty dynamic chef duo with our electric skillet and microwave. She likes to say that I did most of the cooking but she made some outstanding asparagus and even some gourmet salmon, so don’t underestimate her skills in the kitchen!! (See some of our fancy meals below)
My main point here is that having to cook for myself (and my housemates) here in Ireland has been nothing out of the ordinary! My only struggle is that whatever I make never tastes as good as a homecooked meal from my Mom…definitely looking forward to that welcome home dinner whenever I get back to the states!
The next thing I learned at SFC that some may feel is a near-impossible task: Using public transportation. Ah yes, conquering the MTA. It definitely was not easy figuring out the NY subway system…Maria, Lorraine, Kat, and Mia can all attest to that! (What should have been a 5-minute ride home from the Barclays Center ended up taking us over an hour…but hey, we’ll never forget it!) Knowing how to navigate those underground trains is essential to living in NYC, so trying to learn how to get around Ireland via bus or train has been a cake-walk, especially since Letterkenny really only has one bus station to get to know!
And last but certainly not least, we have to walk to get ANYWHERE here in Letterkenny. The miles and miles of walking we’ve done since we’ve arrived have been a struggle for some, but I’d say I’ve gotten pretty used to it over the years by having to go back and forth from the dorms to school and exploring the city in ALL kinds of weather. Pictured below is Mia Ehling and I from freshman year (unfortunately injured and in boots) prepared to walk to our game in a full-on blizzard…so I think I’ll be prepared for the 5-minute trek from my house to LYIT!
I could go on and on naming things that I learned from SFC and everyone in it, but I just wanted to give a little shout out to my alma mater for preparing me for just about any situation I may encounter in the “real world.”
So, thank you, St. Francis, for my unique college experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything else!
#4. If you are out to eat, know that chips=fries and crisps=chips so you don’t get disappointed when you think your order came out wrong!
#5. If you’re a chocolate lover like I am, you won’t be able to control yourself around anything labeled CADBURY in Ireland! It’s amazing and any chocolate you thought was good from America does not even come close…trust me.
That’s all for now, folks!