It’s been three weeks since I moved to Ireland and I am living! My classes have started and I’m already starting to feel the pressure of grad school. Since I’ve got 6 classes (we call them modules here) this semester, work has been keeping me pretty busy, but my awesome and enthusiastic roommates make sure I have some fun too.
Pubs & Parties
When it comes to going out to the pubs and parties, my anxiety can sometimes make it difficult for me to enjoy myself. I get most of my anxious feelings before I even go out. It’s like the anticipation of going out & being in crowds of drunk people makes me hesitant to go, which makes the hardest part of going out being the literal first step out the door. With the encouragement of my roommates and the fact that all the best places to go out to in Galway just so happen to be about a block away, I have been able to take the step out the door and enjoy the Galway nightlife a bit.
Once I’m out, I usually have a great time (with my anxieties nestled in my subconscious). While I’m not much of a drinker (alcohol tends to make my anxiety worse), I just have a great time dancing with my friends and meeting new people from all over the place. I do, however, miss hearing literally any other music that’s not one-hit-wonders or pop hits from the 2000s. It’s like all the pubs are stuck in a time warp and can only play “Africa” by Toto or “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers. That’s just me though…
Anyway, for the most part, going out to pubs & parties in Ireland has been fun, but there have been a few times where I could feel my anxiety levels rising. In those moments, rather than pushing myself even further by staying, I’d usually just get some fresh air outside, call it a night and head home. Simple as that. I’ve learned not to freak out entirely whenever I feel anxious, but instead, I’ve begun to ride the waves of anxiety, while also knowing when the water’s getting too choppy and it’s time to get out of the water. Managing my anxiety here has been all about understanding my limits and slowing pushing the boundaries of those limits, without pushing too far. It’s been working pretty well, I’d say.
Zip-lining & High Ropes Course
Like I just said, I’ve been doing pretty well at managing my anxiety since I’ve been in Ireland, so why not really put my anxiety to the test by doing something that is actually scary??
Last weekend, my cohort went on a day-long excursion to the Delphi Adventure Resort out in Connemara, where we got to bond with our classmates, all the while challenging ourselves by doing things that scared and made us nervous.
After a nice morning of hiking through Delphi’s property in Connemara and participating in team building activities, I had an afternoon of personal growth. The entire second half of the day was focused on having fun while challenging my own fears. First up was zip-lining the 2nd longest zip-line in Ireland.
I honestly didn’t realize I had a slight fear of heights until I climbed the tower up to the zip-lining take off point and I was all strapped in, with no turning back. Fortunately for me, I wasn’t the only one in my group who was nervous, so our group of ten strangers instantly turned into the most impressive support group I have ever seen.
With the support of my team and a quick prayer, I stepped off the edge of the platform and went flying across the Delphi forest.
I’ve got one word to describe this experience. EXHILARATING. It was a fast ride, but it was one of the most fun things I have ever done. The views were spectacular and I felt as free as a bird (not to be corny, but seriously). After the initial ride, I decided to go one more time, so I could truly soak in the views and experience zip lining without fear. It was even better the second time! Once I finished, I was on such a high and felt so confident that I somehow agreed to do the high ropes course next!
I had the opportunity to do a ropes course once before in undergrad, which was before I developed anxiety, and even then I didn’t want to do it, so I didn’t. So, it’s kind of incredible (and crazy) that the one time I agree to do one, I’m in Ireland, its about 40 degrees outside and it’s raining on and off with crazy winds. Not the prime condition to do a high ropes course, but so what!
Whatever it was that made me say yes, I’m sure as heck happy that I did. Don’t get me wrong, I was highkey terrified of falling/slipping/tripping/losing my grip on every single obstacle, but the fact of the matter is that I completed the course despite being terrified and I continued to prove to myself that my anxiety and fears are all in my head and will only stop me from living my life as I should, if I allow them to.
So, that’s pretty much going to be (and has been) my motto and my approach to life as I spend these few months in Ireland. Taking it day by day and saying yes to opportunities I wouldn’t get back in the States. The semester is just getting started, so stick with me to hear more stories of my adventures abroad!