Original Post Date: August 19, 2012

Here it is. The start of it all. It has been a long journey to simply get to this point but I believe it was worth it all.  To really give everyone the experience of why it was such a journey I must start where it all began.

August 2010, I arrived on the St. Norbert College campus ready to get into the college life.  I couldn’t wait to meet everyone and figure out what this new place had to offer.  I knew that I wanted to study abroad but I never knew where.

The 2011 school year came around and I had a meeting with Joyce in the study abroad office.  I had finally decided that Ireland was where I needed to be.  I talked to my parents and friends all about my upcoming trip and they could tell my excitement in my voice.  They all knew that this was the reason I had chose SNC.  This is what I NEEDED to do, it was no longer a want.

Summer 2012 came on May 14th with happiness and relief.  Work and friends blurred my June and July as camping trips and get togethers filled in the days.  July was filled with fun but on Wednesday, July 25th disaster struck.  Throughout the summer I had been playing indoor soccer.  Soccer was nothing new to me.  I played all through high school, so I wasn’t too concerned to play before this trip (but maybe I should have been).
So on this Wednesday, I was playing and twisted my knee.  Immediately I heard a crushing sound and knew something was wrong.  My sister also plays on the team and came rushing to my side.  I told here that it felt weird. In high school I tore my ACL but it didn’t feel like what I just did. I waited about 20 minutes and had to do something about it.  My sister and I drove to the hospital in Menomonee Falls, WI and I had x-rays taken.  Nothing seemed to be broken, but I knew something was not right.  The doctor told me to stay off my feet until I could see my Orthopedic surgeon who I saw in high school. I saw my surgeon about 4 days later and I had a MRI.

I waited anxiously for the results and they finally came.  The nurse on the phone told me that my ACL was torn.  I didn’t even know what to say about it. I had so many mixed emotions. I was upset because I didn’t want to have surgery, I was scared because I was going to Ireland and I was concerned because I couldn’t have surgery before I go on my trip.  I told my parents immediately and they didn’t know what to do just like me.

I had another appointment with my surgeon and he told me that I didn’t need surgery.  My mother and I exchanged looks.  Inside I was so excited but on the outside I was still skeptical.  I had many questions and asked them all.  They were answered but my nerves were calmed.  The reality set in…I didn’t have to have surgery.

And now here it is August 2012, a few days before I leave on a big plane to land in Dublin and take a train to Cork. I am not entirely sure what to expect and I think I’m okay with that.  I’m ready to leave and start this adventure. Let’s do it!!!

Allyson Bills is studying abroad at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland.