Portsmouth, NH | Durham, NH
Goofy

Spongebob Wednesday

Hi, friends.

So you may notice that today is Wednesday. I swear, we had every intention of posting on Monday. Jules and I spent four hours in a very large conference room on Monday night, co-writing a hilarious 3 pages, and occasionally pausing so that Julie could do yoga on the table. We also tried sitting at opposite ends of the table, like we were King Louis and Marie Antoinette. Or Shrek and Fiona. We couldn’t really hear each other across the table, and we’d left all of our romantic dinner candles at home, so we ditched the idea pretty fast. That was a fun five minutes, though.

The bottom line is, we wrote some funny shit. But upon re-reading that shit yesterday—when we were planning on wittily posting a day late—we realized that it’s some shit we need to spend some more time on. The story is fun, I promise. (Hint: It includes a montage of us being really good at beer pong.) But it’s not quite ready for you guys yet. Just bear with us.

In the meantime, I’d like to tell you about my Wednesday using a bunch of Spongebob clips I just found on YouTube.

This morning, I woke up and realized I’d forgotten to go grocery shopping last night.

 

So I hit the grocery store, and upon return to the apartment, realized that I’d forgotten to restock on M&Ms.

(I still have not restocked on M&Ms.)

After breakfast, I headed to the library. On my way I walked by a boy in a hoodie sweatshirt who looked to be about fifteen. He asked sweetly, “Would you like a free DVD?”

I quickly answered no, but as I walked away, I realized I had so many questions. A DVD? What year is that kid from? What the hell did he record on that DVD? Should I report him for truancy? Is truancy even a thing anymore? The DVD-guru had another juvenile friend who was also giving away free DVDs on the the quad, but I avoided the shit out him, so I suppose I’ll never know what was on those free DVDs. (Although if I had to guess, it’s probably porn, right?)

Now I’m at the library, and I connect to the following clip on a deeply emotional level.

Happy Wednesday, my friends. I hope the filing cabinets in your brains aren’t on fire today. (And if they are, I hope you remembered to stock up on M&Ms.) Check back in Monday for some regularly-scheduled thoughts from Jules!

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Adult Things

From Poet to Speech Therapist

You guys, it’s official.

I’m going to UNH for grad school. Somehow I got in, and even more insane, I got a sweet-ass assistantship with the MUB (where Hannah and I have worked on campus for the past couple years), to boot. I trekked through some fluffy snow this morning at 7:30am to find out about the second part, and I haven’t stopped smiling since.

And I’m so excited for these next two years. Graduation gets a lot less scary and a lot more exciting when you have a concrete plan, turns out. It’s finally getting real that I’m kind of almost there. This is one of the last steps until I’m a full-fledged Speech Language Pathologist. That is both terrifying and fucking awesome.

There are a lot of things that make you an SLP. There’s an undergrad degree, an accredited graduate degree, 400+ hours of clinical work, one insane 8-hour test, an optional thesis, a state license, and a national accreditation.

But there’s one other thing that made me be an SLP–my mom.

And by that I mean she forced me.

I came into UNH with a strict major, and a plan. I didn’t go through the standard first year of panicking about not knowing what I wanted/majoring in Russian/taking insane philosophy courses in an attempt to figure it out. (I watched Hannah do that though, and I saluted her everyday for living through that madness.) But I did go through a period where I didn’t quite know what I wanted, it just happened a little earlier.

In sixth grade my Language Arts class did a poetry unit. When my teacher announced it, my soul rolled its eyes and groaned. Poetry? I’m supposed to earnestly write poetry? (I was a cynical 12-year-old, I guess.) But then we started writing. And I loved it.

One day when I was in the car with my dad he asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I wasn’t sure what he was expecting from a 12-year-old, but I don’t think he got the answer he wanted when I told him, “I want to be a writer.” He was smooth about it, though. He asked what I would major in; I said writing. He told me “that’s not really a thing,” so I deferred to English. He then explained, gently, that that wasn’t the best plan. He told me I could be a writer even if I didn’t major in it, and that it was probably best to get a degree in something a little more “concrete.” Out loud I said okay. In my head I said you’re gonna watch me crush this English major one day.

My plans twisted and turned sharply throughout high school. I liked the idea of arguing for a living; I’d be a lawyer. I loved books and history; I’d be an English/History teacher. I got to control the chaos of a third-grade CCD class; I had to be an elementary school teacher. I was still in that camp my senior year when my mom got a bright idea.

Jules, instead of going for education, why don’t you try speech therapy? It’s just like teaching, only you’ll have more options.

But I was stubborn and afraid. I’d already picked all my schools for their education programs, and I didn’t really know what speech pathology was. (The only reason I knew SLP’s existed was because my brother worked with them throughout our childhood.) I didn’t want to start the college search over. I didn’t want my parents to decide my path for me. My mom managed to convince me to switch with the detail that I could use my degree to be an elementary school teacher too. That, and I found out UNH had a program. (If only I knew how long I’d end up being a wildcat.)

I arrived at UNH with a half-baked plan and a limited understanding of what I’d be studying. And I fell into something pretty damn great. The more I learned about this field, the more I wanted to dive in. It was so much more diverse and complicated and scientific than I thought. I loved it so much more than I thought I would.

I got to study phonetics, linguistics, anatomy, neurology, audiology, the physics of sound. I met some wonderful friends. I learned that I do not hate science, as I thought in high school, but that I fucking love it. We got this big packet of information the first week of freshman year, complete with our entire course list, our professors’ names, and a description of the program. Included was a little paragraph about the “mission” of this program and the profession. It ends with, “the ultimate goal being the betterment of the human condition.”  Pretty cheesy, but how cool is that?

(That is absolutely a real human brain I got to dissect.)

So mom, this is where I say thank you. Thank you for relentlessly talking me into this whole thing. Thanks for bringing me to UNH and whispering jokes throughout the whole tour so I’d laugh and have a good feeling about the place. For being calm while I freaked out about a test or a project. For showing me the videos of Stephen’s therapy and saving all his IEP’s. For letting me study abroad (I know you didn’t want to). For being my biggest fan.

I love you, mum, and I know you love me more. Also, you finally got your shoutout. Happy now?  

 

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Artsy

This is Not a Movie Montage

Last week, Julie and I were sitting at lunch, talking about Marxism and the Defenestration of Prague, probably. Graduation came up, as it does a lot nowadays, and Julie made a point that stuck with me.

“Life just isn’t a movie montage,” she said. “Starting college, studying abroad, having a boyfriend, getting a job… it’s all just going to be regular life. And sometimes regular life sucks.”

Now, I’d like to pause here and just say that I fucking love movie montages. A spiteful duo can become fast friends. A quirky high school girl finds the perfect prom dress, and also tries on a monkey suit and a coconut bra, probably. The ragtag sports team with a history of yelling at each other on the court/field/ice gets better. Montages leave you with a cohesive, emotional, relatively simple story. They rock really hard.

After my lunch with Julie, I thought back to my first couple of weeks at college—sitting on my squeaky dorm-room bed and waiting for the most exciting chapter of my life to begin. Whether I realized it then or not, some part of me really did believe that my life was about to become a movie montage.

Spoiler alert: It didn’t.

But let’s take a closer look at some college montages, shall we?
The “College Party” Montage
Red SOLO cups clutched in the hands of laughing, young, attractive people everywhere. [Insert Fraternity Name Here]’s luxurious pool deck is packed. The Pursuit of Happiness—Steve Aoki remix, obviously—bumps from the DJ stand. The DJ is unstoppable, meaning he mostly plays the Pursuit of Happiness remix and the Heads Will Roll remix on intermittent repeat. Two lines of people play flip-cup in the corner, in slow motion to emphasize how much fun they’re having. No one’s puking in the corner or crying in the bathroom. When the song crescendos, everyone jumps in the pool, again in slow motion.

 I’m not going to lie to you here—college parties can be pretty fucking fun. Sometimes it even feels like you’re the slow-motion uber-attractive flip-cup team. But sometimes the party sucks. Maybe you feel dizzy and a little sick from that last swig of plastic-bottle vodka, or uncomfortably sober in a crowd of slurring people. Maybe you didn’t really want to come to the party in the first place, but the friend who dragged you there is making out with some guy by the pong-table and you don’t want to leave her there alone. Maybe there is no party, because you’re a freshman, and three of your friends came over to split a water bottle full of rum but now you’re tired and kind of just want to watch Netflix.

College partying isn’t for everyone, and it certainly isn’t for everyone all the time. Sometimes it’s going to suck, and it’s okay. That’s what cheesy fries are for.

  

 
The “Winter Break” Montage
It’s five weeks of snowy, winter-wonderland. You spend all your time skiing with your best friends and baking with your mom. (She’s endlessly happy to have you home, and never once tells you to get your ass off the couch.) There’s nothing to worry about. Seriously, nothing. You read every book on your list and catch up on all the TV your roommate’s been telling you to watch since August, and you definitely don’t wish that second semester would just hurry up and start already.

 I don’t think this montage has ever existed in movie form, as it would actually be outrageously boring to watch, but it has played in my head before every single one of my Winter Breaks. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some seriously magical winter vacations. But I’ve also noticed that I tend to get pretty anxious during those 5-week stretches between semesters. My family gets really sick of me by the end, and my mom always starts reminding me of how much lower the grocery bill is when I’m at school. (This year I started buying my own groceries—I get it, Mom.) A month is a long-ass time to bask in vacation glory. Somehow I’m always relieved when it ends.
The “Finding College Love” Montage
You meet the first week of freshman year—maybe ice skating at the stadium’s Free Skate, or studying over coffee at your favorite shop with all the Christmas lights. (He spills a little coffee on your shirt by accident and insists on taking you out to dinner to make up for it, which doesn’t make a lot of proportional sense in terms of repayment, but no one brings that up.) After a dinner date, a squished movie-viewing with his computer on both of your laps, and some silly dancing at this crazy pool party you somehow both got into, you walk hand-in-hand into happily ever after.

College dating is weird. Sometimes it seems like all anyone ever wants is sex—that’s probably what the College Party montage would tell you—but pretty soon you realize that a lot of people don’t actually know what they want. There’s this weird pressure to stay single, play the field, seduce as many as possible, etc. At the same time, there’s also this kind of pervasive idea that if you don’t find your soul mate in college, it’s the end of the road for your love life. Like we’re graduating into some apocalyptic romantic wasteland or something. (I really don’t think we are, guys.)

*Author’s Note: I did start dating a really incredible guy this year. (My mom would tell you she never thought this would actually happen. She tells me pretty often.) He’s caring and funny and smart and he listens to me even when I tell the same story seven times. Usually we do homework at the same table and drink chai teas. Unless I got him very drunk, he would probably chew glass before he danced with me at a pool party.

The thing is, these montage-ideas exist in our heads for a reason. Julie and I had absolutely no idea what college was going to be like when we posed with the wildcat at orientation. New experiences—moving to college, making a whole new set of friends, finding a boyfriend, starting a career—can be terrifying. And exhilarating. So, to ready ourselves for the unknown, we look to the montages for inspiration. But those perfect, imagined parties and winter breaks and love stories don’t exist for anyone. Our movies are all full-length and uncut.

Before I moved into my first dorm room—when college was still a montage waiting to happen—I think I truly believed that if I tried hard enough, things could be perfect. I would never drink too much or make a fool out of myself or forget to set my alarm for class. I would never fight with my friends or hurt someone by accident or feel totally and completely lost. But all of those things have happened over the last four years. And it’s okay. It’s important, really.

 

The weird, gritty honesty of real life never fails to surprise me. Movie montages leave out the best moments—the moments in between. The ones that make us real and messy and complex, that aren’t meant to be strung together in straight lines. The moments that don’t fit your expectations, that can’t be summed up with a tagline or even any words at all. This is not a movie montage, and it never will be. But it can be a pretty damn cool time.

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