Portsmouth, NH | Durham, NH
College

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

I had a boss at my college work-study job that is, for lack of more sophisticated words, a real badass. She’s straightforward, no-nonsense, and a little intimidating. She’s also incredibly fair and understanding of everyone she meets. No exceptions. She’s traveled the world and stood up for herself and the people she loves in the face of a lot of bullshit. She has this one quote that I’ll doodle in my journals forever, probably:

 
Feel the fear and do it anyway.
 

(I was feeling inspired to hop on the incoming-college-freshmen-advice-train since reading Hannah’s post last week. And since we’re a year post-college, that makes us qualified to spout wisdom to the freshies, right? Come, drink from my fountain of knowledge!)

As Hannah so beautifully wrote, if you’re about to go to college, you’re probably freaking out. And that’s okay. My advice to you is to keep freaking out, actually. Because the first semester of college is a lot of adjusting and growing and being a little uncomfortable at times. But then you get comfortable. You build a community and a family and a home.

My hope for you guys is that you don’t stay comfortable. I hope you continuously put yourselves in situations that make you nervous. And excited. And afraid. And hopeful.
I hope you feel the fear, and I hope you do it anyway.
In college, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to say yes.

Wanna get lunch sometime?

Wanna read something at this open mic night later?

Wanna come to a party with us at some mysterious, far-off apartment?

Wanna drop everything and move to some random town in Colorado for three months?

I hope you say yes, even when the thought of doing it makes you squirm with nervous anticipation. Because- and I’m sure you know this- incredible things can come from leaving your comfort zone.

New friends and different perspectives and stories to write home about. A new favorite song or life-altering book. A cool sticker for your water bottle. And I know this all sounds unbelievably cliché, so let me give you some examples from our time at school.

After a semester of eating lunch together every single day, I agreed to move in to a dorm room with this weirdo.

We were both a little nervous because we really wanted to be best friends, but we weren’t quite best friends yet and it would suck if the whole sharing-a-tiny-room thing didn’t work out.

As many of you know, it did.

Having never traveled before, I boarded a plane to live in another country where I didn’t know a single soul. I ended up meeting some of the best friends I’ve ever had.

All the anticipation in the world couldn’t have prepared me for the memories I’d make in Ireland.

On a Wednesday night of our freshman year, Hannah asked me if I wanted to go see a feminist speaker on campus. (We attended lectures like this a lot over our years at UNH. We were, without fail, some of the only people there who weren’t required to attend for a class. Nerds forever.)

We walked in, unsure of what to expect. We walked out in existential calamity. Our views of the world haven’t been the same since.

Just this past year, Hann and I struck out on our own, moved exactly one town over from UNH, and started our adults lives with two new friends that we didn’t know that well before, other than the fact that we thought they were cool. (Sam and Abs, we still think you’re really cool.)

Me, Abby, and our friend Alison had all been denied by Colorado grad programs within the same week. The moment Abby found out she didn’t get into University of Northern Colorado, she texted me and asked if I wanted to be roommates for the fall. The moment I saw the text, I agreed.

No regrets.

Finally, on a hungover Sunday morning, Abby and I looked for summer jobs out west. When I got the call that we’d been offered jobs in Estes Park, a little part of me panicked. I kind of thought this would never actually work out! I blurted to my mom on the phone.

I had no idea how I was going to escape school for the summer. (Grad school holds you hostage all year round.) I’d never waited tables before. I knew almost nothing about the restaurant or were we’d be living or the town itself.

Oh man, was I feeling the fear.

But we did it anyway. And, like all the times before, I’m so glad we did.

So I have a challenge for you. At some point this year, when you have the opportunity to say either yes or no, choose yes. Especially if the little voice in your head is screaming no no no just go home and watch Netflix it’ll be so much easier!

It doesn’t have to be some grand adventure. It can be a low-key, Wednesday-afternoon kind of thing. Sometimes those are the best kind.

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College

College, Not Death

This time last year, my sister was getting ready to leave for college for the first time. She was trying very hard to enjoy our family vacation, despite her alternating feelings of borderline-manic excitement and pure panic. She cried almost every night. She Facebook-messaged her roommate and desperately guessed at what it would be like to live in a dorm. She wondered at how different her life would be in just a few weeks.

Five years ago, Julie and I were getting ready to leave for college for the first time. We weren’t best friends yet, but we were acquaintances who texted sometimes, and both of us were on the verge of spontaneous combustion. We alternated between borderline-manic excitement and pure panic. We’d found the Wildcat together at orientation, but neither of us even had our finalized room assignments yet. We desperately tried to imagine who we would meet, what we would learn, how we would change.

This is the first post I ever wrote for Hannah & Julie – originally published on September 2, 2013. Since then, this has become a kind of mantra for all the next chapters we approach with that familiar cocktail of excitement and fear. Study Abroad, not death. Grad school, not death. Graduation, not death. The anticipation is always the hardest part.

And that’s why this week’s post is dedicated to all my peeps in the Class of 2020. Only a few more weeks until you’re just doin’ the thing, and you won’t have to sit around think about it anymore. Read on if you’re so excited you could just laugh/cry/puke.

Also, shout-out to Meg & Julie for the post-skydiving picture above. Even if this was the only thing to come out of our college careers, it probably would’ve been worth it.

The week before my freshman year in college, I felt a lot like I was getting ready to die. It was a melodramatic thought, and of course I knew I wasn’t actually dying; I was just moving to college. And college was going to be awesome. It was going to be magical. It was going to be so much better than high school. It seemed like everyone I talked to was reading from the same script. When do you move in? That’s great. Are you excited? Of course you are. Best days of your life, kid.

But my childhood bedroom looked so bare! No clothes in the drawers, no papers on my desk. My favorite ski poster (LIFE IS MORE THAN A SPECTATOR SPORT!) was rolled and packed up in one of the bins my mom had bought at Target. It was like I’d already gone. And my friends– every day brought a new teary goodbye, a tight hug that ended with see you at Thanksgiving! but felt like see you on the other side. My mom and my sister couldn’t walk past my emptied bedroom without giving me a quick hug. We’re really gonna miss you, you know. I wrote delightfully angsty poems, I listened to weepy indie music. The whole shebang had an undeniable feeling of impending doom.

But on a sunny Friday in late August, I moved in to my first college dorm room, and – this is important – I didn’t die. I unpacked my posters, introduced myself to my roommates, and spent the next few months trying to 1) refrain from quoting offensive comedians to easily offended people, and 2) figure out what to do with my hands to make me appear approachable yet mysterious. (On my hips? Relaxed by my sides? One on a hip one relaxed? So many options.) Everything was new and exciting and surreal and sometimes a little bit lonely, but it was so college. I played frisbee on the quad and wore my Dave Matthews Band t-shirt. I also started hanging out with this girl from my high school named Julie. She was cool, I guess.

By October, the loneliness had faded, and my mom only called me every other day. By Christmas break, I didn’t even want to leave campus. Julie and I madesome awesome friends, we joined a few clubs, and we figured out which foods in the dining hall make you extra gassy. (Broccoli. Always broccoli.) We did our homework and made a lot of fart jokes.

Now we’re sophomores, and I am happy to say that this year’s move-in day did absolutely nothing to remind me of my own funeral. The campus was familiar and beckoning! My friends were within walking distance again! My mom jumped for joy as she remembered how low the grocery bill dips when I leave the house! It was a celebration for everyone, really.

So college is pretty awesome. Adults everywhere are still constantly telling us that these are the best days of our lives, we need to enjoy it while we can. (I wish they’d stop telling us this because it’s really kind of depressing. Maybe I’ll win the lottery in a few decades and retirement will be the best days of my life. You never know.) But we do plan on enjoying college while we can, and telling you about it as we go along. Because I promise, it’s not all frisbee and kegs. (Well, it’s probably a lot more frisbee and kegs than you’d find anywhere else, but still, there’s a lot more to see here.) Whether you’re looking forward to going to college, currently in college, or wistfully looking back on those days of frat basement glory, this blog is totally for you. And if you’re not doing any of those things, you should still read our thoughts, because we’ll probably be making more fart jokes every now and again. (Seriously, who doesn’t love a good fart joke?)

We’ll be posting every Monday, so come on over and we’ll do our best to entertain you. Even if you’re not entertained in the least, maybe send this blog to your best friend or your Uncle Norman or that nerdy kid in your Biology class who mutters Harry Potter spells under his breath. There’s a good chance he and I would get along.

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Goofy

Funny. Attractive. Not Cool.

If you’re friends with either Hannah or me on Facebook, you probably know that Hann came and spent a weekend with us in Estes this summer. If you didn’t know, check out this SWEET profile picture I took for her while she was here.

I was determined to get a cool photo in the park for her despite my total lack of photography skills. Fuckin’ nailed it.

We walked downtown to get coffee one morning while Abby was working. There were some grey clouds looming over the mountains, so Hann had her raincoat tucked into the crook of her elbow, just in case. Cars and bikers rushed by us as I noticed that the raincoat had disappeared.

“Hey Hann, didn’t you have your rain jacket a second ago?”

Hann looked down. “Oh, shit, yeah,” she said.

We looked back and there it was; a shiny, pink, crumpled lump on the sidewalk about 50 yards behind us. I laughed as she trudged back to pick it up, thinking you loveable idiot. (This is something we call each other a lot.)

Hann flailed her arms as she ran and scooped up her pink, crumpled ball of a raincoat. In the sunshine. As dozens of people drove by us. When she caught back up to me she said something I will never forget.

“I’m just here to remind everyone that, while we are funny and attractive, we are not cool.”

Truer words have never been spoken.

 

 

Have you ever been about to do something and thought to yourself, why the hell are we doing this? Our summer has been made up of those moments. Below are some examples of us being laugh-out-loud funny, devastatingly-attractive, and most certainly not cool.

Espresso shots at work at 10pm, taken like real shots, cheers and all. For no reason.

Ordering a craft beer at the bar, chugging it immediately in front of the bartender, then handing back the empty glass.

Hiking on three hours’ sleep, a little hungover, getting passed by everyone and their grandmother on the trail. Then celebrating with Jameson on the summit.

Jumping in alpine lakes.

Chugging the water pitchers we’re supposed to give to the customers in a fruitless attempt at proper hydration.

Asking for people’s ID’s when they order the beer cheese soup.

Ordering tastes of Coor’s Light while Abby works the bar.

Losing at pool, repeatedly and very publicly, in the only bar in town.

Doing the George Costanza pose everywhere we go.

With only two weeks left out here, it’s time we start reigning in our inner weirdos and prepare to become young professionals again. We’ll get back to you on how that goes.

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