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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading
College, Sweaty

Deep Breath

Julie and I walk through campus with our yoga mats under our arms. We find a sunny, flat spot in the grass outside of the dorm Julie lived in first semester freshman year, and we lay our mats down.
The sun is so warm. We’re wearing tank tops. It’s a Tuesday afternoon.
Jules starts playing music from her phone and lays it in the grass. “Let’s start cross-legged on our mats,” she says. She’s never led someone through a yoga class before, but it really doesn’t sound like she’s new to this. I get to be her first student. We sit cross-legged on our mats, hands resting on our knees, palmed turned up to the sky, eyes closed. Students walk to class and laugh and stand at the nearby bus stop and sip their iced coffees. Some stare openly. We are entirely aware of how goofy we look.

The music plays softly from Julie’s Spotify playlist—Kitchen Yog. She made the playlist for post-gym yoga sessions when she rolls out her mat on our kitchen floor. She’s gotten really good at kitchen yoga, actually. That’s where we got the idea for out-on-the-quad yoga. As she tells me to open my eyes and ground myself on my hands and knees, I take a deep breath.
Sometimes it feels like I’m spiraling. Shaking hands, spinning thoughts, looking out over the edge of what I know. Who am I after this? I’m not sure. Fog descends, thick and dark. I take a deep breath.

I found the song “We Will All Be Changed” by Seryn our freshman year. Second semester, when Jules moved in with Natalia and me, we listened to it a lot, especially on Sundays. I used to doodle the words in my stats class. Now they play as Julie cues us both into downward-facing dog.
We can shape, but can’t control
These possibilities to grow
Weeds amongst the push and pull,
Waiting on the wind to take us
 We can write with ink and pen but
We will sow with seeds instead,
Starting with, words we’ve said
We will all be changed.
There are several yoga poses that I’ve never successfully done before. Several more that I’ve convinced myself I’d never be able to do. Julie cues me into three of these poses—confidently, gently, laughing at us a little bit. She knows where I struggle and she knows where I’m strong. I listen to her steady instructions.

Hands and knees planted firmly on the mat. Table-top pose. Then I bend my other knee and—against all odds—reach back and grab my ankle. “You’ve got it, Hann!” Jules yells. “That looks so awesome!”

Next pose. A bind that makes you look like a spaghetti noodle. (I’ve never really thought of myself as the spaghetti noodle type.) I lunge, leaning forward, arms outstretched. “Now reach your left hand down,” Julie says, “and your right hand back, yes just like that…and drop your shoulder just a bit…yes!” My fingertips brushed. I dropped my shoulder even further, and interlaced my fingers completely. “Yes! That’s it!”

Sometimes it feels like I’m flying.
Open eyes, beating heart, the future at my fingertips. Who am I after this? I’m not sure. There’s a lovely thrill in that. The people I’ve found and the plan I’ve made and the smell of warm hazelnut coffee and the click of my keyboard in a quiet library room. Butterflies in my stomach, pen to paper for the next chapter. I take a deep breath.

Last one. Forearms on the mat, fingers spread wide. Heart beating fast. “Alright, now inch your feet up a little more… a little more… nice,” Julie says. “Left leg up—perfect. Think about pushing off with your right leg rather than kicking up with your left. You got this.” I inch forward, lift my leg up, and probably look pretty skeptical. “You got this,” Jules says again.

I push off, and then, I’m floating.

I bring my right leg straight up with my left. Too quickly. My weight shifts too far into my hands, my head bumps the mat, and I somersault onto the grass just as a UNH bus pulls up to the stop.
We’re laughing. We’re laughing so hard we can’t breathe.
Jules gives me a high-five, and we start brainstorming what we’ll need to start a yoga studio together. We’re sure it couldn’t be too much more than we already have.

I take a deep breath.

The sun is warm, it’s a Tuesday afternoon, and my best friend teaches me how to fly. The air smells like spring.


Continue reading
College, Goofy

Hannah Being Psyched in Normal Places

You guys, I am a decidedly bad picture-taker.

To begin, I’m pretty un-photogenic. It’s like I always think I know what face I’m making, then I look at the photo and am totally surprised by what my face actually looks like. How the hell were my eyes closed? What’s my chin doing? I never told it to do that.

But beyond that, it almost never occurs to me to even take a picture. And when I do, there’s usually a tell-tale sign that I was the photographer somewhere in the photo. The people are posing adorably in front of a bathroom door we forgot to close. The corner of my pinky finger is peaking into the picture of the pretty sunset. I accidentally cropped out half of the iconic monument in the background.

In contrast, Hannah is a pretty good picture-taker. She tells me to move my arm or something because it looks weird. She knows where to stand in the apartment to get decent lighting. (Sidenote- almost no where in our apartment has decent lighting. Except maybe the bathroom.) But above all, she always thinks to whip her phone out and snap a quick picture.

I usually make fun of her. Then we look back through our photos years later and she’s got all the good ones. Touché, Hann.

Recently I’ve been trying to step up my game. Remember Julie Doing Yoga in Weird Places? Well now I’ve got a photo-series of my own:

Hannah Being a Tourist in Mundane Places.

It all began Meg’s younger sister’s 21st birthday. Molly is really cool as far as younger siblings go, so Hann and I jumped at the chance to hang out with her and tour the Sam Adams brewery in Boston one weekend. The two of us were milling around before the tour started, and we found these guys.

As far as we knew, they were just cardboard cutouts of two random brewery workers. But just in case they like invented beer or something, I told Hann to get a picture. “Look wicked fucking psyched!” I told her.

It didn’t stop there. Hannah also posed enthusiastically with some juniper berries, some dried plums, and other run-of-the-mill brewery things. I just laughed and clicked.

And thus, Hannah Being a Tourist in Mundane Places was born.

After exploiting my abnormally long arms and flexibility for goofy photos for years, I think she knows she owes me. So she’s been a pretty good sport.

Quick! Get a picture of me in the office where we work!

Smile, Hanny!


This time we actually dressed up like tourists for a theme party. We were Sheryl and Marv, crotchety middle-aged couple attempting to save their failing marriage with a second honeymoon.

Stay psyched, my friends.

Continue reading

The Quitting Pact

Friends, I’d like to tell you about the Quitting Pact.

Senior year does some crazy things to you. It shows you a really good time. It scares the shit out of you. It drapes you in a thick blanket of nostalgia. It forces you to think about what’s next, and it makes you appreciate what you have left.

But mostly, it makes you want to drop all of your plans for the future, curl up in a ball, and refuse to move out of this little bubble you’ve grown to love.

You know the feeling? You’re sitting at your kitchen table, your favorite corner of the library, your usual napping couch in the MUB, and the thought occurs to you. What if I just quit absolutely everything and stayed in this spot forever? This very spot where I feel most happy and comfortable and content?

You know it’s not really an option. It’s not even what you really want. But just for a second, it’s the picturesque mirage-island in the overwhelming dessert that is the end of college.

On a rainy afternoon last semester, my friend Will walked into the office where we work on campus with a heavy backpack and an expression like I’ve had enough of this goddamn day.

(Will is a coworker of ours, a graduate accounting student, and a dear friend. He’s great for advice, a coffee from the Shack, and for impromptu additions to blog-posts-in-progress. Hopefully he’s happy with his formal introduction to BlogLand.)

As he realized that he’d be spending the next six hours watching accounting lectures, he posed a question to the office at large. “Why can’t I quit everything and just work in the OSIL forever?”

This might have been the most rhetorical question ever, but one of our supervisors decided to answer it both literally and extensively.

“Well, for starters, your program won’t be happy with you quitting on them. You also won’t get your tuition back for the semester. You’ve already committed to a job, that one might be illegal to back out of. Not to mention that I couldn’t hope to pay you as much as you’d make as an accountant.”

Bummer city, right? All hopes of quitting were crushed by the heavy fist of logic. But that didn’t stop us.

Just as our boss finished his spiel, our friend Alison strolled into the office. (Alison’s graduating too, and equally as awesome as Will.) “Did someone say let’s quit everything and live in the OSIL forever?!”

Our boss shook his head and laughed behind his hands. “You have even more things that you bindingly can’t quit than he does,” he said. Alison’s only response was, “QUITTING PACT! Let’s do it!”

I was on desk this whole time, so I spun around in my chair with my hands up and yelled, “QUITTING PACT? I’m in!”

You know what crushes logic in the rock-paper-scissors of life? Blind denial. Thus, the Quitting Pact was born.

Right now it’s an elite group of students who are committed to ignoring the impending doom of May graduation in hopes of working at our goofy, loveable work-study jobs forever. (We’re taking applications for new members if you think you’ve got what it takes. Qualifications include 3-5 of procrastination experience and an innate love for plastic plants.)

(The OSIL had a beloved pet bamboo shoot named Jefferey who went missing this January. Any information on his whereabouts is greatly appreciated #WhereIsJefferey)
 I think, more than anything, the Quitting Pact is a testament to our little bubble. (It’s also a fun way to annoy our bosses.) We work in the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership in a building called the MUB, which is known for being the “living room” of campus. Basically, it’s the place where you can walk in, kick off your shoes, and fall asleep on a couch and no one will make fun of you or draw stuff on your face. The policy here is friendliness, inclusion, and generally being a goofball.

It really is the best. Our office has these sweet polka dot couches and big windows along one wall so you can wave at friends and tour groups as they walk by. You get to share a desk with some really cool people, sometimes helping students with their student-org-problems, and sometimes watching Youtube videos of fish being launched from a cannon.


(Worth the watch, I promise.)

Thanks to the OSIL, I’ve made some great friends and found a second home on campus. Sometimes it’s felt so homey that I’ve considered never leaving. #QuittingPact2016.

Continue reading
College, Goofy

Hannah & Julie: The Origin Story

I’m in a science fiction literature class right now—hear that, future employers? Science fiction! Just think of all the Blade Runner references I’ll be able to throw out during project meetings!—and I recently learned that comic books often include something called an origin story. According to Wikipedia, an origin story “reveals how a character or team gained their superpowers and/or the circumstances under which they became superheroes or supervillains.”

Jules and I are not technically superheroes, but we were Batman and Darth Vader for Halloween once. Between the two of us, we had one cape. Julie got really mad at the cape for some reason and threw it into the middle of a crowded frat basement. We never saw the cape again.

This is our origin story.

To be honest, I have no clue when I first met Julianne Riley. (For those of you who might not be friends with her on Facebook, her full name is indeed Julianne. For those of you who are friends with her on Facebook and message her like “hey, Julianne!”—that’s a dead giveaway that you’ve never actually talked to her before. Just a heads up to future suitors.) She was in my high school class. She had long reddish hair, she was pretty quiet in class, and she was hilarious. These were things I knew, mostly from other people. We were friendly, but nowhere close enough to be called friends.

Our junior year, we had a year-long class AP Composition class together. (Foreshadowing, am I right?) She sat behind me, or maybe in front of me, who knows. She swears that one afternoon we had this long-ass, in-depth conversation about books while we were supposed to be discussing synthesis of ideas in an essay about Eugenics. I don’t have a great memory of this, or most of my junior AP classes for that matter—I didn’t handle stress so well my junior year. I think my brain just shut off so I wouldn’t have to relive all the five paragraph essays and crying over essentially nothing while trying to review for the SATs. But I look back on that vague memory of a conversation with warmth in my heart. It was the first of literally hundreds of times that Jules and I would use books to procrastinate whatever we were actually supposed to be doing.

Senior year, we had two year-long AP classes together. Jules sat two rows ahead of me in AP Lit, and about ten desks to my left in AP European History. (By senior year I’d developed some stress-coping mechanisms, so I remember these classes pretty well.) Once, Julie and our friend Sagar went rogue with the iPods that Mr. Audley gave us to research with in AP Euro—they took candid pictures of everyone in the class during one of his lectures. In my photo, my hand was on my face and my fingers were squishing my nose weirdly. Julie, Andie, and Meg would later tell me this is something I absentmindedly do a lot. But Jules saw it happen in 2011. And she still became friends with me eventually.

At the end of the year, Mr. Audley took us on a field trip to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Julie and I wandered away from the class and found a painting that really hit home. I took a picture for our dearest friends and loved ones.

I remember walking away from that field trip thinking, holy shit, Julie Riley is cool as hell. I still think that on most days. (Except for when I go away for the weekend and she forgets to give me back my tweezers. When that happens I swear at her a little bit in my head and almost text her in all caps to GIVE ME BACK MY DAMN TWEEZERS, but even then I still think she is at least marginally cool.)

On the first and only night of UNH orientation the summer before we started college, Julie and I took a walk to the Wildcat. (If you’re not a UNH alum, there’s a giant statue of a wildcat right outside of our hockey stadium, and they make you rub its nose for good luck like once a week when you’re a freshman.) We’d already rubbed the statue’s nose during the campus tour earlier that day, but we were excited and hyper and a little bit anxious. Everyone was. This was the place we were going to be for the next four years. This was college. Everything was about to change.

Some kids were already trying to drink out of plastic water bottles in dorm rooms furthest away from orientation leaders. A few of the girls Julie and I were with talked about going to get pizza at a place one of the leaders had mentioned. Jules turned to me and said, “wanna take a walk?”

We walked down Main Street in fleece jackets, just the two of us. It was bizarrely cold for June. I don’t remember exactly what we talked about, but if I know us, it was about how nervous and excited we were. How scared we were to jump into this new place. How beautiful the campus looked at night and how much we fucking loved Harry Potter. (I know that one came out early.) We probably didn’t even know where we were going, but we knew we had to get there fast, because we only had about twenty minutes before curfew. The Wildcat found us just in time. I made Julie hop up there so I could get a picture for our moms.

Walking home from the Wildcat that night, I remember getting this giddy feeling in my stomach. Like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. We didn’t know what was waiting for us come  September, or who we’d meet, or how we’d change. But we were at the beginning of a new adventure. And whether or not we knew it then, we were going to take it on together.

Until next Monday, my friends. In the meantime, enjoy this picture of us standing next to each other at senior prom.

Continue reading
Artsy, College

Chasing Normal

Hi guys. It feels like forever since I’ve written something for the twelve of you, but I’m so so happy to be back in the swing of things.

During our business meeting, we decided who’d be taking the first week back. Since it had been perceptually forever, I volunteered. (It’s usually either an all-out bloodbath for first week privileges or we draw straws like it’s a death sentence. Picture either the reaping ceremonies for the Hunger Games or the actual Hunger Games.)

Then, last night, Hannah and I were finally confronting all of the homework that we’d neglected to do all weekend, and I was realizing that I had considerably less to do than I thought. I was mentally high-fiving myself when Hannah asked, “so, have you thought about what you’re going to post this week?”

And, for about the millionth time, I had not. I whisper-yelled “FUCK” (it’s happened before and it’ll happen again), and Hannah declared, “yup, it’s official. We’re back.”

(I think I have a perfect track record for forgetting that it’s my week to post until Sunday or Monday night. I’ve basically got the equivalent of when race horses win all three of those prestigious races. I’ve won the triple crown in forgetting blog posts. Just call me Secretariat.)

So all is right with the world again in Blog Land. That’s a feeling we’ve been chasing a lot lately. All year, Hann and I have been waiting for things to feel normal. Or maybe how they felt a year ago, before we went abroad. We’ve been waiting for everything to go back to the way it was our sophomore year.

But the truth is, things haven’t been quite the same lately. It’s our last semester, and the awareness of that has been impossible to shake. Ever since we touched back down in America, our plan has been to make the absolute most out of this final year. We resolved to do considerably less schoolwork, have considerably more fun, and not think about the impending doom of graduation until we absolutely had to. We were determined to enjoy every second we had left.

Turns out that’s easier said than done. Especially when you make it a goal. Living completely in the moment is elusive enough without trying so hard at it. (Think we fucked that one up, Hann.) It’s been impossible lately to ignore the fact that this is our last semester. People are applying for jobs and grad school, we’re applying to graduate, and no one will stop asking us what are plans are for next year. (Seriously. Now’s your chance to ask me about grad schools. No, I haven’t heard back yet. Yes, that’s probably a bad sign. Essentially, I’m doomed.)

We’ve talked about this before, about how it’s impossible to live entirely in the moment. It’s impossible not to notice that things are changing, because those changes are going to happen whether you acknowledge them or not. Everyday life doesn’t feel as intense as it did our sophomore year. We’re not spending every meal turning Hannah into a teletubby in the dining hall and panicking about what we’re going to do with our lives anymore. (It is kind of nice to not be either intensely happy or intensely sad, though.)

We can feel ourselves transitioning out of this phase and into the next one. We leave campus sometimes to go to internships and put the things we’ve learned over these four years into action, and we’re scared we won’t succeed. We’re fine-tuning our resumes and LinkedIn profiles like we’re warriors preparing for battle. We’re not just sitting in classes and writing papers in the library and stealing oranges from the dining hall anymore. Shit’s getting real, man.

(Some brief snapshots of our glory days.)
And I thought I was going to have some prolific conclusion drawn from this, but I don’t. I’ve just learned the same lesson that I’ve learned dozens of times before this, the same lesson I’ll undoubtedly learn a hundred more times before I die.

The only thing you can count on is change. Sometimes it’s hard. (Clichés, clichés, and more clichés.) But every time I learn this lesson, I get a little bit better at dealing with it. I also learn that change isn’t a bad thing. Every scary new chapter that intimidates the crap out of me as I stand on its threshold has managed to make my world so much bigger and better. So bring it on, final semester. I’m more than ready to forget that I have to post again two weeks from now.


Continue reading
College, Goofy

Last One, Best One

Before every highly-anticipated return to blogging, we have an official Hannah & Julie meeting in the fancy business building on campus.  (Yes, this meeting is just the two of us. No, we couldn’t have just had it in our bedroom.) We stick out like sore thumbs and always bring M&M’s. As we sat down for our pre-launch meeting this weekend, we realized that this is kind of it. This is our last semester of college blogging. Holy crap, right? But we are really, really jazzed about the next few months. If senior year of Hannah & Julie is our best season yet, then this semester is going to be sweeps week.

We’re big-time brainstorming a list of all the things we’ve ever wanted to post about. We’ve still got two and a half years’ worth of half-baked ideas to giggle about in business meetings, but this semester we want to try something different, too. That’s where you come in.

What do you want to see us write about? This whole time, we’ve been writing about us. We’re still going to be writing about us, but we want to hear what YOU want us to write about us. (PSA: This does not include personal shout-outs or posts dedicated exclusively to you. We mean, you’re cool, we like you, you should come to the bar with us sometime, but we have precious few weeks left and don’t really have time for your shit.)

So, what stereotypical college experiences have we not written about yet? (Note: We already threw a kegger in our apartment over the summer and our landlord caught us carrying the empty keg across the street. Turns out our lease has a strict no-keg policy. Missed that one.) Whether or not you’re still in college or have ever been to college, we want to hear what college things you think this blog is missing.

Want us to rush a sorority? (Too late, we’re not doin’ that.) Want us to shotgun beers in the shower? (We can write about that now!) Want us to streak across the quad? Want photo evidence? (This may not be the kind of website you think it is.) Please email all ideas, questions, or pictures of baby goats to Or post on our Facebook wall! We would fucking love you to post on our Facebook wall. Tell us what you’re thinking.

We’ll be back at you next week with some new stories and goofy hashtags. In the meantime, check out our updated About Us pages on top of this menu. (We figured out how to make a menu! Turns out WordPress can do some pretty cool stuff when you don’t ignore 90% of its functions.)

See you next Monday, friends.


Continue reading
Artsy, College

Meta Thoughts on Hannah’s Couch

We’re sitting on Hannah’s couch in Nashua. Julie’s cold, and she’s wearing a max-fuzziness sweatshirt that Hannah bought from Marshall’s a few weeks ago. Hannah’s typing this right now, and the whole 3rd-person thing feels pretty weird, but we just wanted to let you guys know that this is going to be one of those ones written from both of us.

Co-writing when you’re sitting right next to each other and one person is reading over the other one’s shoulder the whole time is really hard, and we both usually end up staring at the computer screen until one of us says, “do you wanna just watch Girls?” So bear with us here, and know that we’d rather be watching Girls. This is Julie now by the way.

I don’t know if you noticed, but we didn’t post last Monday. (No one texted us. We really thought at least one person would text us.) We’re also conducting a test to see if you can figure out who is actually writing at any point in this post. The test will be cumulative, and worth 82% of your final grade. The other 12% is participation, so read up, fuckers. (This is still Julie.)

Basically, we’ve been feeling a little unloved. We think we peaked in popularity the week that we became famous, but lately our readership has been on the decline. We’ve noticed over the years that towards the end of any semester, readership just goes down. It’s no one’s fault. It’s definitely not our fault. It just happens naturally. Like cyclical unemployment in the United States due to strange and inexplicable economic forces. (Credit Hannah on that last line. She took an Econ final this morning. Still recovering.)

We also noticed something else. If we leave for a while, and then come back with some big announcement—like, hey guys, we’re BLOGGING again!—you guys absolutely eat it up. It’s like when Gandalf comes back from the dead as Gandalf the White in The Two Towers and he saves Pippin and Merry in the forest from the talking trees.

(A behind the scenes look at the making of this post:
Hannah: What’s a movie where a character like dies and comes back or something?

So yeah. We’re still on Hannah’s couch. We’d still rather be watching Girls. We will probably be watching Girls very soon (the one where Hannah wears a see-through, yellow mesh top on a Wednesday—we already decided). But we just wanted to let you guys know that last week, we were in fact testing to see if you’d notice when we didn’t show up, like a passive-aggressive bully on an elementary school playground. And you didn’t notice. So now we’re going to accidentally-on-purpose hit you in the face with a Foursquare ball. It’s gonna be the kind with the little ridges on it, and it will leave marks on your forehead.

This is Hannah typing now, but Jules and I thought of the Foursquare-ball-to-the-face punchline at the exact same time. Seriously. When I said it she looked at me like we were in What Women Want, and she was the Helen Hunt and to my Mel Gibson. (If you haven’t seen the hit 2000 rom-com What Women Want—well, don’t. It sucks. But Mel Gibson reads a lot of minds and waxes his own legs at one point.)

“We just wrote a page and a half of unnecessary bullshit to tell them that we’re not going to be blogging for a few weeks.” –Julie. She really wants me to get to the point that we won’t be blogging for the next few weeks.

To be honest, you guys have been getting tired of us, we’ve been getting tired of us, and we’re really looking forward to vegging hard on this vacation. Hannah and Julie are taking a winter holiday. We’ll be back in late January after we’ve eaten our weight in cookies and SOMETHING.*

*This is what we do when we can’t think of that one last witty thing. Extremely effective.

Who’s typing right now, by the way? And whose head is currently resting on the typer’s very bony shoulder? (The world may never know.) We’ll miss you guys. You’ll eventually miss us, too. We’re counting on it.

In the meantime, enjoy this random collection of photos that we just found on our phones. (The one of us who isn’t typing had to do something, right?)

For five minutes, Julie was really excited about taking pictures of Hannah with mundane things at the Sam Adams Brewery Tour. (Post coming eventually: “Touristy Pictures of Hannah in Totally Normal Places.”)

Iconic things that happened on December 10th: We became friends on Facebook, and Hannah quoted Fatboy Slim.

Happy holidays, friends. We’ll be back soon.

Continue reading

Productivity, iPhone Games, and Craig

You guys, this Sunday I had the best day. My dad picked me up at 8 o’clock in the morning so my family could spend the day together. We stopped for breakfast on the way home, split some pancakes, and chatted about books and Louis CK. My grandmother was visiting for the weekend and she made fun of us for being on our phones. We played wiffleball in the backyard. We bought our Christmas tree. We named him Craig.

But every few hours, I’d find myself wringing my hands. All of a sudden I’d need to get up off the couch and pace for a minute. I’d usually end up standing in front of my backpack.

I was surrounded by my family and good food and Craig, but I couldn’t stop myself from squirming. And I know exactly why- I wasn’t being productive enough. I didn’t study for any finals, didn’t work on any grad school applications, didn’t work out. I got to spend the day laughing with my family- something I really don’t get to do enough – and I felt vaguely yucky and jittery all day.

(The Riley children will pose nicely for a picture for about 12 seconds)
Now some of this can be attributed to impending finals and grad school deadlines. I probably won’t feel entirely at ease for at least two more weeks, and I’m okay with that. What’s been bugging me lately is how hard it is to relax, how it always feels like I should be doing something more. I don’t know if I’m the only one who feels this way, but if you can relate at all, I’d like to tell you something:

You are more than the sum of your productivity.

It’s okay that you didn’t get as many things done as you’d have liked to today. It’s alright that you didn’t finish studying for your exam, or walked right by the gym, or didn’t happen to spend your afternoon rescuing stray puppies and solving the global energy crisis. We can’t all be super-productive everyday. I think that’s important to realize.

Now I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be productive. In fact, my mental well-being depends on it a lot of the time. There’s nothing better than a day full of learning new things, talking to people, challenging myself, and working up a good sweat before I sit down on the couch with my mug of tea at the end of the night. But I think it might be starting to get toxic.

This semester, our friend Meg started grad school at MIT. Today I got this snapchat from her.

It was the beginning of September, and we’d been chatting on the phone a lot. (It was the beginning of another semester apart and we were still adjusting to not doing homework on the couch together every night.) Meg was in the middle of MIT orientation, and underwhelmed with the whole process.

“They’re just not telling me anything I don’t know and I’m not with anyone who’ll be in my program so I think I’m gonna skip the next two days,” she told me one afternoon. “The only thing is, if I don’t go then I’ll have the next two days totally free. I’ll have nothing to do.”

I laughed. “Isn’t it funny,” I said, “how freaked out we all get by free time?”

It’s true. Hannah and I look at a day off like some people look at a colonoscopy. When you have no class, no work, no meetings, no homework to do, then what are you supposed to do with yourself all day? We’ve come to rely on being busy, to define ourselves by it. And it gets a lot more intense during the school year.

Every time I stop and talk to someone, we get into this back and forth of who can sound more busy and put-out and exhausted. But it’s not a competition. You don’t have to be the busiest. You don’t have to be busy at all, really. Not all the time.

It’s okay. Really, it is. Sometimes you go to the library and stare blankly at your email for a while before leaving for lunch because you’re hungry. Sometimes you go to the gym then get off the treadmill after twenty minutes because you feel like you’re gonna die. Some days you avoid the library and the gym and other humans like the plague. Sometimes you sit down to read a book and end up napping on the couch. (Actually, that might be the only version of that situation. How are you supposed to finish any books if you get kinda narcoleptic every time you try to read?)


The other night I got home from the library with all these plans of what I was going to do while I waited for Hann to get home to watch a movie. I was going to write, read my book, have some tea, maybe work on my personal statement. I ended up playing this dumb game on my phone where you essentially connect different colored dots. You win some you lose some, ya know?

Continue reading