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Food and Friends

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.

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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 hannahandjulie94@gmail.com. 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.

 

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Off-Campus

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.

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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?
Julie: GANDALF. FUCKING GANDALF.)

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?)

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Julie cracks herself up while wearing Hannah’s max-fuzziness sweatshirt.

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.”)

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Screenshot of a Snapchat from Julie, taken by Hannah.

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.

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Academia, Uncategorized

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.

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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.

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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?

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Some Other Things

The Baby Deer Day

To be completely honest, I’ve been a bit of a mess lately, my friends. A few weeks ago I got anxious about a few things, then I got anxious about getting anxious, then before I knew it I was bawling in my car because Julie had 1) asked if I was okay and 2) put on Mumford & Sons. Deadly combo.

I could tell a long-winded story here, all about the essential items I forgot at school on Tuesday and the exits I missed when I drove back the next morning to get them and how late I was to everything I had planned for the rest of the day because of those forgotten items and the mixed exits. But the truth is I just typed out that whole story, and it’s actually pretty boring, so let’s just skip to the baby deer part.

My sister Sarah and I were standing in American Eagle on Wednesday night, surrounded by jeggings and flannels and adorable store personnel with radios in their back pockets. (What if those radios were actually direct lines to the CIA? Does American Eagle assign their employees into platoons? Why don’t they say Roger every time they send someone to open a dressing room for me? Things I’ve wondered while waiting in line to exchange dark-wash jeans.) We’d just stopped by the mall on our way to see the new Hunger Games movie at eight. I checked my email to make sure our movie tickets went through.

My movie ticket purchase had gone through. For the seven o’clock show.

It was already 7:02. Fuck.

As we left American Eagle, I scrambled to buy new tickets on my phone and wondered out loud if we’d even have time to get dinner. Take-out Panera? Or we could try the Food Court? Sarah finally stopped and turned to me.

“Listen. I’m driving, we’re going to get take-out Panera, and you’re not making any more decisions today. Okay?” She looked at me, eyebrows high. I nodded, she nodded, then she took my arm and we were on our way. “This might be the most Hannah you’ve ever been, you know that?” She laughed.

“I know, I’m fricken sorry, okay,” I laughed too. (I lost a lot of swim goggles as a child. And eyeglasses. And watches.) “Lead the way, captain. Jesus take the wheel.”

“I am kind of like Jesus, aren’t I?” Sarah took the wheel big time.

I sent this text to Jules while we were waiting for our take-out Panera.

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Wednesday night, standing in Panera next to my sister who is four years younger and two inches taller than me, I felt like a scrawny ass baby deer. Whenever I tried to walk—or pack, or re-pack, or buy movie tickets—my legs got all shaky and folded up. Like that adorable scene in Bambi when Bambi tries to walk on ice, but maybe slightly less adorable.

I was going to stop here, more or less, but Julie reminded of something important as I was writing this post. I’m not even feeling like a baby deer anymore and that girl knows how to pick me up.

She wrote this on my draft: I guess the only thing was I was waiting for it to get deeper into the baby deer dynamic because I know it goes beyond feeling anxious. (Like sometimes you feel like you’re not that capable or grown up, when that’s not true.) And it’s that part that causes you anxiety.

Jules, sometimes it feels like you know me better than I do. Because there have been several moments in the last couple of weeks where I’ve felt really and truly shit-my-pants incapable. (I haven’t gone so far as to actually shit my pants, but that seems like the most accurate way to describe the feeling.) I have no natural talent for cooking or cleaning, I’m shit with directions, I have a tendency to forget where my shoes are right when I need them most. With the four horsemen of the graduation apocalypse waiting just around the corner, sometimes I really do get nervous. Am I going to make it out there?

Well, yes. I am. Feeling like a baby deer doesn’t actually make you a baby deer. (Although wouldn’t that make for kind of a hilarious time?) We all have our baby deer days. Sometimes you just need someone to tell you you’re done walking for the day and throw you over her shoulder. (Lookin’ at you, Sar.) But the important thing to remember is that we really aren’t baby deer, no matter how much we may feel like one on a Wednesday night at Panera Bread.

I’m back at school now, and as far as I know, I managed to pack everything I need. My baby deer day has passed, but I wanted to share my baby deer story just in case I have some fragile-feelin’ friends out there. I don’t know if you get anxious, or stressed, or angry or sad or discouraged. I’m not sure what it is that makes you feel like a baby deer on ice. But everybody’s got something. And finals are coming up—this is baby deer season. It’s okay, my friends. Take care of each other. And always remember to double-check your movie ticket order on Fandango.

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Academia, Uncategorized

Two Major Flaws in Logic

You guys, this weekend has been the best.

All last week, I looked forward to Friday. (I guess everyone does that every week, to the point where it becomes a problem, but I swear I’ve got something semi-unique to say here. Bear with me.) Friday marked the beginning of a special weekend filled with special events and a special visit from our freshly-graduated friend Meg. (Meg was the most special part. When graduated friends visit it’s like they’ve just come back from the dead and everything is right with the world again.)

This was more or less my thought process every time I thought about the upcoming weekend:

Oh man, I can’t wait for Friday! Meg will get here and then we get to go to cocktail, and then the Mowgli’s concert, and then Sunday’ll probably suck but that’s what they’re for, and then it’s Thanksgiving break! And all I have to do is make it to Friday!”

See any flaws with my logic there? Well there are two pretty fucking huge ones:

  1. Monday, November 23rd
  2. Tuesday, November 24th

The week before Thanksgiving is the proverbial pebble in the college student’s shoe. It’s two days, just two short days before a blissful long weekend of mashed potatoes and people asking you what you’re going to do after graduation. (I might have spoken too soon on the blissful part.)

How bad can it be?

So bad. The worst. The most painful 48 hours.

Just kidding. But campus does get a little bleak towards the end of Tuesday as everyone starts to leave. So to you poor souls stuck on campus until Tuesday night like me, here’s some motivation to get you through. We got this.

(I went to find motivational quotes and ended up getting lost in the Ron-Swanson-motivation-quote wormhole, so I’ve sacrificed applicability for humor.)

Also, I forced Hannah to watch The Princess Bride last night, because she had not yet seen The Princess Bride. One of her most gaping character flaws. I think this is all you need to keep you happy until we get to go home.

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Some Other Things

The Elevator Pitch

So, ehem… do you have any plans for after graduation?

It feels like I’ve gotten this question a lot lately, from people who don’t necessarily know me all that well. These distant friends and relatives all have a hint of anxiety in their eyes as they ask. They know it’s a perfectly reasonable question, but what if I still have no idea? Will I recoil and shrink away? Will I scream and spontaneously combust from the pressure of trying to find my forever fulfillment in the arms of a lofty liberal arts degree? I’m sorry for even asking, their eyes say, but I’m dying to know what the hell you plan to do with that English major.

“I’m planning on going into digital marketing,” I answer, “Hopefully in the Portsmouth area.” The asker looks immensely relieved. They don’t have to comfort me while I sob into my copy of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, or even assure me how young and bright and destined for greatness I am. My elevator pitch sounds normal and surprisingly legitimate. They can just nod while trying to hide their shock that my literature-driven education has led to an actual career path, then loop back around for another drink at the makeshift bar in my living room.

(Note: My parents have hosted a lot of crowded dinner parties recently.)

(Another note: I still haven’t read On the Road by Jack Kerouac.)

My mom recently emailed me this article. It’s a funny, cartoon-illustrated narrative that appeared in the Huffington Post describing “why Gen-Y is so unhappy.” (I was born in 1994, so my peers and I have the honor of falling into both the Gen-Y and Millennial categories, depending on which magazine you’re reading.) It seems like the shared Facebook articles of the world can’t say enough about what “my generation” is looking for in the workplace—flexible hours, health benefits, emotional support, endless attention, a shrine in our name, etc. We’re an unfulfilled, ambitious, half-assed bunch of dreamers, apparently.

So maybe this is why people I barely know ask me about my future as if I’m on the edge of a psychotic break. (Don’t get me wrong, impending real world responsibility does make me feel a little psycho sometimes, but I can usually keep it under control at dinner parties.) They think that I am on the verge of a lifelong, self-involved, Gen-Y quest for happiness. This quest is inarguably doomed, as I will eventually learn that questing for happiness is precisely the thing that keeps happiness at bay, and then I’ll end up an unemployed alcoholic. Or something.

I’m probably putting thoughts into the heads of distant friends and relatives here, but my point is that I’m lucky. I’ve found a post-grad plan that I’m genuinely excited to put into action, and it makes an easy elevator pitch. (Believe me, I’ve had some weird jobs to describe in passing. “Um, I’m doing a lot of sweaty yoga and writing about it. It’s a creative nonfiction project.” Or, “Oh, me? Just writing a young adult fantasy novella.” You don’t realize how convenient the elevator pitch is until it’s gone.)

As young and relatively educated people, we have the great privilege of not needing to know our forever plans right away. We can change our minds. The elevator pitch isn’t written in stone. My parents have always taught me that a job is a job—no matter where you are, you can decide to be happy. It doesn’t come from a job or an apartment or even a shrine in your name at your office’s front door. It comes from you.

So this just took a turn for the incredibly cheesy. But it’s true. Happiness isn’t some magical destination we’ll find after we figure out the perfect career, if that is in fact what Gen-Y’s everywhere are thinking. It’s the whole damn quest.

I’d like to thank my parents for teaching me this lesson early and often, most memorably in the second grade when I spent six months practicing for a piano recital and royally botched the show in thirty seconds. (It’s the journey, honey, not the destination, my mom told me as I sobbed in the backseat of our car.) That shit stuck with me. And now I’m not TIME Magazine’s typical Gen-Y douchebag, hopefully.

(Fellow Gen-Y’s and Millennials—I don’t actually think we’re all douchebags. I’d like to see what our grandparents would have done if they had selfie sticks when they were twelve.)

So yes, I really do enjoy throwing distant relatives off with my practical and decidedly “normal” elevator pitch. But digital marketing isn’t the only field I’ve considered going into since I started college. The list of potential careers isn’t a short one, and I haven’t completely written off some of my other options yet:

Hard-hitting, fast-talking journalist.
Ask the tough questions. Inform the populace. Wrestle with self over the moral ambiguities of presenting the absolute truth. Can you think of anything sexier? (The Newsroom is a fantastic example of said tough questions/moral ambiguity. And if you haven’t heard of the podcast Serial, go listen to it right now. My friend Sean has blown through eight episodes today. It’s intensely addicting and possibly the sexiest piece of investigative journalism that has ever existed.)

Hard-hitting, fast-talking lawyer.
Kind of similar to the journalism thing, now that I think about it, but with more suits. Lots of questions about memory and the passage of time, yelling at key moments, and trying to get to “the truth.” (Can you handle it?) Alcohol problem might be a requirement.

Hard-hitting, fast-talking detective.
I really can’t even entertain this one. I would hands-down be the worst detective ever. But crime shows are fun, am I right?

Documentarian.
I’ve never really worked a video camera, but some part of me feels like I could be great at uncovering bizarre cult activity. (Probably inspired by a recent viewing of a Scientology documentary on HBO. Meg would be pissed if I didn’t mention that she was the one who told us to watch it, so I shall here officially state: Meg told us to watch the Scientology documentary. It was nuts. Tom Cruise was there. Also a galactic overlord.)

Ski Bum.
Best case scenario. But…. money.

Surgeon.
This one lost a lot of its appeal when I learned about what med school actually entails and Grey’s Anatomy started doing sing-along episodes.

Screenwriter.
Jules and I started writing a screenplay two summers ago. It’s a romantic comedy. The goal is that it will be at least as good as most other romantic comedies.

Yoga Teacher.
I really just want the Athleta discount, though.

Wizard.
Already halfway there.

 

 

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Some Other Things

Lifting the Blinders

You guys, the strangest thing has been happening lately. You know those moments; you’ll be walking to the library, or making lunch in your apartment, or sitting in class, and all of a sudden the rush of things you have to get done just washes over you and you can’t breathe for a second? Well lately, those thoughts occur to me and… I don’t freak out. Some rational part of my brain that has, apparently, been lying dormant until this point in my life intervenes. It nudges the neurotic parts and whispers, “…who cares? You know it’ll be fine, right?”

And my anxiety-prone brain listens! It’s the craziest thing, really.

I’m trying to figure out what’s changed (and whether it’s possible to bottle whatever chemical is released in my brain that calms me down and then sell it for millions of dollars). I think it’s a change in perspective.

This time a year ago, Hannah and I were probably the least relaxed that we’ve ever been. We averaged 3 and a half anxious fits a week and spent all of our waking hours either working/studying or complaining about working/studying. We were applying to study abroad, and completely freaking out about it. All of the weight of the world seemed to be contained on this mile-long campus and we felt it as if it were placed right on our shoulders.

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(This is us in this thick of the most angsty of our semesters).

In the past year, my world has gotten a lot bigger. I left campus behind for a semester, saw more world than I ever thought possible, and found out that there’s still an incredible amount left to see. Looking back on how much I dreaded leaving my comfort zone of a school, I realized how important it was that I tore myself away. (Plus, I came back with a whole new appreciation for this place. I love you, campus.)

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(The post-study-abroad-depression-wormhole is way too easy to fall into).

There’s also the thought of leaving, and graduating, and moving on. It feels like the blinders have been lifted. The impermanence of our last year has a calming effect.

The middle years of college were just so intense- because we were so in it, you know? We spent the first year jumping in, getting comfortable, building our niche. And we’re spending our last year coming out of it. But the middle years, we were locked in. The universe began and ended on this campus, and it made everything feel like the end of the world. Now that we know that there will be a life beyond this, it puts this life in perspective.

It allows us to see beyond this, beyond ourselves, beyond our midterms next week. Our freshman year, Hannah and I talked a lot of things out. (It’s one of our biggest coping mechanisms, I’d say. If ever we’re overwhelmed in a situation, we usually meet for lunch and talk about what it all means until life feels a little more manageable. Philosophical lunches, we call them.)        

They look something like this.

They look something like this.

During our first fall at UNH, when we were trying to make sense of college, we deemed this campus a bubble. It’s an awesome bubble, probably the most fun bubble I’ve ever lived in, but it felt just a little bit removed from the rest of the world. You don’t really have to leave, if you don’t want to. There’s your classes, your best friends (who sort of double as your family), and food, and a gym, and a library, and your entire social life, all contained within this mile-long campus.

We were always aware of the bubble, because we knew this life was too awesome to be real.

Now we’re aware that the bubble is about to pop. Or at least, we’ve got one foot outside of it. One foot where we are, one foot where we’re going, as Hann put it. We’re applying to grad school and looking for jobs and realizing we only need to take two classes next semester in order to graduate.

It’s a lot of unknowns to deal with, but we’ve stared into the black hole before. We’ve felt this same anxiety before coming to college, and before getting on the plane to study abroad, and both times it’s turned out just fine. Better than fine, actually. Fine would be a spectacular understatement. Who’s to say we can’t make that happen again?

So I guess that’s what’s been happening to my brain lately. Unfortunately you can’t bottle perspective, or I’d be a millionaire by now.

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