Marylander in New England: To-Do List

mhagandefaultMichael Hagan ’15

All it took was a simple reminder email from Southwest Airlines to peak my eagerness to return to Providence College after a full year abroad. A wave of excitement struck me as I read, “Your trip to Providence is just a few days away.” Senior year is upon me. While it is bittersweet to leave my home in Maryland after such a whirlwind of a summer, I am raring to make the most of the time between now and that fateful third weekend in May. One of my goals in going to college far from home has been to experience those things both major and minute that give Rhode Island and greater New England an identity distinct from my own beloved Old Line State. I have begun to list out just several of the important tasks towards this end that need doing before my class’ rendezvous with destiny on May 17:

1. See a Ballgame at Fenway Park
I have missed too many opportunities to visit the cathedral of Boston, and this fall is the time to right this wrong.
Bonus Points: See my Orioles play the Red Sox at Fenway
Bonus Point Multiplier: See the O’s win at Fenway

2. Complete the Awful Awful Challenge at Newport Creamery
Drink three, get your fourth free… what could possibly go wrong?

3. Pay a visit to this Cape everyone is always talking about
It has been alleged that there is some kind of enormous island filled with beautiful beaches and picturesque villages somewhere off the southeastern shore of Massachusetts. I’ll believe it when I see it.

4. See a Film at the Avon Theater on Thayer Street
I might even dress like a hipster for the full experience.

5. Eat Lobster Fresh from the Waters of New England
I may have to sneak some Old Bay to the table…
Bonus Points: The guy who sold me the lobster caught it himself earlier that day

6. ‘Go into the woods to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I cannot learn what it has to teach, and not, when I come to die, discover that I have not lived’
… or at least camp out for a night or two.
Bonus Points: Spot a moose

7. Wear Matching “Four More Years of FDR” Pins with Dr. Grace on Election Day
I hope he wears his for midterms…

8. Max Out a Beer Club Card at The Abbey. Get a T-Shirt.
35-cent wing night may end up being a little pricier for me than in years past…

9. Win an Intramural Championship. Get a T-Shirt.
I’ve been training rigorously for inner-tube water polo for over a year now

10. Crash a Brown Party. Pretend to be an Ivy Leaguer.
I’m sure they will be enamored by tales of my research fellowship in Australia through which I conducted an in depth study of the effects of climate change on the marsupial population.

11. Run the Cox Half-Marathon
This goal may be a stretch, but it is something to aspire too. The necessary training regimen might not be compatible with items 2 and 8.

12. Complete a Senior Th… you know what, we’ll just cross that bridge when we come to it

13. Actually Eat Clams at Clam Jam
So help me God I will arrive on time this year.

14. Persuade a Current High School Senior to Consider PC
Because this experience has been too wonderful not to share
All the Bonus Points: Aforementioned high school senior enrolls

Here’s to the year ahead. I am so thankful for the community we share it in.

No One Warns You About Your Twenties

AbbyDefaultAbby Hevert, ’15

One night, I sat down with a really good friend at a really cool bar. We started to discuss our lives, and the paths that were taken, as well as not taken. There were some predictions made about how the next decade would unfold. After all, we are only twenty-one, and the major topic of most conversations these days is: “So what the hell is going to happen to me? How is next week going to go? How are these next five years going to go?” And, we discovered together that the questions should no longer be about what circumstances and opportunities will unfold, but rather which ones we create and how we react to them. After all, there is no magic recipe for the survival of your twenties– probably because no one’s experience is identical. No one warns you about your twenties.

My teenage years were different. They really did have a purpose as many of them were dedicated to getting into college. And now at age twenty-one, that dream has been realized. I go to college, traveled for four months, and am involved in the extracurriculars that make me feel satisfied. And, yet, I still have little idea where my life is headed next Tuesday, let alone next January or next year. Yes, I have professional goals that I am working toward, but these goals are not guarantees. I cannot bank on them. I am finally at the point in my life where there is more than one logical next step, whether it is pursuing graduate school, working after graduation, or even traveling or taking some time off. There are no longer voices telling me what to do. My voice is the only one that remains.

This life as a twenty-something is not always easy. It can get really tempting to compare our situations to not only each other, but to generations past. Yes, our parents may have gotten married earlier and secured careers faster. But, here we are, this generation of twenty-somethings who, quite frankly, may not have our sh*t together like we think we should. The pressure to be someone or pursue something will always exist for us, but I believe this tension is heightened in the decade that has usually been seen as the “make it or break it” time in a person’s life. Many of us may think that if we do not act now, today, and make plans to secure the things that will eventually bring us happiness, that this happiness will somehow slip through our fingers into an abyss of regret where no second chances exist. Sometimes we may get so preoccupied with the weeks, months, and years ahead that we forget that life as a twenty-something is pretty cool today, right now, in this moment.

Being in your twenties means that you are old enough to know how to do responsible things, like paying bills and building resumes, but young enough to screw up those tasks every day. To this day, I still do not know how to parallel park, however, I got really good at staying out late on Saturday nights in London. But here is the beauty of it: your twenties are the time to experiment with mistakes. Sure, we all have commitments to honor. But these mistakes, late nights and subsequently early mornings, regrets, and embarrassment are all apart of the decade that forms our innermost selves.

In some ways, I feel like I face major changes in my life nearly every day as a twenty-one year old. Life is not always stable at this age, but it sure is fun. I do not have many answers or solutions to the problems my friends and I face except to hold on, buckle up, and get ready for the next turn of events, as there inevitably will be one. Things and people change every day. Our lives are not static and that is the beauty of being a twenty-something. Yes, sometimes things may suck more than usual but our capacity to roll with the punches is what keeps us hanging on. Someone once told me to only worry about the things that will matter in five years. The same advice can also be applied to relationships: only worry about the people who stick it out during the next five years as well.

So all of you twenty-somethings out there: expect to not know what you are doing all of the time. I do not believe your twenties are your “make it or break it” decade. They are your “sometimes make it and sometimes break it” decade. And, no, no one warns you about your twenties. But maybe this is the way it should be. After all, this decade is all about discovery, good and bad. Perhaps the person who would warn you about the things to come in your twenties would act as a spoiler of a movie. I don’t know about you, but surprises are some of the best parts of my life. Turn the corner, hold your breath, and wait for the surprise. It may be good; it may be bad. The only way to find out is to trust that the corner is worth turning. So, take this day, this week, this month, this year and turn every corner you find. Hell, you only get ten years to be in your twenties. Do not waste a single day.

No one warns you about your twenties. But who would want to ruin the conclusion to your story anyway?

After all, I heard there’s an ending no one would expect.