Could You Look Happier Please?

By Katie Hake and Elizabeth McNally | 11/3/15 10:14am

Once upon a time, Katie and Elizabeth moved into the same house.

It was a “homey” house just a stone’s throw from Collis (assuming you have strong arms), and in this house we and our five other housemates made breakfast for dinner, hit our heads on the ceiling at the top of the staircase and battled a bat throughout our warmest term at Dartmouth.

There’s a lot we could say about our sophomore summer and our blossoming friendship, but perhaps the most important thing was the giant bucket list hanging on the yellow wall in the living room.
It started out with saying “yes” to Strips (in which Katie essentially dragged Elizabeth out of said house to go canoeing for a weekend). This then turned into saying “yes” to summer (sailing, rope swings and nature galore). Eventually this turned into saying “yes” to life. (So, 18s…GO ON STRIPS.)

We wanted to keep ourselves motivated and avoid becoming bogged down in stress, while still maintaining our obsessive and compulsive tendencies. “Organized spontaneity” is the experiment we came up with, and it’s worked pretty well so far. We made a list of all the fun things we wanted to do sophomore summer, and made sure we did one each week. It kept us motivated to do our work efficiently and to enjoy every moment, while also giving us pre-made plans for whenever we had free time — when in doubt, just look at the list and pick something!

Occasionally we’d add things we already did to the bucket list…but they still counted. The idea was to be motivated to do things besides studying.

14X Summer Text Convo:
Katie: YES another hypothetical item we just made up bites the dust.
Elizabeth: It gets longer faster than we can do it.
Katie: Exactly! We’ll get it done. I’m not worried
Elizabeth: It’ll be a sad day when there’s nothing left to do… Let’s never finish it

And while adding things we’ve already done and spontaneously going paddleboarding or to the copper mines before an astro exam is a ton of fun, we’ve found that often some of the most fun ones are the ones that take time and coordination.

Enter: our senior year bucket list and Cabin-o-ween.

“Renting a cabin” has been on our list since the birth of the bucket list, and it’s been postponed every term because there’s “no good weekend.” That is, until our roommate Maggie suggested earlier this term that we gather up our friends and go to a cabin for Halloween, and our house GroupMe responded with many excited emoji faces and exclamation points.

We made a personalized invitation inspired by the movie poster for “Cabin in the Woods,” rented the cabin, bought all kinds of snacks and got ~20 people to come with us. Twenty people were willing to skip Halloween on campus and come hike and chill in the woods with us!

Side note: we know you were all waiting impatiently for our costume. Drum roll, please… Katie and Elizabeth’s Grand Prop-Based Halloween Costume of 2015 was Ben & Jerry! We decorated poster boards to look like “Half Baked” and “Americone Dream” Ben & Jerry’s pints, broke out our flannels and drew beards on each other. And handed out ice cream, of course. Who was Ben? Who was Jerry? The world may never know. But the world got ice cream that night.

So, friends, there is a lesson here. (Remember, we’re pretending to be wise.) Take an extra five minutes each week and make a plan with your friends, and follow through. Vacation time as an adult is scarce — take advantage of your weekends. Be smart, but work hard holistically. Family and friends are just as important as school. And, of course, be sure to write it all down.


Katie Hake and Elizabeth McNally